Tzaraat for Clothing

Leviticus 13:47-59

It is not only the human body which can acquire tzaraat; it can appear on clothing, as well. A garment of wool, linen or leather upon which a red or green mark appears must be examined by the priest. He quarantines the garment for a week, then reexamines it. If the mark has spread, the garment must be burned. If it has not, the garment must be washed and rechecked. If the mark remains unchanged by washing, the garment must still be burned. If the mark fades, the owner may simply remove the affected section of the garment. However, if the mark returns to any other part of the garment, it must be burned. If washing removes the mark entirely, the garment is considered pure and need only be immersed again.


Thus ends the section on “diagnosing” tzaraat of clothing. The Israel Bible mentions the teaching of the Sages, that tzaraat is a punishment for a number of sins, most notably lashon hara or slander. This serves to emphasize the importance God places on treating others with respect.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think a garment can get tzaraat? What might God want us to learn from this?

Comments ( 12 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bibleâ„¢.

  • Thank you all again. SueJean, I like the bit that the Lord allows it to show in the garment so that we can deal with what's on the inside.

  • What does a person do when they have scabs or sores on their arms or legs?
    The common thing to do is to cover them up with long sleeves or long pants.
    What does a person do when they have sin in their lives?
    Again the common thing to do is to "cover it up". Perhaps the marks that come out on the garment are a part of Elohim's mercy as HE forces us to deal with things rather than try to hide them and allow them to fester and get worse.
    Baruch Hashem.

  • A garment can get tsara’at by the bacteries and other germs that can nest in it or liquids from the body that dwelt in it. So the one that’s wearing it can get easily contaminated. So it is in the spiritual world. You can easily spread sin and contaminate the “world” but to get it out of the world is a different matter. The garment should be burned if not completely cleansed. The person, the ‘spreader’ should ask for mercy and reveal the truth and become conscious of know his weakness in this area. The asking for forgiveness should be done to the width he had spread “the bad ” . That’s also why we have Jom Kippur.

    • I agree with most of your arguments; the sinful person can easily contaminate others through interaction. Thank you!

  • Kevin

    “22 The words of a whisperer or slanderer are like dainty morsels or words of sport [to some, but to others are like deadly wounds]; and they go down into the innermost parts of the body [or of the victim’s nature].” [Prov. 26:22 Amp.] A person who slanders another diminish themselves, and the one being slandered. It is not surface level only, but deeply affect all who hear it. It is also not static, but spreads.

  • Diana Brown

    I agree with all these opinions. The wearer of Tzaraat is the bearer of malice.
    Our American President Abraham Lincoln was probably of Jewish descent. The statements on the Lincoln Memorial walls reflects his values as a leader. It reads…on the left side of the monument, the Gettysburg Address. On the right side… his Second Inaugural Address which mentions God 14 times and quotes the Bible twice. He concludes with a lament over the destruction caused by the Civil War and appeals to charity in healing the wounds of war.
    “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all the nations.”
    Fitting for us all to remember on this Yom Shoah Remembrance Day. We are so blessed to be able to study Torah today in the memory of so many victims, protectors, liberators and Allied Armed Forces rescuers.

  • Ken

    The suggestion that this chapter represents the ailment as a spiritual disease is becoming more logical to me.
    If I had a skin disease and it was becoming worse there are two primary ways to address it. Expose it to treatment (bring it to light and attention) or cover it up from sight (darkness and hiding).
    The more we cover up the defect or hid it (good clothes, nice outward demeanor, smooth talking to cover our bitterness or slander or motives…), the defect will inflame and become an open sore that bleeds and affects the garment. In the spiritual sense, our sin affects our being and it afflicts us and it eventually manifests itself to others in unsightly ways.

    • Diana Brown

      I totally agree with this idea. What it takes to expose one’s self to treatment is honesty and humility which is of God. The Adversary brings shame and remorse to us to cause us to run and hide because he does not want us to repent and turn back to God.
      If we are prone to speak ill of others we must admit it, renounce this and repent. Now the double-edged sword of this involves when we hear or read others being slandered. Unless we intend to speak up for those downtrodden with honesty and truth, we must not engage in the hearing of slander.
      Today it is very hard to not hear slander when you turn on talk shows or sometimes news reports. Politics are more about attacking the other side as opposed actually allowing great leaders to ask honest questions to unleash potential for nations to promote the flourishing life that God prepared us for.

  • Sheila

    Tzaraat spreads easily and quickly from the body to the clothing. It is a sign of sin committed and in the case of gossip and slander and perjury can easily spread through the community like wildfire.Interesting that the clothing needed to be burned. Our hearts need to be constantly purged because out of the heart the mouth speaks. Need to love God and others with a pure heart.

    • Damian Sco

      Evidently so does Covid-19 I wonder what sins Trump has committed to be saddled with this conundrum!

  • Theresa

    Wonder how many of us have this spiritual disease evident in our clothing? All I can say is Lord, forgive me and cleanse me.

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