Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The Gemara brings that leprosy could come for seven possible reasons. One reason mentioned is for having a צרת עין, for being stingy. This is derived from the passuk which states ובא אשר לו הבית and he will come, that which the house belongs to him. The word לו is extra to teach, that it is referring to a person who owns a house and has possessions, yet he did not want to lend utensils to his neighbors and claimed that he doesn’t have anything to lend. Hashem will punish him with leprosy on his house.

The passuk states וצוה הכהן ופנו את הבית and the Kohen will command the person who has leprosy on his house, and he will clear out the possessions of his house. The Gemara brings Hashem will punish him by having him take his possessions out of his house which will publicize his guilt. He claimed he did not have possessions to lend, Hashem will show everyone that he indeed had but was stingy and did not want to help others.

The Maharsha explains that the stingy person is one who doesn’t allow a poor person into his house, as the passuk says, אשר לו הבית, his house is for himself and not for others. The Maharal adds that he separated himself from people, by having no connection with anyone else and being alone inside his house.

A leper is punished מדה כנגד מדה measure for measure for what he did. He did not invite others into his house and separated from everyone, therefore he will be punished by having to separate from his house and be sent away from everyone. The leper is also punished by his dishonesty being publicized. He was stingy and claimed “I don’t have,” now he will take out his possessions showing everyone that he indeed has.

The passuk states about the brothers concerning Yosef, ולא יכלו דברו לשלום and they were not able to speak with him peacefully. Simply, they hated him, and it was too hard to speak with him peacefully. Onkelos translates differently, “they did not want to speak with him peacefully.” This infers that they were actually able to, but they didn’t want. The brothers had the opportunity of working things out albeit their bad feelings, however they did not put in the effort to fix the situation. So too is with the leper; he had a house with possessions and was granted the opportunity to do kindness with others, yet he chose not to. He was able to, however he did not want. Often when asking someone to help out there is a common response, “I can’t, I’m unable.” Many times one actually can help, but does not want to.

Chazal say that in the future Hashem will give תוכחה rebuke and דין judgment. The Bais HaLevi explains that the rebuke is showing a person that what he claimed he couldn’t do, he actually was able to do, only he did not want to. The leper takes out his utensils which openly expresses rebuke given to him. He indeed had the means to help but did not take the opportunity.

May we take the opportunity to do chesed and help others with an ayin tova!

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