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TorahAnytimes Newsletter Vayelech

Parshat Vayelech

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik


"The TorahAnyTimes" Newsletter

Parashat Vayelech                                                                                 Print Version
6 Tishrei, 5783 | October 1, 2022

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik

Rabbi Uri Lati

A Letter to Hashem

In the town of Mir, which is on the border between Poland and Lithuania, there was a girl that was orphaned from her father at a very young age. Because she was orphaned from her father, there was no one to support the household other than her and her mother. So she worked as a librarian, bringing in whatever she could to the house.

But it was very hard, seeing all her friends getting married at a young age, many of them having children. She wasn’t able to get married because no one was supporting her. There was no father to pay for her wedding. No father to pay for any expenses.

But she never lost hope. She always prayed to Hashem, “I want to marry a talmid chacham (Torah scholar).” But after a few years of her dream not coming true, she decided to write a letter to Hashem.

She worked in the library and at a lunch break, she took a piece of paper, and wrote:

“Father in Heaven, I want to get married to a talmid chacham. You, Hashem, take care of all the expenses. You have a lot of money. There's no shortage in your bank. There's no recession. There's no inflation. Hashem, you take care of all the expenses. This is what I want.” And she signed it, your beloved, committed, dedicated daughter, Shayna Miriam.

She signed it, put it in the envelope and then went outside of the library. It was a very cold, windy day, and so she stood waiting for the wind to pick up her letter. Finally, as a gust of wind rushed past her, she released the letter from her hand and it went flying. She addressed it on the outside … Aviv She’bashamayim (My Father in Heaven). She didn't think more about it.

A few weeks later, there was a yeshiva student walking outside of yeshiva. He looked on the floor and saw there's an envelope. It read, “Father in Heaven.” Now, usually, you’re not supposed to pick up anybody's mail. But he couldn't help it. Who's writing a letter to Hashem? I got to figure out who this is, he said to himself.

So he opened it up and he read it.

He began crying, seeing the sincerity in her words, and realizing that she had probably spilled a lot of tears when writing this letter. He ran to his Rosh Yeshiva and said, “I have to find out who this girl is.” They looked into it, and found out where the girl was living. Weeks later, they got married. The name of the boy was Rav Yitzchak Yechiel Davidowitz. He was the Rosh Yeshiva of Minsk, the rebbe of Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman, and Rav Avraham Kalmanowitz.

The girl’s dream came true. She married a talmid chacham.

What is the takeaway from this story?

The girl was so sincere in her letter because she knew that Hashem could give her whatever she wanted. There is no shortage for Hashem. We can make Hashem little sometimes, putting Hashem in a box. Hashem is only able to give me this, so I won’t request this. But don't put Hashem in a box. Whatever we want, Hashem can give us. The problem is us. He's not lacking anything; we're lacking. We're lacking the belief that Hashem can give us anything.

She wrote a letter to Hashem. The sincerity in her words, in her prayer, was beautiful. Hashem is able to give us whatever we want. We stand in front of Hashem and ask Him for our needs. Believe that Hashem can give it to you. Believe that no matter what, we can start everything afresh, everything clean. That's the power of teshuvah. You can come back to your Creator. Come back to your Father and realize that Hashem can give us anything.

Rabbi Elazar Meisels

The Check

When I was a yeshiva student in the early eighties, one morning, the head of the yeshiva, Rav Chaim Shmeltzer, came over to me, which was very unusual. He came over to where I was sitting and said, “I have to tell you Elazar, we just got a beautiful donation from your mother.” It was the strangest thing for him to tell me this. What is he telling me about a donation from my mother? What does that mean? And since when did my parents have money to give donations? They didn't have any money, so they paid whatever tuition they could, but they didn't have lots of money. I looked at him wondering what this was all about.

“Your mother just sent us a check for $500,” Rav Shmeltzer said. I used to buy a ticket to and from Chicago for $100, round trip. $500? I never saw that kind of money. He said to me, “Your mother wrote a note that she was a teacher and there was some program going on that was giving a $5,000 reward to every teacher from each school system. So every teacher who was voted the best teacher in that school system for that year, received a prize of $5,000.” That was a massive, massive scholarship for that time. My mother apparently had been nominated and she was voted for and she won. And now she had $5,000 that came out of nowhere. She was totally not expecting it, and she had maa’ser, charity money, to give. So she wrote to the yeshiva and said, “I very rarely have the opportunity to be able to show my appreciation to the yeshiva for everything you do for my boys. But now I just got a $5,000 prize and the best place I could think to give it was to my son's yeshiva.” And then my menahel continued. “I just want you to understand the appreciation that your parents have for the yeshiva that they send their children to. It's something that we wish every parent would feel.”

Let your kids know how important things are to you. When you pour your resources into things that are important to you and your children know about it, it will invariably affect them. They will feel what's important to you, and that in turn will position your child to succeed.

Rabbi Yaakov Mizrahi

The Perfect Time

During the Mincha prayers of Yom Kippur, we read from the Torah portion of Acharei Mot, which delineates all the various forbidden marital relationships. Why do we do this? At a time when we are so angelic, we haven’t eaten for close to twenty-four hours, we are wearing white, why do we read about the immoral and the forbidden relations?

Tosafos explains that it is because the women come to shul beautified in honor of the day of Yom Kippur. As a result, it may lead to improper thoughts and feelings, and to stem this potential, we remind ourselves by reading these passages in the Torah.

But this seems strange. We are talking about the Jewish people on the holiest day, and still, we are concerned about this?

This is how careful our Sages are about the holiness and purity of the Jewish people. One of the great challenges is considering what is right at all times. Hashem loves tahara, purity, and kedusha, holiness. When we can tap into that way of living, we have no idea what benefit and blessing we are bringing down to ourselves and all of Am Yisrael.

Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein zt"l
Change the Course

I once hosted the great Kabbalist, Rav Yosef Shani shlita. He is known for his insight into numerology and reading palms, particularly discerning a person’s destiny to get married and have children.

On this visit, a girl in her thirties ask Rav Shani to interpret the lines on her hand and tell her what he saw. He took a look, and then remarked, “B’ezrat Hashem, you are going to get married soon!” Elated, she left.

Now, he had taught me a little bit about reading palms, so I was somewhat familiar with what to look for. I hadn’t seen anything indicated on her palm about getting married or having children whatsoever. Moreover, Rav Shani took longer than usual in making his assessment. So I knew something was off.

“Rav Shani,” I asked, “does she have a marriage line?” “No,” he said, straightforwardly. “What about children?” “No.” I didn’t know why he therefore told her she’d get married. “Tefillah,” he continued. Now, while I knew tefillah was powerful and could overturn life circumstances, it would take a miracle if the way she was born didn’t hold a destiny of marriage or children for her.

This girl was a very close student of mine, and learning of this sent me into a panic. But I remained optimistic that G-d would somehow find the way to bring this blessing into her life.

Months later, as Pesach was nearing, this girl informed me of a major dilemma she was in. Her parents had planned to attend a Pesach program that was not up to the standards of Kashrus and modesty that she held so dearly onto, and she didn’t know what to do. Her parents were adamant that she join them, voicing their sentiment that if she wouldn’t attend, it would be a huge source of embarrassment to them.

I took her quandary to my rebbe, R’ Gamliel, who advised that she go. “She cannot embarrass her parents in public, but neither should she go to any places in which there is any immodesty or impropriety. She should find a way to be there, and work her way around any issues.” The girl ended up going, but it was extremely difficult and nearly drove her mad. But she did it successfully.

Within a year from this Pesach, she was married. And later, she gave birth.

Now how did this happen?

The answer is that Hashem breaks the rules and roles of the natural world and performs miracles when we do the same. When we break our nature and do what is so difficult and unnatural for us, we bring into our lives the blessing of miracles and Hashem acts toward us measure for measure. For this girl, she went to such great, unprecedented lengths to honor her parents and avoid immodest conduct that Hashem could not help but break the natural course and order of His world. Before that Pesach, she wasn’t destined to get married or have children. After that Pesach, that destiny looked very different.

It included a beautiful marriage and family.

When you break your nature, Hashem does the same. It works. It really does.

Rabbi David Ashear

He’s Here

Imagine a man was diagnosed with an illness and he has six months to live. But his doctor told him that there's one man who could heal him, named Dr. Rosenthal. He knows how to cure what you have. But there's a three year wait to get into him. “What is that going to do for me?” the man wonders. He tries and he talks to every advocate and nothing. You can't get in. Everyone has the same story. The man says, “What am I going to do? I might as well enjoy the last few months of my life.”

He goes to some deserted island in the Caribbean and lies on a lounge chair on a beach all by himself. One day he sees someone out of the corner of his eye, on the deserted beach. “Who's here?” He looks and it's the doctor. The doctor's right here. “Excuse me. Are you Doctor Rosenthal?” “Yeah.” “You have to help me. There's a three year wait to get in to see you!” “You know,” replies the doctor, “I never let anyone cut the line. But because I saw you here, I'm going to help you.” And he healed him.

You know what kind of excitement this man had when he saw that doctor, the one man in the world who could help him? There he is. That's how you are supposed to feel every time you get up to pray. “Oh, I need so much. Who's going to help me with my business? Who's going to help me with a recovery from illness?” You're about to pray and then you see Him. “I found him. He's here!” The one being in the world who could help me, He's right here.

When you pray, you have a one-on-one meeting with Hashem. What would you give. He's right here. How could you not want to open the siddur, the prayer book? The opportunity is right before us.

Rabbi Ari Bensoussan

Our Own Way

Allow me to describe a normal everyday scene inside the home of Rav Chaim Kanievstky zt”l. This comes from the book, “Inside their Homes,” which describes real-life encounters between a Reb Binyamin and various great Torah personalities.

There's 30 people waiting in the room outside. I'm standing next to Rav Chaim and watching his every move in general. When it comes to speaking with Rav Chaim, there isn’t much privacy. The first person comes on line, and says, “I'm married for seven years and we still haven't had children yet.” Rav Chaim says, “You should fulfill the mitzvah of shiluach ha’ken, sending the mother bird away.” The man says thank you and leaves. Another five people come. Later on, a man walks in with the same heartbreaking story. He’s been married for several years and he doesn't have kids.”

Reb Binyamin, who was observing this, was waiting for Rav Chaim to give the same advice as he gave before: perform the mitzvah of shiluach ha’ken, sending the mother bird away. But that wasn’t the case. “Do you do Havdalah after Shabbos with wine or grape juice?” The man replied, “Grape juice.” “From now on,” Rav Chaim said, “do it on wine.” Ten additional people enter for various blessings and good wishes.

The eleventh visitor arrives and he also asks for a blessing for children. You’d imagine that it would either be fulfilling the mitzvah of shiluach ha’ken or Havdalah over wine. Rav Chaim said, “Are your beds situated between north to south or east to west?”  

Among the people that came to visit Rav Chaim that evening, five of them came for blessings and guidance about having children. To each of them, Rav Chaim gave another answer and piece of advice.

What are we to make of this all? Aside from Rav Chaim having special, G-d given insight to guide thousands of people, it’s the fact that we all require different things. None of us are the exact same. And with that all, Hashem, who is our Father, knows exactly what we need and when we need it.

We must trust in Him, and know that just as Rav Chaim gave different advice to different people, Hashem takes care of us, each in our own, unique way.

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