Treasure Land

April 27, 2017 at 10:35 PM , , ,

“…When you come to the land of canaan… and i will place a lesion of Tzora’as upon a house in the land of your possession…” – Vayikra 14:34

כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן . . וְנָתַתִּי נֶגַע צָרַעַת בְּבֵית אֶרֶץ אֲחֻזַּתְכֶם – ויקרא יד, לד

When tzora’as appeared on a person’s skin, its initial and most obvious effect was the impurity associated with it, an impurity so severe that a person with tzora’as may not remain in the encampment of Bnei Yisrael; the Torah instructs him to “dwell isolated, outside the camp” (13:46)—separate even from other impure people. At the same time, however, the Rambam (Hilchos Tum’as Tzora’as 16:10) explains the occurrence of tzora’as as a G-d-given “sign and wonder prevalent among the Jewish people, to warn them against lashon hora, undesirable speech,” and to motivate them to repent from such behavior. Hence, despite the lowliness of its impurity, tzora’as ultimately facilitated the great ascent of teshuva, of which our Sages say, “Where penitents stand, even the wholly righteous do not stand!” (Talmud, Berachos 34b)


In a similar vein, the occurrence of tzora’as on the walls of a person’s home, resulting in the home requiring demolition, signified the presence there of both Treasure Landextraordinary spiritual filth and astonishing wealth. On the one hand, the Zohar (vol. 3, 50a) attributes the appearance of tzora’as on a particular house to an exceedingly impure spirit brought upon the home by the idolatrous inhabitants who dwelled there previously; G-d caused tzora’as to appear on those homes, because only total demolition of the house would drive away that particularly impure spirit. Yet paradoxically, Rashi (on Vayikra 14:34) writes that “the Amorites had hidden away treasures of gold inside the walls of their houses throughout the forty years that the Jews were in the desert. As a result of a lesion of tzora’as [appearing on the walls of the home], one would demolish his house and find the treasures.” Put in spiritual terms, this means that the homes worst effected by idolatry, were in fact troves of spiritual wealthso abundant that it became manifest even in physical wealth, golden treasures that were discovered upon the homes’ destruction.

These paradox-laden phenomena of tzora’as demonstrate that precisely in the lowest of situations, lies the potential for the greatest heights.

—Likutei Sichos, vol. 27, pp. 107-110


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