Doing it the right way!
8 Nisan 5776
The Torah is a book of Truth and contains many beautiful pictures which give us practical teachings from our Creator to live full and rich lives. This past week we read about the biblical disease tzaraat, known as leprosy and was considered by our sages to be a spiritual disease rather than a physical one. Our God was showing us that the worst disease that we could have was a disease of the soul. In the Torah gossip is considered like leprosy and is very destructive because it destroys the human being who has been made in the likeness and image of God. Our Messiah Yeshua told us “don’t worry about what you eat; rather worry more about what comes out of your mouth.” Our rabbis tell us that there are two types of lashon ha rah (evil tongue) – the spoken and the unspoken. It is one thing to speak badly about someone else but what is worse is the person who is listening to the gossip and doesn’t say anything. They are as guilty as the one who gossiped. Both are condemned and both are destroyed.
Have you ever seen a life guard who is trying to save a drowning person but the person tries to bring the life-guard down with him? He literally has to be knocked out in order to be saved if he doesn’t calm down on his own. This same principle is at work with gossip. Instead of climbing the ladder of success through one’s own merits, the gossiper tries to pull others down. Unfortunately no one wins. Our Messiah Yeshua gave us an excellent formula for how to deal with this. It is the principle of how to confront someone who is doing something that we believe is not right. We are to go directly to that person and confront him in a kind and loving manner. If he won’t listen, we are to bring two or three people as witness without speaking to them about it in advance so that they can be objective and then we are to speak about it again. If that person still refuses to change, we are to bring him before the entire community. When nothing works, he can be asked to leave. This is a good process because it shows that we want the best for that person and for the community. Lashon harah is the action of speaking about a person behind his back; in so doing, we are not only destroying his character but we are staining the soul of the person listening and this ultimately spreads to the entire community.
We will be celebrating Pesach (Passover) at the end of the week. We begin by cleaning the chametz (leaven) out of our homes but we also need to cleanse ourselves from leaven. This is a family festival of thanksgiving for our Creator delivering us from oppression. There are many types of oppression today and they all come from the spiritual realm. How many of us are holding onto things that we don’t want to let go of or don’t know how? How many of us have made certain things more important than our relationship with the Creator? Are we prioritizing what is important and what is not important? Do we have any idols within us? Do we have something holding us back from serving Him? My desire is that we have a Chag Pesach Sameach v’ Kasher. Kasher has nothing to do with what we eat. It has to do with doing it the “right way.” Simply put, Pesach begins at home. Our Messiah Yeshua told us not to try to take small speck out of the eye of our neighbor but remove the log that is in our own eye. It is my desire that we all have a wonderful Pesach remembering and giving thanks for all that our Creator has done for us. We honor our Messiah Yeshua who died standing up for truth and justice as he was bringing us back to the Torah and setting the example for all his talmidim then and now. Let us follow in his footsteps.