A Call for Tefillah – Yom Kippur Katan Nissan 5784 | Rabbi Moshe Hauer

Dear Friend,

Mei’ayin Yavo Ezri? From Where Will Our Help Come?

Tomorrow, Monday April 8, is Yom Kippur Katan, Erev Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Every month, the eve of Rosh Chodesh is a time to focus especially on tefillah, even more so in times of crisis, and – considering our experience last week – particularly this Yom Kippur Katan.

Last week’s experience was both heartening and clarifying.

It was heartening to watch the unprecedented response of close to 200,000 people who – in less than a week – sent letters to President Biden urging him to strengthen his support of Israel. It was moving to watch our team at the OU step forward so passionately and effectively to lead the way on getting this done. And it was inspiring to have the ready and eager partnership of so many, including friends of Israel beyond our community, national Jewish organizations, and local shuls and schools. Klal Yisrael cares for each other, is deeply concerned about the change in tone of the administration, made its voice heard, and clearly made an impression.

While in Israel we saw the unfortunate reopening of divisions that we had hoped were behind us, much of American Jewry stepped up to remind us of our unbreakable unity and of the privilege of being a part of this community; u’mi k’amcha Yisrael. This was heartening.

But it was clearly not enough. In response to the tragic killing of 7 aid workers from World Central Kitchen and despite our efforts, the very next day the administration adopted an even harsher and more critical tone towards Israel. Hardly a word was said to highlight Israel’s immediate grief, apology, investigation, and response. Instead, Israel was condemned and threatened for an accident that it regrets and Hamas celebrates. Evidently, our message has not yet gotten through, and that is clarifying.

It clarifies that our human responsibility is to make the effort, while the success of the effort is determined by Hashem. “Tonn, nisht oif-tonn”; our task is to do, not to accomplish. Success or failure is in His hands.

Which is why we need to daven.

There is a story recorded about the Chafetz Chaim who, in his last years, became very agitated late one Shabbos afternoon and expressed the desire to travel to Vilna immediately following Shabbos to consult with Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski. What was on his mind was something he had seen in the Ramban that made him recognize how critical it was for the Jewish people to daven for their redemption, and he wanted to immediately get to work with Rav Chaim Ozer to motivate the Jewish people to do just that.

This is what moved the Chafetz Chaim:

A long time after that, the king of Egypt died. The Bnai Yisrael were groaning under the bondage and cried out; and their cry for help from the bondage rose up to Hashem. Hashem heard their moaning, and Hashem remembered the covenant with Avraham and Yitzchak and Yaakov. Hashem looked upon the Bnai Yisrael and Hashem took notice of them. (Shemos 2:23-25)

Noted Ramban: “Scripture gives a lengthy account of the many reasons for their redemption… This is because even though the time [of bondage] decreed upon them was completed, they were not worthy of redemption… it was only on account of the cry that He in His mercies accepted their prayer.”

We need to daven for the ge’ulah.

We must recognize deep in our hearts that it will not be the king or the president that will bring us our deliverance. “Ezri mei’im Hashem, os’eh shamayim va’aretz. Our help comes from Hashem, the creator of heaven and earth.”

While we continue to pray for what we have focused on every day for the past six months, including the hostages, the soldiers on the front lines and those wounded, the displaced, and all of their circles of friends and family, in this season slated for ge’ulah we must also think bigger and daven bigger, aiming for nothing less than the ultimate clarifying moment of full redemption and full healing for the world.

We all made an effort with the president and we will continue to do so, but we must never stop turning to the true source from where our help will come, and we know that while – with Hashem’s help – the president may return to speaking strongly and clearly in support of Israel and the Jewish people and may push with all his strength for the unconditional and long-awaited freedom for the hostages, it is only the hand of Hashem that will bring ge’ulah and true healing to the world.

Al ma yeish lanu l’hisha’ein, al Avinu shebashamayim. We have none to rely on other than our Father in heaven. We must ask for His help.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Moshe Hauer
Executive Vice President

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