How to understand the case of a person is completely covered with mud he is Tahor, whereas if he has a spot of mud he is Tamai?
Shabtai Nacson, Toronto,Canada
There are a number of approaches to this Halachah. First, the medical approaches, which assume that the laws of Tzara'as are connected to the physical illness underlying the skin coloration:
(a) If a person is completely white, from head to toe, it is probable that his new skin color is not a sign of illness. His skin has simply taken on a new tint.
(b) The illness of Tzara'as is under the skin. When it appears above the skin, it is a sign that the "irritation," or virus, causing the damage is being "pushed" out of the body. When the entire body is covered with Tzara'as, the person is well on his way to recovery, since there is no part of his body that has contracted the disease but has not yet "pushed" the Tzara'as above the skin. (See Kli Yakar, Vayikra 13:13).
Next, the philosophical approaches, which assume that the stringent treatment of the Metzora is meant to encourage him to repent for specific sins he has performed:
(c) If a person's entire body is covered with Tzara'as, he is sure to repent even if we do not enforce upon him all the stringencies of a Metzora (see Kli Yakar ibid.)
(d) If a person has contracted Tzara'as and still not repented until it has spread to his entire body, he has no more hope. He will not repent even if we do enforce upon him the laws of a Metzora. Therefore there is no point putting him in quarantine any longer. (This is consistent with the Drasha on Daf 97a regarding the generation in which Moshi'ach will arrive.)
The Chasam Sofer (On the Parsha) writes that the reason Hashem inflicts a person with Tzoraas is because he has developed evil traists and Hashem wishes to seperate him from others so they do not learn from him. But, The Chasam Sofer says, That only applies to a basically good person who has developed faults. Therefore, since this person is basically good he may influence people into following his bad traits also, therefore HAshem sends him Tzoraas. "Get him away from people until he cures himself" However if a person is totally evil what kind of subtle influence can he have? People know he is bad and therefore will not learn from him. That is signified by the person being inflicted with Tzoraas from head oto toe, He is the same, through and through. EVIL! And therefore there is no reason to seperate him. People will not be influenced by him.
Y. Goldstein Baltimore, MD