This week’s double Torah portion, Parashat Tazria/Metzora, focuses on the laws concerning a “Metzora,” a person with leprosy, as well as the leprosy that spreads on garments and the walls of homes. According to the Midrash in Leviticus Rabbah 16:4, the word “Metzora” represents the words “Motzi Shem Rah,” one who utters evil reports. The rabbis understood the disease of leprosy to be caused by Lashon HaRah, evil speech.
The rabbinic understanding of the Metzora teaches us that by partaking in gossip, we are actually alienating ourselves from the community. From Twitter to email to Facebook, we now have many more opportunities to partake in Lashon HaRah. Let’s work to Motzi (give forth) a little less Shem Rah (evil reports) about individuals in our communities. After all, the damage done by Lashon HaRah cannot be reversed.