by Rebbitzen Rachel Wheeler (רחל ווילר)
Last Thursday, Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, thousands of people were heading to Tiberias to the Tziyon (holy resting place) of the Sh”lah (Rabbi Yeshayou Horowitz ZT”L).
It is considered to be an auspicious time to pray for the success of our children and for whatever is needed.
This year I went as well. In previous years when I was living far away from Tiberias I always made an effort not to forget this day and to say the prayer of the Sh’lah. I always thought it will be nice to go there, but it never worked out. Before our son was born I was saying the special prayer and asking G-d to have the merit to have children. After the birth of my son this Tefillia for the success of our children became very real.
The area near the Tziyon was packed.. buses and buses arrived with the place already full with people (separated paths for men and women).
I looked for a place a bit more quiet that I could concentrate on praying (that’s what I do when I go to a Tzion in busy days). I found a rock on a near-by small hill that was viewing the Tziyon.
I looked around, taking in the visions of the praying women around, and suddenly I was hit with pounding energy.
The place felt like it was vibrating. I was just sitting there did not even get to read the special prayer watching the women around, some of them burying their faces in their prayer books. Little girls saying the prayer of the Sh’lah with a lot of intention (it felt like they were praying already to the Neshamot (souls) of their future children). Very young women and very old women who were reading the prayer with tears and their eyes, everybody with so much Kavanah (concentration on connecting with G-d).
I started to cry - not about me, not about my prayers, not even about anybody’s prayers, it was tears about and for all of us, Jewish women wherever they are, Am Israel wherever he is. It was beyond specific words or specific thought, it was just being there. Energy of tears, energy of pain, energy of prayer, a cry for Geula, a personal Geula for all, and a general to Am Israel and the whole world.
And then I was hit with the memory of the chassidic story I heard from Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach about the Heavenly ocean, the ocean of tears:
* Desperately he went to the angels and asked. From them, he learned that if he wanted to find his dearest friend, he would have to search for him in a very dark forest at the farthest end of Heaven. He mustered all of his strength and went through this scary dark place. Finally he came to the end and saw a huge ocean. Leaning on a walking stick, staring out over the vast sea, was Reb Yitzchak. The Kotzker Rebbe rushed to him, embraced him, and asked what was happening. Reb Yitzchak pointed at the ocean and said: “Don’t you recognize this ocean?” Kotz replied: “No, what is it?” Reb Yitzchak said: “This is the ocean of tears. In it are all the tears shed over the centuries by G-d’s Holy people, of Am Israel. I can not leave this dark place, I vowed to God that I would not leave this place until he keep his vow and dry all the tears of our people”ומחה השם דמעה מעל כל פנים ”
And I was sitting there thinking of this heavenly ocean of tears, letting this pounding energy shake me and was thinking of the agony, the pain, the concerns that brought buses of buses of people to pray for their children, for all of us in all ages, for the children of Am Israel. It seemed as it is very quiet around.
I begged in my heart to Hashem to listen to all of us wherever we are. And I thought about all the Tzadikim that are in their chambers in Heaven begging for Am Israel, and I knew Hashem is crying with us .
יִקְרָאֵ֨נִי׀ וְֽאֶעֱנֵ֗הוּ עִמּֽוֹ־אָנֹכִ֥י בְצָרָ֑ה אֲ֝חַלְּצֵ֗הוּ וַֽאֲכַבְּדֵֽהוּ׃
Tehilim ch91 , 15
May all of our prayers will be fulfilled for good, may Hashem will send comfort to all.
May we all receive the Torah in Simcha.