Sunday, December 30, 2007

Is Acne The Same As Tzaraas?

Of course not.

Which is why I find the Natural and Spiritual Remedy for Acne, over at LazerBeams, somewhat amusing. It is a mix of natural remedies and spirituality, which often go together.

In this particular case, of ten points, point 1 and point 10 are the spiritual advice, thus bracketing the natural / alternative remedies and giving it a spiritual / mystical feed. I don't know about the efficacy of the natural suggestions, since I have not invested any time looking into it -- but note there is a dispute whether diet really has any impact on acne (see here and here). But point 10 is to daven, but at the same time don't turn this direction towards God into a complaint, for what Hashem does is for the best. Point 1, meanwhile, is:
First of all, be very careful not to say a bad word about anyone - no matter what - even about those that hurt you, G-d forbid.
Besides the fact that he should qualify "no matter what" (he does not mean, presumably, that an abused woman should not report her abuser, or that a teenager -- likely to be one suffering from acne -- should not report abuse). But where does this bit of advice come from? Aside from the fact that avoidance of lashon hara has become segulah for everything under the sun.

Well, we do not know exactly what the Torah, and Chazal, meant when referring to tzaraat. If it means leprosy, it is still around, but treatable. But presumably, since it is a malady affecting the skin, he made the tzaraas - acne connection, and so came up with this advice for a post on acne.

I don't know of sources, modern or old, that make this connection, though it would be interesting to see any that do...

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