70. While they were walking they chanced upon a man, whose face was full of wounds, who rose from underneath a tree. They looked at him and saw his face red because of the wounds. Rabbi Chiya said to him, Who are you? He said, I am a Jew. Rabbi Yosi said, He is a sinner, for otherwise those evil wounds would not be marked on his face. And these are not considered sufferings of love. Rabbi Chiya said, It is surely so, because sufferings of love are hidden from people.
71. Come and see, it is written, "When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a swelling, a scab, or bright spot" (Vayikra 13:2). There are three kinds here, all considered the plague of leprosy. This is the meaning of, "and it be in the skin of his flesh the plague of leprosy" (Ibid.). What is the plague of leprosy? IT MEANS 'CLOSED' IN THE ARAMAIC TRANSLATION, for it is closed in every respect, WHICH MEANS THE WOUND IS CLOSED AND CONCEALED FROM THE BEHOLDER. OF THIS it is written, "then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest..." (Ibid.). But in relation to those WOUNDS that are exposed, it is written, "the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean" (Ibid. 3). For surely those seen from the outside to people come from the side of impurity and are not sufferings of love.
72. Rabbi Yosi asked, Whence do we know that? Rabbi Chiya said, From the words, "Open rebuke is better than hidden love" (Mishlei 27:5). THE MEANING OF "OPEN REBUKE IS BETTER" IS THAT if the rebuke is done with love it is hidden from people. So when one rebukes his neighbor with love, he must conceal his words from people, so his neighbor shall not be put to shame. If his words are public, they are not with love.
73. The Holy One, blessed be He, does the same. When He rebukes man, He rebukes him always with love. At first He smites him in the internal part of the body. If he repents, it is well; otherwise, He smites him under his clothes. These are considered sufferings of love. If he repents, it is well. Otherwise, He smites him openly, in his face for everyone to see and know that he is a sinner, not beloved by his Master.
74. That man said to them, You plot against me surely TO PUT ME TO SHAME. You must be of those who frequent the house of Rabbi Shimon, who fear nothing. If my sons, my descendants, COME, they will harm you. Why do you speak openly? YOU SHOULD FEAR MY SONS. They said to him, Such is the Torah, as it is written, "she cries in the chief place of concourse, at the entrances of the gates. In the city she utters her words, saying" (Mishlei 1:21). If we fear you in words of Torah we shall be in contempt before the Holy One, blessed be He. Moreover, the Torah needs clarity, THAT IS, OPEN SPEECH. The man quoted, "Who is El like You, who pardons iniquity, and forgives the transgression?" (Michah 7:18) In the meantime his sons arrived. His younger son said, Help from heaven is here FOR MY FATHER.