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4 Iyar – Why 2 birds?

4 Iyar 5783 – 24 april 2023

The Metzora’s process of purification includes two birds (Leviticus 14:4). Our sages teach that ‘tzara’as’ is an affliction that comes as a result of the person speaking negatively about others (Arachin 15-16).

But if it is to atone for ‘lashon ha’ra’ (evil speech), why two birds and not one? The Zohar (Tazria 46) offers an incredible insight. The person who misused his words didn’t just violate one error, he made two mistakes. He or she shouldn’t have said the negative thing, but in so doing they also forfeited the moment from saying something positive. One bird atones for the lashon ha’rah, and the other atones for the positive thing that could have been said instead.

The craving to talk, to communicate and connect with others is natural, it is part of the human psyche. Maybe one of the ways we can combat lashon ha’rah, negative gossip, is to speak positive gossip instead. Connect and converse with something that will build instead of demolish, create instead of destroy, uplift instead of knock down. (Rabbi Efrem Goldberg)

By Rabbi Michael Skobac

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