Parshas Tazria-Metzora (RWW Email Series)

Updated: Apr 7

Davar Torah - Tazria-Metzora

From the RWW Email Series (4-20-18)


Shoshie's Yartzeit

From the RWW Email Series (4-30-17)



Davar Torah - Tazria-Metzora

From the RWW Email Series (4-20-18)

The Rabbis make an amazing statement in the Talmud. They say that to speak negatively about another person is worse than murder. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who would think that it's perfectly acceptable to speak negatively about others, even if they do so. It certainly isn't a great thing to do, but worse than murder???? I believe that the Rabbis might mean as follows: Firstly, generally a murderer has a motive - jealousy, money, power, passion; there is a tangible benefit to doing away with this person, in particular, and that is why the murderer does it. Obviously, that doesn't make it right. It is evil, but evil is not the purpose. Were the murderer to be able to achieve the same result without killing, he would probably prefer to do so. For the most part, murder is committed for a perceived

benefit. When you speak badly of someone else, however, generally there is no definitive motive. It benefits you in no tangible way. You quite simply enjoy the negativity itself and the sense of power that it brings. And not only do you enjoy the evil, but you drag another (the listener) down with you as well. Taking this one step further, the one who murders will not usually learn to enjoy murder and desire to do it again. A murderer's psychology is usually (though not always) the opposite, one of remorse and contrition. The one who speaks Loshon hora, however, will do so again and again. The more you do it, the more you learn to love it. So while the results of murder are certainly worse for the victim and his or her loved ones, the long term results of negative speech are much worse for everyone else. As such, the Rabbis point out that in this way (though not in all ways) it is more harmful for society than murder. As with Rodion Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, the shock of having murdered might spur you to change. Speaking Loshon hora, on the other hand, will just suck a person further and further into the quagmire of petty mediocrity. Murder may destroy bodies, but Loshon hora destroys souls. Full disclosure, however. Of course, I speak Loshon hora on a routine basis, as does everyone. My purpose here is not to preach - it would be hypocritical of me to do so. However, I find that understanding the harm that it can cause does help me hold myself back regularly and, as time goes on, I am grateful that I engage it in less and less as a result.


Shabbat Shalom,


Mike and Denise


 

Shoshie's Yartzeit

From the RWW Email Series (4-30-17)


I'd like to just briefly touch upon 1 aspect of Shoshie's specialness. Shoshie was totally free! She was always in the moment, present, active, and engaged with anything or person she was involved with in the moment. She was always there, not drawing attention to herself, not extroverted, just sort of self contained and in a sense "there'. We horribly miss her in our home; rib sticking around the dining room table, cooking something very yummy in the kitchen ready to go on an errand, ready to help bath Shaya and Ellie, working on an art project, dressing in a very "Shoshie style way" as if she invented a style of dress as a cross between Bais Yakov and "Woodstock". Funky in a cool, modest way that she was totally able to get away with. She was front and center with her friends, neighbors, our family and anyone she became in contact with. She was very unassuming, she would never think that she was anything special (after all she was a middle child of 6 children) but she was amazingly special in almost every interaction. When the CVS counter girl, the UPS fellow, a non-Jewish neighbor down the street all in Boca still ask and reminisce about Shoshie, you know she made a lasting impression on them. Shoshie was sweet, caring, loving, and cheerful, she was ..... the best way to sum it up - "alive" - "vibrant" -She was just a gorgeous human being.

What was her key?

I think that aside from some natural positive character traits, Shoshie felt loved and secure. This enabled her to have a feeling of positive self worth and esteem. I think she felt "complete", "whole" and not inadequate, insecure or needy in any way. This allowed her to "just be". She was - - Okay - She didn't need from you -anything and that allowed her to be there for you, present for you and engaged with you. She was extremely helpful to Denise and I. She was so self contained that she exhibited this quiet confidence and although very competitive in everything that she did it she wasn't ever mean-spirited at your expense. Because of who she was, Shoshie was the closest one can be to a sibling Her sister, Devori 3 years older. They fought once, did everything together and were as close as 2 people can be. When I think about Devori and Shoshie I can't not cry, that was a relationship for the ages. Neither girl threatened in any way about each other. While I could write a lot of stories about Shoshie that shows her specialness, I must acknowledge that Devori was like a Rebbe to her. When you are happy and living in the moment, when you are competent and confident in your own right and you feel safe and secure, one is totally free not to jealous of another.

Again, freedom is not having to do or say anything that requires your: affirmation, validation, confirmation, respect, recognition, adulation, honor and I on the other hand can be free to love you. May Hashem be the ultimate of comfort, love and security in our lives, May Hashem help us to heal ourselves to feel safe and self contained, May Hashem help us to realize our own abilities and talents, May Hashem give us the strength to stand up and be free - so we may unite together to illuminate light in all the dark crevices of ourselves and the world and Hashem hasten our redemption as we all come together to dance in one circle.

Next week, Gd willing, bli neder, some Torah.

Shabbat Shalom


Mike and Denise


 



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