I’m going to start with a technical gemara question that will lead to some deeper thoughts about צרעת, speech and Pesach.
I want to offer a different perspective. We know that חז״ל connect צרעת to the sin of לשון הרע:
And that is how Rashi explains the nature of this purification ceremony:
I like to joke that for 3000 years, no one understood the connection between tweeting and slander, but now it is an everyday part of our lives:
But why two birds? Why send away one of them? If the goal is to learn how evil לשון הרע is, why not just slaughter the twitterer? The Sfas Emes, explains that we don’t want to silence the מצורע; the answer to evil speech is not silence but good speech:
Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried (the author of the קצור שלחן ערוך) says that it is a lesson for the future: the מצורע has to make a commitment to “be” the second bird, and engage in לשון הטוב:
So I would propose a different understanding of the fact that the צפור החיה is declared by the halacha to be not טרפה. It’s not from the principle of רוב, that most birds are not טרפות, but a declaration by ה׳: if the מצורע has done תשובה, and their צרעת is cured, then their bird by Divine fiat is not טרפה. It will live, and continue to tweet but only in the best way.
And this allows us to be מלמד זכות on those who use Twitter to spread Torah in the twenty-first century:
I’m going to go further to point out how important our speech is. Rav Hutner brings up an obscure halachic point: a bracha never ends with two thoughts. If we wish to express two concepts, we make two brachot:
But the bracha of אשר יצר seems to violate this rule:
Rav Hutner cites the Rema, that מַפְלִיא לַעֲשׂוֹת isn’t really the end of the bracha, it’s a bridge to the next:
Rav Hutner says that this connection, between the physical עפר מן האדמה and the spiritual נשמת חיים, is the ultimate manifestation of the ה׳ acting in the world, and is the definition of פלא, מַפְלִיא לַעֲשׂוֹת. And that connection is what defines us as human, and is intimately connected with our power of speech:
We cannot remain silent because speech is what we were created for. The other ultimate פלא, the manifestation of ה׳ acting in the physical world, was יציאת מצרים:
And that is what פסח is all about:
Our seder is about using our power of speech to demonstrate ה׳'s hand in the world. Our purpose is to tweet: מָוֶת וְחַיִּים בְּיַד לָשׁוֹן.