One of the key ways to determine whether TZARA-AT (skin disease) had manifested itself or not on houses was simply to see how large the discolored area on the wall was.
The infected area, whether on a human or a wall, was called a NEGA in Hebrew.
The basic rule of thumb was that if the NEGA (discolored area) on a wall was about twice the qualifying size of a NEGA on a person’s skin or clothing, then it was TZARA-AT.
But how big is a NEGA?
The MISHNAH says that the NEGA had to be about the size of a penny (“two grissin” is the term used) to be considered TZARA-AT on humans and twice that size to be considered TZARA-AT on walls.
In addition to the size of the NEGA, it also had to appear on at least two of the house’s bricks.
Another question that arose was what color did the infected area have to be?
Did it have be a consistent red or green, or even purple for that matter?
The conclusion reached was that it could be a combination of colors.
A fair question to ask at this point is: Do outbreaks of TZARA-AT still occur?
The general consensus among the Rabbis is that it does NOT, at least in terms of outward manifestations.
This assumption is based on their observation that there has been no known outbreaks of TZARA-AT for many centuries now which leads us to the next question:
Why have there been no known outbreaks of TZARA-AT for so long now?
The truth is this question has stumped the Rabbis as well.
Out of the variety of answers provided by the Rabbis, one of the most popular reasons offered up is that TZARA-AT no longer occurs because there is no temple.
Minus a temple, there is no priesthood.
And minus a priesthood, there is no authority to not only examine one for TZARA-AT, but there is no one who can perform the purification rituals.
But, when examining Jewish commentary on this subject, we find the belief that while God no longer afflicts a human being externally with TZARA-AT, He does afflict a person internally.
In other words, the Lord afflicts a person’s soul rendering it UNCLEAN.
And if the person with an UNCLEAN soul dies in that state, he or she will not be able to join the community of the righteous deceased.
That person will be eternally KARET or cut off.
What I find really fascinating is how this train of thought intersects with Christian thinking.
Christian thought holds that only the Lord can see and discern one’s UNCLEAN state and that only Yeshua can make one’s soul CLEAN so it can stand in the presence of God after death.
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN LEVITICUS CHAPTER 15