Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Rabbi Kanievsky: Prayers for Murdered Teens Weren't in Vain

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, considered one of the foremost rabbinical authority in the hareidi yeshiva world, said Monday night that despite the fact that kidnapped Israeli teens Eyal Yifrah HY''D* (19), Naftali Frenkel HY''D (16), and Gilad Sha'ar HY''D (16) were found murdered, the hundreds of thousands of prayers that had been recited over the past several weeks for their return were not uttered in vain. In their deaths, he said, they brought many Jews closer to G-d.  [* HYD: Hashem Yikom Damam: May Hashem Avenge Their Blood]

“They had a great merit to spiritually strengthen thousands of Jews,” the rabbi said. “It is a great merit for their souls.”

While full details of the circumstances of the deaths of the three teens have yet to be released, analysts said that it was probable that they had been murdered soon after the kidnapping 18 days ago. The bodies of the youths were taken to the Israel Forensic Center in Tel Aviv in order to enable officials to learn about the circumstances of their deaths, and when they were murdered.

Parents of the three kidnapped teens had met with the rabbi days after they went missing, with one of the mothers arriving at his house on Friday, just one day after their abduction.

Source: Israel National News

What Happens to Unanswered Prayers?
by Rabbi Eli Mansour

The Torah tells in the opening verses of Parashat Vaethanan that Moshe pleaded with God to allow him to cross the Jordan River with B'nei Yisrael and enter the Land of Israel. However, despite Moshe's impassioned pleas, God denied him permission to enter the land, and commanded him not to continue praying for this matter.

The Sages tell us that Moshe uttered no fewer than 515 prayers in requesting permission to enter the Land of Israel. This number is alluded to in the Parasha's opening word -  ואתחנן  ("I pleaded") - which has the numerical value of 515 (6+1+400+8+50+50=515).

The obvious question arises, if God knew that He would not grant Moshe's request, and that He would ultimately instruct Moshe to discontinue his prayers, why did He wait for Moshe to complete 515 prayers? Why did He not interrupt Moshe immediately as he began praying, and thus spare him the time and effort he invested in reciting the additional 514 prayers?

The Rabbis teach us that there is no such thing as a wasted or unanswered prayer. If a person prays for something and his request is not granted, he must not conclude that his prayer was recited in vain. God stores all our prayers in a "prayer bank" of sorts from where they are "withdrawn" at some later point, perhaps for somebody else, and perhaps only generations later. If a person prays for an ill patient Avraham Ben Sara, and the patient unfortunately does not survive his illness, those prayers will perhaps be effective in bringing a cure to another Avraham Ben Sara somewhere else in the world.

During the years of the Communist movement, the children of many righteous Jews and Torah scholars abandoned Judaism and joined the atheistic Communists. Their parents recited untold numbers of prayers and shed rivers of tears asking that their children should return to their heritage and traditions. Their prayers were not immediately answered, but many children and grandchildren of these Jewish Communists have returned to Jewish observance. The grandparents' prayers were not recited in vain; they were not meaningless. They were stored and preserved in the heavenly "prayer bank" and ultimately succeeded in bringing scores of Jews back to Torah and Mitzvot.

For this reason, perhaps, God did not interrupt Moshe's prayers despite the fact that the decree was irreversible. He anticipated that in future generations, Benei Yisrael would face crisis and hardship and would lack sufficient merit to earn salvation. Moshe's 515 prayers were necessary to save the Jewish people when they would otherwise be unworthy of being saved. Who knows if our existence today is owed to the merit of Moshe's 515 prayers!

Never should a person despair from praying. Even if one's requests are not immediately granted, they will nevertheless have a meaningful impact and effect on somebody at some point in time. Every heartfelt prayer and every chapter of Tehillim is significant and beneficial - regardless of whether we can immediately discern its impact.


s said...

maybe the prayers are needed to bring Moshiach closer, may it come soon

Moriah said...

Rabbi Glazerson


Devorah said...

Thanks Moriah.... makes me think the boys were aspects of the soul of Moshiach ben Yosef.....see my comment at Yaak's blog post