Precious Possessions

April 23, 2015 at 1:30 PM , , ,

“…The kohen shall order that they clear out the house before the kohen comes to look at the lesion, so that everything in the house should not become unclean…” – Vayikra 14:36

וְצִוָּה הַכֹּהֵן וּפִנּוּ אֶת הַבַּיִת בְּטֶרֶם יָבֹא הַכֹּהֵן לִרְאוֹת אֶת הַנֶּגַע וְלֹא יִטְמָא כָּל אֲשֶׁר בַּבָּיִת – ויקרא יד, לו

A house plagued with tzora’as remains pure and does not convey impurity to any of its contents until a kohen examines the house and declares that it is impure. The Torah tells us that the kohen delays his examination and allows time to clear the house of its contents before his arrival in order to spare them from contracting impurity.

Precious Possessions

Rashi observes that even if the contents of the house would become impure, the loss this might cause would only be marginal. Clothing, as well as metal and wooden utensils, can be restored to purity by immersing them in a mikvah.  Impure food is suitable for consumption for a person who is impure anyway. Hence, the Torah’s concern was only for earthenware vessels, which cannot be cleansed by immersion in a mikvah, so the damage would be permanent if they became impure.

From here we see the preciousness of every Jew in the eyes of G-d. A person’s home is afflicted with tzora’as as a punishment for his indulgence “in the talk of the wicked—mockery and lashon hara” (Rambam, Hilchos Tum’as Tzora’as 16:10). Nevertheless, the Torah delays the examination of his tzora’as-ridden house in order to save even the simplest of his personal possessions from being ruined. For no matter how low the Jew has fallen, he and everything associated with him (even his mundane belongings) forever remain G-d’s number one priority.

—Likutei Sichos, vol. 37, pp. 37-41


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