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From
Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah
For parents to share with children at the Shabbos Table

Tazria-Metzorah

Over All Five

"Hello, everyone. I'm home."

"Shalom, Abba. How are you?"

"Wonderful, Chaim, Boruch Hashem. Thank you for asking. How are you? How was your day?"

"Great, Abba. We learned a very interesting Mishna today."

"That's fantastic Chaim. Tell me all about it."

"It is in Mesecta Makkos, the third perek, the ninth Mishna. Someone can plow one furrow and commit eight sins."

"Wow. What are the sins?"

"He plows with an ox and a donkey together, which are both hekdesh (property of the Beis HaMikdash). He plows kelai hakerem (a field which has grapevines and wheat mixed together) on the shmitta year, on yom tov. The field is also a graveyard and the man plowing is both a Kohen and a nazir (who are both forbidden to enter a graveyard)."

"Chaim, that is truly fascinating. I learned something similar today. About an action which carries the weight of many sins."

"What was it Abba?"

"It was a Medrash on Parshas Metzorah. The Medrash was speaking about the plague of tzoras, which comes from speaking Loshon Hora. The word 'Torah' is used five times in the parsha in reference to the plague of tzoras. This is to teach us that one who speaks Loshon Hora transgresses all five books of the Torah."

"Oy vey."

"There is more, Chaim. The Tosefta in Mesecta Peah (1:2) lists sins for which a person is punished in this world, but the main punishment is reserved for the next world: idolatry, immorality, and murder. Loshon Hora is equal to all of them."

"Words are really powerful, Abba."

"That's right, Chaim. Watch what you say."

Kinderlach . . .

We are all trying to do lots of mitzvos and avoid doing any aveyros (sins). Last week we learned about the animals which are forbidden to eat. You would not dream of eating chazir (pork). It is a terrible aveyra. This week we learn that we must be just as careful about what comes out of our mouth, as we are about what goes into it. One word of Loshon Hora is a sin against the whole Torah. All 613 mitzvos! The punishment in this world is bad enough. What happens to the sinner in the next world is unspeakable. Watch what you say.

The Atonement

Sins cause terrible damage. Both in this world and in the spiritual world. However, the damage can be undone (in most cases). Firstly, the sinner must do tshuva. Then, in many cases kaporah (atonement) can be accomplished in the Beis HaMikdash. What was the kaporah for Loshon Hora? The Chofetz Chaim zt"l explains in his sefer, "Shmiras HaLoshon" (p. 238). Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year. The Kohen Godol was the holiest of all Jews. The Beis HaMikdash was the holiest place on this earth, and the Kodesh Kodoshim (Holy of Holies) was the holiest part of the Beis HaMikdash. The Kohen Godol's first avodah (service) on Yom Kippur was to enter into the Kodesh Kodoshim and burn the ketores (incense). This was the kaporah for Loshon Hora.

This tremendously concentrated power of holiness was needed to counteract and atone for the terrible physical and spiritual damage caused by Loshon Hora.

Kinderlach . . .

Yom Kippur was six months ago. Yet we all remember how we cried out to Hashem to forgive our sins. Who can forget the holiness of the day? Yet, we are lacking much of the holiness of Yom Kippur. There is a Beis HaMikdash, a Kohen Godol, and the avodah, which add even more holiness to the day. All of this awesome holiness was needed to forgive the sin of Loshon Hora. What a horrible sin it is.

The Craftsman

"Look at this shop. There are beautiful wood objects in the window. Let's go inside."

"Sure."

Inside the shop they find a carpenter working on a wooden table. His skilled hands patiently work the wood, carving out beautiful shapes.

"Yes, can I help you?"

"We are admiring your work. Your wooden creations are beautiful."

"I have been working with wood since I was eight years old. I have the finest tools at my disposal. Still, I must measure every cut that I make very carefully. The smallest mistake will ruin the whole piece."

"Craftsmanship is a lifelong endeavor."

"It certainly is."

"What is a person's profession in this world? To make himself like a mute." (Gemora Chullin 89a). A mute person cannot speak. The gemora relates that a person should learn how to be quiet. Learn how to be quiet? What learning is required? Anyone can close his or her mouth. Or can they? The Chofetz Chaim zt"l explains that silence is a profession. A truly excellent craftsman learns his trade at a very young age. It becomes second nature to him. He can approach even the hardest jobs calmly, with the skill necessary to complete them. So too with silence. One must train oneself from the youngest age. Learn to control your speech. Measure every word carefully, as the craftsman measures each cut of the saw blade. When you are placed in a tempting situation, you will have the tools necessary to be quiet and not speak Loshon Hora. You will be a true craftsman.

Kinderlach . . .

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Kinder Torah Copyright 2002 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman


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