“This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: he shall be brought unto the priest [kohein].” – Leviticus 14:2, JPS
In each case, whether a person’s home, clothing, or body is stricken with a nega (plague), he is brought to the kohein (priest). The kohein determines not only the status of the suspected nega; he also is qualified on a spiritual level to gain insight on the state of the person’s soul. This concept is in line with the understanding of tzarras as a spiritual malaise that manifests as a skin disease.
Tzarras is one type of nega, the other two in question, here, are those that show up on a person’s clothes or the walls of his home. In all cases, as already mentioned above, the kohein is the sole individual, who uses his discernment to ascertain the specific sin that was the root cause of the blemish on a person’s soul, that manifested as a nega (literally, “plague”).
What can we learn from this connection? H’Shem is merciful; He is not interested in simply punishing us for our sins. Rather, He will send an early warning signal to serve as a “wake up call,” specifically designated for us, so that we may scrutinize our own selves, in search for our misdeeds, character defects, and deficiencies.
While sheltering in place, amidst the restrictions that began, in an attempt to counter the proliferation of the Corona Virus, we are very much like the metzora, the Biblical leper who is sent outside of the camp, where he is in isolation, for the purpose of reviewing his thoughts, speech, and action, so that he may rectify his ways.
Many of us have had plenty of time to do the same, by searching our hearts, and carrying out what is referred to in Hebrew as heshbon hanefesh, literally, an “accounting of the soul.” H’Shem may very well be effecting a judgment upon the world for this very purpose. We should compel ourselves, in all sincerity, to continue to use our time wisely.