And the HASHEM spoke to Moshe, saying, “This shall be the law of the person afflicted with Tzoraas, on the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the Kohen…” (Vayikra 14:1-2)
Rabbi Samlai taught: With regard to the Torah, its beginning is an act of kindness (Gemilas Chassadim) and its end is an act of kindness. Its beginning is an act of kindness, as it is written: “And HASHEM Elochim made for Adam and for his wife garments of skin and clothed them” (Breishis 3:21). And its end is an act of kindness, as it is written: “And he was buried in the valley in the land of Moab” (Devarim 34:6). – Tractate Sota 14A
What is the value of learning that the Torah has Gemilas Chassadim at both the beginning and the end? Rabbi Avigdor Miller ztl gave an analogy to explain. A traveling book salesman sets up a table of books for people to browse and buy. How does the potential customer know whether this is a book worth purchasing? He cannot read the entire book, so he glances at the first few pages and then at the last few pages. If he likes what he sees, then can assume that the middle section is very similar in quality and he is willing to invest his money and time on the book. If we examine the Torah and discover that from the beginning, there is found Gemilas Chassadim and then in the very end there is Gemilas Chassadim then we can safely assume that the entire Torah is filled, even dense with Gemilas Chassadim.
That is a very nice idea and it’s good to know but it invites a few major challenges. Tazria and Metzora read like a medical textbook and the person who is stricken must go through many processes and procedures to purify himself and be rid of this skin ailment so he can return to normal life. Where is the Gemilas Chessed of this affliction called Tzoraas?
The Chofetz Chaim explains that Tzoraas was a great benefit, and it is tragic that we don’t have it today. How so? I went through many used broken-down jalopy cars until I realized the meaning of and importance of two simple words, “Oil Change”. Then one day I bought an expensive car that required monthly payments.
I took out the user’s manual and started reading and highlighting important information for the survival and maintenance of the car. I did not want to be stuck making payments on a car that is not functional, so, I became a student and practitioner of the oil change.
New cars nowadays have a feature my Yeshivisha cars never had. There is the ubiquitous amber light on the dashboard that indicates it’s time for new oil or to check the engine. If one ignores those blatant signs, he will have ruined his car through negligence. If the car has no such early detection system, and if he is not learned in its needs, it’s only a matter of when and not if the car’s engine will burn out and it will be a candidate for the junkyard.
Tzoraas came about because of Loshon Hora, speaking badly about others. The Chofetz Chaim explains that even if someone has boatloads of Torah and Mitzvos, if he is not careful about guarding his speech his spiritual bank account can become emptied out just like a businessman who makes tons of money but is not careful about how he spends and keeps his wealth He can end up a pauper. So, woe to us who lack this early detection system to keep us from destroying our spiritual fortune. Tzoraas was that amber light on the dashboard or the check engine sign that tells us to get to a Cohen, a spiritual mechanic before it’s too late.
My wife and I were driving on the highway last week and she was marveling that every car seemed to have a phone mounted onto the windshield with the same app on display, WAZE. “Everybody is coming from and going to a different place and WAZE is showing the best way to get there. How is that possible?” I told her that from here we can learn Hashgacha Pratis, that HASHEM can guide every person in an individualized way to reach their destination. Dovid HaMelech said, “Tov V’Yosher HASHEM, Al Ken Yorah Chataim B’Derech” – “HASHEM is good and straight, therefore he guides those who are liable to err on the way.” It’s no mistake that the Gematria (numerical value) of Gemilas Chassadim is 611 the same as the word Torah, because the Torah is rich and dense with Gemilas Chassadim.