AIMeM would like to thank Mrs. Leah Daphna for filling in this week.
A group is a set of elements that share a general commonality. Sometimes, however, we find groups in which an element does not seem to belong; and it could very well be it doesn't. However, when the Torah groups things that do not seem to match, it is challenging us to think deeper and to try to discern the common denominator. A good example of this is found in this week’s parshah.
In this week Parsha, Parshas Tzav, we are told of the various procedures surrounding different korbanos. Among them, we are commanded to give a Shelamim, a thanksgiving offering. The Gemara cited by Rashi (7:12) states that four people need to give thanks. They are:
1) “Yordei ha-yam”, one who survives an ocean journey,
2) “holchei midbarot”, one who transversed the desert
3) “mi she haya choleh v’nitrapeh”, one who is gravely ill and survived,
4) “u-mi she haya chavush b’beit ha-asurim”, one who was locked in a dungeon and freed.
Concerning the sea, the ocean, and being locked in a dungeon, these three situations involve someone surviving while being exposed to an environment that does not support life. However, the person who was stricken by illness, while his life was in danger, he didn't find himself in a different surroundings than he was used to’ he wasn’t exposed to an outside environment that doesn’t naturally support life! Or did he…
The Gemara is giving us a deep insight into what it means to be gravely ill. When someone is ill, they're living in an environment that's inherently inhospitable to life. That environment is their own body. When our own body turns on us, when we realize we can't trust our bodies, when our bodies become like foreign terrain, fundamentally inhospitable to us-- that is the scariest thing of all! When one recovers from that, you are obligated to give thanks.
Perhaps we can use this to help enhance our performance of the mitzvah of Bikkur Cholim. Maybe when you visit the sick, remember that you are giving them something much more powerful than you can imagine. For they are living in a body they don't recognize. But at least when they see you, a familiar face, they can connect with something they do recognize and bring down the fear of being a stranger in inhospitable terrain.
Mrs. Leah Daphna is a longtime AIMeM subscriber, first time contributor. She is currently a nursing student. She and her husband hope to soon live in Eretz Yisrael.
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