This week’s Sidra talks about one who is afflicted with a NEGA TZARA’AT, which is some type of bodily disease. Chazal tell us that this sickness comes about as a punishment for speaking LASHON HARAH. You remember when Miriam spoke evil gossip about Moshe; she was punished and became afflicted with TZARA’AT. (Num. Chapter 12)
The story is told about Harav Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel. An American once came to him and spoke LASHON HARA about Israel and said he will not make Aliya because too many Jews here are not Shomreh Mitzvot. Harav Kook asked him, “What is the best place in America to live”. The man mentioned a place. Harav Kook said, “I am familiar with that place but there are too many sick people there”. “Sure,” said the man. “That proves that it is a good place. People go there because it so nice and it is the best place to get cured from their sicknesses”.
“The same is true about Israel”, said Harav Kook. “People come to Israel for spiritual healing. They have a real Jewish Neshama but feel a lack of Mitvot and Jewish living in the Diaspora. When they come to Israel they have a religious uplifting. Just like people don’t stay away from your beautiful place in America although there are so many sick people there, so too, people should not stay away from Israel because there are too many none observant
This is a wonderful example how Harav Kook was able to turn around someone’s LASHUN HARA about Israel into an asset of Israel.