88. "When the plague of leprosy is in a man, then he shall be brought to the priest" (Vayikra 13:9). Rabbi Yosi said, The friends commented on all the colors of this plague. The priest knew whether to pronounce clean or unclean according to them. He knew if these are sufferings of love or those upon one whose Master rejects him and is far from him. For according to man's ways the plague is caused in the world.
89. It is written, "Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked deeds with men who work iniquity" (Tehilim 141:4). From this we derive that a man is led in the way he wishes to walk. Rabbi Yitzchak, this verse is difficult. Does the Holy One, blessed be He, turn man to walk the path of sin and commit evil deeds, THAT HE SAYS, "INCLINE NOT MY HEART TO ANY EVIL THING?" In that case there is no justice in this world or in the World to Come, and the Torah is imperfect, in which is written, "if you hearken" (Devarim 28:13), and, "if you will not hearken" (Ibid. 15), WHICH INDICATES THAT EVERYTHING DEPENDS ON MAN.
90. AND HE ANSWERS, David admonished his heart, saying, "INCLINE NOT MY HEART TO ANY EVIL THING," so as to lead it in the path of truth, as it is written, "and consider it in your heart" (Devarim 4:39). What is 'consider?' IT MEANS one should return to THE HEART once, twice and thrice to lead it IN THE PATH OF TRUTH and admonish it. He also said to it, "Incline not my heart to any evil thing," since an evil thing caused plagues in the world, so Judgment hovers about the world. This is the meaning of the plague of leprosy.
91. The friends spoke about the plague of leprosy, but leprosy IS EXPLAINED according to its Aramaic translation. Said Rabbi Yehuda, How is it translated? It is 'closing,' because it closes SUPERNAL LIGHTS and does not open up. When it closes and does not open, it is considered a plague. Rabbi Yosi said that the Patriarchs, CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET, are not nourished, THAT IS, THEY DO NOT RECEIVE LIGHT, and all the more so the children, NETZACH, HOD AND YESOD. This is the meaning of, "When the plague of leprosy is in a man," - signifying a real man, NAMELY ZEIR ANPIN, THE SECRET OF YUD HEI VAV HEI FULLY SPELLED WITH ALEPHS, WHICH HAS THE SAME NUMERICAL VALUE AS THAT OF ADAM (ENG. 'MAN'). From here it descends to whomever it descends to, NAMELY, TO LOWER MAN WHO CAUSED IT, AND CLOSES HIS LIGHT, so there is universal plague from the closing OF THE LIGHTS.
92. Rabbi Yitzchak said, Surely this is the inner meaning of the words, "He has abhorred His sanctuary" (Eichah 2:7), WHICH MEANS THE LIGHTS OF THE TEMPLE, WHICH IS MALCHUT, WERE SHUT. The reason is that the people in the world brought it about BY THEIR SINS, as it is written, "because he has defiled the sanctuary of Hashem" (Bemidbar 19:20), actually defiled. Rabbi Elazar said, He had defiled it because someone was gone, NAMELY ZEIR ANPIN, and the harsh serpent rests on it and injects filth and brings defilement to whomever it does. All this is due to the sins of the world.