By Five Towns Marriage Initiative

This week’s parashah is Metzora. The pasuk tells us that a person who is punished with the skin affliction of tzara’as gets sent outside the camp, and after the affliction passes and he regrets his misdeed and repents, he comes back to the camp and brings an asham sacrifice. The Sforno explains that the asham sacrifice is generally brought by someone that is “moel b’hekdesh,” which refers to a person that takes from that which is set aside for the Holy Temple.

The skin affliction of tzara’as comes about when a person is haughty and speaks lashon ha’ra. The Sforno questions why, in this case, it would be appropriate to bring an asham sacrifice. He then explains how in reality, a person that is haughty or a person that speaks lashon ha’ra is really being moel b’hekdesh. Lashon ha’ra tends to be told over in a quiet, secretive way, with one person whispering the gossip to the next.

The Gemara in Chagigah says about this that a person who sins in a secretive way is like someone that pushes away the Divine Presence. Additionally, in the Gemara in Sotah, it says about haughty individuals that Hashem says, “Ein ani v’hu yecholem la’amod b’olam echad,” he and I can’t stand in the same world. Essentially, both lashon ha’ra and haughtiness push away the heavenly presence in this world, similar to someone that is moel b’hekdesh and is attempting to decrease the Divine Presence in the world by taking away that which was set aside to glorify Hashem.

Both humility and not speaking lashon ha’ra are traits that are between man and his fellow. By developing a greater awareness of the severity of these acts, we can better understand how important it is to develop ourselves in these areas, and strengthen ourselves to not be haughty and not speak lashon ha’ra. In this way, we can then improve our relationship with our spouse, and use the time together as a springboard to growth and as an opportunity to work on these two areas.

It’s easy to repeat every last thing that happened throughout the day, and one might feel justified in doing so, feeling a need to get it off one’s chest. But if it is possible to write down what someone did to make you upset without having to speak lashon ha’ra (even with a purpose), it is much preferable to write and then destroy that which was written.

Marriage also presents many chances to strengthen our humility by humbling oneself before a spouse and his or her opinions, by giving in, and by admitting to weaknesses. We should merit to develop ourselves in these two areas and to always strengthen the glory of Hashem in this world. v

Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops, and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, 10:00—11:00 p.m. For the hotline or for more information, call 516-430-5280 or e‑mail


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