The metzora (leper) is one of the main features of this week's parasha. The most famous reason why one became a leper was for the sin of lashon hara, speaking disparagingly about others. The Zohar comments that when the verse tells us that the atonement for this is to bring two birds as sacrifices, one bird is for not speaking nicely, and one is for not saying proper speech. What is being referred to by " not saying proper speech" and how is this on the same level as evil speech?
The Shemen HaTov explains that by not using good speech, it can be just as damaging as evil speech. Rabbi Frand shlit"a points out that at the core, they are the same issue: one can push himself up by putting down others or by not seeing the good in them and not complimenting them when appropriate.
All it takes is one wrong word said or not said to cause great hurt, but in contrast, saying one positive word or refraining from a hurtful word can build someone up so much!
Have a great Shabbos!
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Rabbi Naftali Karp
Every week Rabbi Karp sends out thoughts about the weekly Torah portion. Enjoy!