So many things happening, so many thoughts in my head, so many feelings in my heart, and so little ability in me to express it all.
Pesach is coming, and the Israeli elections seem to be fitting into a timing that is supposed to be of reflection, self-cleansing and preparing for a better, free future. Free of hatred, free of bias, free of corruption and most importantly, free of fear of any kind. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen has been too far from it. שׂאנת הנם – baseless hatred, is alive and well, the upcoming unity holiday notwithstanding. I am very much interested in Israeli politics, but I do not think I have the right to judge anyone, including the reigning head of the state even though I do think that he is at the top for a bit too long. I remember his first elections in 1996, the first time I went to Israel. A man is only a man, and no one can withstand the temptations that almost unlimited power gives, except Moshe Rabeinu.
Fittingly, this week’s Parshat Mezora talks about the sin of lachon ha-ra:
“Language is sacred because God creates the world with language. Onkelos (~35-120; author of a translation/interpretation of the Torah into Aramaic) claims language is what makes us human; we are the only living creatures to possess language because humans are created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). Using language properly is, therefore, a requirement of “…walking in God’s way.” (Deut. 10:12)
Lashon hara does irreparable damage. This is why Jeremiah’s statement, “Their tongue is a sharpened arrow…” (Jer. 9:7) becomes the prooftext for a rabbinic allegory: just as an arrow released from the bow cannot be recalled, so too lashon hara, once uttered, cannot be withdrawn. That is why Reb Asher Tzvi of Ostrog (?-1816; Chassidic leader in Poland) explains metzorah can be read as motzi ra, someone who brings out evil (speaks ill of others).
Throughout history, people downplay the significance of lashon hara. The Dubnow Maggid (1741-1804; itinerant preacher and kabbalist) claims that is why the metzora is brought to the kohen, or priest, who pronounces the individual either tahor or tamei, pure or impure. The metzora thus bears witness to the power of a single word to determine one’s fate.” (Dr. David Ackerman)
All I can wish for all of us within Israel and outside of it is to be just a little kinder, a little less judgemental, a little more positive and trusting in the will of Almighty.
Just very recently, another relative of mine, a young, vibrant, beautiful mother had to undergo an excruciating surgery due to the disease that took so many in my family. Although, in this case, we are all very hopeful as this type is the most explored and has great survival rates, I can’t help but wonder if, as one Rabbi I knew many years ago said, this is a גְזֵרָה – a decree from Heaven that somehow plays its role in my, now extended, family. If that is, Gd forbid, true – how do we escape this path? Is there anything we can all do to prevent these things? Are we paying for our own sins or something that had transpired when this generation was not even born? Or, are we meriting to protect our future generations from similar calamities? I feel that my list of תהילים – psalms that I say every day is forever growing, and my only hope is that there is merit to my praying.
Finally, my heart is beating twice as fast these days as I merit to go to sleep and wake up with a smile on my face, probably, for the first time since many, many years ago. Hopeful exciting things are happening in my life and the lives of my girls, and I am holding my breath for our future.
Is the sun really shining for us?
So much pain, so much hope
So much time – lost
Years or days, whatever is left
Please, make them happy for us