Tsa’arat, as translated in the Septuagint as leprosy, was not correct.  Rambam describes it as a variety of dissimilar conditions, which the Sages attributed to lashon hara.  It was, in fact, a Divine punishment, applied not just to individuals, but the location where the wrongdoing occurred.  Rabbi Sacks compares this to Shakespeare’s Othello, wherein evil speech literally killed 3 individuals.

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