Devotion 126

PRIDE & ARROGANCE

Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, “If someone develops on his skin a swelling, scab or bright spot which could develop into the disease tzara‘at, he is to be brought to Aharon the cohen or to one of his sons who are cohanim. (Leviticus 13:1,2)

In ancient times, many diseases were considered to have been caused by sin. Tzara’at, (disfigurative condition of the skin) a generic term for skin disease, was one of these. When English Bibles appeared, the Greek name for the disease was lepra, which evolved into leprosy. Fortunately, there is no correlation between tzara’at and leprosy. While the former is not contagious, leprosy is highly contagious, through touch and body fluids.

The early writers of Talmud outlined several human behaviours which led to outbreaks of the disease. For example, Elchanan Samet[1] writes “Several passages to this effect appear in Masekhet Arakhin (15-16), after the mishna that outlines the laws of the motzi shem ra (slanderer): “Rav Shemuel bar Nachmani said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: Tzara’at comes on account of seven things: 1) lashon ha-ra (slander/gossip); 2) murder; 3) false oaths; 4) immorality; 5) arrogance; 6) theft; 7) stinginess.” The punishment for these sins was divine and almost always was seen as swelling, scab or bright spot.

The rabbis[2] claim slander and gossip are “superficial misdeeds” and appear on the body, while pride and arrogance are “warped mental attitudes” which only affect the head.

Unfortunately, many English Bible translators have made the erroneous connection between tsara’at and leprosy and have mistakenly used the word leprosy, when really referring to the former. Interestingly, tsara’at was reported to have occurred on materials and objects owned by those who engaged in the sins mentioned earlier. I urge you to read Leviticus 13 and 14 to gain a clear understanding of how our ancient ancestors dealt with this disease.

In many locations, throughout Scripture, ‘house’ is used as a metaphor for ‘Temple” (Psalm 122, Isaiah 41, Haggai 1, Matthew 21, John 14, Acts 20, etc.) Each of these writers recognize the importance of God’s ‘house’ in the life Israel and Judah, during the times of the writing. With the resurrection of Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, and the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, came also the understanding of our bodies housing the holiness of God, through the Holy Spirit.

Thus, using the ‘house’ metaphor in our discussion, we know, from 1 Corinthians 6:19,20, our bodies are the temple of the Living God, occupied by the Holy Spirit: Or don’t you know that your body is a temple for the Ruach HaKadosh (the Holy Spirit) who lives inside you, whom you received from God? The fact is you don’t belong to yourselves; for you were bought at a price. So, use your bodies to glorify God.

As believers of and in the One True God, how will we respond when we discover white scales forming on our bodies? Do we immediately go to emergency and ask for treatment? Do we go to God and ask for forgiveness? What do we do?

I strongly recommend that our first action should be to get on our knees and repent for any unknown infraction of Yahveh’s regulations, found in Torah. We should then ask the Blessed Holy Spirit of the Living God to make our sin known to us, so we know what we need to change. A final step might be praising Yahveh for His abundant goodness, in helping us be aware of our walking on His narrow path. If we truly believe in His Majesty, then out authentic contrition will be enough to allow any tzara’at on our bodies to slowly disappear.

May the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.

CONSIDER: What do you do, when you find a disfiguring, white spot on your body? Do you swab it with anti-fungal cream? Do you see your doctor? Do you do anything else?

ACT: As believers, we should know the physical and spiritual are tightly connected. I urge you to get on your knees and repent for any transgression that might have been committed by anyone in your home. Then, go to the Blessed Holy Spirit of the Living God and ask Him to inform you of your transgression, so you know what must be changed.

PRAY: Blessed Yahveh, our Eternal God and Saviour, You are the only one who will cure us of our transgressions, even those of which we are ignorant. I pray, Abba, for your saving grace to fall upon us, for your blessed peace to surround us, as we continue to faithfully walk on your narrow road. B’Shem Adonai Yeshua HaMashiach, In the Blessed Name of our Messiah, Lord Jesus. Amen.

[1] Rav Elchanan Samet, “The Reasons Behind Tzara’at and Other Forms of Tum’a, The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash: https://www.etzion.org.il/en/reasons-behind-tzaraat-and-other-forms-tuma

2 Moshe Wisnefsky, Translator & Editor, Pride and Arrogance, The Rebbe.org: https://www.chabad.org/dailystudy/dailywisdom_cdo/aid/3006375/jewish/Monday-Pride-and-Arrogance.htm.

To read a preview of Michael’s first book, A Journey Through Torah: An Introduction to God’s Life Instructions for His Children, Volume One: Genesis, please click on the link, below:

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