Published Date: August 19, 2019
This week’s music: Next Year in Jerusalem
“Va’etchanan el Hashem ba’et hahi lemor “ ( Devarim 3.23), and , Moshe says, I begged and prayed to Hashem “at that time” saying, the following.
Many of the brilliant Chassidic commentaries wonder about the necessity of the words, “at that time.”
Reb Levi Yitzchak- and The Slonimer Rebe emphasize that it was “davka,”exactly at that time. What was that time? “Moshe Rabeinu’s” prayers took place right after “B’nai Yisrael” were victorious in the war against the most wicked kings,” Sichon mlech Ha’emori and Og melech Habashan.” . Something special was about to happen. Could this be not only the threshold of “B’nai Yisrael” entering “Eretz Yisrael,” but also the gateway to the final and absolute Geula, redemption? Is this what Moshe was really praying for? Please let me join them, Moshe is begging, not for myself but for the sake of You God and all of Your children to finally bring an end to all of the suffering in this world.
Many years ago we learned from Rebbe Shlomo Carlebach, in the name of The Mai Shiloach, The Ishbitzer Rebbe, an additional understanding of these words. The numerical value of the opening word in our Torah portion,“Va’etchanan,” equals 515.This, says the Ishbitzer, is the number of times that Moshe begged to enter The Land. The significance of such an astoundingly high number of requests is that although Hashem did not grant his wish to enter, this was because presumably ,it was not yet time for the “Geulah, “ He did want to offer Moshe and The Children of Israel the awareness about a general rule in Jewish prayer. “The moment a person starts praying, all the gates of heaven are opening; the moment I finish praying, the gates are closed. Reb Shlomo continued to explain that “Moshe Rabeinu” wanted to teach the “B’nai Yisrael” this important life rule regarding the character of prayer. “Moshe Rabeinu” wanted to tell “Am Yisrael” that the gates of heaven are open and unlocked until the “coming of Moshiach.” Therefore, Moshe continues, “know that I started to pray and Hashem has not yet answered me.” Reb Shlomo adds in the name of The Ishbitzer ,because everybody knows that Moshe Rabeinu will only come into “Eretz Yisrael” when “Moshiach ,”our righteous one, arrives. So Moshe is begging us, please don’t stop praying until we get the answer that we are all waiting for. Please keep praying and keep the gates open for our future prayers.( “Omek Halev;” R.Yachad Witt).
This Torah of the Ishbitzer connects beautifully to the pervious words of Reb Levi Yitzchak and The Slonimer. ”Davka” at this time of victory, when Moshe was clear that entering into “Eretz Yisrael,” in it’s highest reality could only be with “Moshiach,” he so strongly desired to enter so that he could lead the way for all of our prayers for Peace. We had to realize the need for each of us to beg for an end to suffering in this world. We had to strengthen ourselves to desire for ultimate Peace in the entire world, The “Geluah Shleima,” with the building of our Holy Temple, Hashem’s home in our world.
Rebbe Nachman adds a critical piece to the puzzle of prayer. What does the Torah mean, “at that time?” So often we wake up in the morning and we think to ourselves, how can I really go in front of God in prayer this morning. I am tired, my prayers will be lazy at best and perhaps be void of directed spiritual intention and meaning. Rebbe Nachman gives us great clarity and deep insight. One day, you will be blessed to see your prayers filled and shining with holy light. “At that time, “ in that moment, know that all of your previous prayers which you offered simply out of obligation, will now grab on to the coat tails of this new deep spiritual yearning to connect with Hashem. Never give in. We must never give up.
If I could humbly ask for your blessings, for all of us to be able to stop and seize our precious moments of prayer. It is all in the moment. All in our time, “today,” as much as in the time of our ancestors (Devarim 5.1-5) .It is a must to understand the amazing power that each and every one of us is given by Hashem to mamash change the world through meaningful prayer. To beg for an end to suffering, to desire a perfect world for all, and to utilize that “koach,” potential of power, knowing that the gates of heaven are still wide open simply waiting for us to direct our prayers to Hashem for each other.
“Nachamu Ami,yomar Eloheichem. Dabru al lev Yerushalayim,v’kiru eleha,” (Yeshayahu 40.1-2).Hashem tells us to feel comforted ,in our mourning and call out to Her, His Holy Place.