Welcome to our Shabbos Table!We hope you enjoy this selection of short divrei Torah, presented to family and guests at our Shabbos table as a springboard for discussion. Each one is followed by a question. The responses shared at our table are enlightening, entertaining, and always thought-provoking.Please share them at your own Shabbos table, and send us your most interesting responses. A selection of the best will be posted on the website, and eventually, included in a book. To respond, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“All the days that the affliction is upon him, he shall remain impure […]; he shall dwell in isolation; his dwelling shall be outside the camp” (Vayikra 13:46).
This pasuk refers to a person stricken with tzara’as, a skin disease that necessitates quarantine.
The patient is to be isolated even from his fellow impure Jews, says Rashi. For Chazal tell us tzara’as is caused by sinful speech. Therefore, just as this sinner’s slander separated between people, he is separated from his community.
Though we may feel sorry for this outcast, we shouldn’t approach him until he heals, i.e., until he has repented. If we jump the gun, reaching out to him before he has completed this process, he’ll very likely relapse into gossip. The Torah isolates him so he can contemplate and mend his ways. Only when he has done so, recovering both spiritually and (therefore) physically, may he return to the camp. Only then may we befriend him.(Ta’am VeDa’as, Tazria, p. 75)
Question for Discussion:
The metzora needs solitude so he can reflect on how to improve his interactions. He needs to become a more positive person. When have you had to adjust your own perspective?
Yochanan from Los Angeles, a second-year student at Ohr Somayach:
When I became shomer Shabbos and came to yeshivah, I resented my parents. I had so much to learn, and they’d never even taught me the basics! I felt so behind. I also resented their irreligiousness.
Over time, however, I realized that these feelings were misplaced. My parents weren’t raised religious, so how could I blame them for not teaching me about Judaism, or for not being observant?
I now see that they’re doing the best they can with the tools they were given, and that they sincerely want what’s best for me. I’ve come full circle, regaining the faith, trust, and respect in them that they deserve.
Bassi from Monsey, a newlywed living in Israel:
I was hired to help an elderly lady in her home. The job wasn’t going well. It was depressing and difficult, and I felt underpaid. Then a friend advised me to change my perspective, viewing the work first and foremost as an act of kindness and only secondarily as a paying job. That mental shift made the hard work worthwhile and gratifying.