Chosen People to the Chosen Land
Aloh Na'aleh in conjunction with the OU Israel Center
The houses of Jerusalem do not become
defiled through nega'im" (Baba Kama 82b).
The Talmud explains that the houses in Jerusalem were not subject to the
leprous spots described in this week's parsha because, as the Torah says
(14:34), "And I will bring the plague of leprosy in the house of the land
of your possession." Only a house on land parceled out to one of the
tribes is subject to this affliction. But since Jerusalem was not divided
among the tribes, its houses were impervious to this form of punishment.
What difference does it make whether Jerusalem belonged to an individual
tribe or to all the tribes of Israel? If its inhabitants deserved tzara'at
on their houses, they should have been afflicted with it.
Perhaps the Torah is telling us something about the power of unity. It is
not that Jerusalem did not belong to any individual tribe, but that it
belonged to all the tribes. It was everyone's capital and everyone had a
right to it - and an obligation. The obligation was to preserve the unity
of Jerusalem; to keep it whole, undivided; to buttress the achdut, the
oneness and spiritual focus upon which the rest of the nation could build.
An individual might have deserved the terrible affliction of tzara'at, but
the power of the Klal, the fact that all of the tribes gave a part of
themselves to this city, was sufficient merit to counter personal sin,
even something as serious as speaking evil.
If only we could all give a little of ourselves to Jerusalem, then no
affliction in heaven or on earth would be able to taint its glory or
disturb the "peace of Jerusalem."
Yaacov Peterseil, Jerusalem
TORAH THOUGHTS as contributed by Aloh Naaleh members for publication in
the Orthodox Union's 'Torah Insights', a weekly Torah publication on
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