This is not the first time in history that we stand to benefit from the burning tears of our compassionate foremother. Anyone who saw a yeshu’ah last year has surely been yearning for an entire year to repeat this great opportunity. And whoever did not experience a yeshu’ah last year, must have heard about one from someone who did. Now the time we have been waiting for has finally arrived. We will very soon merit the time when “Rachel cries for her children.” And this will happen not just once, and not just for forty consecutive days, either! It will be an entire year of asking Mama Rachel to act on our behalf in Heaven above.
At the junction, on the road to Beis Lechem, is where Yaakov Avinu chose to bury Rachel Imeinu and to erect a monument on her grave. Before this, there never was such a concept of placing a monument on a grave. We find this only by Rachel Imeinu, and it was no mere coincidence. There was a hidden intention involved here: maaseh avos siman lebanim. What happened to our forefathers foretells what is destined to happen to their descendants.
The Midrash relates Yaakov Avinu’s enigmatic decision to bury his beloved Rachel at the junction, despite the fact that they were so close to the city of Efrat. It was because Yaakov Avinu foresaw the future. He foresaw his dear children going into a bitter exile, following the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. He foresaw the downtrodden Jews passing the road to Beis Lechem on their journey into galus. Then, when our devoted and caring mother, Rachel, would see her precious children treading along, broken and mourning, headed to the unknown, she would come out of her grave right away, and call out to Hashem to have compassion on her beloved children – – –
A voice is heard high up in the Heavens, Rachel is crying . . . crying over her precious and beloved children . . . they are more precious to her than anything else. She had poured out so many tears just to merit having those children. She had sacrificed so much for them. She cannot bear to watch them suffer. And when this voice is heard high up in the Heavens, nothing can stand against it. Hashem is immediately moved by her prayers, and He assures her that her efforts will be worthwhile . . .
This is why Yaakov Avinu chose to build a monument specifically at this place. Even on their way into dreadful exile, they would be able to recognize the spot. There they would be able to daven, to express their pain and distress, to unload their overwhelming burdens, and to bring a yeshu’ah though Rachel Imeinu . . .
Many years before, when Yosef Hatzaddik went into exile in Egypt, Providence arranged that the Yishmaelite caravan should pass by the road to Beis Lechem. Yes, to the very spot where Rachel Imeinu was buried. This was so she would be able to offer provisions, prayers, and blessings to her precious son, Yosef Hatzaddik, on his hard journey.
This was true not only then, but today as well.
The Torah writes: “This is the monument of Rachel to this day.” Until this very moment. So it has remained for thousands of generations until today!
Throughout all generations, Jews knew that if they had problems at home or when their hearts were distressed, they could turn to Mama Rachel. She is always there to listen. At any given moment, Rachel Imeinu is standing and waiting for us on the junction of our own personal exiles. She lightens the burden of our exile, relieves our pain, and bandages our bleeding wounds – until the fulfillment of the promise: “The children will return to their borders.”
A mother will always be a mother.
Even a tiny baby knows where to turn, without anyone having to tell him; when a child needs something or when he is in pain, his mother is there for him. When he wants something more than he strictly deserves, he approaches his mother. You can get everything if you ask your mother. A mother will always listen and understand. She will give him whatever he needs. A mother will always be a mother!
At the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, all the Avos came and appealed for compassion on behalf of Klal Yisrael, but Hashem answered the tears and pleas of Rachel Imeinu. It was she who portrayed the virtues of compassion and of devotion to others. She was willing to forfeit her entire future, both material and physical. At the moment when she revealed the secret signs to her sister Leah, she jeopardized her chance of participating in the formation of Klal Yisrael. And she did this only to avoid embarrassing her sister!
This pure heart is still beating. The righteous are capable of accomplishing much more up Above than they can down here. The prayer of a mother is much more than a simple prayer; it enters the Heavens even without having to pass through gates. It breaks through all the barriers and through all the doors – even during the most difficult of times. The prayers of Rachel Imeinu burst through the Heavens, all the way up to the Heavenly Throne, even “to this day”!
Are we capable of understanding the power of a prayer recited at Rachel’s tomb? We have no idea how much merit it is to stand in tefilah at the very spot where Rachel Imeinu is standing to this very day, bringing about yeshu’os for her beloved children.
The Vilna Gaon said that today, in our generation, the main spot where the Shechinah rests is at Rachel Imeinu’s tomb!
Nowadays we do not have the Beis Hamikdash, neither do we have the tzaddikim of the earlier generations, but there is one thing we still have, just like in earlier times: Rachel Imeinu’s tomb. This is the very same Rachel’s tomb where Yosef Hatzaddik prayed more than 3,500 years ago. We still have the same Rachel’s tomb where Jews cried on their way into exile 2,500 years ago. We must seize this opportunity and utilize it to its fullest!
Who among us who would not want to spend an entire day davening there?
We have plenty of things to tell Rachel Imeinu, and we have so much to ask. We wish we could spend so much time there that we could ask Hashem for everything we need, so we could plead Hashem near her tomb for everything we need!
There is no such thing as an unanswered prayer. Every tefilah offered to Hashem at Rachel’s tomb removes another layer from our overburdened hearts. Every request we make at Rachel’s tomb is like making a request from our mother. A mother is a mother. She approaches the Heavenly throne and pleads on behalf of every prayer recited to Hashem at her tomb. Sometimes, Hashem wants to hear our prayers again and again, more and more, until He will send the yeshu’ah.
We would so like to ask of Mama Rachel on behalf of our children – that they (and we) should be healthy, and that we should see a lot of nachas from them. We want to pray to Hashem for an abundant and easy livelihood, for a good life, and for the siyata d’Shmaya that is essential to all of us in every facet of life.
Besides davening for ourselves, we want to daven at Rachel’s tomb also for those who are unable to bear children. After all, she knows how hard it is to wait for children, and how exhausting and painful the anticipation is . . . or perhaps we want to pray on behalf of someone who has not yet found his or her zivug, or on behalf someone who is ill.
Mama Rachel is there waiting for us, even today.
And Vaad Harabbanim offers you the maximum, as always.
How happy we are when we help our children. And how indebted we would feel to someone who took care of our children. A mother would give anything for someone to stand by her child in his difficult moments.
Mama Rachel is no different from us. As the very symbol of compassion and devotion, she would be so proud of us who donate to Vaad Harabbanim, following in her footsteps. She would deeply appreciate our generous efforts to compassionately and devotedly support her children in distress.
How many children have been able, and will be able, to smile for the first time because of your generosity in donating to Vaad Harabbanim? How many children have seen, and will be able to see, their parents calm and smiling in their troubled lives, because of Vaad Harabbanim’s wonderful donors?
How many families have been saved, and will be saved, from total collapse – because of your generous and compassionate hearts? How many people are walking around alive today, because of life-saving surgery that was made possible only because of you who donate to Vaad Harabbanim!?
With this great bundle of merits, a minyan of talmidei chachamim and tzaddikim, people totally engrossed in spirituality and Torah study all day, will pray and plead at Rachel’s tomb specifically on your behalf.
Not just for one or two days, but for forty consecutive days! Forty days of constant prayer have a great segulah and do not go unanswered.
But is not for just forty days. It is every single day, for an entire year, adding up to a total of 354 prayers! All of them specifically on your behalf!
All this will commence on the yahrzeit of Rachel Imeinu, 11 Cheshvan, a day with a segulah for bringing yeshu’os. It was on this day, over 3,500 years ago, that Yaakov Avinu established the secret behind our survival in exile; it was the day that he buried Rachel Imeinu at the junction; it was the day he erected a monument on Rachel’s tomb for all generations, so that even we, today, 3,500 years later, can come to daven there, and see yeshu’os.
Could anyone miss such an opportunity?? Who wouldn’t want his name to be on the list, in this huge prayer effort that is being held specially for you, the donors to Vaad Harabbanim?
Now we can all ask 354 times for Rachel Imeinu’s monumental merit to bring us yeshu’os.
With Hashem’s help, we will all see the fulfillment of the Divine promise that stands strong to this very day!!
On one of the days, the tefilah will be led by Moreinu Harav Hagaon Shmuel Auerbach shlita and Moreinu the Rebbe of Rachmestrivka shlita, who together will pray by Rachel Imeinu that every individual should see the particular yeshu’ah he needs.