Devar Torah - Tazria-Metzora

Friday, 20 April, 2018 - 1:04 pm

In this week’s parsha of Metzora, which is also called parshas Taharah, the Torah discusses “negei batim- plagued houses” that the Yidden encountered when they entered Eretz Yisroel. A plague would show up in the form of a discoloration on the walls of a house. A Kohen would be called to examine it to determine if it was a negah. If it was, the area of the house that was affected would be destroyed. In the parsha Hashem says with advance notification; “I will send a negah into your house”. What was the reason for the negah, the plague of the houses?

Rashi explains that the Amorites were aware that the Yidden were going to conquer the land (as we read in the parsha of Az Yishir) so they hid their treasures in the walls of their homes. When the Yidden arrived a negah appeared in the area where the treasure was hidden. Either the wall or the entire house was broken as required revealing the hidden treasure. The negah according to Rashi was to gift the Yidden with the hidden treasure.

On the other hand the Zohar explains that the negah appeared due to the deep state of tumah of the house in order to facilitate that the house be brought from a state of tumah to tahara. It is self understood that not every house got a negah. Some houses were able to have their state of tumah dispelled by placing a mezuzah on the door and dedicating the home to Torah and Mitzvos. For a minority of homes this was not enough and they required dismantling.

These two explanations seem to be completely opposing each other. Even more so, according to the Zohar which brings both reasons it was in those most impure of homes that treasures were found!

We see a similar phenomenon by tzaras itself. On one hand it is the greatest impurity, so severe that the individual affected by it requires complete physical separation from the community, outside of the camp. He cannot even speak to others. All this is because he spoke lashon hara and thereby created disunity and disharmony between a man and his wife, and a man and his friend. Therefore he needed to be separated to purify himself. The Rambam says that the entire episode of tzaras is a wonder. It was created to awaken the one affected by it to do teshuva, and with that teshuva to reach an even higher state than before his sins. In the end he stands even higher than a Tzaddik, as it is known that the place of a Baal Teshuva is even higher than a Tzaddik. In Sefer Yitzirah it says that “there is nothing lower than negah נגע, and there is nothing higher than oneg-pleasure ענג (the same letters)” Oneg –pleasure is what a Yid arouses above through the process of teshuva. So too we see by the house, that the minority home with the worst negah in the end is the one that reveals the great treasure. Hashem wanted to show us that the purpose of the negah was not to hurt. So too with teshuvah the sinner goes from the impurity of lashon hara to words of Torah about which it says “V’Yakshiv Hashem v’Yishma- Hashem hears his words of Torah and takes notice”

(Based on Likutei Sichos v. 27)

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