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In Kings II 5:1 we are told that Naaman the general of Aram was afflicted with tzaraas. I have seen several explanations which outline something he did wrong, the punishment for which was tzaraas. However, from what I understand tzaraas is a spiritual affliction, which seems to have very little to do with non-Jews (see Negaim chapters 3, 11, and 12 the first mishna in each). In every answer I have seen we could replace tzaraas with any other disease and the 'effect' (ie the spiritual tit-for-tat punishment to Naaman) would have been the same.

I would like to know if there is a reason that Naaman was punished with this disease specifically.

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related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/16663/759 –  Double AA Jul 28 '13 at 8:10

1 Answer 1

The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 7:5) lists 11 causes for Tzaraat and brings proof for each one of them.

On of the causes listed is Haughtiness, and Naaman is used as a proof. The verse says, "וְנַעֲמָן שַׂר צְבָא מֶלֶךְ אֲרָם הָיָה אִישׁ גָּדוֹל", and the Midrash defines "Gadol" as being haughty, since he was a great warrior.

This article says that Naaman's feelings of greatness were undeserved, since he unwittingly killed Achav (see Rashi on Melachim I 22:34), and his punishment was tzaraat.

Text of the Midrash:

ועל גסות הרוח, זה נעמן, שנאמר (מלכים ב ה):(ונעמן): [שר צבא מלך ארם] היה איש גדול. מהו גדול? שהיתה רוחו גסה, מפני שהיה גבור חיל, ועל ידי כך נצטרע.

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See however a different version of the Midrash on Arachin 16a. –  Double AA Aug 27 '13 at 6:55
    
@doubleaa. While different it is not contradictory. It just brings a different proof that haughtiness bring tzaraat. –  Menachem Aug 27 '13 at 18:34
    
But It also gives a different reason for Naaman's tzaraat. –  Double AA Aug 27 '13 at 18:37
    
@DoubleAA: The reference to Naaman is in regards to Gechazi. He lied to Elisha and told him he didn't do anything, when in reality he went to collect payment from Naaman. –  Menachem Aug 27 '13 at 21:28
    
non-Jews are punished for haughtiness? Why this person specifically as opposed to say Pharaoh or Hiram who claimed to be gods themselves. –  please remove my account Nov 25 '13 at 13:59

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