Divrei Torah


One of the sections of the Torah reading deals with a plague of Tzara’as – white spots - that is discovered in the walls of one’s home. The owner comes to the Kohein because only the Kohein can declare the home pure or impure. Before coming to the home, the Kohein orders everything removed from the home because anything that is in the home when the Kohein declares it impure would also become impure.

 The Kohein closes the house for seven days. At the end of seven days, the Kohein once again checks the house. If the affliction had spread, the afflicted stones must be removed, the surrounding edges scraped, and that area plastered. If the affliction was unchanged, the house remains quarantined for another week.

 If the affliction had spread at the end of the 2nd week or there was no change at the end of the 2nd week, the same procedure of stone removal, scraping and plastering of the walls takes place.

 In any of these cases, after the afflicted stones were removed, the area scraped and the walls plastered, the Kohein checks the house one more time the following week. If the affliction returned, the house must be demolished. If the affliction did not return, the house is declared pure.

 Rashi has a fascinating insight into the plague that affected the houses. He quotes from the Midrash that the afflictions of the houses came upon the Jewish people in the Land of Israel because the Amorites hid treasures in the walls of their homes. As a result of the affliction, the owners would tear down the walls and find the treasures.

 Mrs. Fuerst made note of a fascinating word jumble. The word for plague is “Nega” spelled nun, gimel and ayin. However, if one takes those same letters and rearranges them, one has the word “Oneg” – enjoyment or pleasure – a complete reversal of the word Nega. The same object or idea that can be a Nega can also be an Oneg. It depends upon how one views the matter. Do I look at the spots on the walls and say to myself, “Oh no, there is a plague”, or do I see the hidden blessing – the treasures that are present? Do I take a negative view of matters – it is a Nega - or do I take a positive view of matters - it is an Oneg?

 In all that we do, we can infuse positive energy and see results as an Oneg, or we can put negative energy and create a Nega. King David writes, “And see in the good of Jerusalem.” Look for the positive and build with it.