Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
Did G-d Reject Our Prayers?
Published: Friday, July 11, 2014 12:11:12 PM
Number of views: 2610

The night before the murdered bodies of our precious and holy teenagers were found, nearly 100,000 Jews gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to pray for the youths' safe return. Secular celebrities sang songs from the Psalms, and the huge crowd joined in. Afterwards Iris Yifrach, the mother of Eyal, addressed her missing son, "The whole nation is uniting. Everybody is worried about you. I turn to our precious Am Yisrael, all types and stripes of Jews, we are going through this terrible ordeal together. Let us all be strong and support one another." At that very time these precious youngsters were already dead for over two weeks. The Talmud in Berachot states that our Holy Land of Israel is acquired through great suffering.

The outpouring of love, tears and prayer of millions of Jews all around the world could not undo the evil of the "Pereh Adam.  At the birth of Yishmael, the founder of the Arab nation, the angel tells his mother, Hagar, (in Bereshit 16) that he will be a "Pereh Adam" which means a savage man. The Chofetz Chaim points out that the proper phrasing of the expression should have been "Adam Pereh" because in Hebrew you put the noun before the adjective. So why does the word "Pereh" come first? This is because regarding Yishmael (our peace partners) the savage comes before the human being. We are under constant attack by our barbaric enemy who glorifies the murder of innocent Jewish children. The mother of one of the murdering terrorists stated on TV that she would be proud if her other sons also would murder Jewish teenagers.  

So were all of our tears and prayers in vain? We were not successful in bringing our precious boys back alive. What about the bracha in Shemoneh Esreh, "Boruch Ata Hashem shomea tefillah?" (Blessed are  you Hashem who hears all prayer).Our Father in Heaven  sometimes has to say no even though the child does not understand why.

We are accustomed to regard prayer as either man's praising G-d or requesting something from Him. However, G-d knows precisely and exactly what we require, and He does not need our praise. The word, "prayer", comes from the Latin word meaning "to beg". The problem is that we don't have to beg G-d for what we need, because G-d is omniscient, and it is futile to try to change G-d's mind, because "Father Knows Best." You can't always get what you want, but you get what you need. Thus, the Hebrew word for prayer is "L'HITPALEL". It is a reflexive verb indicating that one is acting on himself. Through our prayers we don't change G-d, because He is perfect. Rather, we change ourselves. Since G-d always gives us as much good as we can contain, through our TEFILLAH, we make ourselves into proper vessels to contain G-d's goodness and blessings. Thus, it was most heartwarming to see and hear the secular newscasters on Israel radio and TV reciting Psalms with great emotion for the safe return of our youngsters. What a miraculous change! Even our secular Finance Minister Yair Lapid announced that he had purchased a pair of tefillin and attended shul for the first time in six years.

Can anyone doubt that after eighteen days of prayer, good deeds and unprecedented unity not seen among the Jewish People in many decades, that we are much changed for the better? We are definitely changed for the better! We have transformed ourselves from focusing on our divisiveness to realizing that what unites us is much stronger and greater than what divides us. For the past few weeks world Jewry has been acting as one united, extended family. Our prayers were not rejected! G-d answered our prayers by bestowing this incredible love and unity on the Jewish People not seen in many years. The differences between the many factions of Judaism were blown away by this tragedy, which demonstrated the bond between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. Our collective grief shows that despite our political, economic, ethnic and religious fractures, we are all part of the greater Jewish family of Israel.

According to the Talmud Sanhedrin, any Jew who is murdered by a non-Jew solely for being Jewish, ascends to the highest level of Olam Haba. Therefore, Eyal, Naftali and Gilad, Hy"d, who were murdered by our "savage peace partners" are enjoying the the greatest bliss and are basking in G-d's Presence in the World of Truth for all eternity.

May these holy martyrs be a "Melitz Yosher" for all of Israel. Amen.

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