Sanitized criticism - Tazria-Metsora

Thursday, 23 April, 2020 - 5:05 am

Για να το διαβάσετε στα Ελληνικά, κάντε κλικ εδώ 

Untitled design (6).png

Rabbi Yosef Yitschak Schneorson, the Previous Rebbe of Chabad, once had to get a medical injection. He noticed that before giving the shot, the doctor cleaned his hands very well, as well as the needle of the syringe and the part of the body where the needle would enter, to make sure no microbes would enter together with the injection. Otherwise, the injection may make things worse instead of better.

The same applies to criticism that we give others, explained the rabbi. Criticism is like an injection. Before giving it, we need to clean it up from the “microbes”, in other words, we need to make sure that our intervention does not stem from jealousy, arrogance, anger or hate, but from true care for the other. Otherwise, our criticism may make the situation worse instead of better.

In this week’s Parashot, Tazria-Metsora, we learn about the Tzaraat (often mistranslated as leprosy). Tzaraat was a disease that existed in the time of the Temple. According to Judaism, it came as a punishment for gossiping. A person with Tzaraat had to be in isolation outside the city until it disappeared – a sign that G-d had forgiven him. It was not such a pleasant process…

How was someone diagnosed with Tzaraat? Only a Cohen, a priest, could do so. This applied even if the Cohen was not well versed in the laws of Tzaraat and had to consult with a Rabbi in order to establish the diagnosis. Then, what was the need to involve the Cohen?

The Cohanim, the Priests, symbolize the love and concern for every Jew, since the first Cohen, Aharon, who cared for every person in particular. This characteristic was inherited by his descendants, the Cohanim. This is the reason why they give the Blessing of Birkat Cohanim to the community during the Holidays with love.

When we are talking about such a terrible punishment, isolation outside the city, we needed to be completely sure that the decision was taken by someone who really cared for the person. This is why we called the Cohen, even if he was not a specialist in this domain.

Next time we want to criticize someone, let’s examine if the decision was made by the Cohen inside us, if it comes from care and love. Let’s make sure the needle is sanitized.

Shabbat Shalom,


Comments on: Sanitized criticism - Tazria-Metsora
There are no comments.