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9 Tammuz 5760 - July 12, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
Valuable Advice from HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and HaRav Yehuda Shapira

HaRav Yitzchok Koledetzky, following the directives of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and HaRav Yehuda Shapira, gave the following words of chizuk at the renowned Lederman beis knesses of Bnei Brak on Shabbos Isru Chag of Shavuos:

1] We are stunned by last year's numerous tragedies when young men and women were niftar leaving behind widows and orphans, Rachmono litzlan. Every incident of a bereaved family shocks us to the core. There is today no novi who can tell us why such calamities happen.

We should not despair. We must, as our forefathers have always done in such incidents, be mispalel to Hashem to arouse rachamei Shomayim and make efforts to add to our zechuyos. Rachamei Shomayim to bring refu'os and yeshu'os for am Yisroel are aroused when each individual works to improve himself spiritually in order to increase the zechuyos for all Klal Yisroel, and how much more so when the general public is involved.

Maran HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein zt'l, the mashgiach of Yeshivas Ponevezh of Bnei Brak, would point out that saying the brocho of asher yotzar with kavono can bring about refu'os for Am Yisroel (cited in Tefillas Channah).

Rabbenu the Chofetz Chaim would put his finger in the siddur when saying the brocho of asher yotzar.

When HaRav Eliyahu Lopian zt'l, the mashgiach of Yeshivas Kfar Chassidim, once traveled by train he said the brocho of asher yotzar out loud and with kavono, and everyone listening answered Omen. Soon after the train passed over a mine without incident. Everyone on the train realized that the zechus of the Rav's saying asher yotzar with kavono had miraculously saved them from a catastrophe.

Surely if a large tzibbur and particularly cheder children say asher yotzar from a siddur, much rachamei Shomayim will be aroused to bring refu'os for the entire world.

2) It is known that Maran the Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav E. M. Shach shlita, always stresses the importance of saying bircas hamozone from a siddur. Eleven years ago when he attended a levaya of one of his most prominent talmidim he requested the tzibbur to say the brochos of bircas hamozone from a siddur, and in this zechus, he said, we will surely be zoche to rachamei Shomayim.

The Beer Heitev (Orach Chaim 185) writes: "I found someone who explains that no fei sofis is written in bircas hamozone because no af (wrath) or ketzef (fury) will strike someone who says the brochos of bircas hamozone with kavono. Furthermore, they will enjoy abundant livelihood their whole lives. The medakdek should be careful to say the brochos only from a siddur and not by heart."

All of the above is true when an individual enhances his avodas Hashem. Surely when an entire tzibbur do so they gain much more.

3) Maran HaRav Yitzchok Zeev Soloveitchik zt'l, the Brisker Rov, suffered immensely during his last illness. The Mirrer rosh yeshiva, Maran HaRav E. Y. Finkel zt'l, came to visit him. The Brisker Rav asked why the yeshiva talmidim are not being mispalel for his refu'ah since he is certain that doing so would be effective, and if they would be mispalel for him he would surely feel better. Since he does not see any improvement in his condition this unquestionably shows that they have not been mispalel for him.

When one of the talmidim of the mashgiach, HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein zt'l, became sick and suffered yissurim the mashgiach requested the yeshiva to say Tehillim after ma'ariv. What happened was astounding! The doctors testified that at that same time, every night at eight o'clock [the time they would say Tehillim in the yeshiva] the patient was calmer and suffered less from his yissurim [since even when there is already a gezeira, Rachmono litzlan, it is possible to reduce it through the power of tefillah and thus alleviate suffering].

A story is told in the introduction of Nachalas Eliyahu of HaRav Eliyahu Dushnitzer zt'l. Because of managing his son's orchard, HaRav Eliyahu sunk deeply into debt. R' Eliyahu asked his talmid, a principal of a cheder, to say a few kapitlach of Tehillim with the cheder talmidim for his success in selling his son's orchard. The principal forgot about the whole affair.

Some time afterwards R' Eliyahu met his talmid, the principal, and asked him why he had not yet said Tehillim with his talmidim. R' Eliyahu said he is certain that if the cheder children say Tehillim for him he will sell the orchard. The next day, without delay, the principal arranged for the children to say some kapitlach of Tehillim, and on that very day R' Eliyahu amazingly succeeded in selling the orchard.

We learn from this that when cheder children strengthen themselves in tefillah it is immediately effective. R' Eliyahu was positive that he had not succeeded in selling the orchard since the talmidim had not yet prayed for him.

4) We will conclude this article with a story about a recent occurrence that teaches us a lesson about the importance of a tzibbur: A respectable Jew in Bnei Brak tragically became ill. Doctors operated on him many times without any encouraging results, and his condition worsened drastically. In order to help him, his friends decided not to speak any sichas chulin or even divrei Torah in the beis midrash from the beginning of the tefillah (from Boruch She'omar) until the very end (after the last Kaddish). With Hashem's help, there was an immediate improvement, and he eventually returned to normal life.

It is well known that when people came to HaRav Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky zt'l, the Steipler Rov, to ask for brochos, he would in many instances say: "I am only one person and do not have much power, but you as a tzibbur have an immeasurable power of the rabbim to annul gezeiros, Rachmono litzlan."

"When she came before the king he commanded by means of the book that his wicked scheme, which he had devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head" (Esther 9:25). Rabbenu the Vilna Gaon says that the posuk implies that when a Jew comes before the King (when he prays or says a brocho before HaKodosh Boruch Hu) the best advice is for him to say his tefillos from inside the "book." By doing so the wicked scheme will be foiled, that the thoughts disturbing his tefillah will be removed.

It is only proper to add that Maran HaRav Y. Y. Kanievsky zt'l used to say that when a Jew davens from a siddur despite being disturbed by other thoughts his seeing the words of tefillah within the siddur is also considered kavono.

The novi Malachi in the end of his nevu'ah promises us that when the tzibbur strengthen themselves, a special sefer zikoron is opened in Shomayim. Anyone found in that sefer is zoche to abundant rachamei Shomayim (see the end of Malachi) and in the zechus of the rabbim elevating themselves may we be privileged to hear besuros tovos, yeshu'os, and nechomos.

Omein, kein yehi rotzon.

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