The Torah tells us that tzoraas is a punishment for speaking loshen hara about our brethren. One of methods of meting out this punishment is via a nega upon the walls of a home. When this happens we are obligated sometimes to remove the old stones, scrape away the infected area, and afterwards fill in the hole with new stones. What could be the lesson that HaKadosh Baruch Hu is trying to teach us in dismantling and rebuilding our home?

I would like to suggest the following: A home is made up of many different rooms, each uniquely designed for a specific task (e.g. a kitchen, bathroom, living room, closet etc.). So too a person is multi-faceted, with different abilities and talents, enabling him to perform a variety of actions and tasks.

In the home, if there is a room with a leak, it is still possible to work around that inconvenience and use the other rooms in the home. Sometimes we may be compelled to vacate that room, but the rest of the home can still function. We do not destroy the entire home due to a leak in just one room. What do we do? We repair the damage. Sometimes it may even be necessary to rip out the original equipment and replace it with superior hardware. But the room will stay intact and the home will be able to achieve its purpose again.

Why do we speak loshen hara? Because we found a flaw in someone else. It could even be a real flaw. We are supposed to take a lesson from the tzaraas of the home: Just because a person has a flaw does not mean that he is useless and should be trashed. Do we get rid of him or replace him? No—even if there is a flaw it usually can be fixed. Most problems are fixable—even in people. There are some situations in which we may need to employ special tools to correct the imperfections, but the person is not useless. Rather, he is a human being that needs special attention and care.

We would not want someone to destroy our home because of a minor problem. So too, we should not destroy our friend if we think that he has a flaw.