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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Vayiqra: Parashat Tazria: Potential of Human Beings

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi


This week's parasha begins with the laws dealing with a woman that has conceived either a boy or a girl. If we take a moment to step back and see the order of the topics we are presented, we can learn an interesting message.

Towards the end of Shemini, last week's parasha, we read about different types of animals and living creatures and what criteria constitues a kosher animal. Then, in parashat Tazria, we read of the beginnings of the human being. Soon after, the parasha turns to discussing Sara'at, the punishment for speaking Lashon Hara.

When Bnei Yisrael built the mishkan, they had the privilege of having the divine spirit, "shechinah", dwell with them. One can easily see how this may cause Bnei Yisrael to become big-headed, and haughty and believe that it was due to their own greatness that the Shechinah dwelled within them.

The torah first speaks of the pure an impure breeds of animals to teach us, that even though we have the potential to be deeply spiritual, we also have the potential to be deeply impure- like the Mesorah (one afflicted with Sara'at). It is within our hands, rather our own mouths to control our level- for it is our lashon hara which causes our own downfall. For we have free choice to decide what we become.

There is a midrash that says that if a person succeeds in his life, his being created is greater than all other species. If not, a meager mosquito's importance comes before the importance of the person.

Indeed, in its very nature, the human body is weaker than most other animals. In addition, other animals find their sustenance in the wild and are naturally clothed. Human beings must work to find both their sustenance and clothing. Despite all this, the human being is still seen as the crown of the creation based on his potential.

It ia only the human who has a deep purpose in life to worship Hashem and follow his Torah. It is this very potential, that when wasted, can lesson a human being's importance to less than that of a mosquito.


May Hashem give us all the strength to fulfill our potential in the realm of Torah and misvot. Amen.

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