This weeks Parsha (Tazriah – Metzorah) is about the way we talk. Speech reflects our attitudes and is such a powerful tool. Words, more than anything else, affects our homes, our families, our entire environment and our well being. A negative word causes destruction while a positive word has the power to bring peace to the world. That is the simple lesson of the Parsha.
The Torah teaches that if a spiritually afflicted leper wishes to purify himself he must bring a sacrifice of two birds. Why two birds? The Zohar, quoted by the Sfas Emes, explains that one bird is brought to atone for the lashon hara or negative words said. The other bird is brought to atone for the positive words that could have been said but weren’t. Even if a man or women never uttered a negative word, yet he or she held back a good word i.e. ‘you look wonderful today, great job, I think your fantastic, aren’t the Jews a holy people?’ – there is a sin of omission that needs to be atoned for.
If we could have made peace and we didn’t; if we could have made someone’s day and we suddenly have nothing to say, we are guilty of a form of loshon hara! Why do we sit quietly when we could be building the world or creating a positive feeling about the Jewish people?
From Rabbi Yaakov Haber