A Mysterious Affliction

Vayikra 13-14 speaks at length about the various forms of tzara'at, the impurity caused by it, and the process by which the afflicted person is purified.  Despite the many details, however, the malady remains very much in the realm of the unknown: 

Biblical Cases of Tzara'at

There are several narratives in Tanakh which speak of someone who is plagued by tzara'at.  Examining these cases can help shed light on the nature of the ailment:

In some of these cases, it is explicit that the malady arrives as a Divine punishment, but in others, the cause in unknown, and potentially a natural occurrence.  What do these stories teach us about the malady and why someone might be plagued by it?

Diagnosis and Ramifications

Much of Vayikra 13 is devoted to a discussion of how to determine if the afflicted person is in fact impure, and how he should be treated once he is so designated.  In addition to the many difficulties involved in understanding some of the technical details, several other aspects of the process raise questions as well:

The Purification Process

The details of the purification rituals are similarly difficult to comprehend: