14 Nov DOING OUR PART
The weeks pass, the war continues. The
hostages – men, women, children, babies –
still have not come home. Our hearts ache just
thinking of them in the Gehinnom of Gaza.
So many lives lost, so many injured, so many
in pain. Parents who lost children, widows
and orphans. We need a yeshuah.
During the 2015 Intifada, Rav Moshe
Shternbuch gave a message that is relevant to
us today. He relayed that when our nation goes
through a crisis, HaShem looks down upon us,
to see how we, His children, react. Are we an
Am Echad, a strong united people, there for
our brothers and sisters? Do we feel another’s
pain? What are we doing to ease their hardship
in times of need.
“Al shlosha devarim ha’olam omeid, The
world exists on three things. Torah, avodah
and gemilus chassodim.” (Pirkei Avos 1:2)
In this week’s parsha we find Yitzchak and
Rivka davening for a child. “Va’yetar Yitzchok
l’HaShem, l’nochach ishto.” (Bereishis 25:21)
Rashi comments that Yitzchak stood in one
corner, Rivka in another, each one crying out
to HaShem for the blessing for a baby. Each
one crying on the other’s behalf.
Davening. Avodas Halev. Labor of the heart.
To daven for someone with all your heart and
soul. To put your entire being into the prayer.
When we daven for someone, we become
connected to that person. We are saying I care
about you. You are important to me, I am
making time to daven for you.
To describe Yitzchok’s tefillos, the Torah uses
the term “va’yetar”, instead of the more
common “va’yispallel”. Rashi teaches that
va’yetar connotes praying in abundance.
Praying with urgency. Powerful prayers.
The Talmud (Yevamos 64:a) explains that the
term “va’yetar” has the same root as the term
“eser”, a winnowing shovel or pitchfork. Just
as a pitchfork turns over the grain, moving it
from place to place, so too, sincere prayer,
prayer from the heart, has the power to
overturn a Heavenly decree from one of
judgment to one of mercy.
We just began the month of Kislev. Each of
the months has a mazel, a sign. Kislev’s is a
bow and arrow. The bow and arrow symbolize
the power of tefilla. The more one pulls on the
bow, the tighter it becomes, propelling the
arrow to travel a farther distance and with
greater force. Similarly, the more intense our
prayers, the greater the kavannah, our heartfelt
sincerity, the further it travels to reach the
Kislev is a month of prayer, a month of
miracles. It is the month of Chanukah, when
we recite V’al Hanissim, And for the miracles.
Let’s take a lesson from Yitzchak and Rivka,
the message of the month of Chanukah, to
daven with all our might. To ask for a miracle,
for nothing is beyond HaShem’s reach.
The nation of Yishmael understands the power
of prayer. Five times a day, they turn to prayer.
They have no inhibitions about pulling out
prayer rugs on a crowded street, or in any
other public space. We have to counter their
prayers by intensifying our tefilla, particularly
during these difficult days. As we have
witnessed, it is not only the Jews in Eretz
Yisroel who are in peril, but Jews throughout
the world feel threatened and insecure as a
result of an unprecedented wave of
antisemitism and Jew hatred. We must call out
from the depths of our heart, add additional
tefillos to what we usually recite, and turn to
the words of Tehillim.
A campaign was started to daven for
Chayalei Yisroel, the brave soldiers of the
IDF. The name of individual soldiers are
given out, and one can daven for the safety
and well-being of “their” soldier.
It is said that the prayers of children, who
have holy and pure neshamos, are extra
powerful, and many yeshivos gave out the
names of specific soldiers to their students.
A woman in Eretz Yisroel tells of going to
her local grocery where she spotted a young
boy wearing a badge. Always curious, she
asked him what it was.
With a big, sweet smile, the boy answered,
“That’s my soldier”.
“Your soldier, what do you mean?”
The boy explained. “This is the soldier I
daven for. That he return safely to his
mother at the end of the war. I daven for
him. I study for him. And at night, I say
Shema for him. He guards me from near
Gaza, I guard him from Yerushalayim.”
A post-script to this story. The woman was
so impressed, that she asked the boy what
school he attends. She then contacted the
boy’s rebbe, and told him “Shame, I didn’t
get to educate my child in such a special
I shared this story with some of my
grandchildren. A grandson who attends
Darchei Torah got all excited and said,
“Rebbe gave me a soldier too. He told the
class that every mitzvah we do, every
bracha we make, and every line of Torah we
learn is for ‘our’ soldier.”
Mi k’amecha Yisroel. Be it in Eretz Yisroel or
thousands of miles away, our hearts are one.
The war broke out on Simchas Torah. The
Yom Tov of celebrating Torah study. The
concluding of one book, and simultaneously
beginning another. For one never graduates
from Torah learning. The message is clear. We
must continue learning. Whatever one’s level
of Torah learning is, there are so many
opportunities to avail oneself. Be it classes,
books, clips, etc. So much to learn. So much
to gain. Do it for yourself. Do it for Am
And the third leg on which the world stands –
gemilus chassodim. So many individuals,
communities, organizations having done –
and continue to do – so much. For the soldiers
and their families, for the victims, and the
My mother would speak about the Six-Day
War. A miraculous victory in six days. The
next day, the seventh day, could have been
“Shabbos”. Unfortunately, we were blinded
by our astounding success on the battlefield.
HaShem gave us a second chance, the Yom
Kippur War. Yom Kippur, referred to in the
Torah as Shabbos Shabbosson. Once again,
we failed to see the hand of HaShem and call
out to Him. We are now in midst of a difficult
war. A war than began with terrible atrocities,
with barbarism on a level that the world has
never seen. The Abarbanel teaches that in the
final war before Moshiach, our enemy will be
“achzorim me’od, exceedingly cruel”. Did we
not witness this today – in a war that broke out
on Shabbos? HaShem is giving us another
This time, our nation answered the call.
HaShem, You can look down upon us.
Thousands upon thousands have taken upon
themselves to keep Shabbos, put on tefillin
and tzitzis, do more mitzvos, learn more
Torah, do more chesed.
HaShem, it’s time for all the pain and suffering
to end. It’s time for the ultimate geulah to
arrive. Let us hope it will be soon.