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?