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FRUMToronto Articles Parsha Pearls

Devrei Torah relating to the weekly Parsha.

Parshas Vayechi
Shortly before Yaakov Avinu passed away, he requested that Yosef swear that he would bury him in Me’aras Hamachpeila. After Yosef complied with his father’s wish, Yaakov Avinu prostrated himself towards the head of the bed. Rashi comments that he specifically bowed towards the head of the bed because the Shechina rests above the head of someone who is ill. Rav Wolbe asks (Shiurei Chumash Parshas Vayechi) why is the Shechina located specifically above the head of an ill person? He explains that Hashem’s closeness to a person is directly in proportion to the extent that the person feels that he cannot depend on himself. The more a person feels that he can “get by” on his own, the further he is from Hashem. In contrast, someone who is ill and realizes his complete lack of strength is much less complacent. Hence, he subjugates himself before his Creator, thereby meriting a special closeness to Hashem. Additionally, our Sages tell us that an ill person’s prayers are more effective in procuring his recovery than the prayers of another for him. It is because he is more cognizant that his only help is from Hashem that Hashem favors his tefillos. When Yitzchok and Rivka prayed together that they merit bearing children, the Torah tells us that Hashem acquiesced to Yitzchok’s prayers as opposed to Rivka’s prayers. Rashi explains that the prayers of someone whose parents are wicked cannot be compared to the prayers of someone whose parents are righteous. Rav Wolbe (ibid. Parshas Toldos) quotes The Alter of Kelm who explains the reasoning behind this phenomenon with the above concept. Someone whose forbearers were wicked knows that they can’t depend on their merits. However, someone whose ancestors were righteous might feel that he need not pray so intensely since he has plenty of merits on which to rely. If nonetheless he completely subjugates himself before Hashem and prays with the proper intensity, he has worked on his tefillos to a greater degree then someone without special merits. This is the form of tefilla that is awarded special treatment by Hashem. Rabbeinu Yonah writes that someone who is haughty does not merit Heavenly assistance. The reason being that he feels that he is ‘something special’ and therefore does not subjugate himself before Hashem. Similarly, the Gr’a writes that children merit special Providence (we can witness miracles involving children on a daily basis) because they realize that they are completely dependent on others. Their lack of self-reliance is their key to receiving Divine intervention. “Hashem is close to all those who call out to Him – to all who truly call out to Him.” Hashem listens to every single prayer without regard to the supplicant’s spiritual level. However, he must realize when he prays, that he is completely dependent on Hashem and it is only He who has the ability to assist him. The effectiveness of our prayers and our closeness to Hashem are directly proportionate to the extent that we subjugate ourselves before Him. This dvar Torah was compiled by the family of the Mashgiach l’iluy nishmas the Mashgiach Harav Shlomo ben R’ Moshe z”l.

Posted 1/6/2007 12:00 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls

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