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Tazria(Leviticus 12-13)

Tazria 5760

GOOD MORNING!  Three weeks to Pesach and counting ... It's time to give some thought to making the Seder more enjoyable and effective in creating a warm family experience. Most Jews would like their children to feel positively about being Jewish. You cannot transfer your feelings, but you can create the atmosphere and the experience which will engender positive feelings. Anyone I have ever met who loved being Jewish, fondly reminisced about their Zaideh (grandfather) presiding over the Shabbat table or their Bubbie (grandmother) lighting Shabbat candles ... and their Seder! You are a link in that chain!


Q & A:  HOW DO I MAKE MY SEDER ENJOYABLE, CREATIVE AND MEANINGFUL?

Remember that the Seder is for the kids, to transmit our history and understanding of life. You've got to make it interesting and intrigue them to ask questions. If a person asks a question, he'll be inclined to hear the answer! The only way to transmit your love and feeling for Judaism is through shared, positive experiences. Some ideas from the Passover Survival Kit:

(1)  Invest time before the Seder. Trade in your Maxwell House Hagaddah for one with commentary. Then read it! See what intrigues you. Look at a commentary to get interesting insights to share with your family and guests. Check out the Passover Survival Kit, Artscroll Haggadahs and Book of Our Heritage by E. Kitov. Available at local Jewish bookstores or by calling toll-free 877-758-3242. NO EXCUSES!

(2)  Get Passover story books for the kids now! Read to them the stories before Pesach. Have them or help them make a little play to present at the Seder. Buy them the Artscroll Children's Haggadah!

(3)  Have quizzes and prizes. Ask questions and give 20 points for a right answer. 100 points and they get a prize! Start with the youngest and work up through the ages. If a child answers a question that's not his, he loses 20 points! Name the plagues, the 4 sons, the number of years in slavery -- make your list of questions before the Seder. (You can even prep the kids before the Seder with the answers!)

(4)  Plan out the Seder with little surprises and props. During the section on the plagues throw into the air plastic animals when you get to the Wild Beasts; use ping pong balls for the plague of Hail. Be creative. Give each child a brown paper bag filled with his props. Have fun! You can buy the "BAG OF PLAGUES" by calling toll-free 877-758-3242 or THE PASSOVER FAMILY FUN KIT (props, costumes, a play) go to http://www.passoverkit.com or call (301) 881-9010.

(5)  Passover marks the birth of the Jewish people. It's a time to reflect on the meaning, value and implications of being Jewish. Here are some questions to discuss:

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how important is being Jewish to you? Please explain.

  2. If your son, daughter, brother, sister, or best friend told you that they planned to raise their children without any Jewish education or identity, how would you react?

  3. If you thought the existence of Israel was in danger, would you risk your life to help save it?

  4. What do you like about being Jewish? What don't you like?

  5. Is it important to you or for your children to have mostly Jewish friends? Why?


Torah Portion of the Week
Tazria

The Torah continues with the laws of physical and spiritual purity. The focus of this portion is upon tzora'as, a supernatural physical affliction sent to warn someone to refrain from speaking badly about others. The disease progressively afflicted home, clothes and then one's skin -- unless the individual corrected his ways and followed the purification process stated in the Torah.

There are two types of speech transgressions:

  1. Loshon Hora (literally "evil tongue")-- making a derogatory or damaging statement about someone even though you are speaking the truth.

  2. Rechilus (literally "tale bearing") -- telling someone the negative things another person said about him or did against him. Check out http://www.chofetzchaimusa.org for daily lessons in Shmirat HaLoshon, proper speech -- or call (800) 867-2482 for books and tapes!

 

Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states, "And G-d spoke to Moshe and Aharon saying, 'When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, or a scab, or a bright spot and it becomes in the skin of his flesh the plague of tzora'as, then he shall be brought to Aharon the priest or unto one of his sons the priests' " (Leviticus 13:1,2). What is the significance and meaning of these different types of tzora'as?

The Chasan Sofer comments that the different types of tzora'as are illustrative of reasons why people might speak against others:

  1. Sais (a rising): A person might speak against others to raise his own stature.

  2. Sapachas (a scab): A person might join (sipuach) a group of people who speak against others. In ordinary circumstances, he would not speak loshon hora, but to be sociable or to fit in, he would.

  3. Baheres (a bright spot): A person might have done something against someone else, and in an attempt to exonerate himself, he speaks against that person. He clarifies (bahir) the reason for his behavior. If one is aware of the motivation for his speaking loshon hora, he can work on correcting himself.

The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, points out that from the severity of the tumah (spiritual uncleanliness) of the metzora (the person afflicted with tzora'as), we have an indication of the severity of loshon hora. This is the only type of tumah in which the person is required to stay entirely out of the camp or city where other people live.

If one is careful not to speak negatively about others, he may never have to whisper again!



CANDLE LIGHTING - April 7:

Jerusalem 5:23   Miami 7:23  New York 7:09
L.A. 7:00  Hong Kong 6:22  Singapore 6:53
Guatemala  5:57  Honolulu   6:30  J'Burg 5:41
Melbourne 5:48  Moscow 7:00  London 6:25
Atlanta 7:45  Toronto 7:34



QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

If you don't laugh at yourself ...
you leave the job to others.



Dedicated by...

Mazal Tov to
Rabbi & Rebbitzen Noah Weinberg
on the marriage of
Eliyahu to Tehila Rochel Markovits
Much love,
Shalom & Leah Mark

Published: April 2, 2000

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