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Last week, my Shabbos morning Drasha (sermon) sought to give meaning to the Torah’s laws regarding evil speech and gossip. As punishment for these social crimes an individual would contract a spiritual disease that was similar in appearance to leprosy. Once the disease was was diagnosed by the halachic authority (Kohen) as the spiritually caused leprosy the individual would need to leave the town and stay outside the city for a little while.

The crime was social and the punishment was social. By speaking ill of others the individual became separated from the fabric of society and could only learn this lesson once physically removed from the social environment.

We touched a number of other points and expanded this point further as well.

The upshot of the Drasha was to remind everyone of the importance of tolerance and that we must embrace our interdependence on one another. The perfect Torah society will be a perfect social society.

I contrasted this with the society I noticed in the ESPN.com poll which I blogged about last week. (If you have not seen that yet – check it out.)

I am always asked for “examples” of how we can improve our behavior or work on ourselves. In this context I was asked, “how can we make our society more interdependent?”. I am very reluctant to dispense such advice.

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