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Harefuah. 2002 May;141(5):479-82, 496.

[Psoriasis, biblical afflictions and patients' dignity].

[Article in Hebrew]

Author information

  • 1Institute of Dermatology, Clalit Health Services, Department of Dermatology, Soroka University Medical Center, Beer Sheva.


The currently accepted Hebrew word for psoriasis is 'sapachat'. The word 'sapachat' is biblical and its original meaning is unknown. Similar uncertainty applies also to the biblical word 'tzaraat', the currently accepted Hebrew term for leprosy. This article discusses possible explanations of the biblical terms 'sapachat' and 'tzaraat'. The link between 'sapachat' and psoriasis was made only several decades ago. The word 'sapachat' conveys a definite negative connotation, and imposes an emotional burden on psoriatic patients. We therefore recommend preferable use of the word 'psoriasis' and avoid using the offending term 'sapachat'.

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