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Parshas Metzora - Shabbos HaGadol

Shalom, Derech Alum!

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Reward for Sin?

When someone has tzaras on the wall of his house, sometimes the end result is that his house must be destroyed. And sometimes he finds a treasure inside the broken walls that was hidden there by the K’naanim who fled Eretz K’naan before B’nei Yisrael arrived.

One usually gets tzaras because he spoke Lashon Hara, so we may ask: Because he spoke lashon hara, he gets a treasure? Why does ה' do this?

The answer is that when his house is being destroyed, he thinks it’s terrible, but Hasehm shows him that there is a lot of good in it as well, namely the fortune that awaits him.

This is exactly the training that one who spoke lashon hara needs. He saw his fellowman doing something negative and he focused only on that, ignoring the other person’s positive qualities and accomplishments. Had he seen the bigger picture, the good in his friend, he would never have spoken negatively in the first place. Finding this treasure gives him a powerful and real lesson that every situation has something good in it.

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Totally Covered

“…And behold, the tzaras covers his entire flesh… he is pure.” (Vayikra 13:13)

When part of his body has tzaras, he is tamei. So when his entire body is covered with tzaras, why is he tahor? Because when he is only partially covered, he is dangerous. Tzaras comes from lashon hara. In the normal case of tzaras, when one is only partially afflicted, we say that he spoke lashon hara privately, but publicly he shows a nice face. This man is ‘echad b’bleiv, v’echad b’peh’ - he says one thing, but inside he means something else. He is two-faced. That makes him a menace to society, because no one can guard against him, since he is hiding his negative intentions. About such a man, the Torah says:

‘Isolate him. He is dangerous!’

But when one’s skin is completely covered with this malady, people are able to guard against him, and thus the Torah declares him pure. (Toras Moshe)

Here’s another answer. The tzaras is sent to make him tamei, and thereby have him sent outside the camp to dwell alone. This humbles him and brings him to tshuvoh.

One who is only partially afflicted with tzaras is in danger of not doing tshuvoh. If the Torah would not declare him tammei, he might make the terrible error of thinking that his tzaras is happenstance, from natural causes. Thus the Torah makes him impure, and casts him out of human company to humble him and help him repent.

But one who is entirely covered by tzaras has no delusions that his state is random. He is immediately humbled and ready to do tshuvoh right away. His humility is his kapparah (atonement). Thus the Torah decrees that his is tahor and allows him to stay right where he is. (Choffetz Chaim)

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