As we all know, today is the Yahrzeit of Rochel Imeinu.
The Pasuk in Yirmiyahu (31:14) writes that Rochel cried over the exile of
her children and that Hashem, in turn, responded to Rochel that she need not
HaRav Chaim Shmuelevitz, Z’tl, while once at Kever Rochel, was overheard to
have said that although Hashem had instructed Rochel Imeinu not to cry, he,
“Chaim,” was asking her to cry for her children. The question is clear--if
Hashem told Rochel Imeinu not to cry, how could HaRav
Shmuelevitz--“Chaim”--seemingly go against this order and ask her to cry?
Some say, that HaRav Shmuelevitz himself answered the question by explaining
that while a father (Hashem) could tell his daughter to calm down and not
cry, a child (such as HaRav Shmuelevitz) could ask his mother to show a
special care and concern for her children.
A second explanation is given in the name of HaRav Moshe Aharon Stern, Z’tl,
who teaches that Hashem, by telling Rochel that she didn’t have to cry, was
actually inviting further supplication and tears. HaRav Stern draws the
parallel to Hashem’s response to the sin of the Golden Calf, where He tells
Moshe Rabbeinu, “Leave me alone and I will destroy them,” even though Moshe
had not yet asked for mercy from Hashem for the Chait HaEgel (See Shemos
32:10 and Rashi there).
There is an extremely important lesson for us here. HaRav Matisyahu
Salomon, Shlita, notes that the Bais HaMikdash is referred to as the “Sukkas
Dovid HaNofoles” (Amos 9:11)--as the falling/fallen booth of Dovid. He
explains that the word “Nofoles” is meant to inspire us to picture a person
or a precious object as it is falling and as it finally falls. He or it is
not in its natural or proper position. Something that is falling or has
fallen, must be picked up and placed where it is supposed to be.
The Navi teaches that Rochel Imeinu cried for her children. HaRav
Shmuelevitz asked her to keep crying. Likewise, the Navi tells us that we
must recognize that the Bais HaMikdash is Nofoles. We, too, must do
everything in our power to pick it back up. How? May we suggest that at
some point in the day we follow in the footsteps of our Mama Rochel. We
should take a moment out to envision the falling in front of us--and do what
we can to stop the fall by asking Hashem to raise up, and keep up, that most
precious possession, to Him and to us, the most special place on earth, the
May the words of Hashem to Rochel--“there is a reward for your actions--and
your children will return to their borders” then ring true for our actions,
as well, speedily and in our day!
*Special Note Two*: In the Sefer Sifsei Chaim, HaRav Chaim Friedlander,
Z’tl, provides a common denominator of three special middos that a person
could and should have. These Middos are: (a) being Dan L’Chaf
Zechus--judging another favorably even if the odds seem to be against it;
(b) being Ma’aver Al HaMidos--overcoming one’s initial reaction to a person,
issue or event, being flexible, and overlooking personal affront; and (c)
being a Ba’al Chesed--being known as someone who constantly helps others.
What is the real common denominator among these three middos? It is more,
Rabbi Friedlander writes, than just he is a “nice person” or that he has a
good temperament, or even that he had fine parents or a good upbringing.
Rather, it is that a person with these three Midos together has successfully
overcome the selfish element of “I” within him and has included those around
him as part of himself. Because such a person is so successful at life, Rav
Friedlander concludes that there is simply no way that this person will be
judged in Shomayim in the same manner as other people. It is for this
reason that we are urged to work on these particular Middos prior to the
When we had suggested to our readers that they review the Sefer Mesilas
Yesharim in Elul, a reader wrote to us then as follows: “It seems that it
would be more appropriate for people to learn Mesilas Yesharim and Sefarim
of Mitzvos Bein Adam Le’Chaveiro between Succos and Rosh Chodesh Elul and
begin acting properly during the year so that from Rosh Chodesh Elul through
Yom Kippur we will already know what it means to be a Mentsh. Lo Hamidrash
Haikar Ela Hamaase!”
An excellent point! Why wait until next year prior to the Yemai Hadin when
you can work on this “Three-in-One” Midos combination far in advance. Your
thin and limited , narrow one-line of an “I” will certainly be much broader
and larger--and may very well be as wide as a “We” (also compare the word
“Ani” to the word “Anachnu”)!
*Special Note Three:* As we begin to study the actions and words of Avrohom
Avinu, we continue our notes on the first brocha of Shemone Esrei, “Avos”:
1. The Brocha is so primary to a person’s day that HaRav Tuvia
Goldstein, Z’tl, made it a point in his later years, whenever he spoke at a
public gathering on any topic, to devote the first part of his Shiur to the
importance of proper Kavannah in the first Brocha, with detail as to that
2. One should understand the difference between “Elokei Avraham”,
“Elokei Yitzchak”, and “Elokei Yaakov”, and the parallel distinction between
“HaGadol”, “HaGibor”, and “HaNorah”. We are not using extra words or being
mellifluous. The distinctions are important, and most certainly assist us
as we draw and learn from the zechus of each of our Avos!
3. The commentaries note that the words “U’maivi Goel L’Vnei
V’neihem--and brings a Redeemer to their children’s children” is recited in
the present tense. Two suggestions are offered for this. First, that every
day we move a step closer to the Geulah Shelaima--that the Geulah is
occurring as we speak! Second, that Hashem gives us each our own personal
Geulos--redemptions and yeshuos from issues and matters affecting us in our
daily life. We can certainly have both intentions in mind.
4. There are, of course, two ways that the Geulah can come--through our
own merit or even if we do not merit it, “Lema’an Shemo”--so that the Chilul
Hashem of Golus comes to an end. Even if Hashem must redeem us “Lema’an
Shemo”, it will, the bracha teaches us, still be “Be’ahava”--with love. His
love for us will be unaffected. From this, we should begin to appreciate
how great His love for us really is (HaRav Chaim Friedlander). Hashem was,
is, and always will be, the “Ohaiv Amo Yisroel”!