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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach



“The Priest shall look, and behold, if the affliction has covered his entire flesh, then he shall declare the affliction to be pure…” (Leviticus 13:13).

This seems impossible to understand, since in all other cases of tzora’as that affect only part of the body, the person is considered ritually impure!

The Talmud teaches that tzora’as often results from a person engaging in lashon hara – slanderous gossip (Arachin 16b). The metzorah is sent out of the camp so that they can contemplate their behavior and as an impetus towards repentance.

The Chofetz Chaim explained that a person experiencing a localized outbreak of tzora’as on their body may not recognize the seriousness of their transgression and feel strongly compelled to repent. Being sent out of the camp to experience the isolation felt by those who are slandered is intended to provoke the metzorah to examine and regret their actions.

But someone entirely covered with tzora’as can’t hide from their actions and is powerfully and dramatically confronted by the real impact of their sin. They will, in all likelihood, not need to be sent out of the camp in order to be impelled to repent. Therefore, there is no need to be declared impure and expelled from the camp.

By Rabbi Michael Skobac

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