As part of his purification process outlined at the start of parshas Metzora, the metzora is to bring two birds - see the psukim for what happened [with these birds] next. The Zohar comments that one of the birds is ‘for the lashon hara’ (that the metzora spoke) and the other ‘for the good words.’

What’s the Zohar talking about; where are the good words which the metzora spoke and why does he need atonement for that? The explanation given is that the metzora does not need only to atone for the sin he did in speaking lashon hara; he is also to realise (and gain atonement) for the fact that he missed out on an opportunity.

How so? For instead of using those few seconds (and his tongue and voice box) to speak lashon hara, he could have been using his words wisely by speaking positive things; divrei Torah, words of encouragement or compliments to others, etc.

These are ‘the good words’ which the Zohar is referring to; the fact that the metzora needs atonement for having failed to open his mouth to speak positive, constructive words.

The metzora (and us) is being taught that it’s not enough to avoid sin. We are on this world to positively achieve things too and we must be proactive in this goal.

Life is not about not sinning - it’s about perfection!

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