"A person having a blemish in his skin…." (Lev. 13:2)

We can understand this in relation to the vestments for the priests, which were to be "for dignity and adornment". These were to symbolize the "garments of light" [in Hebrew. 'ohr', spelled with its first letter alef], which Adam and Eve wore before the sin of the Tree of Knowledge; they had to subsequently exchange these garments for those of "ohr" spelled with an ayin [instead of an alef as above], meaning "skin" - garments of skin.

While on one hand this demonstrates a fall from grace, Onkelos translates the term for "garments of skin" as "precious garments" (see Gen. 3:21). At first glance it seems that Onkelos is mixing the term spelled with an alef with the term spelled with an ayin. In fact, he is alluding to a mystical dimension to this comparison which is rooted in the verse: "…as the advantage of light over darkness." (Ecclesiastes 2:13) The message there is that G‑d makes purity emerge even out of impurity. [From the "skin", the external aspect of our beings, will eventually come a spiritual benefit; what appeared to be a descent will ultimately be an advantage.]

[Translated and adapted by Eliyahu Munk.]