Shemos: Being Suspicious

As my kids get older, or maybe it’s my getting older, I keep thinking how modern feminists are more and more wrong.


Our four-year-old goes to a pre-school with thirty-five other boys his age.  Somehow, the teachers have them all in tow.  On more than several occasions, when I’ve gone to pick him up, he and all his friends that are leaving are yelling insults at each other.  One day it’s “You’re stupid!”  “No, YOU’RE stupid!” “No, YOU’RE STUPID!!”  Another day it’s “You’re fat!”  “No, YOU’RE fat!” “No, YOU’RE FAT!”  Recently, they were threatening to kill each other.  But, each time it’s done with a smile and a laugh.


I don’t remember this EVER happening with my girls and we all know what happens when they call each other names. 


The same thing happened last Shabbos night.  After the meal, my wife and I were sitting on the couch.  The three boys were in a ball on the floor, beating each other up, and the two girls were sharing a blanket on the other couch, singing and laughing.


All was good!


That’s because boys aren’t “conditioned” to be boys and girls aren’t “conditioned” to be girls.  It’s simple, we were all born this way.   And the more people understand this, the more they can appreciate the differences in the genders, and for many, perhaps their relationships with their spouses can begin to improve.


It’s always nice to see something in your regular learning schedule that’s connected with the parsha.  The Gemara (Yoma 19b) relates that the day before Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol would be forced to take an oath to not deviate one iota in the Yom Kippur service from what he was taught from the Sanhedrin.  After the oath was administered, both he and the members of the Sanhedrin that administered the oath, would turn away and cry.  He would cry because there was even a slight suspicion that he was a Sadducee and they would cry because all who are suspicious of people who are “kosher” are afflicted.


Rashi adds as proof a pasuk from this week’s parsha.  When Moshe was commanded by Hashem to return to Egypt in order to bring the Jewish people out, one of the arguments he used against going was “But they won’t believe me!”  Hashem then told him to place his hand in his robe and take it back out.  When he did so, his entire hand was covered in Tzaraas, which was a common heavenly punishment for loshon horah.


The Gemara uses the term choshesh, which is commonly translated as "suspicious."  If I’m correct, we are talking of being suspect, not of actually accusing anybody.  If I’m right, then we are talking about having real thoughts, and not just actions, which could lead to such a punishment.


From here we see the dangers of being suspicious of those that are not deserving of suspicion.    And in today’s world where information, both true and false, is flying around, one must always keep this lesson in mind.  When we hear juicy gossip against people who are generally above reproach, it is always best to close one’s ears and do his best not to even suspect such a thing could be true (until proven).  Because the lesson from this Gemara seems to be focused not on the loshon horah aspect, but of the step before the loshon horah, the suspicion harbored in one’s heart.


Have a great Shabbos!