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זאת תהיה תורת המצורע ביום טהרתו והובא אל הכהן

This shall be the law of the metzora on the day of his purification: He shall be brought to the Kohen. (14:2)

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This pasuk is rendered homiletically by the Roshei Besamim, based on a statement made by the Zohar HaKadosh (Parashas Pekudei). The Zohar states that the merit of prayer and study of the individual who prays to Hashem without kavanah, proper intention and devotion, or studies Torah she’lo lishmah, not purely for the sake of learning Torah, hangs in limbo in a specially designated spiritual sphere. The first time that he prays with proper kavanah, or learns for the appropriate purpose of lishmah, this prayer or Torah-study will gather all of those other tefillos which hang in limbo and elevate them to their proper status.

Zos Toras ha’metzora, “This shall be the law of he who was a motzi-ra,” the individual who opened his mouth in such a manner whereby the prayers and Torah that emanated from him were not “good.” How can this be rectified? B’yom taharaso, “On the day of his purification,” when he prays and studies properly, thereby repairing his past prayers and study, then, v’huvah el ha’kohen, “He shall be brought to the Kohen.” At that time, his prayers and Torah study will be elevated and brought before Hashem.

One day a Tchortkover chasid, the son-in-law of a distinguished chasid who was a scholar, G-d-fearing and virtuous, came before the holy Tchortkover Rebbe, zl, with a complaint. Apparently, his revered father-in-law did not daven. The Rebbe listened intently and asked, “Forgive me for asking, but what time do you daven?” The young man replied that he fairly often davened late in the morning, since he had a study partner in the early morning that extended beyond the time that people ate their breakfast. The Rebbe countered, “Then your father-in-law is certainly davening.” The Rebbe told the young man that, when he would be absolutely certain that his father-in-law does not daven, he could convey a message to him, “The Rebbe would like to see you.”

The father-in-law entered the Rebbe’s office in a very anxious state. It was not a common occurrence for the Rebbe to summon a chasid. “It has come to my attention that you are lax in your prayer service,” the Rebbe began. The man did not deny the allegation. “It is true” the man replied. “How is this possible?” the Rebbe asked.

The man explained, “I am not the greatest of scholars, but I am an honest man. I have not been successful in maintaining the proper kavanah. Therefore, I feel to daven without kavanah would impugn my integrity.”

With his kind and understanding heart, the Rebbe patiently explained to the man how our tefillah works. “A man walks into shul and prays. If the prayer lacks the appropriate kavanah, Hashem will mark a ‘zero’ next to it. Three-hundred-sixty-four days may elapse with nothing but zeros. Finally, one day, the man comes to shul greatly inspired – motivated to daven with devotion. That one day, Hashem gives him a ‘one’! But where is the “one” placed: to the right of the zeros, making it a decimal point, fractionizing the zeros even more; or does He place it on the left side, elevating the zeros, to trillions and trillions?

“David Hamelech says in Sefer Tehillim, Hashem yispor b’chsov amim, zeh yulad sham selah, ‘Hashem will count, when He records nations, this one was born here, selah’ (Tehillim 87:6). The nations of the world write from left to right. We write from right to left. Hashem will count according to manner of the nations of the world.

“Thus, with one stroke, all of the zeros are transformed to thousands of billions.” Hashem’s counting according to the nations of the world will engender a new birth, the creation of millions of Tefillos! Therefore, you do yours, by davening to the best of your ability. Eventually, you will merit that one prayer that will draw all of the previous prayers in your favor.”