In the law of Tsaraat (Skin Disease) there are two sets of cleansing requirements, the first
set is for the person who has the finances to purchase the required Korbanot (Sacrifices) for his
cleansing and purification services. The second set is for the poor person who cannot afford
to purchase what is required for his cleansing and purification. What is interesting is that
cleansing and purification can occur having differences in the required Korbanot. This indicates
for us the important differences between what is known as the letter of the law and the spirit of the
law when a person is to come before the Lord. The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law
is an idiomatic antithesis. When one obeys the letter of the law but not the spirit, one is obeying the
literal interpretation of the words (the “letter”), but not the intent of those who wrote the law.
What can we learn from the intent of the Torah Mitzvah (command) here on the letter verses the spirit?
Now the disease of Tsaraat with respect to leprosy was generally a lifelong disease, or at least one that
lasted a very long time before healing came. If a person were to have had Tsaraat for a long period
of time, would he have had sufficient means (money) to purchase either one of these required Korbanot?
Who would pay the cost? Would his family or a friend help out? Being stricken with Tsaraat
one is not allowed to participate in the community. He or She is forced to remain outside and
alone. Even though the Khatat and Olah (sin and burnt) offerings using pigeons or turtledoves
were not very expensive the one with Tsaraat was required to buy them. Does this mitzvah
suggest the need for a kinsman redeemer?
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