For an explanation of the methodology of this series, see the introduction.

"When you come to the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as a possession, and I place a lesion of tzara'at upon a house in the land of your possession."" (Lev. 14:34)

Peshat (basic meaning):

Rashi: "and I place a lesion of tzara’at"
...through the lesion, he will demolish the house and find them. lit. 'and I will give'. This is [good] news for them, that lesions of tzara'at will come upon them, because the Amorites had hidden away treasures of gold inside the walls of their houses during the entire forty years that the Israelites were in the desert, and through the lesion, he will demolish the house (see verses 43-45) and find them.

Remez (hinted meaning):

There is no Baal HaTurim on this verse.

Derash (interpretive meaning):

Mei HaShiloach: Tzara'at describes a situation of "lacking containment." To fix this, we must bring into this unbalanced situation a higher state of healing from chochma/Wisdom. The Rabbis interpret 'metzora' as Motzi ra — bringing out evil through poor speech, which is the end of a lengthy process. The pathological process starts with the removal of the wise light of chochma. This leads to an upsurge of imbalanced passion from bina which spills over appropriate boundaries, resulting in slander that gives rise to negativity and causes social damage. The ultimate result is physical problems in the body.

Lubavitcher Rebbe: Tzara'at has a very sublime spiritual source, which was misdirected and fell down to become one of the most severe types of impurity. This is expressed by tzara'at of houses. From when the Jewish people destroyed their homes and found gold, they had a clear visible indication that there is a great deal of goodness locked up in the affliction of tzara'at. This is the inner reason why the laws of tzara'at of houses are in a section unto themselves. For it reveals deeper inner good that is utterly unique.

Ramban: The Torah states regarding the plague in houses, "I shall put the plague of tzara'at", alluding to the fact it was G‑d's hand that did this. He was speaking to all Israel, to tell him to take heed regarding these matters.

...these afflictions come as a penalty for speaking ill of one’s fellow man.

Ohr HaChayim: In the Talmud (Erchin 15) it is explained that these afflictions come as a penalty for speaking ill of one’s fellow man. Rambam writes: "A person is guilty of 'Lashon Hara/a wicked tongue' when he tells something detrimental to the image of his fellow man even though he speaks the truth. If he tells lies about his fellow man he is guilty of Motzi Shem Ra — bad mouthing another human being."

We see that one who is called a Baal Lashon HaRa even if he tells the truth, whereas a Motzi Shem Ra is when the evil gossip has no basis in fact. Thus the Torah describes 2 skin afflictions: Sa’et and Baheret. Sa’et corresponding to Motzi Shem Ra, as it is used in Ex. (23:1) "Do not utter a falsehood". Baheret/brightness corresponding to Lashon Hara, because it illuminates that what was said was true. Although the person speaks the truth, even so, his words are despicable. Safachat/branch is a sub category to both Sa’et and Baheret, alluding to the speech which [branches off from and] surrounds the basic detriment.

Sod (esoteric, mystical meaning):

Zohar Tazria 50:
Similarly, it is written, "When you come into the land of Canaan...and I put the plague of tzara'at in the house of the land of your possession". (Lev. 14:34) What is the good reward in finding those of were worthy of entering the land? It has been explained that it is they will find treasures they have hidden in their houses and Israel will benefit from them.

Yet come and see, happy are Israel to be cleaving to the Holy One, blessed be He. And the Holy One, blessed be He loves them as written, "I have loved you, says G‑d." (Malachi 1:2) In His love, He brought them into the holy land, to cause His Shechinah to rest among them and to dwell among them, so that Israel will be holier than all the inhabitants of the world.

Come and see, "And all the women whose heart stirred them..." (Ex. 35:26) when they were doing their work they used to say, this is for the Temple, this is for the Tabernacle, that is for the curtain. All the craftsmen did the same, so that holiness shall dwell on their efforts and that workmanship shall be sanctified. When they brought it to its place it turned into holiness.

In the same way, whoever creates something for idol worship or for another, unholy side, once he mentions it in regard to that work, the spirit of defilement dwells on it. As the work progresses, it does so in impurity. The Canaanites were idol worshippers and used to build edifices for sculptures of their faces and for their abominations on the side of impurity, for the purpose of idol worship. When they started building, they used to say something. Once it was uttered, the spirit of impurity rose over the building. As the work progressed, it did so by the spirit of impurity. that plague of tzara'at they would demolish the buildings of wood and stone made in impurity.
Once they entered the land of Israel, the Holy One, blessed be He, wanted to purify and sanctify the land for them, and make room for the Shechinah, so that the Shechinah will not dwell on an impure place. Hence, by that plague of tzara'at they would demolish the buildings of wood and stone made in impurity.

Come and see, if this action was done for the sake of finding treasures alone, they would have to return the stones back into place as they were and the dust to its place. Yet scripture says, "they take away the stones" (Lev. 14:40) and, "he shall take other mortar". (Ibid. 42) Thus the spirit of impurity will be removed and taken out, and it shall be sanctified as before and Israel will dwell in holiness, in holy habitation, so the Shechinah will dwell among them.

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
Herein we find the Midrash that when the homes that had tzara'at were destroyed according to law, we found treasures hidden by the Canaanites. At the same time we were cleaning up the place so that the Shechinah, G‑d's Divine Presence, could dwell upon us. This shows the chesed/kindness of G‑d: the double benefit we would receive when we destroyed our shelter, which must have been very upsetting to have our homes demolished.

The concomitant reward that inured to us was both material (treasures) and spiritual (Shechinah). Perhaps when ever we suffer loss there are gains to be reaped, if only we can see with our spiritual glasses. Many of us can say with complete faith that a certain time in our life when things seemed rock bottom was really the beginning of a tremendous upward ascent. As we sit in the rubble of a broken relationship, a lost job, or an illness, we can pray to G‑d to show us that there really only is good, and that if the good in the present moment is concealed, that it will be revealed in good time.

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