This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my sister, Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my paternal grandmother Channah Freidel Bas Avraham A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein,
It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:
-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel
-My grandmother Shulamis Bas Etta
-MY BROTHER: MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO BEN CHAYA ROCHEL
-HaRav Shlomo Ben Shayna Zelda
-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili
-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha
_R’ Simcha Yitzchak Ben Mirela Liyatka
-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis
-And all of the Cholei Yisrael, especially those suffering from COVID-19 and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of HaRav HaGa’on V’Sar HaTorah Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Ben HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky A”H, Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam), COVID-19, and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.
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Parsha Paradise/פרשה פרדס – Va’Es’chanan: Could You Please Do Me Favor? 🎁
What is the precise meaning of Va’Es’chanan? Why did Moshe Rabbeinu choose that word to describe his Tefilah? Was it the appropriate Tefilah? Was the Tefilah successful or not? Should we model our Tefilos after this one?
Rashi, based on the Midrashim, offers two explanations for the meaning of Va’Es’chanan. Firstly, he explains that the word is derived from Chein, favor. And what does it mean to ask for a favor? More specifically, Rashi points out that Chein us related to Chinam, free. In other words, Moshe Rabbeinu asked for a Matanas Chinam, a free gift [Tanchuma]. Chazal derive from here that that is how a Tzaddik Davens; not in his merit, not because he deserves and wants to cash in, but due to Hashem’s grace and favor.
But, what if the Tzaddik has ample merit to spare? Moshe certainly did. Why then is it better to Daven the way he did? Moreover was Moshe’s Tefilah “successful” that we ought to emulate it? It was rejected after all. We’ll revisit this question.
In Rashi’s second P’shat, he explains that the expression of Va’Es’chanan is just another generic expression of Tefilah [Sifrei]. More on that in Remez.
Several sources in Midrash point out that the Gematria of Va’Es’chanan is 515 alluding to 515 Tefilos Moshe Davened that Hashem grant hum entry into Eretz Yisrael [Devarim Rabbah 11:10, Aggadah 23:3, P’nei Yehoshua citing Midrash Pliah Da’as Zikeinim].
Additionally, Ba’al HaTurim points out that the numerical value of Va’Es’chanan is also Shirah, teaching us that Moshe appealed in song. Pa’anei’ach Raza adds one more Gematria that Va’Es’chanan simply equals Tefilah.
There is more that we learn from the prayer of Moshe. The Gemara in Brachos [32A] derives from our Parsha that just as Moshe arranged his Tefilah issuing Shevach (praise) before his Bakashah (request), by thanking Hashem for previous acts of kindness, so should we. The question is why we should do that. Is it effective? After all, his prayer was rejected.
What is also strange that several sources point out that even though Hashem commanded Moshe to cease from Davening for this matter, had he Davened one more time, Hashem would have conceded (See Gra citing Zohar and various Midrashim). It almost makes us wonder why he didn’t give it one more shot.
Why do we derive Davening tips from the Tefilah answered “No”? And as we mentioned earlier, why should one with merit ask for a freebie?
The Kabbalistic work, Reishis Chochmah [Sha’ar Anavah 6:51] explains that a Matanas Chinam from Hashem comes from His Otzer Elyon, His highest storehouse. This might be because any gift offered just out of G-d’s grace comes with no price or limits, as G-d’s grace is unlimited. By contrast, one who prays based on his own merits is necessarily praying a limitated prayer. Perhaps he can’t afford the very thing that is asking for. Even if he can afford it, that prayer is just a business transaction, an exchange. A pray for favor is a prayer for love, regardless of whether the answer was yes or no.
And a successful and effective prayer is not one that is answered yes per say. Tefilah is not a soda machine or business deal. It is engagement in a relationship. A successful and effective Tefilah is the one that comes from the heart and appeals to the heart.
We should be Zocheh to Daven the most successful and effective Tefilos, and to also be answered favorably, especially in our Tefilah for the coming of the Geulah in the times of Moshiach, Bimheirah BiYomeinu! Have a wonderful Shabbos Nachamu!
-Yehoshua Shmuel Eisenberg