ובא הכהן וראה והנה פשה THEN THE PRIEST SHALL COME AND LOOK, AND, BEHOLD, IF THE PLAGUE HATH SPREAD … [IT IS UNCLEAN] — From this one might think that a recurring plague is unclean (i. e. renders the whole house unclean) only if it spreads. But the phrase צרעת ממארת. “a fretting leprosy”, is mentioned in connection with houses and the phrase. צרעת ממארת is mentioned in connection with garments (Leviticus 13:51), thus making that plague analogous to this: What is the case there? Scripture declares the recurring plague unclean although it has not spread (Leviticus 13:55)! Similarly, here, it declares the recurring plague unclean even though it has not spread. But if this be so, why does it state here “and, behold. [the plague] hath spread"? As a matter of fact this is not the proper place of the verse), and the statement “he shall pull down the house” (v. 45) it ought to have written immediately after (v. 43), “and if the plague return”). The words in v. 44, “he shall look, and, behold, if the plague hath spread”, consequently only intend to tell us something about a plague which has remained in the same condition during the first week, and to which he (the priest) comes at the end of the second week and finds that it has spread, for Scripture has not explained anything at all about the case where the plague remains in the same condition during the first week. (It speaks in v. 39 only of when the plague has spread during the first week.) It tells us here (in the section which speaks about what happens a week after the house has been scraped etc., i. e. after the end of the second week) the law regarding it by mention of this spreading (i. e. by the words וראה והנה פשה) which can only speak of the case that it remained in the same condition during the first week, and has spread during the second week. Now what shall he do with it? One might think that he must demolish it, even as it states immediately after it, (v. 45) “He shall break down the house”. It, however, states, (v. 39) “if the priest returneth” at the end of the week and finds that it has spread, and (v. 44) “and if the priest cometh” at the end of the second week and now finds that for the first time it has spread — thus we may learn what is to be done after this “coming" from what happens after that “returning”! What is the law in the case of that “returning”? He must remove the stones, scrape and re-plaster (vv. 40—42), and give it another week! Similarly, here, in the case of this “coming” after a second week, he must remove the stones, scrape and re-plaster and give it a further week! If it recurs he must demolish the house: if it does not recur, the house is clean. And whence may we infer that if it remained in the same condition both during this week (the first) and that (the second), he must remove the stones, scrape and re-plaster, and give it another week (just as he did when it spread in the second week, as we have just stated)? Because it states, (v. 44) ובא ”and if [the priest] cometh”, and (v. 48) ואם בא יבא “and if [the priest] cometh”, the expression “coming” being used in each case to indicate an analogy between them, the reasoning being as follows: About what can this verse 48 which refers to the plague not having spread be speaking? If you say it speaks of a plague which has spread during the first week but did not spread during the second week, behold, this has already been mentioned (vv. 39—43, and second half of v. 44)! If you say that it speaks of a plague which has spread during the second week but has not spread during the first week, behold, this has already been mentioned (v. 44 according to Rashi's explanation above). Consequently it can only be saying the words ואם בא יבא, “if having come once (בא), he cometh again (יבא)”, about one who comes at the end of the first week and comes again at the end of the second week, “and, behold, [the plague] had not spread” in either instance. In the case of such a plague which remains as it was during two successive weeks, what shall he do to it? One might think he departs and gets himself off without doing anything more because the house is clean, since it states here (immediately afterwards), “he shall pronounce the house clean”. It, however, states, “if the plague is healed”, — which implies that Scripture says as it were: I do declare clean only the plague which is healed (i. e. when something has been done by which it is removed). What, then, shall he do to it? The reply is: above (v. 44) it has spoken of “coming”, and further on (v. 48) it also speaks of “coming”. What is the law in the previous case? He removes the stones, scrapes and re-plasters and gives it another week — for, as we have stated above, we have it as tradition that “return” (v. 39: ושב הכהן) and “coming” (v. 44: ובא הכהן) are identical in regard to their law; similarly, too, must be done in the later case (v. 48 which as we have proved, must be speaking of עמד בראשון ובשני etc.), as it is stated in Torath Cohanim (Sifra, Metzora, Section 7 10). The conclusion of the matter is: Demolishing a house takes place only in the case of a plague that recurs after removal of the stones, scraping and re-plastering, and such a recurring plague does not require that it should also have spread in order to make it necessary to demolish the house. The sequence of the verses is as follows: “If it returns” (v. 48), “he shall break down” (v. 45), “But if one cometh” (v. 46) “[And he that lieth in the house] … and he that eateth in the house” (v. 47), and only then v. 44: “And if the priest come and look, and, behold, the plague hath spread”; — and the last verse speaks, as shown above, of the case of a plague that remained as it was during the first week to which one has therefore given a second week for being shut up, and at the end of the second week he comes and sees it that it has spread. And what shall he do to it? He removes the stones, scrapes and re-plasters and gives it another week. If it returns he demolishes the house, if it does not return, it is clean and requires two birds for purification, but this third week is the utmost time for investigation, for not more than three weeks are to be spent in the investigation of plagues.