Israel Forever

For the week ending 2 April 2011 / 26 Adar II 5771

The Right to Know?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

The "right of the public to know" is the excuse used by the media everywhere for publicizing all of the wrongdoings of society. The trouble with this attitude is that it legitimizes slander.

This week's Torah portion, which deals extensively with the laws of tzara’a t, a leprosy-like physical malady with a spiritual source, provides us with a powerful warning against indulging in slander. The slanderer, say our Sages, becomes a victim of this malady as indicated by the name metzora he is given. Metzora is a contraction of the words motzi andrah, which means disseminating evil reports.

While there is a positive side to informing the public, it is not an excuse for demonizing political opponents or creating the impression of guilt before trial. Slander has tragically become the bread and butter of the media in Israelas well as the rest of the world.

Even though Heaven does not send its messages of tzara’at these days, the message communicated in this week's Torah portion reminds us to guard our tongue in order to secure Israel forever.

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