It is interesting to note that the Talmud discusses this exact psychological mind-set, although in the Talmud this discussion concerned the spiritual disease known as tzara’at resulting from improper speech. While a tzara’at infection appeared on a person as a white skin blemish, the Torah also details how this sign of spiritual degradation could also affect inanimate possessions. In the case of a person’s house, tzara’at appeared as dark green or red blotches.
In Talmud Negaim 12:5, the sages relate that a person who believes their home to be infected should go to the kohain (priest) and say, “There seems to me to be, as it were, a plague in the house.” All people, even great Torah scholars, had to use this non-committal phrase. The kohain would then come and carefully inspect the entire edifice, making certain that the diagnosis was unquestionably tzara’at.
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