In Melachim Bet 5:10 we read:

וַיִּשְׁלַח אֵלָיו אֱלִישָׁע, מַלְאָךְ לֵאמֹר: הָלוֹךְ, וְרָחַצְתָּ שֶׁבַע-פְּעָמִים בַּיַּרְדֵּן, וְיָשֹׁב בְּשָׂרְךָ לְךָ וּטְהָר.‏
And Elisha sent a messenger unto [Naaman], saying: 'Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come back to thee, and thou shalt be clean.'

I would like to understand the word וּטְהָר in this context. Does it simply mean clean, or is it related to tumah and taharah? If it is the latter how do we reconcile with the mishnayot (Negaim chapters 3, 11, 12 first mishna in each) which state that a non-jew is not susceptible to tumah of tzaras? If, on the other hand, it is not related to tumah, then the word seems superfluous. Please cite sources for your answer.

  • Speculative: It could just mean "cured". – Seth J May 29 '12 at 15:08
  • But then why not use "v'rapeh" or something more straightforward? – tinok shnishbah May 29 '12 at 15:10
  • I don't know. As I said, it was speculative, but it might be revealing to look at other instances of "cure" in the Neviim and see what language is used there, especially in different time periods. – Seth J May 29 '12 at 15:14
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    @SethJ re "could just mean 'cured'": Yonasan says so, if I understand him correctly. Likewise Radak (on :14). – msh210 May 29 '12 at 15:45
  • @msh210 what word does Yonasan use? – tinok shnishbah May 29 '12 at 15:54

I think the word וטהר is used to indicate complete healing, as in ובא השמש וטהר (see Brachos 2a "טהר יומא").


Rav Yonason Eybushutz in אהבת יהונתן on parshas Metzora writes for precisely your reason that Naaman contracted a contagious disease and was not tamei from tzaraas. He goes on to say that Gechazi and his three sons contracted the same disease and did not either become tamei thus explaining why they were ejected from Shomron despite the city not being from the days of יהושע

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