Sunday, July 04, 2010

Shame of Tzara'as

Shame and Embarrassment

The examination of the nega’im detailed in our sugya requires much study. When a Kohen goes to see a suspect tsara’as, he is accompanied by many young kohanim who come to learn. It is obvious that the person afflicted does not enjoy great honor in such a situation. According to the Netziv, this is explicitly mentioned in the Torah: “This is the law…to teach about the day of becoming tamei and the day of becoming tahor” (Vayikra 14:54-57). In other words, a kohen calls his students to come with him to be taught. The Torah thereafter concludes: “…this is the law of tzara’as” – this is the penalty of a slanderer, who insulted others (Ha’amek Davar).

Three Sorts of Metzora’im

There are three types of tzara’as: s’eis, sapachas and baheres. HaGaon Rav Moshe Sternbuch explains that these names express the nature of those who slander:
1. S’eis (a raised mark): someone who slanders with the object of rising above another.
2. Sapachas (an “accompanying” mark): someone who slanders because he blindly follows those around him.
3. Baheres (a bright mark): someone who slanders with the object of “clarifying” the truth…
But all of them are “the plague of tsara’as (Ta’am Veda’as, Vayikra 13:2). (Hame’or)