The 2 sedras of tazria & metzora deal mostly with the spiritual plague of tzara'as - which comes as a result of lashon hara, stinginess, and theft (Torah Temimah metzora 143). The structure of the two sedras works like this: First we are told about bodily tzara'as, then tzara'as of clothes, then (in parshas metzora) making the metzora ('leper') pure again. Next comes tzara'as on houses, its purification process, and on to niddah, zav, and zavah. As you can imagine, it makes the mishkan parshiyos seem like parshas Bereishis in terms of excitement! The question is the following; there are three types of tzara'as - on the body, on the clothes, and on one's house. The three are split up in our sedras - clothes and body are put together, then there is a break discussing their purification process, and then we go onto tzaraas of houses and its purification process. Why are they split up? To try and answer these questions, perhaps one can suggest that tzara'as of the house is qualitatively different from the other two forms of tzara'as. Let's explain… A crucial point about house tzara'as is that Rashi in gemarra sukkah (46b) points out that house tzara'as is the source (14;40) for the concept of 'oy lerasha oy leshcheino' (woe to a wicked person, woe to his neighbour, I.e one is influenced by bad surroundings). This is because if two people shared a cornerstone for each of their houses, and one of the houses had tzara'as [which required the demolishing of the house] then the entire cornerstone would have to be smashed along with the rest of the leper's house. Thus, the innocent neighbour suffers as a consequence for he has his cornerstone removed, despite not having spoken lashon hara himself; ‘woe to a rasha, woe to his neighbour'. [“A plague on both your houses”] Rashi says that the reason is that it is due to the fact that the 'wicked' neighbour looked at his neighbour in a stingy narrow manner, and this caused him to speak lashon hara. In other words, the ‘innocent’ neighbour did have some, albeit small, part in the commission of the sin. Here we shall explain what separates tzara'as of the house from the other two forms of tzara’as… The three sins mentioned for tzara'as (theft, lashon hara, and stinginess) all have two levels to them. The first is the individual level; the failing of an individual person when he commits one of these sins, like other sins. And the second is the failure of society at large; the failure of a society in breeding feelings of stinginess or one in which lashon hara thrives, and also the fault for not preventing such crimes from occurring. This is why all three sins are based in the realm of bein adam lechaveiro; for it is this realm that a community has most control over. It is hard for a community to regulate people’s individual relationships with HaShem, but much easier for a community to take responsibility for the furtherance of the bein adam lechaveiro aspect of life. Perhaps one can suggest that this individual failing is encapsulated in tzara'as of the clothing and body (those things physically closest to the individual), whilst house tzara'as is for failure of society at large. In short, tzara’as of body and clothes are for sins done as an individual, whilst house tzara’as is for the communal failure. With this distinction, we can return to explain the points and difficulties raised above. The idea that house tzara’as results from failure of the society explains why someone's house is affected, which has other members of the family apart from just the sinner, for in the communal level all members of the community share responsibility. This is also why it is specifically from the house tzara’as that we learnt the concept of 'woe to a rasha, woe to his neighbour,' for this is based upon communal influence. Likewise, this is also why it is not totally unfair on the innocent neighbour to smash part of his house too - because as a member of the society he shares the blame. (It seems that it will not be enough of a reason to smash every house in the society though).Vitally, it is also why this section is separated from the section dealing with tzara'as of clothes and body - since they are for different failings; clothes and body tzara’as is for individual failings and house tzara’as is for communal failings. This is also perhaps why specifically the tzara’as of the house is introduced with the phrase ‘when you come to the land’ (14;34), for since this tzara’as is one of communal failure, it is only relevant upon entry to Eretz Yisrael, when the Bnei Yisrael really become one community and become fully responsible for one another (see rashi Devarim 29;28). Please G-D we should grow on both the individual and communal/national level, Have a great Shabbes

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