Friday, April 12, 2013

Sgt Scott should not have resigned

Is tweeting Lashan Horah (inappropriate evil-talk)? The latest causality of inappropriate tweets, this time aimed at the late Margeret Thatcher, was Sgt Jeremy Scott of the Metropolitan Police. Yesterday, he submitted his resignation before a police suspension over the incident came into force. Did he need to resign? How would the Torah deal with an inappropriate tweet? The first of this week’s double-long Torah portion is called Tazria. Tzaria, literally means conceives (and gives birth) - the topic about which the portion begins. Interestingly, for the remainder of the reading it goes on to speak about Tzaraat, an obsolete disease that affected the skin, hair and even garments and walls of a home. About which the Talmud said: “A person inflicted with Tzaraat is considered dead.” Why would the name of Torah portion that spends most of its time talking about the skin disease, alluded to death - be Tzaria, one of life, birth to conceive? Maimonides tell us about the Tzaraat: This change that affects clothes and houses which the Torah described with the general term of tzara'at is not a natural occurrence. Instead it is a sign and a wonder prevalent among the Jewish people to warn them against lashon hora, "undesirable speech… This causes him to be isolated and for it to be made known that he must remain alone so that he will not be involved in the talk of the wicked which is folly and lashon hora" Implying that Tzaarat is not merely a punishment, in fact it acts as with a constructive measure, helping to fix the individual by making him realize the cause of his sin, requiring him to be alone to think about his action, and what it is like to be on the receiving end. All this ensures that after his ‘alone time’ and purification process he will actually come out a changed individual. With a new life, conceived and born again, Tazria. Again, the Torahs common sense approach to helping us better our lives. So maybe Sgt Scott should not have resigned. And just had some time-off. Shabbat Shalom.

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