Mazal Tov to Izzy & Batsheva Goldman and family on the birth of a baby girl

Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 5:34 pm and ends on Saturday night at 6:30 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Tazria-Metzora.

Mincha in the CBD: Based on current numbers, we are not operating a mincha minyan. On Thursdays, there is mincha at L1 28/101 Collins at 1.50pm following the shiur & lunch. Join the the WhatsApp group to stay across the details.

Study: The Weekly Shiur continues on Wednesday at 12:45pm via zoom. BYO lunch. We can switch to combined zoom/in-person based on demand. Details here..

Thought of the Week with thanks to Avi Gordon. In this week’s Torah reading of Tazria, the Sages identify tzara’as – the condition that affects human skin, the fabric of garments, and the walls of a house – not as an illness but as a punishment, and not for any sin but for one specific sin, that of lashon hara (gossip).

This prompts the obvious question: Why evil speech and not some other sin? Why should speaking be worse than, say, physical violence? The answer lies in the principle that in Judaism, language itself is holy. That is why lashon hara, the use of language to harm, is not merely a minor offence. It involves taking something that is holy and using it for purposes that are unholy. It is a kind of desecration.

Lashon Hara is the poisoning language. When we speak disparagingly of others, we diminish them, we diminish ourselves, and we damage the world.

That is why the Sages take lashon hara so seriously, why they regard it as the gravest of sins, and why they believe that the entire phenomenon of tzara’as so seriously.

May we all only ever use language in the way in which it was intended – only for the good.

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