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Penetrating Tears

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 28/9/2019

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Penetrating Tears

                Hashem is appeased through our tears as we say in Selichos מלך מתרצה בדמעות; a King who is appeased with tears.[1] In fact, R’ Yehonasan Eibshitz points out that if we rearrange the letters of the word עמדה- which refers to the Shemoneh Esrei- we get דמעה; tears, as this is ideally how one should daven.[2]


                Chazal tells us that although the heavenly gates of Tefila are locked, the heavenly gates of tears are not locked- שערי דמעות לא ננעלו.[3] R’ Dessler explains that Hashem never locks the gates of heaven. The Gemara refers to the gates and locks that are on one's heart which prevents us from pouring our heart out to Hashem. With tears one can always daven properly. Now we can comprehend why the first letters ofבשמך יגילון כל היום[4]; in your name they rejoice all day, spell בכיה since through tears one gets close to Hashem, bringing him joy.


With this we can grasp why כי ביום הזה יכפר[5]; on this day he shall provide atonement, which is written in regard to Yom Kippur, contain the initials בכיה since וידוי should be recited with tears. This extinguishes the fire of the sins committed.

Rabbi 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. Rabbi 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] In מכניסי רחמים. See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 131:16. The Kedushas Naftali points out that דבש; honey, is an acronym for שימה דמעתי בנאדך הלא בספרתך; place my tears in your flask, are they not on your record (Tehillim 56:9). Hashem wants to ascribe and seal us for life and goodness. But what if the ink well runs dry? We request that Hashem take our tears and add them to the ink. Then we will be inscribed in Hashem's book of life.

[2] If it is difficult for one to cry, he should at least daven with emotion.

[3] Baba Metzia 59a

[4] Tehillim 89:17

[5] Vayikra 16:30

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