This week's Parsha, Parsha Tazria, talks about the laws of Tsara'at. Tsara'at is the physical manifestation of spiritual impurity: A white spot would appear on the body when someone would say Lason Hara. Many question why it is a white spot when the color white is a symbol of purity. White is the color the Cohen Gadol would wear in the Kodesh HaKedashim on Yom Kippur. Why would white be the color to symbolize the physical embodiment of spiritual impurity?
There is a story of a Rabbi, Reb Nochum of Chernobyl, who lived during the late 1700s. He would barely eat, only having a few crackers, but was still a large man. One of his students asked how it was possible for him to be a big man if he never ate any food. He explained that he gets his sustenance from saying, "Amen Yehei shmei rabah" with emotion and passion.
Furthermore, a study done that shows people gain more calories when they eat food that they enjoy rather than they food they do not like.
Essentially, white symbolizes enjoyment and passion. Someone who is pale and lifeless lacks that feeling, but someone who has a red face is animated and filled with excitement. One who has Tsara'at is lacking a sense of spirituality within in them. Everyone who is living has passion for something; It is our job to redirect that passion towards torah in order to live a spiritual life.
By: Herschel Karp (12th)