Miracles in the Streets
April 30th, 2020
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We have witnessed tragedy over the past several months.
So many have been taken away! Young people and older people, strong and weak, great rabbis and family members have been taken from us. We are bereft!
There have also been miraculous escapes. Strong people told of incredible weakness; some did not have the strength to turn from one side of the bed to the other.
My friends, I want to point out a sentence in the Torah: “Yosef died and all his brothers and that entire generation.” (Exodus 1:6)
Is this amazing! Our ancestors in Biblical Egypt were also bereft! They lost their Avos, the Twelve Brothers, Leaders of the Tribes of Israel! And yet, Hashem rescued that generation with monumental miracles! This pain and loss was in fact the prelude to the Redemption from Egypt and the Revelation of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
Clearly today we have to know that our Redeemer is close. We have to know that Hashem will rescue us. And we have to remember that, right after the blessing for Avos (the Patriarchs) in Shemoneh Esreh, comes the blessing for “techias hamaisim … the Resurrection of the Dead!”
I am writing from the Holy City of Yerushalayim. Even in the midst of strong prohibitions – from rabbonim as well as governmental agencies – forbidding public gatherings, our brethren still found ways, within the law, to gather for prayer.
Every day we thank Hashem for manifold kindnesses: we thank Him for creating us as Jews, for giving us sight and clothing, for allowing us to walk. We must also be grateful for the ability to say “amein …kaddish … kedusha … Borchu … y’hai shmai rabbo,” for allowing us to be part of a minyan where the Shechina Itself, the Presence of G-d comes to rest!
I want to emphasize the critical importance of obeying rabbinic and governmental cautions, but, during Passover, we had a permissible minyan on the street, everyone keeping his distance. Neighbors stood on porches or on the sidewalk in front of their homes. I could see one member of our minyan standing on a rooftop about two hundred feet from the person who was leading the prayers, but he could hear us and we were all visible to a member of the minyan looking down from his balcony.
On the Intermediate Shabbos of Passover, with the threat of rain (literally) hanging over our heads, a gentleman I hardly knew appeared in his doorway. During the repetition of the Shemoneh Esreh, he crossed the street and stood in front of us. Don’t tell me he is a kohain (a descendant of Aaron, Moses’ brother, the original High Priest)! Yes! He put his tallisover his head (don’t forget: in Israel the kohanim say the blessing every day) and pronounced Birkas Kohanim (the blessing of the Priests)!
Thank you, Hashem!
Somewhat later, a police car approached, stopped and watched us pray. I imagined the officers would get out and give us all heavy fines! But no! After a few minutes, the car backed up, made a u-turn and drove away! They could have driven right through our minyan, but I feel they did not want to invade the area of sanctity. Just as one does not walk in front of someone who is praying, they had respect for our prayers and backed away.
“Mi k’amcha Yisroel … who is like Your people Israel, a unique nation on earth!” (11 Samuel 7:23) May the Master of the World soon answer our prayers, send our Redeemer and bring healing to us all!