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Midot Hayom 31: Tiferet in Hod

Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar used to say: Plagues will strike the arrogant, for we find that this happened to Uzziah, as it says: “But once he became powerful, his pride destroyed him. He disobeyed the Lord his God.  He entered the Lord’s temple to offer incense on the incense altar. Azariah the priest and eighty other brave priests of the Lord followed him in. They confronted King Uzziah and said to him, “It is not proper for you, Uzziah, to offer incense to the Lord. That is the responsibility of the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who are consecrated to offer incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have disobeyed and the Lord God will not honor you!” Uzziah, who had an incense censer in his hand, became angry. While he was ranting and raving at the priests, a skin disease appeared on his forehead right there in front of the priests in the Lord’s temple near the incense altar.” (Chronicles II 26:16-19) At that time the Sanctuary split into two parts, causing a gap twelve miles wide. When Azariah the high priest and the other priests looked at him, there was a skin disease on his forehead. They hurried him out of there; even the king himself wanted to leave quickly because the Lord had afflicted him. King Uzziah suffered from a skin disease until the day he died. He lived in separate quarters, afflicted by a skin disease and banned from the Lord’s temple. His son Jotham was in charge of the palace and ruled over the people of the land. (20-21) Avot of Rabbi Nathan 9:3


King Uzziah accomplished great things, he assumed that his glory was his own and he became arrogant. He disturbed the very place where heaven and earth meet. His human greatness could have allowed him to reach the heavens, but his arrogance caused a split between the two worlds.

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