Yes, yes, I know it's been a while and here it's almost Shabbos and, well, okay, I am going to dash something off. Actually, I wrote out a lot of stuff but it's getting complicated and I want to make a simple observation, as it were.
Most of last week's and much of this week's parsha deals with the concept of צרעת tzaraat. This is often translated as leprosy and since it probably refers to something else, I will just use the term tzaraat for now.
Many of you know that Chazal linked the affliction of tzaraat with speaking ill of others, even if what is said is true (לשון הרע lashon hara).
What I want to point out is that this affliction carried with it signs that the person afflicted, the מצורע m'tzora, was like a dead man (or woman).
I'll mention two points in this regard: One is that he or she was sent out from the entire encampment of the children of Israel in the wilderness (v. Leviticus 13:46 from last week's parsha and Numbers 5:2).
The significance of that was that the person was no longer part of the community for the duration of the affliction and experienced a kind of social and spiritual death.
What is more, Chazal also learn that if the m'tzora walks into a house, all of the vessels in that house become ritually impure even if he or she does not come into contact with them. Remind you of something? This is also the result of a dead body being in a house or under an enclosure (Numbers 19:14).
Why was the m'tzora punished in this manner?
Consider that the center of the encampment was the Tabernacle and the central focus of the Tabernacle was the Ark which held the Tablets and beside it was the Torah.
The height of man's existence is experienced through learning and speaking about the Torah, our connection to the Divine.
The very opposite of that is using our capacity as speaking, thinking beings to speak ill of others. Thus, the m'tzora is removed as far as possible from the Torah and from human companionship until the affliction passes.