The Pasuk says: “Hashem will ward off from you all sickness; He will not bring upon you any of the dreadful diseases of Egypt, about which you know, but will inflict them upon all your enemies. You shall destroy all the peoples that Hashem your God delivers to you, showing them no pity. And you shall not worship their gods, for that would be a snare to you.” (Devarim 7:15-16] What is the blessing in the words “unesanam bechol sonecha, but will give them to all your enemies”? Isn’t it enough to bless with “lo yesimam bach, He will not place upon you”? Harav Meir of Premishlan explains: The Mishnah (Brachos 34b) says that Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa would pray for the sick, and then he would say “zeh chai, this one lives” – when his Tefilah was
accepted, and “zeh meis, this one dies” – when his Tefilah was not accepted. Why then, when his Tefilah was not accepted, and it was decreed for the person to pass away, did he have to state this? Don’t Chazal say (Pesachim 3b) say about one who shares bad news that [Mishlei 10:18]: “Umotzei dibah hu ksil, one who spreads slander is a fool?” It can be explained as follows: Rabbi Chanina knew that disease cannot disappear from the world, but with the power of Tefilah it can be transferred from a Jew to a non-Jew. Therefore, he prayed and said “zeh [Yehudi] chai” and “this [non-Jew] dies” – in his stead. Hence we can explain this Pasuk: “Vechol madvei Mitzrayim…lo yesimem bach, and all the harmful diseases of Egypt, He
will not place upon you” – and even if a sickness is decreed upon the person – He “will give them to all your enemies.” We can similarly explain the Tefilah of “Unesaneh Tokef” as follows: “U’teshuvah u’tefillah u’tzeddakah ma’avirin es roa hagezeirah” – the decree is transferred from the Jews to their enemies. Harav Yaakov Edelstein once poured out his heart to the holy cobbler Rav Moshe Yaakov Ravikov, that that a relative had fallen critically ill and the doctors had despaired of curing her. “Tell her that she should go to the street and look for a random non-Jew,” the cobbler advised Rav Yaakov. “When she finds one, she should go over to him and say: ‘Take my illness as a gift…’” She heeded the cobbler’s words, and right after that, her situation began to improve until she was completely cured. The disease seemed to have been passed to that non-Jew The Rebbe Harav Moshe Eliyakim Beriyah of Kozhnitz related: In the days of the holy Baal Shem Tov, there was a severe drought. The tzaddikim decreed a fast day and cried out in Tefilah to Hashem, but they were not answered. One day, the Baal Shem Tov noticed that one of the simple townsfolk was reciting Krias Shema. When this person reached the Pasuk “V’atzar es hashamayim velo yihiyeh matar” (11:17), he suddenly burst into tears and cried from the depths of his heart. After the davening, the Baal Shem Tov asked him, “My son, what did you have in mind when you said this Pasuk with such emotion?” And the villager replied innocently: “I davened to Hashem, ‘Ribono Shel Olam, please, with Your compassion, ‘va’atzar’ – squeeze [from the language of ‘atziras zeisim v’anavim’, squeezing olives and grapes] the heavens’ until ‘lo yihiyeh matar’ there should be no rains left inside them, because it will all come down to us…” Within the hour, rains began to fall, and the Baal Shem Tov revealed to his talmidim that this pure Tefilah is what had brought the Yeshua, because “Kudsha Berich Hu liba ba’i” (Sanhedrin 106b) – HaKadosh Baruch Hu especially loves the Tefilos that are said with heartfelt kavanah and deep concentration.
By Rabbi Shimon Fridmann * email@example.com * 305.985.3461
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