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"All the days that the affliction is upon him he shall remain contaminated; he is contaminated. He shall dwell in isolation; his dwelling shall be outside the camp" (Vayikra 13:46).
Rashi records the words of the Sages: "Why is he treated differently from other unclean persons that he should abide solitary?" They replied, "Because he, by means of his slanderous statements, parted man and wife, or a man from his friend, therefore he must be parted from everybody."
It is important for us to realize that when we act not nicely to others, causing them to suffer, Hashem causes us to suffer equally.
Rabbi Zilberstein shlita tells a fascinating story of a young man who was driving to his engagement party at the home of his bride-to-be. On the way, he noticed an old man, with a cane, who flagged him down and asked for a lift. Being in a jovial mood, and happy to earn an easy mitzvah before becoming a chosson, he invited the senior citizen into his car. However, after driving a bit, the old man asked the driver to go out of his way and take him to a synagogue further than his own destination.
The young man was aghast at the chutzpah of the passenger, and abruptly refused. He would be happy to take the man as far as he was going anyway, he explained, but would not drive out of his way even a little bit.
The old man, in turn, was surprised at the chutzpah of this young whippersnapper who had no respect for his elders. He then offered the driver an ultimatum: either drive him to his destination or let him off right here. The young man promptly pulled over to the side of the road and let the old, stubborn man out to fend for himself. Upset at the whole incident, he rushed to his fiance's house to enjoy himself as much as he could.
As the party continued into the night, the young man wondered why no one had yet written the tenaim (engagement contract) for him and his bride-to-be. Her parents explained that they were waiting for the girl's grandfather to arrive and take part in the celebrations.
About half an hour later, the door opened and in limped - you guessed it - none other than the former passenger of the groom to be - or not to be. When the grandfather saw who was about to become engaged to his beloved granddaughter he protested loudly and related his very recent experience with the young man.
The party quickly broke up and the fellow went home broken-hearted.
The Kohain shall command; and for the person being purified there shall be taken two live, clean birds, cedarwood, crimson thread, and hyssop (Vayikra 14:4).Rashi records the explanation of the Sages: "Because the plagues of tzora'as (a type of disease like leprosy) come as a punishment for slander, which is done by chattering, therefore birds are compulsory for his purification, because these chatter, as it were, continuously, with a twittering sound."
Why does a person slander his fellowman? Because he does not understand him and judges him not favorably. The interesting thing is, though, that when the same person does something wrong, he has many rationalizations for what he did. If he would only understand the other person and his problems as he understands himself, the world would be a much better place to live in.
Simcha Raz wrote several fabulous books about the holy man who genuinely loved every single Jew: Rabbi Aryeh Levine zt"l. One of the many amazing stories he wrote involves Reb Aryeh's practice of inviting strangers to be his guests every Shabbos. One week, the inevitable happened: a Shabbos guest disappeared while everyone was sleeping, and with him, apparently, went the silver Shabbos menorah. Reb Aryeh was able to understand even an ingrate who took advantage of another's good will and steal from the hand that fed him. The first thing he did, when he discovered the loss, was to gather together his family and beg them not to apply pressure upon him to discontinue his practice of inviting Shabbos guests in the future!
Shema Yisrael Torah Network