April 2008 Archives

Parshat Metzora:

Thinking Before We Speak ©

By Leah

This parsha study is dedicated to the loving memory of Mrs. Ethel Channah Sakash Belk, may she rest in peace and her memory be for good.

Perek 14, passuk 4 states: 

The Kohen shall command; and for the person being purified there shall be taken two live, clean birds, cedarwood, crimson thread, and hyssop. The Stone Edition The Chumash, ArtScroll Series; Rabbi Nosson Scherman/Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, General Editors (Brooklyn, NY: Mesorah Publications, Ltd., Third Edition) p 621.

Per the Stone Chumash commentary, Rashi explains that [b]ecause his affliction came in punishment for the chatter of gossip and slander, his purification is effected by means of chirping, twittering birds. Ibid. p 621. 

In his book, Growth Through Torah {(Brooklyn, NY: Benei Yakov Publications 1988) p 260}, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin paraphrases and quotes commentary from Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz in Rabbi Levovitz's book, Daas Torah: Vayikra, pp. 109-10: Before speaking you need to ask yourself, 'What is the purpose of what I am about to say? What will it accomplish? What effects will it have?' Once you get in to the habit of asking yourself these questions, you will always think before you speak. This will enable you to overcome the tendency of speaking against others.

What a wonderful gift! A recipe for overcoming the tendency of speaking loshon hara. This I see as a pursuit for a lifetime. If we have small victories, we can build on them. One victory would be to memorize the 3 questions. Another would be to have one instance in a day where we asked ourselves the three questions and succeeded in thinking before speaking.

One practice we have in [our families] is to forbid the use of certain words. These are words that are demeaning and demoralizing, words that tear the fabric of harmony in the home. In this way, we make inroads into protecting our home from loshon hara

May we overcome the tendency of speaking ill of others!

Blessings and Peace,


Blessings & peace,



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