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Hillel Walker - Dvar Torah

Good Morning everyone and thank you for coming to my Bar Mitzvah.

So I had a task to make a dvar torah about my Parshah. My Parshah is Tazriah in the book of Vayikra and the book of Vayikra is one of the more boring books. Out of all six, it is about laws.

Well what is Tazriah? In some parts of the story it is about a skin disease called Tzara’at. And that's what stood out for me because I had heard this story before, and I had heard Parshah Tazriah before. But when? When had I heard it? Then it clicked and I remembered. I had heard it all the way back in Grade 1, and I was terrified of it because of the story it told.

The story went like this. . .

When the Jews left Egypt they wandered the desert for 40 years. Along the way they would of course create little camps to sleep at or stay at for a bit. It is in those camps where Tzara’at thrived because you see Tzara’at wasn't a medical disease it was more of a spiritual disease. What happened was that when you gossiped behind someone’s back you would get a pink or a white mark on your skin and you would have to go see the kohen to see if you were impure or pure. If your hairs had turned white you would be impure, but if they had not turned white you would have to quarantine for 7 days until the kohen came to check. If you were still normal, you would be able to go back to camp. But if you were impure, you would be sent out to the desert to quarantine till the marks were gone.

And this scared me so much that every mark on my skin I thought was Tzara’at, and I would cover it because I thought my parents would send me away to go quarantine alone. After a while, I pretty much forgot about it until now. It's quite strange that a thing that scared me all the way back in Grade 1 is what I am giving my dvar torah about today. It’s almost like I was meant to be scared and I overcame the fear because that's what you’re supposed to do. You are supposed to overcome, learn and grow! We are like free Mustangs running through the fields of fate, choosing our path and making our mark. Dodging twists and turns, and obstacles. And by unexpected journeys we are being moulded by experiences and the people we meet along the way. And as humans we can meet bad people. We can be influenced by the wrong people, and we can start to become mean nasty things. We bully, we make fun and we spread rumours, which leads us back to the desert more than 3000 years ago. In the desert, we had already started to spread rumours and those rumours could tear someone’s life to shreds. Those rumours could ruin someone's reputation with a single false statement.

And rumours spread like wildfire and that single little rumour you told to your friend, who told to their cousin, who told his friend and so on, can't be taken back. The damage has been done. People say actions speak louder than words, and in some scenarios that’s true but in others it's false, because an action can’t ruin someone’s whole life in mere days.

The message that I think we should take from Parshah Tazriah is that we should think more carefully about what we do, but, especially, we should think more carefully about what we say. And we should try to improve ourselves to better and kinder beings who think before we act, and, most importantly, think before we speak about others.

Thank you


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