Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The Midrash Rabbah relates a story about a Kohen who used to examine individuals afflicted with tzara'as. The Kohen was extremely poor, however, and he was desperate for a means to earn a livelihood.

Perhaps, he thought, I should leave Eretz Yisrael and seek my fortune abroad. It is much easier to make a comfortable living overseas....

The Kohen discussed his plans with his wife, and he said to her, "People often come to me to examine their tzara'as marks, and I feel bad leaving them.  Let me teach you how to examine these marks, so that while I'm away, you will take my place and perform the necessary examinations."

His wife agreed, and the Kohen began to teach her the laws of tzara'as.

"When a person comes to be examined", instructed the Kohen, "make sure to observe his hair. It is important for you to know that each strand of a person's hair grows from a separate opening, and each one is nourished from its own follicle.  If you see that the openings around the hairs have dried out, then you can be sure that the person has tzara'as."

"Listen to what you are saying!" responded his wife. "If HaKadosh Baruch Hu has provided each hair with a wellspring from which to draw its sustenance, how much more so you, His very handiwork. Hashem will most certainly provide you with a livelihood! Why must you wander so far away, and search for a livelihood in chutz la'aretz?"

The Kohen heeded his wife's profound words and remained at home.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

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