Last week’s parshah began the topic of a metzora, someone who has been smitten with tzara’as. The discussion of this topic is concluded in this week’s parshah, fittingly named, Parshas Metzora. In last week’s Dvar Torah, we spoke about how Hashem uses tzara’as as a punishment, while at the same time, uses it to express his love. This week’s parshah shows this same concept much clearer.
In Perek 14 Pasuk 34, it says, “כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם לַאֲחֻזָּה וְנָתַתִּי נֶגַע צָרַעַת בְּבֵית אֶרֶץ אֲחֻזַּתְכֶם” “When you come to the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as a possession, and I place a lesion of tzara’as upon a house in the land of your possession.” (Vayikra 14:34). We know from last week’s parshah that tzara’as can appear on buildings, clothing, and a person’s skin, but why is tzara’as appearing on your house directly connected to coming to Eretz Yisrael? And why is there no connection between Eretz Yisrael and tzara’as appearing on clothing or skin?
The Paneach Raza gives a very simple explanation. He says that in the desert, they did not have real houses and as such, they did not have tzara’as on those “buildings.” Only when they entered Eretz Yisrael did this concept begin.
Rashi gives a different explanation. He says that when Bnei Yisrael were coming into Eretz Yisrael, the goyim who were residing there hid their most prized possessions in the walls of their houses. The only way you could find these treasures was if you broke down the walls. So when the tzara’as appeared on the walls and they had to be removed, this ended up revealing the treasure! What was seemingly a punishment turned into a great reward! The owner of the house could have ignored the signs and just let the tzara’as stay on his house, but instead, he listened to the Torah, did teshuvah for his sin, and ended up getting a reward.
So we now understand why tzara’as appears on buildings and the reason for it appearing on skin is obvious, but what is the benefit of having tzara’as appear on clothing? The Paneach Raza and the Chizkuni explain that when Bnei Yisrael defeated the nations in the land, the nations left their clothing behind among their possessions. Some of this clothing had been used in the service of Avoda Zara that renders it completely forbidden to all forms of benefit. But how were Bnei Yisrael to know which clothing had been used for Avoda Zara and which hadn’t? Hashem made it that tzara’as appeared on the clothing, which forced them to be destroyed, thereby solving the problem. Once again, we have another example of Hashem using tzara’as in order to do good for us just as we saw in last week’s parshah. With all the fear and embarrassment that the mention of tzara’as brings up, it is important to realize how all that Hashem gives us is for our benefit, in more ways than one.
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