Torah Portion: Metzora
“ובא אשר לו הבית והגיד לכהן לאמר כנגע נראה לי בבית…” (ויקרא יד לה)
It is a positive commandment to contaminate a house that has been afflicted with tzar’as, that is, to follow the Torah’s instructions regarding such houses, as it is written, The one to whom the house belongs shall come etc. (Vayikra 14:35). It is also includes that law that anyone who enters the house will become contaminated, as it is written in the portion: Anyone who comes into the house… shall be contaminated (ibid. v. 46). Likewise, this mitzvah includes all aspects of the contamination of the house—which requires quarantine or demolition, to some of the wall or all of them etc.
This phenomenon of tzara’as affecting stones is not a natural matter. It is, rather, a miraculous occurrence which can come upon the houses of Jews in order to chastise them, for out of Hashem’s love for them He first admonishes them through things that are outside their bodies, so that they repent before they are punished in body. For the same reason, if the person did not repent after the walls of his house were afflicted, the tzara’as would spread to his clothes. If he still took no heed, it would spread to his body as well. Our Sages further said that at first, when the Israelites conquered the Land, Hashem brought tzara’as upon some of the houses for their good, so that they will demolish the house and they will discover treasures hidden by the Canaanites. And although it would have been possible to inform them of this through a prophet, without tzara’as, it is known that God performs miracles for people in more hidden ways than outright miracles.
This mitzvah applies in homes that belong either to men or women, in the Land of Israel, as long as there kohanim that are qualified for this. One who transgressed this violated a positive commandment.