In parashat Tazria it mentions the Kohen's involvement of identifying tzaraat and rendering the person pure/impure (about 50 times!). Rashi (13:3) says that the Kohen's involvement in declaring 'pure\impure' is a gzeirat ha'katuv.

The Sefer HaChinuch says that:

“it is a mitzvah upon us, for anyone afflicted with tzaraat, to go to a Kohen (to enquire about about his tzaraat) who will make impure or purify him, and he [the Kohen] will act in accordance with the Torah…”


“the tumah and teharah is in the hands of the Kohen... If there is no knowledgeable Kohen [who can distinguish between different types] an sage of Israel shall see it and ask the Kohen to say ‘tamei’ and he will repeat ‘tamei’ [or vice versa with tahor]"


"Someone who became afflicted [with tzaraat]… but took this occurrence as happenstance and did not go to a Kohen, has nullified a positive commandment

In the case of Miriam becoming afflicted with tzaraat (Bamidbar 12), she 'turns white' and is excommunicated from the camp for seven days until she becomes pure. It does not mention that she was 'declared' impure, and neither does the Torah mention that she becomes pure; rather that after seven days she was able to travel with her people.

It seems that the pure\impure status of a person/clothes/house is dependent on the declaration of the Kohen. What is the status of a person who has (what appears to be) the signs of tzaraat but does not seek a Kohen?

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    I can't imagine why they wouldn't just continue being pure. Why would they not? What is your Hava Amina? You list sources indicating something and say "maybe not?" – Double AA Apr 4 '16 at 22:29
  • related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/59064/759 – Double AA Apr 4 '16 at 22:46
  • @DoubleAA see edit – bondonk Apr 7 '16 at 21:25
  • I don't know what the inclusion of that story is meant to show, and my above comment still holds. (Also Aharon, the Kohein, was right there. He easily could have declared her impure. It's almost the simple implication of the text.) – Double AA Apr 7 '16 at 21:29
  • In Vayikra chapter 13 (laws of tzaraat), there are 59 verses. 'The Kohen' is mentioned 56 times. It seems peculiar that in the story of Miriam, the involvement of 'the Kohen' is absent. The simple reading of the story is that she is impure without Kohanic involvement. – bondonk Apr 7 '16 at 22:06

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