PARSHAT METZORA: THE GOSSIP CRAZE
By Sherrie B. Miller
Gossip, is a seemingly benign, yet prevalent pastime in the modern day world!
Gossip columnists abound, many are regular subscribers to PEOPLE magazine, all scurrying
to reveal the latest rumors, scandals and quotes of those deemed to be “celebrities.”
This frivolous preoccupation with the mundane minutiae and emptiness of gossip captivates
and intrigues so many, even the Torah observant community.
We are living in a period of “virtual” reality. We have lost sight of what is real
and what is fake. We have created idols in order to live vicariously and mitigate
our obligation to the Creator and ourselves to grow. Growth is labor intensive and
is in contrast to our world which has been selling the “pleasure principle” encapsulated
by the phrase: “if it hurts takes a pill,” anything but pain.
The world is glued to American Idol, a talent show that verbally abuses and glorifies
the contestants based on their singing ability. The last contestant not disqualified,
becomes an “idol.”
When we read PEOPLE magazine and spend countless hours in front of a TV watching
American Idol, we are wasting the precious time allotted us in spiritual growth
that requires self-assessment and self-scrutiny.
When Hashem blew the breath of life into Adam, Onkelos asserts that out of this
breath, the power of speech was borne, which together with intellect is THE distinction
between the animal kingdom and us. Our language is referred to as “loshon hakodesh!”
We are entreated to engage in worthwhile conversation that is thoughtful, meaningful
and productive. Words that are spoken without a constructive purpose are referred
to as “lashon hara.” Just as a bird chatters idly and incessantly, so too is one
afflicted with leprosy, (punishment of gossip) required to bring a bird offering.
This is in order to make him cognizant of his misconduct, both in ruining someone
else’s reputation and in neglecting to build up one’s own character..
Gossip takes the spotlight off of myself and the work that I need to do and accomplish
in this lifetime and puts it on a stranger, whom I can judge, criticize and malign,
while feeling perfectly safe within cultural norms of today’s jaded and bored society.
Gossip and slander are real cop-outs and lead to dreadful shallowness within, and
make it difficult to build profound relationships without.
Focusing on myriads of empty “celebrities” (and others that we choose to gossip
about), severely impairs my clarity and skills in building real and lasting relationships.
It’s been said that “great people talk about ideas. Small people talk about other
Chazal correctly point out that women are more prone to conversation and chattiness.
Chazal have also asserted that it is women that will bring about the geula as they
did in Egyptian times. Therefore it behooves us to initiate refreshing, stimulating
and revitalizing dialogue both within and without, as we build a relationship leading
toward a meaningful and holy marriage!
Sherrie B. Miller is a Jewish Matchmaker
on SawYouAtSinai.com and works with
Jewish Singles all over the world. She is an educational guidance counselor,
group leader, pre-marital coach, matchmaker and Judaic Studies teacher. Sherrie
is dedicated to promoting and enhancing emotional intelligence and communication
skills in conjunction with Torah values.
Sherrie received her educational counseling degree from the Michlalah in Bayit Vegan
and an M.A. in Education and Counseling from Touro College, Jerusalem, Israel. Sherrie
also holds a B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Brooklyn College and a
B.Sc. from Yeshiva University in Jewish Education. Sherrie is certified by Midreshet
Emunah and is accredited by the Rabbanut of Israel, to be a pre-marital couple’s
counselor and Kallah teacher.
Before coming to Israel in 1989 from Great Neck, New York, Sherrie taught Judaic
Studies at the North Shore Hebrew Academy. Sherrie also educated affiliated and
unaffiliated adults through the “Project Identity” outreach program under the directorship
of Rabbi Yaakov Lerner. Sherrie trained individuals and couples in the laws of Kashrut,
Guidelines of Parenting, Parshat Shavua and Pirkei Avot.
In her work as a Guidance Counselor in the national religious “Mamad” school, "Yehuda
Halevi", Sherrie instructed life skill workshops to students, parents and teachers,
with a focus on communication, conflict resolution and anger management. She also
leads support groups for children of divorce.
Sherrie is certified by the Life Center and leads Parenting workshops based on the
Faber/Mazlish workshops on, “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids
Sherrie is an executive board member of the Emunah World Zionist Organization, Mibreishit,
led by Rav Motti Alon, and Nishmat led my Rabbanit Hanna Henkin.
Sherrie’s diverse background in counseling and teaching, combined with torah principles
and values contribute to the depth and quality of her success with clients. Lessons
drawn from her own life transitions make her coaching perspective uniquely inspirational.
Sherrie helps individuals clarify their goals and take masterful action steps to
reach them. Sherrie is professionally known for her guidance in the educational
system as well as her outstanding capabilities teaching interpersonal relationship
skills to groups and individuals.
Having made a number of successful matches resulting in marriage, Sherrie volunteers
as a matchmaker for SawYouAtSinai, an internet matchmaking site.