Parshas Beha’aloscha – The Super-Specialist
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 always had a light – but very practical – way of looking at life. He began his dvar Torah, his Torah message by telling us all that he wouldn’t be speaking very long. To illustrate his point, he held up an oak tag with the words found at the very end of this week’s parshah. It was Moshe’s prayer on behalf of his sister Miriam, “Keil nah refah nah lah – Please G-d heal her now.” (Bamidbar/Numbers 12:13)
Five words. Eleven letters in all. A short prayer, but ever so powerful.
With his visual aid, my father left us with an everlasting message. A sincere prayer – or for that matter, a Bar Mitzvah speech — 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 – G-d – Heal – Her – Now. Short. Concise. To the point. And powerful.
The Talmud tells us that the Gates of Tears are never closed, and one who cries out to HaShem may rest assured that his prayers reach the Heavenly throne. 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.
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 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 King David tells us in Psalms, “Harofeh l’shvurei lev, u’mechabeish l’atzvosam, He is the Healer of the brokenhearted, and the One Who binds up their sorrows.” (Tehillim/Psalms 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 to no avail.
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 have any 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 sweet story. 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.
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.
Chaya Sora can be reached at email@example.com
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