Drasha for Rosh Hashana…..

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    In today’s kriah, we read about how Hagar takes Yishmael into the desert after they are sent away from the house of Avraham. When her jug of water runs dry,she throws Yishmael into the bushes in order not to see him die. The pasuk says “va’tisa es kola va’tayvk”. And she cried.

    Then the next pasuk says “vayishma Elokim el kol ha’naar”….and HKB”H heard the cries of the boy. When the Malach tells Hagar to retrieve Yishmael from the bushes it says “ki shamah Elokim el kol ha’na’ar ba’asher hu shum”.

    The question is, the Torah states that Hagar cried. Nowhere does it say that Yishmael cried. So what does it mean that Hashem heard the “kol ha’na’ar”?

    The Abarbanel has a beautiful thought on this. He says that the key words here are “ba’asher hu shum”….meaning that because the boy was in that distressing situation, it must be assumed that he cried. It is almost impossible that he did not. And therefore HKB”H heard him, even though there is no mention of him crying out.

    It is safe to assume that the majority of people here today have had some sort of tza’ar during this past year. Whether it is was the death of a loved one, an illness,a divorce, a job loss or a problem with a child. It is the nature of some people to cry out when they have tzoros. And obviously when they do, we must help with whatever wecan. But there are those who suffer in silence. And if we know that they are in a distressing situation we are nonetheless required to hear them and try and help.

    I was lying in bed the other night thinking about the tefilah of “Hineni” that the Chazzan recites before Mussaf. The entire tefilah is a direct request to HKB”H for the chazzan to daven well. That his voice should hold up and that his tefillos should be accepted by HKB”H even though he may not beworthy of it.

    But about 2/3 of the way into it, there are a few lines that read as follows: V’chol tzorosaynu v’eenuyaynu hafoch lanu u’lichol Yisrael l’chaim u’lishalom l’sason u’lisimcha”. Why all of a sudden in the middle of this tefilah for the chazzon to daven successfully is there thrown in this bakasha for the tzoros of Klal Yisrael? And why not just say “hafoch lanu l’chaim u’lishalom” etc. Why the need for the “U’lichol Yisrael”?

    So I thought that maybe the “ulichol Yisrael” is to include ALL of Klal Yisrael….even those who it is not so obvious that they are suffering. But in truth everyone is suffering to some extent…even if they don’t cry out loud. But I needed it to fit better with the vort of the Abarbanel, so my brother in Israel (who is a Rav in Katimon) told me something better. He said that the halacha is, that a sh’liach tzibbur who is not sensitive to and cannot “hear” the tzoros of the people he is representing, is not permitted to be the sh’liach tzibbur! For this reason this bakasha is added to the Hineni. And yes, he must be able to hear the tzoros of those who cry out loud and those who are in distress but suffer in silence.

    I was thinking about the bracha of “Shomayah kol teru’as amo Yisrael B’RACHAMIM”. Rav Soloveitchik said that the greatest and most profound Tefilla is the sound of the Shofar. It comes from the innermost part of the human essence. It is an animalistic tefilah. We cry without words, just as a baby, an infant cries, out of pure pain and emotion. That is the kind of tefilah that HKB”H listens to first. This could also explain why the bracha contains the words “ki atah shomaya kol shofar……V’AIN DO’MEH LOCH”…..HKB”H hears the sound of the shofar, but THERE IS NO ONE LIKE HIM who can hear the sound of shofar which represents the cry of ALL Klal Yisrael, even those who cannot express it out loud.

    If we can meet this challenge of hearing those who don’t cry out loud and responding to it to the best of our ability, then HKB”H will certainly hear our tza’ar and change it to “sasson v’simcha”.


    Very well put!!

    It goes without saying that if a person SAYS what’s bothering him/her, the klal MUST LISTEN AND RESPOND. The teen at risk and abuse victim are crying out loud, it’s time to hear them and help wipe their tears.


    Thank you artchill! And you make a very good point about teens and abuse victims…….

    am yisrael chai


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