I received a call from my rav this morning. We usually call each other on non-Jewish holidays to wish a “Good Yom Tov.” I was a bit surprised, since January 5th, was not on my calendar as anything special. It turns out it was his birthday and he was collecting birthday wishes.
He also wanted to tell me over something that would make me appreciate being in kollel in Israel. He has a student living in the States whose wife teaches in a public school. It turns out half of the children come from same-sex marriages, and one particular child is a different gender every day, depending on her mood.
Did you know that my children don’t know what “an Obama” is?
I’m thankful that I’m raising my children in a “backwards, Ultra-Orthodox” world. At least they know what gender they are.
Okay, on to Torah!
“For I am heavy of mouth and heavy of speech” (Shemos 4:10).
The Rambam explains that Hashem did not heal Moshe’s speech impediment simply because Moshe never asked Him to do so! Quite an amazing statement regarding prayer.
How important is prayer? Rav Shimshon Pincus said that we know the merit of learning Torah is greater than all other merits. However, when a kollel is informed that somebody is very sick, they will stop their learning for a few minutes, and say Tehillim and daven on their behalf. If the merit of Torah is so great, asks Rav Pincus, why do they stop learning? Perhaps they need to continue learning in the merit of the sick person! He answers that it is obvious, if a person falls unconscious in the kollel, the members are certainly not allowed to continue to daven. They need to stop, call an ambulance, and help the person until he is stabilized. We do not rely on miracles, but rather, we do what we can. He continues and says that davening IS part of that hishtadlus! It’s part of “doing what we can.” While one person is calling the ambulance, and a few people are helping the person, the others should be davening, because tefillah is no different than making the call or helping the person.
Doing mitzvos in merit of somebody is helping them Above. Tefillah is helping them in this world.
This past week, my wife was listening to a talk given by a certain rebbetzin who was close to Rav Volbe, who always told her to teach the importance of tefillah, which unfortunately is lacking today. When she was teaching very young kids, she asked them what is the proper thing to do when a person is not well. One child said to call an ambulance. This makes sense, she thought, since his parents are always quick to panic. Another one said to take their temperature and medicine. This one also makes sense; his parents put a lot of stock into medicine and science. One child piped up and said, “Daven!” This too makes sense, she thought, since that is how that home operates. First thing: Daven!
When we find ourselves in situations (or even when we are not), davening should always be our first reaction. Opening a water valve is great if you want water. But first, you need to be connected to the water system. Take out just a little time to ask Hashem for help, and you’ll immediately be connected.
Have a wonderful Shabbos!