A collection of excerpts from Torah Club on the weekly Torah Portions, from Genesis to Deuteronomy.
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The New Testament tells several stories about people being baptized, but the stories do not spell out the details of how the baptism was accomplished. The apostolic writers thought that the method and procedure of baptism was so well known that they felt no compulsion to record any of the details of the ritual.
A haughty spirit finds it difficult to tolerate other people's character flaws. The haughty person fails to recognize his own shortcomings. Instead, he focuses on the shortcomings of others. Most often, when we speak ill of others, it is because we are defending our own pride. By putting someone else down, we think we are lifting ourselves up.
Chassidic teaching concludes that the Talmud hints toward some deeper meaning when it refers to the Messiah as “The Leper.” It indicates that the redeemer suffers the agonies and afflictions of Israel’s exile. He impatiently waits for the final redemption when He can purify the nation, but until then, He personally suffers the pain of Israel’s leprous-like affliction, the agony of the ongoing exile.
As the average Bible-reader dutifully slogs through the laws concerning biblical leprosy, he might wonder what this has to do with him, and why the Torah spends so much time on the details of this disease. Unless you are a son of Aaron serving in the Levitical priesthood, the laws of diagnosing and purifying lepers don't have much application. The average person will never be responsible for distinguishing between one type of rash and another for purposes of declaring someone ritually unfit.
Actually, there is a victim. You are the victim. By indulging in critical speech, you are conditioning yourself to exercise a critical spirit. Day after day you are patterning your mind to concentrate on the shortcomings of others. Moreover, you are poisoning the other members of your household with the same increasing bitterness. One could say that the very walls of your house absorb the evil spiritual energy you are creating. The entire home becomes defiled.