Dvar Torah by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.
The Torah states: “When you arrive in the land of Canaan … and I will place a tzora’as affliction upon a house in the land of your possession, the one to whom the house belongs shall come and declare to the Kohen, ‘Something like an affliction has appeared to me in the house’ ”
Why should the owner say, ‘”Something like an affliction has appeared to me in the house”? Why not say, “An affliction has appeared to me in the house”? The Divine statement, “I will place an affliction upon a house in the land of your possession” appears to be a statement of fact rather than a punishment for improper speech.
Rashi explains that the Canaanites used to hide their treasures in the thick walls of their houses. The affliction in the house resulted in the walls being demolished, which would expose the hidden treasure. Thus, the affliction in the house was a blessing rather than a punishment.
This is why the owner should not say, “An affliction has appeared to me in the house.” An affliction is a punishment, whereas the lesion in the wall of the house was a blessing leading to discovery of hidden treasure. Therefore, all he may say is, “Something like an affliction has appeared to me in the house.”
This has a far-reaching application. We all experience unpleasant things which at the moment are distressing and appear to be bad. In many instances, we realize much later that what we had assumed to be bad was really something good in disguise.
The Baal Shem Tov said that when an adversity occurs, one should not say, “It is bad.” God does not do bad things. Rather, we may say, “This is a bitter happening.” Some life-saving medications may have a bitter taste. Remembering this should help us keep our bearing in times of adversity.