Tuesday, March 13, 2012

314 - Mishpatim

Among the many commandments enumerated in this week's parsha, the Torah issues an extra warning regarding the way we relate to widows and orphans. "Do not cause pain to any widow or orphan. If you cause them pain and they cry out to Me, I will certainly heed their cry. And My wrath will be ignited and I will kill you by the sword and your wives will be widows and your children orphans" (Shemos 22, 21-23). The Ramban explains that this warning applies to all widows, regardless of their financial situation. One must be careful not to cause pain even to an affluent widow, "since her tears are quick in coming and her soul is lowly."

Rav Wolbe (Shiurei Chumash) points out that in numerous places we find that tears possess extraordinary power. One must take extra caution not to bring another person to tears. Chazal (Bava Metzia 59a) warn us, "One must always be careful not to cause his wife pain. Since her tears are quick in coming, the [punishment for the] pain is also quick in coming." Tears are unique in that they have the ability to make an impression on High that brings immediate repercussions.

Additionally, tears are a most powerful form of prayer. Chazal (ibid.) tell us, "Although all gates [of Heaven] were locked, the gates of tears were not locked." Tears can produce the desired effect in a way that regular prayer cannot. When all fails, there is yet another avenue of salvation: a heartfelt tearful prayer to our Father in Heaven.

Tears are powerful and one should use them together with his prayers. When one lacks something extremely dear to him and prays for it, it is relatively easy to be brought to tears. Chazal tell us, "When a talmid chachom is sick, one must [pray for him] until the point that he himself becomes sick." How much more so does this apply when the talmid chachom in distress is the gadol hador. We owe him much more than we can ever fathom. A sincere prayer - with a tear - has the ability to accomplish extraordinary things. May we be speedily merit greeting Moshiach with Maran Reb Yosef Shalom ben Chaya Musha leading the way!

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