Summer’s here, with all the heat and humidity. But before you know it, we’ll be blowing the shofar, and that will be an appropriate sound after all we’ve been through lately.
The month of Elul!
It will soon be Elul once again. With Hashem’s great mercy for us, with holiness you can almost feel, and with a perceptible sense of fear.
How is next year going to be, 5782? What’s going to happen in our lives?
The world has been shaken up. The ground has crumbled under our feet, and we’re bracing ourselves for what next year has in store for us. We hope for a year where all our suffering will come to an end, that we’ll have happiness instead of sadness, and blessing instead of…
Throughout these forty days of Hashem’sjudgement and mercy, Gedolimwill travel to the holy sites and pray on our behalf. Messengers of VaadHarabbanim will show up every day to pray, cry, and pour out their hearts for us that we should be spared from any harsh decrees.
This is something to take seriously, because we know how much it helps. This is our best defense – all the tzedakah we give and all the prayers we say. We hope to be written and sealed in the Book of Life!
What’s in store for us
What happened to us last year?
How many happy occasions did we have? How much sorrow? How often were our hearts pounding with worries, and how often were they filled with joy?
Last year, because of all the difficulties, a long list of new families joined VaadHarabbanim. Among them, there are people with all sorts of health problems: malignant growths, kidney failure, need for surgery or rehabilitation, heart problems, mental illness, people with crutches and wheelchairs. And not only them, but all of their families along with them, all trying their best to help them out, and all worn out from the endless strain.
Last year, so many orphans joined VaadHarabbanim. Little children who lost their mother, or their father, or both, crying helplessly and not quite understanding their loss, crying out “Mommy, come back! Mommy, come back!”
Last year, so many families fell so deeply into poverty. Suddenly there’s no way to pay for the essential things they so desperately need. And the house isn’t the same anymore – Mommy and Daddy are a lot more nervous than usual, and the children are suffering from the stress.
There are so many difficulties in the world, and VaadHarabbanim knows more than anyone else just how many there are!
But now, a new year is about to start. 5782. What will it be like?
What things would you like to be different? What things would you like to stay the same?
Your life is hanging in the balance: How successful will you be in business? How often will you have to go to the doctor? What happy occasions will you have? What sad times will there be? Everything is being decided – your satisfaction in life, your health, wealth, and the quality of your relationships… every detail, large and small. In fact, life itself.
During this very holy time of year, we so much want to leave everything behind and just stand in front of Hashem, praying to Him and expressing our love for Him. We so much want to take shelter in His mercy, to tell Him how much we’re sorry – like little children to their parents, and beg for mercy for ourselves and our children. We want to cry out to Him, “Please forgive us! Please give us another year of life! Just let us be healthy, and have a normal life…”
And this is exactly what the Gedolimare doing for us…
During these forty days of Hashem’s mercy, from the beginning of Elul until Yom Kippur, the Tzaddikimof our generation will daven for us to stay healthy, and live good, happy lives. During these days, messengers of VaadHarabbanim – true talmideichachamim – go to the holiest places on earth to pray on our behalf.
They stand there, day after day, and daven for every one of us for everything we need – in great detail.
At the Kever Rachel, where she cries for her children. At the Tomb of R’ Shimon bar Yochai – “You can rely on him in times of need.” At the Tomb of R’ Yehuda bar Ilai, which is known as a good place to pray for one’s parnassah.At the tomb of the Shlah, to pray for our children.
These prayers keep knocking at Heaven’s door, non-stop. They make all the difference!
One more prayer, and one more harsh decree is overturned. One more chapter of Tehillim, and there’s one more bit of happy news to celebrate. One more, and another, and another…
They keep on praying, non-stop, until Hashem tells us:
“Salachti, I forgive You.”
Prayer, more important than anything else
A year ago, the Kosel looked odd, it hadn’t looked that way in ages. It was all quiet and practically empty all the time. Eventually, people could start coming and praying in very small groups, with plastic curtains separating everyone into little “capsules.”
But even in the strictest of lockdowns, the messengers of VaadHarabbanim were allowed by special permission to come and daven on behalf of our donors. They kept on coming to the Kosel, to Kever Rachel, to R’ Shimon bar Yochai, to Ma’arasHamachpeilah in Chevron… making every effort, and sometimes doing the impossible. Praying on behalf of our supporters is more important than anything else. They did everything, despite everything!
Baruch Hashem, in Israel, Coronavirus is much less severe than before. And the same is true in many other countries.
Despite all this, there we were, at the Kosel! “A person’s messenger is just like him,” and our messengers made every effort for us, during all forty days of Hashem’s special mercy in Elul!
These Tefilos at the Kosel are the very minimum we owe ourselves as we approach the day the world was born! When the SifreiChayimv’Meisimare open, and our lives are hanging in the balance – all we can do is fill ourselves up with the power of these Tefilos, and with the power of the tzedakah fundthat is trusted by the Gedolim!
Our fate for next year, 5782, is being decided right now.
“Who will live, and who will die; who will be poor, and who will be wealthy; who [will die] by strangulation, and who by stoning; who will be knocked down, and who will be raised up…”
Now is the time to cry out and shred up those harsh decrees! Now is the time to give tzedakahto the poor, wherever they are, throughout EretzYisrael, and turn those bitter decrees into sweet ones!
This isn’t just a “good idea,” or a little something we should do “just in case.” Our very lives are on the line! For you, and for your entire family. You need these Tefilos, so pure, and so powerful. During these forty days of Hashem’s special mercy in Elul and Tishrei, you need to do everything you possibly can!
You’ll surely give something.
You were planning to give a significant donation before Rosh Hashanah, and you’ve been looking forward, since last year, for the Tzaddikimto daven on your behalf.
You’ll give something, and your tzedakahwill go to help families who are suffering so much. It will pay for the medications they so badly need, and for the treatments that will save a mother’s life, or to fix the faulty plumbing in a poor family’s home so it will be livable once again. It will put a smile on the face of a child in pain. It will give strength, encouragement, and consolation to a family of orphans in their time of need…
When our Sages said that “Tzedakah saves a person from death,” it’s tzedakahlike this that they had in mind! Hashem treats us measure-for-measure. When we extend ourselves to our fellow Jews, when we see their pain and have mercy upon them, then our Father in Heaven has mercy upon us!
Soon it will be dusk, and Elul will set in. The sun will be setting, and the rumbling of so many Tefilos will resound at the Kosel. Some white doves will flap their wings, perched upon some of the rocks sticking out. The Jewish people will stand there breathless, as the month of Elul will spread out its wings and shelter us beneath them.
The messengers of VaadHarabbanim – true talmideichachamim– have already begun the greatest tzedakahoperation in the world. It’s a “three-twined cord which is not easily undone”: It’s forty days of Tefilos that won’t go unanswered. And it’s the most powerful tzedakah– trusted by the Gedolim themselves. And it’s the power of the whole tzibbur – all the families supported by VaadHarabbanim, who so desperately need your help.