Leprosy and גאוה

Shavua Tov. Today’s Parshiot of תזריע-מצורע have צרעת, leprosy, as its theme. In addition to Lashon Hara, evil speech as the major cause of leprosy, Rabbi Soloveitchik mentions גאוה, haughtiness or conceit, as an additional reason.

He writes that גאוה is the trait of a tyrant. He includes such people as נבוכדנצר, המן, and ירבעם בן נבט as individuals who were full of גאוה.

He brings the Midrashic story where Hashem begs ירבעם to do תשובה ש and he says that if he does, Hashem, בן ישי (David), and him, will all walk together in גן עדן in Eternity. Yeravam asks who will be first. Hashem answers that David will be first and he will be second. Yeravam refuses.

This is how גאוה clouds the thinking of a person. The leper has to stay outside of the camp before he can be part of the עם.