Weekly Inspiration

Fill The Cup With Tears
January 25th, 2024
Fill The Cup With Tears

This week’s Parsha describes how Am Yisroel were trapped at the Yam Suf, surrounded by bloodthirsty savages on one side and the Sea on the other. 

“The Children of Israel raised their eyes and behold! Egypt was journeying after them, and they were very frightened. [They] cried out to Hashem.” (Shemos 14:10)

My friends, the Chofetz Chaim explained that we can understand the events of Ikvos HaMoshicha from the events at the end of Shibud Mitzraim

Let’s examine what happened in Mitzraim:

·      Mitzraim totally collapsed. This was the world’s greatest power, in whose culture many of the Children of Israel had become fatally enmeshed. 

·      The vast majority of Bnai Yisroel did not believe that Mitzraim was collapsing. Rashi says that only one-fifth left with Moshe Rabbeinu, but Rabbi Nehorai (Midrash Tanchuma) said fewer than one in five thousand left! This is terribly frightening! 

·      During the last makkah, the Destroyer swept through the land in the darkness. Our ancestors were warned to remain within their homes, protected by the blood on the mezuza and mashkof. Leaving home meant death. Staying within our home means immersing ourselves in Torah and rejecting the poisonous alien values which threaten to destroy us.

Is this scenario not unfolding in our world today? 

The nations of the world understand that the stage is being set for Moshiach ben Dovid and the Bais Hamikdosh. They are petrified because Yom ha Din is coming. They are doing everything within their power to forestall that day. There is nothing they can do, but they are trying. They will stop at nothing to try to prevent destiny from unfolding. 

This is the reality of today’s world scene. 

During World War II, the Holy Land was threatened by the armies of Hitler ymak shemo in a giant pincer movement from Africa on the south and the Caucasus on the north. 

“In Poland during the summer before the war, they said that all would be well, whereas in Yerushalayim they did not speak this way. Here in Yerushalayim, they stormed ‘worlds’ in prayer and crying day and night…. Who knows if in Poland they would have stormed worlds in prayer and crying out, what might have been….” (Rabbi Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik, a son of the Brisker Rav, quoted in the sefer, Miracle at El Alamein)

Rabbi Yehuda Fetaya brought a large group to Kever Rachel during this time. “Each one took an empty cup and made seven hakafos…. With each hakafa they said in unison, ‘The man who is an adversary and an enemy will not enter the Gates of Yerushalayim. The Gates of Tears are not closed.’ He told [the group to spill] their tears into the cups in their hands….” (ibid)

My dear friends, let us not underestimate the threat. This is the nations’ last stand. Hashem will save us, but our tears and tefillos are needed to bring about our Redemption, just as they were needed in Mitzraim, when Bnai Yisroel cried out to Hashem and He heard our cries. 

Erev Shabbos, we say, “Like rivers … they raised their voice; like rivers they shall raise their destructiveness. [But] more than the roars of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, You, Hashem are mighty on high. Your testimonies are exceedingly trustworthy about Your House, the Holy Dwelling.” (Tehillim 93)Radak says that the phrase “their voices” refers to the voices of the enemies of Israel. (Artscroll Siddur) Now they are roaring throughout the world, but Hashem’s mighty voice prevails. This resembles Yam Suf, which came crashing down upon our enemies and destroyed the destroyers. 

This week, we celebrate T’U B’Shevat. On this great day, the sap hidden in the frozen trees begins to move upward and new life stirs unseen in the trees we thought were dead. 

“A staff will emerge from the stump of Yishai and a shoot will sprout from his roots. The spirit of Hashem will rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear Of Hashem…. [and at that time] the earth will be filled with knowledge of Hashem like water covering the sea bed.” (Yeshiah 11:1ff)

The actions of Hashem are shrouded in darkness. Winter is still upon us and we are surrounded by hatred and destruction. It is not good to say, “All will be well.” Certainly, the Redeemer will come, but we do not know whether we will be zoche to greet him. We need to fill the cup with tears. 

“Let him put his mouth to the dust. There may yet be hope…. For the L-rd does not reject forever. He first afflicts, then pities, according to His abundant kindness.” (Eichah 3:29ff)

The sap is rising. Soon the bud will appear, then the flower, then the beautiful fruit … and the Bais Hamikdosh on Har Tzion. May our eyes behold it!



Bais Hamikdosh: The Holy Temple
Bnai Yisroel: The Children of Israel
Ikvos Hamoshicha: Days before Moshiach
Kever Rochel: The tomb of our Mother Rachel
Makkah: Plague (specifically referring to the plagues in Egypt)
Mashkof: Lintel over the door 
Mezuzah: Doorpost
Mitzraim: Ancient Egypt
Shibud Mitzraim: Slavery in Egypt
Tehillim: Psalms
Yam Suf: Red (or Reed) Sea, which the Children of
Israel crossed when they left Egypt
Ymak shemo: May his name be ground to dust
Yom ha Din: Day of Judgment
Zoche: Have the merit to …..


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