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Parshat Beha’alotcha – The Super Specialist

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By: Chaya Sora Jungreis-Gertzulin

Parshas Beha’aloscha, 1991. The Shabbos of my son’s Bar Mitzvah. Family and friends joined together for a memorable simcha. We had the honor and merit of having my father, HaRav Meshulem ben HaRav Asher Anshel HaLevi zt”l, grace this special occasion.

Abba was a big believer in visual aids. He was very artistic, and would often make posters to illustrate his Torah teachings. This was years before the advent of computer graphics that are currently common. He began his dvar Torah by telling us all that he wouldn’t be speaking very long. Abba then held up an oak tag with the words found at the very end of this week’s parsha. It was Moshe’s prayer on behalf of his sister Miriam who was afflicted with tzara’as. “Keil nah refah nah lah – Please, HaShem, heal her now.” (Bamidbar 12:13)

Five words. Eleven letters in all. A short prayer, but ever so powerful.

With his poster, my father left us with an everlasting message. A sincere prayer – or for that matter, a speech delivered at a Bar Mitzvah—need not be wordy to be meaningful.

My father taught us another important lesson. Each word should be carefully thought out. Each word should be essential. Listen to Moshe’s words: Please – HaShem – Heal – Her – Now. Short. Concise. To the point. And powerful.

The Talmud teaches that “Shaarei Demaos lo ninalu, the Gates of Tears are never closed”. (Bava Metzia 59a) When one cries out to HaShem, his prayers pierce the Heavenly gates. It’s not the length of one’s prayer but the kavannah – the feelings and emotions. The sincerity and genuineness of the prayer.

To pray from the heart. To really mean it. When we concentrate and listen to the words, they become part of our very being.

My mother, the Rebbetzin a”h would say that what sweat is to a good workout, tears are to a heartfelt prayer.

Over the course of the past several months of weekly Torah portions, we have learned about Moshe, the leader of the Jewish nation. How he felt the pain of the people and actually joined them on the working fields of Egypt. Moshe, who stood before Pharaoh, pleading for his people’s freedom. Moshe crossing the sea and leading the nation through the desert. Moshe bringing the Torah to Am Yisroel at Mount Sinai, and being there for them to study, teach and judge. And it was Moshe who beseeched HaShem to forgive the nation after the episode of the Golden Calf.

We now meet Moshe, the brother. Moshe who prayed from his heart, begging HaShem to send a speedy recovery to his sister Miriam. Moshe, who as the leader of the nation bore an enormous responsibility, and who could have easily begged off, delegating the saying of prayers to someone else. But the Torah tells us otherwise. He loved and cared for his sister. He prayed for her with all of his heart and soul.

“HaShem, please heal her.” Moshe’s prayer teaches us that HaShem is the best doctor, the ultimate healer. Every day in our morning prayers, we thank HaShem for being the “Rofeh kol bassar, the Healer of all mankind.”

HaShem has the power to not only heal us physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. As Dovid HaMelech tells us in Tehillim, “Harofeh l’shvurei lev, u’mechabeish l’atzvosam, He is the Healer of the brokenhearted, and the One Who binds up their sorrows.” (Tehillim 147:3)

A story is told of Reb Mordechai of Neshchiz, a descendant of the famed Maharal of Prague. “Yankel” approached the Rebbe, sharing with him a long list of his ailments. He told the Rebbe that he went from doctor to doctor, but it was of no avail.

The Rebbe suggested that Yankel travel to Anipoli, (the Yiddish name of Hannopil, Ukraine) and see the top specialist there.

Filled with hope, Yankel hired a wagon driver and set out to Anipoli. As soon as he arrived to the small shtetl, Yankel began asking as to where could he find the great specialist. The townspeople were all bewildered, for Anipoli didn’t even have a doctor – let alone, the specialist that Yankel was looking for.

A disappointed Yankel turned around, making the journey back home. He made his way to Reb Mordechai and shared his experience. The Rebbe asked Yankel if he inquired from the townspeople as to what they did when they became sick.

“Of course, I asked”, Yankel replied. “The people told me that they turned to HaShem in prayer.”

“Ahh” said the Rebbe, “the people of Anipoli go to the greatest specialist of all”.

A story with a meaningful message. While we should, and must turn to doctors and medical professionals when necessary, at the same time we mustn’t forget who the “doctor’s doctor” is – the super-specialist, HaShem above.

Rav Nachman of Breslov has many teachings on tefillah.

He suggested that we make time every day to speak to HaShem, as a child who speaks to a loving parent, able to ask for anything. To reach out to HaShem with our own words, composing our personal tefillos.

We can talk to HaShem at special times, as at candle lighting or at life-cycle occasions, such as a chuppah. To speak to HaShem before undergoing medical procedures, and for guidance and wisdom in making important life decisions. For success in business, for safe travels, and of course, for the good health of family and friends.

We must also remember that prayer is not just for asking, but is also to express gratitude and words of thanks. To take time out and say thank you HaShem.

We should all take a lesson from Moshe. It’s not about how long the prayer is, it’s all about how sincere and heartfelt it is. To pray with intense devotion. To daven and connect to HaShem, the specialist who is always available, whose appointment book is always open. To whom no request is too large or too small. We just must turn to Him with all our heart.

Shabbat Shalom!

Chaya Sora

Chaya Sora can be reached at [email protected]

This article was written L’zecher Nishmas / In Memory Of HaRav Meshulem ben HaRav Osher Anshil HaLevi, zt”l and Rebbetzin Esther bas HaRav Avraham HaLevi, zt”l

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