title.jpg (23972 bytes) subscribe

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues


"And Avraham called the name of that site 'Hashem Yireh,' as it is said (until) this day, 'On the mountain, Hashem will be seen' (or, 'On the Mountain of Hashem, it shall be seen')" (Bereishis 22:14). Rashi explains that Avraham declared that Hashem will choose and select for Himself this place to make His Shechinah (Divine Presence) reside in it and for sacrifices to be offered to Him there.

The place of the Akeidah (the "binding" of Avraham's son, Yitzchak, to be sacrificed upon the alter) was on the mountain of Moriah, upon which Kings Dovid and Shlomo built the Holy Temple over a thousand years later??? Indeed, the Radak explains Shlomo's prayer, when he inaugurated the Temple, as follows: "..even though Hashem's Will is towards one who cries out to Him with a complete heart, to accept his prayer, anywhere; Shlomo entreated G-d that this chosen place should assist the one who prays there, as if this house were an angel of recommendation, and that the prayers of those who pray there should be accepted faster than those prayed somewhere else" (Radak's commentary on 1 Melachim 8:27).

The following moving story, recounted by Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein shlita in Borechi Nafshi, demonstrates that we should never stop praying, especially at the Kosel HaMa'aravi, the remaining remnant of the Beis HaMikdash (the Holy Temple), even when there seems to be no possible solution in sight.

A couple was married for fifteen years, but was not blessed with children. Finally, with a heavy heart, the husband and wife agreed to divorce and go their separate ways. Perhaps each would be able to build a family with another spouse. To their great dismay, a short time after their break up, they were stunned to discover that the woman was actually pregnant. Under normal circumstances, this would not prove to be a problem. As long as a divorced woman does not remarry with anyone else, her husband is allowed to be reunited with her. However, this particular man was a kohain, a member of the Priestly Tribe, who is not permitted to marry a divorced woman; even his own wife.

The couple was heartbroken and the husband ran to the Gaon, Harav Chaim Kanievsky shlita, to ask his advice; knowing full well that there wasn't any practical solution for him to suggest. Sure enough, the Sage, brokenheartedly, could only advise that he visit his venerable father in law, HaGaon, Harav Eliashiv shlita, and discuss the tragedy with him.

When Harav Eliashiv heard the story, he wrung his hands in pain. But, despite his empathy, he could not really help them. "There is no doubt," he declared, "that a kohain can not remarry his divorced wife. It seems that this heartbreak was decreed upon you in Heaven and that you must accept it. Nevertheless, I suggest that you go to the Kosel HaMa'aravi (the Western Wall) and beseech Hashem to help you."

The bereft man went straight to the Holy Wall and poured out his heart to his Creator. Although his situation seemed hopeless, somewhere deep down inside there was a belief that everything was possible for Hashem, Who just might accept his heartfelt prayers and grant him salvation somehow. He cried hysterically, and prayed in a voice filled with his and his former wife's pain. It was obvious to the people near him that something was troubling him terribly, but no one had the guts to ask him what the matter was and to offer their help.

Until, after a while, a young Torah scholar, unbeknown to the husband, tapped him on the back and asked him what was hurting him so much. The husband retold his tragic story, knowing very well that no one could offer him any reasonable solution. To his surprise, the young man asked him if his father was alive. The husband was quite astonished at the question but responded that, indeed, he has a very old father in a nursing home in the USA. "Then listen to me," continued the stranger. "Fly to America immediately, and tell your father your situation." And with that, he turned and left.

The husband tried to tell his well meaning advisor that his father was very ill and that it was almost impossible to communicate with him, and, besides, what good could possibly come out of such a conversation, but it was too late. The young man had left and disappeared in the crowd. The husband found himself alone, deep in his thoughts, contemplating all that had occurred to him in the last twenty four hours. Finally, he came to the conclusion that if HaRav Eliashiv told him to go pray by the Kosel HaMa'aravi, and, while he was there, a strange person approached him with a suggestion, then, as strange and useless as it seemed, it was advisable to exert the effort and give it a try.

Within moments, the husband ordered a plane ticket, and a day and a half later, he sat at his father's bedside in the nursing home. To his great chagrin, the nurses informed him that his father had not spoken even one word for the past few months. Nevertheless, as he spoke to his old father, it seemed from his facial expressions that he was listening and that he understood what his son was telling him.

The son cried uncontrollably, and, suddenly, the unbelievable happened. The father opened his mouth and said, clearly and audibly, that he had nothing to worry about because he was not his natural born son but, rather, one he had adopted after the Holocaust. Consequently, he explained, the husband was not a kohain and could remarry his former wife without any difficulty at all.

One cannot possibly describe the cries of happiness that were heard in that nursing home at that moment. The husband's plight was solved because he had had faith in the advice of the Torah leaders of our generation and had done as he had been advised; as strange as it may have seemed then.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel