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No Tefila Unanswered

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 18/8/2019

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No Tefila Unanswered

                Although at times it may seem that our Tefila goes unanswered, this is never the case, explains R’ Shimshon Pincus.[1] An example is given of one that is sick where the public davens for his recovery and yet he still dies. Those Tefilos are not in vain as it could be it prolonged his life or lessened his pain. It may also be that the Tefilos will help his descendants or it will be saved for one who needs it or a time when it is needed. In this way, we can grasp נדי ספרתה אתה שימה דמעתי בנאדך...; You have counted my wanderings, place my tears in your flask, are they not on record.[2] Each tear is counted by Hashem and stored away for when it is needed.


The following scenario illustrates this: Yaakov’s relative- Yehuda- is involved in a car accident and his life is now in danger. Because Yaakov is unaware of this occurrence thereby having the inability to daven for Yehuda, Hashem takes the tears collected from Yaakov’s previous Tefilos which saves Yehuda’s life![3]


A distraught woman once approached R’ Aryeh Levine after her husband died to a long and painful illness, asking what happened to all those tears she had from davening for him? Were they wasted? He answered that when the time comes for her to leave this world, she will be shown that Hashem gathered every tear drop and treasured them like gems. And every time there was a decree on the Jewish people, Hashem took one of her tears and washed the decree away.


The story is told of Reuven who was davening for his best friend Shimon Ben Chana who was very sick. Eventually, he succumbed to his sickness and died. Reuven was so distraught as he felt his Tefilos for his friend was wasted since, in the end, he died. After Shimon Ben Chana passed away, Reuven’s daughter who was single for many years got married. In one of the conversations this Chosson and Kalla had, the Chosson related an unbelievable story: He said that when his father- Shimon- was on his deathbed, the family came together to be with him before he would die. Suddenly, while everyone was there, his father exclaimed, “I feel great. Why am I in the hospital?” And so, in the end, he left the hospital. His father later went to a Mekubal to ask what happened, as he was sick in the hospital and suddenly he felt great. The Mekubal told him that there was someone you don’t know that was constantly davening for you and that is what brought you back to life. This person that was davening for you had a best friend named Shimon Ben Chana who he davened for, but it was decreed that this person Shimon Ben Chana had to die. However, your name is also Shimon Ben Chana and his Tefilos saved your life! The Chosson continued: “After this episode, my father left the hospital and had one more child.” This child turned out to be the Chosson!

R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.  

[1] Shearim B’Tefila, עתור, pgs 142-4. Shomer Emunim, מאמר הבטחון והתחזקות, 5. See Pri Tzadik Vayera. 5. In his early years, R’ Pincus learned in Beis Hatalmud in New York under R’ Aryeh Leib Malin. Afterwards, he made Aliyah to Eretz Yisrael to learn in Brisk under R’ Berel Soloveitchik, the son of the Brisker Rav. After his marriage, he lived in Bnei Brak and then in the Negev where he was the Mashgiach of the yeshiva in Ofakim. At the request of R’ Shach and the Steipler, R' Pincus accepted the position of Chief Rabbi of Ofakim, where he served for over twenty years. R’ Pincus and his wife, Chaya had 12 children. His wife administered the religious high school "Neve Yocheved" for girls in Ofakim. In 2001, at the age of 56, R’ Pincus was killed in a car accident, along with his wife and 18-year-old daughter, Miriam.

[2] Tehillim 56:9

[3] The following analogy can help us understand this: Imagine one who wants to travel to Eretz Yisrael and saves up the necessary money. Then he discovers he is sick and requires surgery. To pay for the surgery he uses the money he saved up for the ticket. Similarly, we may think we are davening for one thing but Hashem saves those tears for something else when it is needed.  

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