Due to the eighth day of Pesach falling out on Shabbos, Eretz Yisrael and CHU"L will be one parsha off for the next several weeks. Since we are based in Eretz Yisrael, we will be following their schedule. Please click here for the dvar Torah and Podcast for this week's Parsha being read in CHU"L (Shemini).
Parshas Tazria-Metzora is best known for the laws of tzara’as, lesions which appear on your skin as a result of speaking Lashon Hara. However, there are other types of tzara’as which appear on your house or clothing. Tzara’as on a house is a particularly interesting idea.
The pasuk reads, “כִּ֤י תָבֹ֨אוּ֙ אֶל־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנִ֛י נֹתֵ֥ן לָכֶ֖ם לַֽאֲחֻזָּ֑ה וְנָֽתַתִּי֙ נֶ֣גַע צָרַ֔עַת בְּבֵ֖ית אֶ֥רֶץ אֲחֻזַּתְכֶֽם” “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). If these lesions are indeed tzara’as, you may end up having to destroy the entire house! However, as we have explained in a previous Dvar Torah, Rashi tells us that this is in fact might be a blessing in disguise. When the Bnei Yisrael were approaching Eretz Yisrael, the people living there at the time hid their possessions in the walls of their houses. Years later, after breaking down the walls of his house because of tzara’as, a Jew was liable to find a treasure trove inside his walls! In fact, this still happens nowadays in Eretz Yisrael when they dig up old foundations of houses built before the establishment of the State of Israel.
The Kli Yakar focuses on the language of the pasuk and comes up with several questions. First of all, why does the pasuk specify that these laws apply only in Eretz Yisrael? Could tzara’as on the house not occur in the desert? Other forms of tzara’as certainly did. Secondly, why does Hashem mention here that He is giving us the land as a possession? While this phrase is found several times throughout the Torah, there is always a reason behind it. Finally, why does the pasuk end with the phrase “upon a house in the land of your possession”; why can’t it just say “in your houses”?
The answer lies in the reason why tzara’as appears specifically on a house. As we explained, tzara’as appears on your body due to speaking Lashon Hara, the reason it appears on your house due to stinginess, or an inappropriate desire for money. Our possessions are given to us by Hashem for the purpose of supporting ourselves and our families, as well as to help others in need.
This is especially true in Eretz Yisrael where Hashem drove out the nations living there, without us even having to fight a battle. There it is most apparent that our land is a gift from Him. If you don’t recognize your purpose in having this property even then, you will receive a clear message in the form of tzara’as. Therefore, the pasuk writes specifically about Eretz Yisrael and what should be our viewpoint.
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