The Leper

Shavua Tov. A big part of today's double Parsha was the discussion about צרעת, leprosy. One who has this disease is quarantined and not allowed to be around other people. The leper has created divisiveness because of his slanderous speech, so that he also has to be separated.

The Torah tells us that the leper has to declare the words, טמא טמא to anyone that approaches. The Talmud explains that the reason he says the word טמא twice is first to warn people not to touch him for otherwise, they, too, will become defiled, and the second טמא is  to ask people to pray for mercy on his behalf. This shows how destructive negative speech can be.

The Talmud further mentions that this is the source for making tomb stones above Jewish graves. Just as the leper gives fair warning not to get defiled, the general public is also warned to stay away from the dead for fear of defilement.

Yesterday was eighteen with ספירת העומר