The body is a sophisticated machine with many different working parts; consequently, it is susceptible to wear and tear. Age and injury will adversely affect the capabilities of this instrument. Often, people who have to contend with the reality of an ailing body, descend into depression. This is a normal response upon discovering they cannot function as they wish. The body is affecting the mind and its mood.
A psychosomatic disorder is bodily symptoms caused by mental or emotional disturbance. A person who suffers from anxiety will exhibit bodily symptoms which are the product of their unwholesome psyche. Lower back pain and high blood pressure are examples of physical manifestations induced by stress or an unhealthy mind.
The human mind and body are two forces which constantly affect one another. The source of these influences can originate in either realm, i.e. the mind can persuade the body or vice versa. Awareness of the interactions between the two is crucial in being able to identify behavior and treat illnesses. A competent healer will need to discern if the origin is physiological or psychological.
The body and soul are interrelated in a similar fashion to the mind and body. Pure actions can refine the soul. Conversely, the soul, can influence the body to be positive and to actively do good.
Avrohom – the Patriarch – was not opposed to Yitzchok marrying a girl from Aram, despite her upbringing amongst heretics. But, Avrohom vehemently rejected both the local Canaanite girls and the daughter of his righteous slave – Eliezer. What was the difference?
The Ran explains, that the fault of Rivkah’s family was the fact they were non-believers. This failing is not by nature hereditary and would therefore have little bearing on Rivkah and her future offspring. The Canaanites, however, were morally and ethically depraved. They suffered from anger, vengeance, lust and lasciviousness. These traits are passed on to future generations, and thus, even if the particular lady in question was in herself righteous; tragically, she was a carrier of a corrupted DNA.
This is all the more understandable in light of the above i.e. the soul affects the body. The body will transform and contort itself to mirror the soul. Accordingly, just as physical attributes are transferred from parent to child, moral qualities which the body has internalized, are likewise transmitted to its offspring. (Belief, however, is not hereditary, it is a purely personal issue i.e. each person is responsible for his or her own beliefs.)
Tzoras often mis-translated as leprosy is a malady which appears on the skin of the affected. The skin of a person so afflicted breaks out with a white discoloration. The Talmud explains, that this is a Heaven sent disease which affects sinners. It further proceeds to list seven sins which can cause such an outbreak – chief amongst them is that of Evil Speech.
Tzoras is a corporeal malaise sent from Heaven to remind man to repent. But, it is so much more than just a Divine wakeup call. Tzoras is a physical manifestation of a tainted neshomo. The sullied soul exhibits itself on its host by bearing white blotches. It is a reflection of one’s corrupt ways, the body is radiating man’s inner core. When the person mends his ways and purifies his soul – wherein lies the source of his sickness – his body follows suit and the blotches disappear.