The Bigger Picture by Michael Winner/4/24/2015 I heard a great story yesterday.Somebody I know used to live in Kiryiat Arbah (aka Hebron), and his neighbor was one of those people who always brought different people home after Shabbos davening for the meal. It was known that if you didn’t have any plans, he would be happy to host you for a meal.So, one Shabbos morning he brings home this “Na-Nacher” (an interesting ‘hippy’ group that calls themselves Breslov… basically, it’s a result of taking a hippy, adding light drugs, no Torah learning, and lots of Breslov belief mixed into one…they’re quite common here…long story on why they are called “Na-Nachers” or “Nachmanim” in Hebrew. They do and say whatever they want, because… well, that’s what hippies do. Needless to say, they are not taken seriously here and are a interesting form of entertainment, as we shall soon see).Anyhow, after eating the meal, the Na-Nacher moves over to the couch and promptly falls asleep. A few hours go by and they realize that they need to go to shul to daven. So they wake up the Na-Nacher and he goes to shul with them… only to return for ANOTHER meal. After THAT meal, he goes to daven maariv with them, only to return for havdalah. Finally, after havdalah, he asks the host, “Before I leave, can I make a phone call?” So they hand him the phone, he dials a number, and they hear a woman shrieking on the other end.“WHERE ARE YOU??? I’VE BEEN WAITING ALL SHABBOS FOR YOU TO COME HOME AND MAKE KIDDUSH FOR US!”He coolly responds, “Amarti b’chatuna shelanu… ani eved Hashem, lo eved shelach” (“I told you when we got married, that I’m Hashem’s servant, not yours”)And the best part is, he honestly believed that going to somebody else’s house and eating and sleeping all day, without telling his wife, is being a “servant of Hashem”. It’s great!! Even better? It ties in perfectly with this week's dvar Torah.In this week’s parsha, the Torah goes into detail about the Metzorah, somebody afflicted by a spiritual/physical kind of leprosy called Tzaraas. It is generally accepted that one of the main causes of Tzaraas is loshon horah. After one is afflicted, one needs to do tshuvah and is required to go through a purification process which entails bringing a bird as a korban. Rav Moshe Aharon Stern adds an extra dimension to this issue. He says, “A person cannot live like a free bird. The metzora who worried only about himself and lived like a free bird, chirping and saying what he pleased, eventually has to ‘slaughter the living bird’ to become pure and before that he sits by himself and thinks how low his actions brought him. Then he accepts the yoke of communal living with the obligations this entails.” One of the ways a person can learn to control his speech and thought is through a healthy outlook of living as part of a community, and living together in peace with one’s spouse. When you realize that you are not the center of the universe, but rather you are part of something bigger (and you are constantly aware of that), then other people will begin to take a more important role in your life, and their happiness will begin to become more of a priority over yours. By constantly looking out for other people’s needs, you can remove the "self-important smug" that was previously controlling your life, and causing you to speak ill of others. Have a great Shabbos!