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Why Do We Gossip?

How the Torah's Names for “Leprosy” Capture Their Psychology

Class Summary:

One of the fascinating ideas in the work of the 13th century sage known as the Baal Haturim is that whenever the Tanach uses a similar word, be it in four distinct places, they are interconnected in some way. And to appreciate the full depth of the present idea one must delve into the other places in Tanach where this same word is used. We have nothing even close to this in English literature. Let us study one of his insights on the story of the leper. Remarkably, this insight reveals to us the psychology behind gossip. 

There are three kinds of tzaraat wounds mentioned in the opening of Tazria: s'eit, sapachat and baheret, representing three shades of white that may afflict the skin of the gossiper. Yet if we analyze the translation of these three words we discover the three motivations for gossip.

This, indeed, is one of the remarkable things about Torah study. The very names of the malady capture their psychology—the inner motif behind them. We thus discover the inner subconscious drives behind our behaviors and how to mend them.


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  • MR

    Michael ROSENTHAL -2 years ago


    Great Shiur, as always BH.

    Where can we find this Baal Hatourim?

    Thanks a lot!

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  • A

    Aryeh -5 years ago

    Thank you for the beautiful Tazria song!  

    Wondering where the meor Einayim oneg vort and the rav Nachman speech/song vort are brought? 

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    • Anonymous -5 years ago

      Reb Nachum of Tchernabyl: Meir Einayim on the Parsha.

      Reb Nachman of Breslov: I heard it years ago from Reb Shlomo Carlebach but never saw the source.

      Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

  • CG

    Chen Goodman -5 years ago


    Charles Barkly said it best,  "I don't belive in role modles, but you mine"

    Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

  • H

    Hindi -5 years ago

    It connected me to my essence, my power.
    I can create so much and at the same time I can destroy so much. 

    It inspired me deeply to choose how to use my “powerful” mouth every time I open it.
    If we think about it we are somewhat Godly.

    The amount of power we were really given to make a difference is quite infinite.

    We really do “matter” way more than we imagine.

    Beautiful. It’s all about where we put our ladder in life... On sturdy earth and reality than no matter where we are, we are on our way towards heaven. All else is putting our ladder on quick sand.

    Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

Women's Tazria Class

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • April 2, 2019
  • |
  • 26 Adar II 5779
  • |

Dedicated by Jodi Kramer in honor of Michael Akiva ben Yisrael

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