Seeing the Gold Through the Cracks by Yonason Rutta


In Parashat Metzora, the Torah presents the laws of Tzara’at. One of the types of Tzara’at is the Tzara’at HaBayit (Tzara’at that is inflicted on one’s house). Rashi (VaYikra 14:34 s.v. VeNatati Nega Tzara’at) quotes the famous Midrash (VaYikra Rabbah 17:6) which describes how the Emori’im hid their gold inside the walls of their houses while the Bnei Yisrael where traveling in the Midbar. In the event where one suspects that their home is infected with Tzara’at, a Kohen is called to the scene to diagnose the situation. If he believes that the home is indeed infected with Tzara’at, then the home is quarantined for 7 days. Afterwards, the Kohen would remove the affected bricks. Thus, the Bnei Yisrael would find the gold that was hidden in the walls.

The Pieznetzna Rebbe, Rav Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, poses the following question: If, according to Rashi, the purpose of the Tzara’at HaBayit was to provide the Bnei Yisrael with the gold that was hidden in the house, why then does the Torah prescribe the seven days of quarantine, and only afterwards the removal of the bricks? The Pieznetzna explains that this Halachah acts as a Remez (hint). Every single Jew must believe that anything Hashem does, even if it seemingly harms us is for the best. We must have this attitude even in spiritual matters. Even in a community lacking critical Jewish infrastructure, the Bnei Yisrael must still exclaim that “HaKol LeTovah”, that everything is for the best. But how can we proclaim that spiritually lacking circumstances are “for the best”? The Torah includes this Halachah of a seven day quarantine in order to tell us that even something spiritually bad, like Tum’ah, can act as a messenger from Hashem. At the beginning of the seven days, one treats the presence of the Tzara’at HaBayit as a negative situation. However, in the end, when the gold is discovered, one’s mindset completely changes. This idea is supported by the statement made by the homeowner to the Kohen when he first suspects the presence of Tzara’at HaBayit -- “K’Nega Nirah Li BaBayit”, “that it seems like it is a Nega Tzara’at” (VaYIkra 34:35). No matter what, we must have Emunah that everything Hashem does to us is “LeTovah”, for the best. And with this attitude, Im Yirtzeh Hashem, the Beit HaMikdash will be built BeMeheira VeYameinu, Amen.

Yom HaZikaron at the Torah Academy of Bergen County by Michael Goldman

Looking Beneath the Surface by Rabbi Duvie Nachbar