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April 1, 2022

The Tenant's Staff (Tazria)

I was sitting in the office, minding my own business, when all of a sudden, a tenant walked in holding a giant wooden staff. I was tempted to stand up for him.
I smiled and said, “So, I see you have come in carrying the Staff of Moses himself! What powers do you have?”
He chuckled and responded, “I have powers of faith. My weakness is my power.”
Mind you, this man came in to the office to put in a minor maintenance request, but little did he know he would leave with a powerful, inspirational, and philosophical teaching.
I thought about our conversation and it dawned on me just how true of a message this is, “My weakness is my power.” Think about it. So often we focus on our unique set of G-d given talents and strengths, and we should continue doing so. But how often do we pay attention to our weaknesses? How often do we think about our weaknesses as G-d given as well? Probably not so often.
We have to start realizing that just as the aspects of good within us are straight from Hashem, so too are the negative aspects within us. Just as our successes are from Hashem, so too are our failures. Just as our strengths are from Hashem, so too are our weaknesses. Hashem created each of us with a unique set of strengths and weaknesses.
There is an interesting verse in Parshas Tazria. In Chapter 13, Verse 45, the Torah tells us that someone who is stricken with the tzar’as disease for speaking Lashon Harah (slander/gossip), has to call out “Tamei! Tamei!” – “Impure! Impure!”
Our Sages explain that the reason he does this is so that others will hear about his current state of impurity and pray for him. Isn’t this an amazing system that G-d, in His infinite wisdom, set up? Instead of bashing him and yelling at him for doing something wrong, we set up the scene in way that will allow for others to pray on his behalf.
Homiletically, when someone is in a state of “Tamei! Tamei!” – a state of negativity and weakness – it is imperative that instead of looking away and giving a blind shoulder, we should zero-in and focus on that person, and earnestly pray on their behalf.
The same is true when it comes to our own selves. When we, inevitably, fall into a state of “Tamei! Tamei!” – and it seems that our negativity and weaknesses are prevailing, we must stop for a moment and pray to Hashem to help us grow and become a better person. This is one way that we can make sure our weaknesses become our powers. When we use our weaknesses, failures, and mishaps as a conduit for personal growth and development, we will achieve so much.