We provide the following practical and
meaningful words of Rav Matisyahu Solomon, Shlita, as found in his Sefer With
Hearts Full of Faith (Artscroll, p.124-125). We strongly recommend this
Sefer, so directed to us and our times:
“From time to time, during the various
exiles of the Jewish people, there have been periods of deep darkness, of
exceedingly terrible suffering. And if we look back, we see that these
usually took place right before periods of redemption. People refer to these
times as the deeper darkness that comes before the dawn. But why should it
be this way? Why should there be periods of such intense darkness before the
dawn of redemption?
“...When God wants to redeem us but
finds insufficient merit to justify a redemption, He intensifies the
darkness. As the suffering of the Jewish people reaches unbearable levels,
certain people rise to the occasion. They feel for each other. They bear the
burdens of their suffering brothers, and they move heaven and earth to help
them. And this extreme empathy brings the dawn of redemption for the entire
“The times in which we live certainly
qualify as a period of intense darkness. The Jewish nation as a whole finds
itself in a precarious position, under attack from all sides, persecuted,
abused, maligned. Blood flows on the holy soil, and there is no end in
sight. In Jewish homes in all parts of the globe, there is also an unusual
amount of suffering. All around us we see heartbreak and heartbreak and more
“I do not believe that all of this
misery is being visited upon us only in order to exact punishment for
transgressions. I believe that it is rather to bring us to reach up to God
with higher levels of prayer and to reach out to our fellow Jews with higher
levels of compassion. Our generation has apparently not accumulated enough
merit to earn redemption. But we are nonetheless in the final days of our
long and bitter exile. We are finally on the threshold of redemption, but we
lack the merit to actually make it happen. But God wants it to happen.
Destiny has brought us to our appointed time, to the last moments before the
dawn, but how shall we move forward? How shall we cross the final barrier
between oppression and liberation?
“God has given us the key. He has
darkened our world, sending down so much suffering that we cannot help but
see it everywhere we turn. But suffering is not always a punishment. It can
also signal the opening of the shaarei rachamim, the gates of mercy, and it
is important that those of us who suffer accept their lot with trust and
faith. As for the rest of us, this is our opportunity to respond to our
suffering brothers.... This is our opportunity to rise above our safe and
comfortable little corners and truly feel for our brothers and sisters who
live with…pain, anxiety and sorrow. This is our opportunity to experience
and express extreme empathy, to show that we hurt and weep with our people,
that their pain and grief are our own. If we do this, then God will also
bring to bear, middah keneged middah, measure for measure, His own attribute
of extreme empathy and send us the final redemption speedily and in our
Let us take these words to deep heart--and
act upon them, each person in his/her own unique and special way, and may
the result be our full and final redemption-- speedily and in our days.
A QUIZ FOR PEACE:
Question: How many times do we ask
for Sholom in the last brocha of Shemone Esrei?
Answer: We refer to Sholom 4
separate times within the brocha. We
should have Kavana each time to request Sholom from Hashem.
Question: As we conclude each
Shemone Esrei and take three steps back, away from the King, what do we
specifically ask for as we depart?
Answer: Oseh Shalom Bimromav…--He
Who makes peace in His Heights, may He make peace upon us, and upon all
Question: In the Kadish Shalem,
Kadish D’Rabananand Kadish
Yasom, what are the last 2 things we ask for?
Answer: a.Yehei Shelama Raba…--May
there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life, upon us and upon all
b.Oseh Shalom Bimromav…--He Who makes peace in His Heights, may He
make peace upon us, and upon all
Question: How does Birchas Kohanim
Answer: V’Yasem L’Cha
Shalom--And establish peace for you.
Question: What can we do to
demonstrate that we want peace?
Answer: The Sefer Pele
Yoetz (Chapter on Sholom) makes the following two points:
1. Stop a dispute, fight, exchange of
words, or any potential machlokes today--whether it is your own or someone
else’s, and whether it is family or friends.
2. Greet everyone with a sincere brocha of
Sholom Aleichem (it is much more meaningful than “Hi”)--especially those
who will be honored or uplifted by a warm smile and a brocha--the
downtrodden, depressed, and those who you can see need chizuk today.
As we focus on our many requests
throughout the day to Hashem for peace, we must focus on our own personal
quests for peace throughout the day, as well. With
the war news that we hear every day, we should have our own “peace
news”--which should be an important part of bringing an end to that other
kind of news.
Chaim (3:273) incredibly writes that the Churban Bais HaMikdash was not
a punishment for Sinas Chinam, for needless hatred. Rather,
because of a lack of unity, or brotherly love amongst Klal Yisroel, the
foundation of the Bais HaMikdash no longer had a ‘zechus kiyum’--right
to exist--because the entire Second Bais HaMikdash stood only in the zechus
of our achdus. Making, enhancing
and pursuing peace is essential for us at this time and during these times.
THE FIRST DAY OF AV
One of the rare dates mentioned in the
Torah is today’s date, the first day of Av (once again, last week’s
What happened on this date? It is the day
of the petira, the passing of Aharon HaKohen.Chazal teach that the Ananei Kovod, the protective clouds of Glory,
which surrounded us in the desert (and will once again surround us in the
future) were in the Zechus of Aharon HaKohen (see Rashi on Bamidbar 33:40).Once the Ananei Kavod left us, the initial reaction of the outside
world was to attack us, as is described in the Torah there (Bamidbar 33:40
ff.).What did Aharon HaKohen do
for which he merited the protective clouds both for himself and for the rest
of Bnei Yisrael?We may suggest
the following: The Mishna in Avos (
) teaches that he was an Oheiv Shalom V’Rodef Shalom- that he loved peace
and pursued it.The midah
k’neged midah--the measure for measure reward becomes very evident.Because Aharon made peace among people, he merited peace being
brought upon all of Klal Yisroel with the Clouds of Glory.
Indeed, Hillel in the aforementioned
Mishna, enjoins us all to “Be among Aharon’s students” in this
regard--to learn the value of peace among brothers.In a recent letter issued by HaRav Elyashiv, Shlita, and HaRav
Shteinman, Shlita, they especially asked that we be very careful in these
perilous times “not to fall prey to the opposite of Gemilas Chasodim”
which is to cause pain or suffering to your friend.They point out that in the generation of the wicked king Achav, Bnei
Yisroel were victorious at war because there was no Machlokes, no strife,
among brothers.The Gedolim
therefore request that we are “meod mishtadel”--that we put in greater
effort at this time to make peace among ourselves.
SUGGESTION:It is essential
that we take the lessons of Aharon HaKohen, as specifically reiterated by
Rav Elyashiv and Rav Shteinman very much to heart.We may even posit that the petira of Aharon HaKohen comes out at the
beginning of the Nine Days to remind us that if we could rid ourselves of
machlokes, of causing pain to others, and of the need quite to the contrary
to love and pursue peace between and among ourselves, we can go a long way
to bring immediate and long lasting Yeshuos.Let us at the very least focus on one or two people over the next few
days and try to promote a peaceful or more peaceful relationship with them.Peace brings peace, for as Dovid HaMelech teaches in Tehillim
(121:5)--”Hashem is Your Shadow.”
We look to the
Parshios that have just passed us, Matos and Masei, as the war’s intensity
In Parshas Maaei
(Bamidbar 34:7-9), the Torah describes the northern borders of Eretz Yisroel.According to the Artscroll Chumash (Stone Edition, p.923), much if
not all of what is known today as “Lebanon” is in reality within the
borders of Eretz Yisroel, belonging to the Shevatim of Asher and Naftali. Hakhel’s
Yarchei Kallah, beginning this Wednesday, Rosh Chodesh Av, will study and
review the Sugya (topics relating to) Kedushas Eretz Yisroel commencing from
the days of Yehoshua Bin Nun through the present day.
The Parsha in
Matos (Bamidbar 31:4-12) describes how the Bnei Yisroel went to battle
against Midian. The Medrash
teaches that, although the Pasuk lists 12,000 soldiers as having been chosen
to do battle (1,000 from each Shevet), in fact there were at least 24,000
soldiers that served. So, why
does the Pasuk count only 1,000 per Shevet? Rabbi
Yaakov Horowitz, Shlita, replies that in truth, only 12,000 (1,000 from each
Shevet) went to actual battle. The
remaining 12,000 or more were enlisted--but not to hold the finest of swords
(whose current equivalent would be Apache attack helicopters) but TO PRAY.
Indeed, the Medrash
teaches--Where were Moshe and Yehoshua during the battle?--They, too, were
davening. Just as the secular
world believes that “wars are not won on the battlefield” but in the
generals’ strategy room, so too we believe that wars are not won on the
battlefield but in our one and only General’s quarters.Every day, in the first brocha of Shema in the morning, we recite
that Hashem is the “Ba’al Milchamos”--that He absolutely controls the
who, what, when, where, and how of all wars. We
look to Him and only to Him for success.
It is said that
as Julius Caesar’s troops were in the midst of climbing the cliffs of Dover, he ordered that the ships upon which they had
landed be set ablaze. As their
only means of retreat were going up in flames, they now realized there was
no choice--but to do their utmost. There was simply no other place to turn.
We must, must
realize that those special young men in the northern and southern parts of
Eretz Yisroel are not the only ones doing battle.As Moshe Rabbeinu sharply rebukes the Bnei Gad and Bnei Reuven (of
course, once again, in last week’s Parsha--Bamidbar 32:6): “Will your
brothers go to war and YOU sit here?!” Chas
V’Shalom! We, wherever we may
live, and whatever we may do, are also soldiers enlisted in this War--not
soldiers on the battlefields, but soldiers like those 12,000 additional
capable individuals in the war against Midian--who joined in fervent,
emotion-soaked prayer together with Moshe Rabbeinu and Yehoshua--to the
Ba’al Milchamos. We must pray
with true feeling and sincerity--with that same fortitude and resolve as the
soldier in raging battle. Any
false sense of salvation or security are gone, as the ships are burning
behind us, and we look to the Ba’al Milchamos--who is also the Po’el
Yeshuos--to provide the salvation we so desperately require. As
the brocha concludes, He will ultimately “shine a new light upon Tzion”--may
we speedily and in our days merit its light.
THE TWENTY-EIGHTH OF TAMMUZ
Today, the 28th day of Tammuz, is the
Yahrzeit of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, HaRav Shlomo Ganzfried (R’ Shlomo
ben R’ Yosef), Z’TL who passed away 120 years ago today.It is said that after the Tanach, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch is the
second-most distributed sefer ever in Jewish history.In the last two years, the concept of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yomi has
become very popular.Following a
set program (which even reviews the laws of Yom Tov prior to Yom Tov, etc.),
one can complete the entire Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in one year in just 5-10
minutes a day.Moreover, one is
blessed with the brocha of the Tanna D’vei Eliyahu (Megillah 28B) who
teaches: “One who studies
Halacha everyday is assured to be a Ben Olom Haba.”
What an awesome and monumental step it
would be for everyone, men and women, the scholar and the uninitiated, the
elderly and the young, to learn/review essential need-to-know Halachos in
Hebrew or English, every day following this program.NOW is the time to
start this extremely important project--as a zechus for our brothers in
Eretz Yisroel on the battlefield and in the cities, towns and villages.
As they cannot learn properly because they are loading mortars, driving
tanks or too cramped in bomb shelters--then at the very least we can try to
learn for their zechus. To receive your own Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yomi schedule by email or
by fax, please contact us.
THANK YOU IN WAR
In the brocha immediately preceding Shema
in the morning, we conclude: “And You have brought us close to Your great
name forever in truth, to offer praiseful thanks to You and proclaim Your
oneness with love…”
We see from this brocha that the FIRST
listed reason that Hashem has brought us close to Him is so that we can
offer appropriate thanks.Let us
consider the following: Although
every injury is traumatic and every death is equivalent to the death of an
entire world, if we note the hundreds upon hundreds of missiles and other
projectiles that have been hurled by murderers upon our men, women and
children in populated cities, towns, and villages over the last days (140
missiles just during yesterday) and compare it to the actual number of
tragic casualties, we will find what the murderers would deem to be an
incredible (miraculous) failure. On
the very same days that the rockets were landing among apartment houses and
city centers, individual suicide bombers and limited tsunamis in other areas
of the world were taking seemingly far greater tolls.We understand that stories have already been written about the
miracles taking place in Tzefas and other areas where the missiles have
fallen, or not fallen.
Thus, as we continue to implore Hashem to
shower His mercy upon us, let us not forget to take the special effort to
thank Hashem for the miracles that are with us daily, in war as well as in
peace. The most appropriate
place for offering these thanks would appear to be in the brocha of Modim in
Shemone Esrei each day.
With respect to our continuing Tehillim
recitation, especially the recitation of Chapters 83, 130, and 142 in
public, each shul’s Rav may have a particular p’sak about such
recitation on Shabbos.See
Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim (288:9) and Mishne Berurah there; also see Teshuvos
Finally, we have received the text of a
Public Proclamation signed by 30 leading Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva in the
United States calling on Shuls and Yeshivos to gather together this coming
Sunday between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. for Tehillim and Selichos on behalf of each
and every member of Klal Yisroel who is in tzara--in captivity--or otherwise
needs a yeshua.
May the coming days take us from distress
to relief, from darkness to light and from subjugation to redemption.
FROM THE DEPTHS
Perhaps one of the most common
denominators in our lives over these days of war/days of terror is that we
are all reciting at least one time, and perhaps many times, a day Tehillim
Chapter 130, entitled Shir Ha’Maalos Mi’Maamakim--A Song of Ascents:
From the Depths.Accordingly, we
provide the following three important insights culled from Tehillim,
written by Rav Avraham Chaim Feuer, Shlita (Artscroll Publications, Volume 5
1.In the second Pasuk, we plead “Hashem, hear my voice….” Rabbi
Feuer comments as follows: “Apparently
the supplicant described here is attempting to raise his voice as loudly as
possible to attract G-d’s attention. This
appears to contradict the Talmudic dictum: Whoever
raises his voice in prayer is a person of meager faith; he resembles the
false prophets who cried out to awaken their deaf idols. (Berachos 24B). Such
a person denies that G-d’s presence pervades the entire world and that G-d
can hear even a whispered plea. Pri
Tzaddik (Rosh Hashana 9) explains that when the supplicant has the presence
of mind to articulate his requests he need not shout. However,
in this instance, the Psalmist is extremely agitated. Misery
sears the depth of his being and robs him of his equanimity and peace of
mind. That he cries out is symptomatic of his anguish.”
We suggest that the lesson from this to us
is that we should truly feel the anguish of K’lal Yisroel as we recite
these meaningful words.
2.In the sixth Pasuk, we cry out: “My soul yearns for Hashem
among those longing for the dawn.” Rabbi Feuer comments as follows: “Th[is]
translation follows Targum, Rashi and Radak, who render the prefix of
“mi” of “mishomerim” as “from among.” Thus
the Psalmist declares: I am
among those who constantly are on the lookout for the first signs of the
dawn of redemption. The phrase
“Shomerim LaBoker” is repeated for emphasis: I
have not been discouraged by the hopeful signs which prove to be unfounded. Rather,
I persistently watched for the morning, time and time again (Rashi)….Ibn Ezra, however, translates ‘mishomerim’ as ‘more than [Yoser
Min] those who long for the dawn.’ [According to this view, the phrase refers to guards who are
changed with the night watch on the city
walls. They are weary after
their nightlong vigil
and eagerly search the horizon
for signs of morning, when they
will be relieved of their duty. Although these watchmen eagerly await the morning, I am even more eager to witness
the dawn of redemption, for the night
of exile is far longer and more terrifying
than any ordinary night.]”
3.In the seventh Pasuk, we declare “And with Him is abundant
redemption.” Rabbi Feuer
states as follows: “Hashem has
already had abundant opportunities to demonstrate His kindness towards
, for He redeemed us on many occasions in the past. Remember
how He redeemed you from the Egyptian exile, the Babylonian exile, and from
countless other perils (Rashi).Moreover,
even when it appears to be humanly
impossible for our nation to be redeemed,
we should always bear in mind that God is not restricted by the
limitations that arrest the efforts of frail humans.
The Almighty, the Omnipotent
Master of the Universe, has infinite means of redemption at His disposal (Sforno).”
As we can see from these important and
poignant comments, this five volume work by Rabbi Feuer (also available in
pocket size) could serve as an excellent way to improve the quality of your
Tehillim recitation. Perhaps as
a start you can study those chapters you most frequently recite, so
that you have the great benefit of reciting your Tehillim with a more
Hashem hear our voices as we long for Him like the dawn, and may we be
blessed with the abundant redemption that we so desperately want and
need--speedily and in our days.
Dovid HaMelech declares in Tehillim (34:5) "I sought out
Hashem and He answered me, and from all terror He delivered me."As hundreds of missiles have fallen in the Holy
and residents of the North are exiled to the South, we are reminded of the
necessity to plead to Hashem for Yeshuos, individually and collectively.The Rabbeinu Yona (Brochos 2B) writes that the Jews in Egypt
were terrified that the tenth plague with which the Egyptians were smitten
would also fall upon them.They
cried out to Hashem for salvation....Chazal
instituted the Tefillah of "Hashkiveinu" in Ma'ariv, which we also
repeat a second time in K'riyas Shema al HaMita, to commemorate the event,
and to remind us how we must constantly seek Hashem's salvation.
Let us try to say "Hashkiveinu" tonight with Kavana (word
Today is the Yahrzeit of the
RAMAK, HaRav Moshe Kordovero, ZT'L--R'Moshe ben R' Yaakov, about whom the
Arizal said (it is reported) that he passed away without sin.Among the many, many seforim he wrote is the Tomer Devorah, one of
the classic Mussar works.It
would be appropriate to learn Torah l'iluy nishmaso today, and pray that in
his zechus, and in the zechus of Tzaddikim of previous generations, Hashem
speedily brings peace and brocha to his people.
MEASURED BY HORSEPOWER
Dovid HaMelech in Tehillim enlightens us with the following Pesukim:
20:8 These trust in chariots
and these in horses but we--we mention the name of L-rd our G-d.
33:16, 17The king is not
saved with the vast army, a mighty man will not be rescued with great
strength. A horse is a false
hope for victory and with his power he will not escape.
147:10 He does not desire
the might of the horse, nor does He take pleasure in the legs of man.
Indeed, Shlomo HaMelech, his son, the
wisest of all men, continues the thought in Mishlei ():
A horse is prepared for a day of
battle, but the victory is the L-rd’s.
Hashem Himself confirms this in Iyov
(39:19): Did you give the horse
his strength [as I did]? The
Radak there clarifies the Pasuk to mean that when Hashem does not wish to
grant the horse might, He causes him to stumble, and the rider is not saved.
With this we can well understand why at
the splitting of the Red Sea all of Paroh’s horses are described by the Torah in the singular
as “Sus”--one horse--for, in fact, it really makes no difference how
many horses there are.
The Torah commands Jewish Kings not to
have “too many horses” (Devarim ).
The Ramban there explains that
the purpose of this prohibition is so that the King never entertains the
thought that his success is based upon his horsepower.Rather, his trust is to be placed only in Hashem, and in Hashem only.
As we look at our current situation, we
note that one small rocket can kill many people, and one large bomb can do
no damage at all. It is all
Hashem’s Will. In a published
letter, Rav Elyashiv, Shlita, and Rav Shteinman, Shlita, have written that
the current matzav--situation--“is very likely to be an aspect of the
birth pains of Moshiach”. It
behooves us at this time to strengthen and restrengthen our Emunah in
Hashem--our complete and entire faith in His Omniscience, Omnipresence, and
Omnipotence. Perhaps we can take
it upon ourselves to have especial Kavana during this week as and when we
recite the 13 Ani Ma’amin affirmations after Shacharis each morning.
Navi (Tzefania 2:3) teaches: “Bakshu Tzedek Bakshu Anava, Uli Tisasru
BeYom Af Hashem--Seek righteousness, seek humility--perhaps you
will be concealed on the day of the L-rd’s wrath.”
Navi immediately continues in the next Pasuk with the words: “Ki Aza Azuva
Teehiyeh...--For Gaza shall be deserted...”Rashi there explains that if we do as the Navi teaches, i.e., pursue
righteousness and humility, then we will be spared, and instead “I will
punish your evil neighbors--Philistia, Ammon and
Moav”, as described in the Pesukim that follow.
Pesukim seem to be directed strikingly at us. For
those of us not already quivering at the bombardments being showered upon
our people because we ourselves do not live in Tzfas, Haifa, Nahariya or the
tens (!) of other Jewish cities, towns and settlements in the North, we need
only imagine hearing the sound of gunfire as we walk or drive to shul, or
the small explosion of a rocket landing a block or two over.
then , what is the “Tzedek” and what is the “Anava” that the Navi
tells us to seek in order for Hashem to remove His retribution from us, and
instead deliver it to the dwellers of Philistia and our
other enemies?We refer you
first and foremost to your Rav for guidance.We present the following two thoughts as a starting point:
Of course, the simple p’shat
in the Navi’s words would mean that we are to act righteously and humbly.Righteousness would suggest being sure to be honest, and being sure
to do the right thing, as opposed to the questionable act.With respect to acting humbly, the Sefer Orchos
Tzaddikim (Chapter 2) writes that the ikar of Anava, the primary aspect
of humility, is to be humble to those who may otherwise be considered
subservient to you, such as your workers, your household members, the
younger, the weaker, and the poorer. Rather
than lording over them, or acting with some level of arrogance, one should
act humbly even with them--almost in the same way as he would act with the
wiser and stronger--for, after all, do we all not always stand before
Hashem?It is almost as if
Hashem brings the Yom Af, the Day of Anger, upon us in order to remind us
that it is He, and not us, who is in power.
The Malbim on our Pesukim brings a second p’shat. He
writes that “Tzedek” and “Anava” collectively refer to humbling
yourself before Hashem with fasting and tefilla.With respect to fasting, since we are physically weaker than in
previous generations, perhaps it can be replaced in some way with watching
what goes out of our mouth, in lieu of what goes in. Indeed,
the Pasuk in Mishlei () teaches
“One who watches his mouth and tongue, saves himself from tzaros”. The
Rambam in Hilchos Deos () explains
that guarding the mouth refers to watching what you take in, and guarding
the tongue refers to what you let out. The
two--intake and output--are thus equated by the wisest of all men, and each
saves us from tzaros. Another
possible kind of replacement for fasting is to break your desire for, and
not consume, one food or spice you may have otherwise wanted at your meal
(ketchup, etc.), as suggested by the Ra’avad. Yet
another possibility is to give tzedaka in lieu of fasting, as the halacha
brings in certain situations where one, Rachmana Litzlan, drops a holy item.
second aspect of the Malbim’s definition, tefilla, needs very little
further comment, as it seems to be the true recurring requirement of our
times. The more we realize its
great importance, the more we really work on it, the more we will build up
some level of Kavana. As one
davens, he should attempt to look for and focus in on key words such as
“matir asurim”--releasing the bound, and other special words--such as
“geula” and “yeshua.”
us try TODAY to work on our Tzedek and on our Anava, so that we are spared
from further negative occurrences, and merit the ultimate
redemption--speedily and in our days.
YOUR TEFILLOS ARE NEEDED
the names of the three Israeli soldiers being held captive by terrorists,
Yemach Shemam. Please recite special Tehillim for them. As the
Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah (252:1) writes, there is no greater Mitzvah than
though you may not know any of these soldiers or their families, you should
try to personalize your feelings toward them. The names should not
sound distant or strange. One way we can be sensitive to the pain and
suffering of others is by identifying them as close relatives or friends.
HaRav Chaim Shmuelevitz, ZT’L, made this point in the Mirrer Yeshiva
Beis HaMedrash during the period that captives were being held in
. Our entreaties obviously helped then--may they be received now, as
want to further disseminate the names of the captives by placing them on
pocket-sized strips of paper for people to carry around and daven for.
The more people that are involved in a cause, the greater chance for success
in that cause. (See, for example, Tosfos Rosh Hashanah 16A d.h. K'Maan
and Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 335:6 and Nosei Keilim there).
Yaakov Avinu passed away, he told his son Yosef (Bereishis 48:22) “As for
me, I have given you Shechem--a portion more than your brothers, which I
took from the hand of the Emori “b’charbi u’vkashti”--with my sword
and with my bow.” Rashi (ibid.) explains that when Shimon and Levi
conquered the city of Shechem, all the surrounding nations gathered together
against them. Yaakov Avinu took up arms to do battle with them and triumphed
by a hidden miracle.
(Baba Basra 123A) asks, “Could Yaakov Avinu have really taken this portion
with his sword and bow?” After all, Dovid HaMelech teaches us all in
Tehillim (44:7) “For I do not trust in my bow, nor does my sword save
me”? The Gemara therefore concludes that the word “b’charbi--my
sword” refers to his prayer and “u’vikashti--my bow” refers to his
supplication. The Meshech Chochmah (Bereishis 48:22) reconciles
the plain meaning of the words “my sword and my bow” with the Gemara’s
explanation of “my prayer and my supplication” as follows. In
fact, Yaakov Avinu did go to war with a sword and bow, in much the same way
as Avraham Avinu went to war with Eliezer his servant against the four
superpowers of his time. They each made all of the efforts they could
make as human beings, and placed all else--and most importantly the
outcome--in Hashem’s hands with their Tefillos.
Ish further crystallizes the point. He writes (Kovetz Igros Chazon Ish
3:62) that we must always remember that we are powerless to accomplish
anything. Our actions, really our efforts, arouse Heavenly mercy to
fulfill our intentions. The Chazon Ish continues that, in fact, the
one who davens and intensely supplicates to be saved, accomplishes more than
the one who puts in the effort.
point, all of our brothers in Eretz Yisroel, and not only those on the
front-lines, are being Moser Nefesh to the highest extent
possible--following in the footsteps of Avraham Avinu and Yaakov Avinu
against a horrible enemy. We are one with them. There is
one thing left to do--we need to daven, and they need to daven. Their
tefillos may be likened to the “charbi--the sword”, for it is needed for
its short-range effects. Our tefillos, from New York to Sydney, and
from London to Phoenix, are to serve as bows--with long-reaching effects
extending to our Holy Land.
As the war
in Eretz Yisroel has escalated, it is our primary responsibility, and we are
duty-bound from all perspectives--Bein Adam L’Makom, Bein Adam
L’Chaveiro, and Bein Adam L’Atzmo--to intensify our prayers and
supplications to Hashem that we win this war speedily and that He bring the
final brocha of peace to his people and the world.
THE SEVENTEENTH OF TAMMUZ
the Seventeenth day of Tammuz, a fast day by Takanas HaNeviim, which is no
small matter. If we look at the
number 17, we will soon realize that it is concomitantly the Gematria of
each of “Oy”, “Chait”, and “Tov”. Thus, we see that the power of the day need not only lie in the
negative, but can and must extend to the positive and good, as well.
typically remember that the first frightful event that happened on this day
was Moshe Rabbeinu’s breaking of the Shnei Luchos which contained the
Aseres Hadibros, as a result of the sin of the Golden Calf. If only the people had shown enough faith to wait one more day for
their venerable and venerated leader, their happiness and dancing would have
resulted in the greatest Simchas Torah ever(!). Instead, we still feel the pain from the torturous event.
there was one prior significant event on this fateful day which preceded the
breaking of the Luchos. The Luach Dovor B’Ito writes that the Yona, the dove sent by Noach out
of the Ark, could not find a place to land and so returned to the Teiva (Bereishis
8:8). The obvious question is,
why would Noach bother sending the dove out without any indication
whatsoever (from Hashem directly, or otherwise) that the waters had receded?
Was he taking a stab in the dark? We may posit that Noach sensed or knew that the day was right for
renewal and joy. The fact that
the dove returned indicated to him that it was he and his family,
representing all of mankind, who were the ones not ready for this renewal.
The same lesson carried through on this date to the Golden Calf, and
thereafter the subsequent tragedies on this day in which our people’s
spiritual growth was stunted rather than cultivated.
the three weeks in front of us should not be viewed as a burden to be
overcome, evidence by our expression to others to have “an easy time of
it.” Instead, it should be a
meaningful and important time in which we hope, pray and take action. Depression and despair should not be the hallmark of these days, for
they may evidence a breach or lack of faith which is the antithesis of
spiritual growth. We should
learn from the gift of gravity that Hashem has given us to always keep both
feet firmly on the ground despite the forces working against us.
It is the
custom of some to recite “Tikun Chatzos” during the Three Week
period--some even in the middle of the day. We may not as yet be on this level.
However, we should remember that every day, three times daily in
Modi’im, we thank Hashem “for the goodness given to us in the evening,
in the morning, and in the afternoon.” What goodness is it that Hashem gives us at these especially
designated times? We suggest
that it is Tefillah itself. If
we can conclude the Yehi Ratzon at the end of Shemone Esrei with Kavana
during these three weeks, three times a day, we will have sincerely davened
for the Beis Hamikdash and our redemption more than 60 times during this
short period! Rather than
wallowing in self-pity, we will demonstrate a renewal of our faith and have
beautifully affirmed our supreme goals.
merit of our prayers, may we see with our own eyes the ultimate redemption
at the beginning of the short period of special thought that lies ahead.
the crisis situation and tragedies of the previous weeks, we experience a
feeling of fear and strict justice. Bilaam himself exclaimed, "Oi-Mi
Yichyeh M'Sumo Kel-- OH! who will survive when He imposes these?" (Bamidbar
would seem appropriate, especially as we enter the period of the Three
Weeks, for each one of us to do what we can to avoid this din, this strict
justice, upon us individually and upon our families. After all, Hillel
teaches in Avos, "Im ain ani li mi li--If I am not for myself who will
be for me?" (Avos 1:14) Last week, we wrote about the importance
of Chessed, especially Chessed which is infused with Rachamim--True
Mercy. The following are three additional recommendations--life vests
supplied in turbulent waters:
The Gemara (Rosh HaShana 17A) teaches
"For one who passes over his Middos (e.g., does not anger, does not
take vengeance, and does not react--even when the situation may completely
justify it)--Hashem will, in turn, pass over his sins. The
Cheshbon is simple-you control yourself even when justified, and Hashem
likewise controls His anger against you--even when justified.
The Gemara (Sotah 21A) teaches that the
study of Torah does not only save one from punishment once
punishment has commenced--but actually even shields and protects one before
the onset of any new punishment, as well. The Gemara
explains (based upon the Posuk in Mishlei (6:23)), that Torah is compared to
the light of the sun, which unlike the light of a candle that eventually is
extinguished, successfully provides light for a person day after day.
In the summertime, when the Tinokos Shel Beis Rabban--the
schoolchildren--study less than when in school, we should try to make up the
slack by learning a little more ourselves.
is said that in the name of Gedolim, that one should make Brachos aloud in
order to cause others to answer "Amen." This special level
of gratitude and faith serves as an affirmation and reaffirmation of
Hashem's control over the world, obviating the need for Hashem to remind us
personally in other ways. For an excellent review of this concept, you
can order the tape "Attitude of Gratitude" (Rabbi Jonathan Rietti
and Rabbi Yechiel Spero) from the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation at
is evident from all of the above, Hashem is not asking that we stand on our
hands, stretch or shrivel, or do 180 degree flips! Some nicely-made
Brachos, some additional Torah study, some self-control in situations which
last only a fleeting moment anyway, can be literally
life-saving--and as troubles reach from Itamar to Flatbush, and from
Lakewood and Monsey to Sderot and Ashkelon, we must light up the darkness
long enough and strong enough for us to survive until daybreak.
IN HONOR OF RABBI PLISKIN
Zelig Pliskin, Shlita, has arrived in the United States for a brief stay. In
honor of his arrival, we present the following important lesson, as
presented in his outstanding work Growth Through Torah, pages 350-352.
Talmud (Makos 10b) takes note that the Almighty initially told Bilaam not to
go with Balak's messengers, who requested that he accompany them to curse
the Jewish people. Hashem later told Bilaam that If these people came to
call you, arise, go with them."
here the Talmud derives the principle, "in the way a man wishes to go,
he is led."
a person wants to do evil, he will be able to do so. Of course, he will have
to pay a heavy price for the successful completion of his evil wishes.
Conversely, someone who wishes to study Torah and fulfill the Almighty's
commandments will be successful. For this, he will be greatly rewarded. When
you wish to travel along the proper path in life, you will be divinely
assisted. Nothing stands in a way of a strong will. There are many things
that you may wish for half-heartedly, but when you strongly set your mind on
a particular goal, you will have the strength and abilities necessary to
meet that goal. What a person truly wants in life, he will usually obtain (Alai
Shur, pages 120-121).
Avigdor Miller (Rejoice O Youth, page 1) comments that the Almighty
guides that person who seeks wisdom, and the amount of guidance is in
proportion to the earnestness of the seeker.
you feel a strong need for something, you will not feel the difficulties
which you encounter insurmountable, even though you might have to work very
hard to accomplish your goals. On the other hand, when you are not strongly
motivated to do something, you will procrastinate and it will take you a
very long time. Moreover, you will not do a very good job (Chochmah
U'Mussar, Vol.2, p.180).
is up to you to intensify your will to do good. The stronger your will, the
more you will actually accomplish. Lack of spiritual accomplishment does not
come from lack of ability, but from lack of will. Work on developing a
strong desire for spiritual growth and you will be amazed at the positive
changes you will experience.
Ben Zion Yadler used to quote the Alter of Navardok, "There is no such
thing as 'I cannot.' What happens is that a person is missing the will and
then he claims that he cannot" (Betuv Yerushalayim, p.116).
THE SPEAKING SPIRIT
Soloveichik, Z'TL, notes that one of the 10 items described in this week's
Perek (Avos 5:9) as having been created on Erev Shabbos at Bain HaShemoshos
is the "Pi Ha'Ason"--the capacity of Bilaam's
donkey to speak. Indeed, it is in this very week's Parsha that
the Torah describes how Hashem opened that donkey's mouth--and how
strongly and cogently the donkey responded to Bilaam's beating (some
this Posuk is the source for the prohibition to cause animals pain).
Rabbi Soloveichik, however, queries, Is it not, in fact, two separate
miracles that took place here which do not seem to be adequately described
by merely referring to the "mouth of the donkey"? Firstly, the donkey
spoke, which no animal had ever done to date, and no animal has ever done
since. Secondly, however, and more importantly, the donkey
articulated his point in a poignant and coherent manner. Should not
this incredible accomplishment be given an even greater stature in the
Mishna in Avos, perhaps using the term "Chochmas Ha' Ason", wisdom of
the donkey, or the like?
Rabbi Soloveichik responds that Chazal are teaching us a lifelong lesson by
teaching that the donkey's actions constituted only one miracle. When
one speaks, but speaks nonsense, gibberish, in trivialities, or generally
not to the matter at hand, it is viewed by the Torah as if he is not really
speaking at all. After all, when the Torah describes the creation of
man (Beraishis 2:7), it states "...And He blew into his nostrils the Soul of
Life." What exactly is the Soul of Life? The Targum Onkelos
(which the Gemara in Megilla 3A teaches was given with the Torah at Sinai) defines it as the "Ruach Memallalah", or Speaking Spirit.
Thus, the power of speech is not independent of the thinking mind, but the
key trait that defines and distinguishes human intelligence, and is
furthermore considered according to the Targum given at Sinai, to be
the essence of the Soul of Life itself.
HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, in his inimitable brilliance, adds to the
concept. Shlomo HaMelech, the wisest of all men, teaches (Koheles 3)
that there are times and places for everything--for extremes and everything
else between those extremes: for example, a time for love and a time for
hate--including, of course, everything else in between; a time to carefully
guard and a time to lose--including, of course, everything else in between;
a time of war and a time for hate--including, of course, everything else in
between. However, one of the contrasts listed in the Pasuk there is 'a time to talk and a time to remain silent'--here
there does not seem to be any in between, for you are either talking or not
talking. Not so, says HaRav Kanievsky, because some people talk
without saying anything, and so are lost somewhere in between. There are,
indeed, extremes within speech itself. The word of Torah being
infinitely distant from the word of Lashon Hora, or hurtful or insulting
words. However, we must remember that there are many kinds of other
words in between--words of consolation, words of encouragement, words of
endearment, words of advice, words of business, words of interest, words to
pass the time, words of trivialities, words of non-meaningful politics, and
other kinds of words, before getting to Lashon Hora, in between.
We should really try, at least from time to time during the day, to measure
our words just a bit more. Was the extra comment to the person
of the opposite gender at work really necessary? Does he really care
about what I am telling him? Does what I am about to say have any
meaningfulness or relevance? A short thought before making a comment
can mean the difference between speaking--and a Speaking Spirit. We
need only once again look to this week's Parsha--if only Moshe Rabbeinu, on
his exalted level, had spoken the right words to the right rock just that
one time, mankind would have been guided to eternal bliss some 3,300 years
As we demonstrate to Hashem that we want to fulfill our role in
creation--that we want to be the true Speaking Spirit for which we were
created, may we be blessed with the words of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, as he
speaks to us and tells us that he can now arrive!
THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL
The G'RA in
Even Shleima (4:1) writes as follows: "Sediment preserves wine when
the wine rests on it. But if the sediment rises, the wine becomes
unfit for drinking. The same is true of the evil inclination. As long
as it is subordinate to the good inclination, it is beneficial to the
world. But once it rises to the top, it ruins everything."
We generally believe that we do as best as we can, aside for some slip-ups
here and there (more here then there) along the way. Every
individual's issue falls squarely on the true meaning of "as best we
can"--or, how far has the sediment risen in the barrel? Unlike
barrels, which have no control over the movement of that sediment, we CAN
keep that sediment down. The Torah itself, in the very first
Parsha of the Torah--Beraishis--testifies about the Yetzer Hora: "V'Ata
Timshol Bo"(Bereishis 4:7)--and you shall rule over it, to which Rashi
comments--if you wish, you will rule over it.
So, how can one
demonstrate that he is really in charge, that his wine remains potable--very
potable? Thank G-d, we are not the kind of people who typically get
involved in heinous crimes, in murders, robberies, or the arayos--the
improper relationships. What we do get involved with on a daily basis
is everyday life, its joys, its foibles, its disappointments, and its
habits. It would be most appropriate, then, to look to our average day
in order to ensure the preservation of that most precious wine within
ourselves. Is there no real way we can make some
small, small, small even seemingly insignificant improvement in the way we:
Recite the first Posuk of Shema--having Kavana for 3 additional
seconds when reciting the words "Hashem Elokeinu" for their literal
meanings, which are actually explicitly set forth in Shulchan Aruch (Orach
Say Boreh Nefashos--how about once a day being careful to recite it from a
Siddur or bencher?
Smile at or greet a person a day--by taking the initiative to do so before
he does the same to you--the Baal HaTurim (in Birchas Cohanim)points out
that the gematria of Shalom and the gematria of Eisav are equal (376) in
order to teach us to greet others pleasantly, even if we may otherwise have
nothing in common?
Eat a meal or a snack--with the dignity of a human being, not while walking
around or even standing, or in a manner which you would be otherwise
embarrassed of--if this was a first date?
Look at--avoiding that extra glance, and certainly not intentionally putting
yourself in a position to see the wrong things?
Show a tangible level of respect to those who deserve your
respect--Rabbis, elders and parents--in a manner that a Western man would
refer to as "above and beyond the call of duty"?
Care for another person's property--or even our own property (after all, is
it really ours for keeps?)-- no, there is no need to throw or step on
clothing, even if it is going to the cleaners tomorrow?
Speak--avoiding the very, very witty remark which may be, only may be (to
the best of your tainted judgment) colored with lashon hora or onaas devorim,
and avoiding the "white" lie, and those extra few words in a conversation
which have absolutely no purpose and can only do you in?
In truth, you know more about your day then even us, so you will have your
own additional or different appropriate suggestions. Just remember that the
sediment tries to raise itself up your barrel every day, every single day.
Make him fight gravity, and let your wine be a connoisseur's delight.
In this regard, we provide one additional outstanding piece of advice from
the G'RA in Even Shleima(4:10): "At times a person begins to go on the
proper path, but after a while begins to give up because of the difficulty
involved. He grumbles at G-d for not having given him Divine aid.
In truth, though, the man ruined it for himself by seeking to jump to the
highest level at once." So, we have to do our part to keep our
sediment down--not with extremely powerful pumps or complex pharmacological
reactions, but by slowly working our way through our very own day, so that
we, just as wine, become better, and better, and better---with age!
THE CHOFETZ CHESED
We are all familiar with
the Chofetz Chaim. We should be at least as familiar with the Chofetz
Chesed, for the Posuk in Micha (7:18) teaches about Hashem himself: "Ki
Chofetz Chesed Hu"--for He is one who desires chesed. HaRav Moshe
Cordevero Z'TL in the classic Tomer Devorah (Chapter 1) writes that
there are special malochim, angels, who are especially designated to receive
the chesed that one does in this world, and
when the midas hadin, strict judgment, is being enforced by Hashem in this
world, these angels bring the chesed being performed by mankind before
Hashem, and though we may be otherwise undeserving, Hashem saves us, because
he is a Chofetz Chesed.
We asked HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita, whether when we learn or give tzedaka
for the zechus of someone else--such as a sick neighbor, the people of
Sderot, the kidnapped soldier, or others who need special zechusim--does
that mean we are losing our own zechus in the Torah learned or the mitzvah
performed and that it is all credited to the recipient of our chesed?
He responded that there is no question that the one who
studies Torah or gives the tzedaka retains zechusim himself--"It is only a
question of how much. Most likely he shares equally with the beneficiary, in
addition to being credited with an act of chesed."
In these trying times, it behooves us to invoke that very special midah that
Hashem possesses--being a Chofetz Chesed--by learning, giving Tzedaka, and
doing Mitzvos specifically as a zechus for those who seem to really need it
very badly at this time. We will invoke Hashem's mercy with the very act,
while concomitantly generating zechusim for ourselves and for those who
desperately need them at this time as well.
PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: Learn something special or different
today and give tzedaka after reading this request, as a zechus to protect
our people from terrorism and suffering in the current Gaza Strip situation.
Pray to Hashem that He invoke his Midah of Chofetz Chesed to save our people
from harm and danger, and ask Hashem to shower us with peace.
REAPING THE PROFIT
Chazal (Shabbos 151B)
teach that "Anyone who has mercy on others, HaKadosh Baruch Hu will have
mercy upon him, as the Pasuk says '...and He will give you mercy and be
merciful to you'"(Devorim 13:18). The two phrases contained in the
Pasuk quoted seem redundant--if Hashem gives us mercy--He is being merciful
to us, so what does the second phrase come to add? HaRav Pam, Z'TL,
explains that the Torah is teaching us that in order to be worthy of
Hashem's mercy, we must act with mercy ourselves. Hashem
therefore gives us opportunities to act mercifully ("and He will give you
mercy"). If we succeed at these G-d given opportunities by acting
mercifully to others, then He, in turn, will be "merciful to you".
Mercy in our time is more than necessary. The Chofetz Chaim, at the
end of Sefer Ahavas Chesed, writes as follows: "Nowadays we see with
our own eyes that the attribute of strict justice is increasing in strength
each and every day in the form of many types of sicknesses and strange types
of death and there is a lack of Hashem's influence in the world. Also,
we have reached a point that there is not a day whose curses are not greater
than the previous day's. Therefore, a person should try to increase
his acts of Tzedaka and Chesed all the more, and perhaps in that merit the
strict justice will be overturned and the world will become filled with
Hashem's mercy." (Translation from The Laws of Tzedeka and Ma'aser
by Rabbi Shimon Taub, (Artscroll) page 180).
With the tzaros we are facing worldwide, on a communal and personal basis,
it behooves us to feel, utilize and excel in the opportunities Hashem is
surely giving us daily. It is important for us to realize that it is
not only the dropping of a dollar into the Pushka, or the shiva visit that
is important, but the manner, the way, in which the act of mercy is
performed. The Navi (Hoshea 10:12) writes, "Sow for yourselves charity
and you will reap according to the kindness." There is a bold lesson
here, for we all know that the act of sowing pales in its significance to
reaping--which is the goal of the planting process. Yes, sowing is an
absolute necessity in the food-making process. But, if one sows for
weeks and weeks from morning to night, and very little rain falls, the crop
will be ruined and all will be for naught, or something close to it.
So, too, the Navi teaches, the act of tzedaka--the righteous act--is
crucial, but the actual harvesting will be solely dependent on the chesed
which nurtures the act to a successful reaping. Tzedaka with Sever
Ponim Yofos, with a smile; chasing after the tzedaka collector who was
walking away from your front yard as you pulled up; offering to help someone
before they ask you for the favor or help; visiting a mourner when it will
be best for them, not for you; reading up on a sickness or thinking about
things that will cheer up a sick person before going to visit; buying your
wife a present that will really touch her; spending time to find the right
tutor for your child; going out of your way to make five phone calls to find
a shidduch for one particular single you have in mind.... The list can
literally go on and on and on. We must strive to infuse the Chesed
opportunities we have--and that we perform many times daily whether we know
it or not--with pure, down to earth, actual mercy.
As Dovid HaMelech teaches (Tehillim 121:5) "Hashem is your shadow"--Hashem
will reflect your actions by shadowing them. Now, we all know that
shadows cast are much larger than the original image--our mercy, if it is
strong enough to cast that original shadow can result in a much more
magnificent mercy than was originally projected. We know what we have
to do. We face the hard part--we have to do it. But it is worth
it--it is really worth it, so let's try.
PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: That next Chesed opportunity that Hashem
gifts to you--that you KNOW Hashem gifted to you--infuse it with the
thought, with the feeling, with the mercy, with the compassion, that you
would expect from Hashem Himself.
ONE OF ONLY SIX
One of the six questions a
person is asked after his 120 year stay in this world is “Tzipisa Li’Yeshua”--did
you sincerely await the Redemption (Shabbos 31A)? Indeed, the Rambam writes
in the 12th Foundation of Faith that we must await Moshiach every single
day. Further, as we all know, in the 15th brocha of Shemone Esrei we all
plead “...for your salvation we hope every day.”
We asked HaRav Yisroel Belsky,
Shlita, for the Makor, for the source, in Torah that we must wait for this
fundamental principle. HaRav Belsky, Shlita suggested two possible sources.
First, the Pasuk in Beraishis(49:18): “LiShuasecha Kivisi Hashem”--for your
Redemption I wait Hashem. It is well known that the Brisker Rav, Z’TL,
could recite this Pasuk several times during any given day. Various
explanations may be given for his practice. We suggest that perhaps he was
careful to constantly remind himself throughout the day to await
redemption--by reciting its Makor in the Torah. Moreover, it is interesting
to note that the nusach of the 15th bracha of Shemone Esrei seems to
indicate that our longing for redemption should go on throughout the day (“KOL
HAYOM”), and not necessarily be limited to our thrice daily recitation in
Shemone Esrei. Although the Avudraham and Radak in Tehillem seem to learn
that “KOL HAYOM” simply means ever day and not throughout the day, it is
conceivable that the Brisker Rav felt that the literal translation of the
words “KOL HAYOM” mean that one has to await Moshiach throughout the day,
and not necessarily at a formal or fixed time.
The second possible source for
this fundamental principle of our faith suggested by HaRav Belsky, Shlita,is
the Pasuk in Chabakuk (2:3) “Im Yismahmeah Chakeh Lo”--if he be delayed
await him-- which is the phrase utilized by the Rambam in the Ani Maamin
mentioned earlier. For further explanation on the meaning of this Pasuk,
see the Malbim there.
Now that we have identified
Torah sources for our longing, WHY is it that we are to long in this way?
HaRav Belsky, Shlita, explains: “The main reason is that no one should come
to terms with a world that is devoid of Kedusha, Chochma and Gilui Shechina
and a host of other attributes.” HaRav Belsky, Shlita, referred us further
to the words of the Rambam which immediately precede the 13 Foundations of
Faith, which are presented by the Rambam in his Introduction to the 11th
Perek of Sanhedrin. There, the Rambam writes that we strive for the times of
Moshiach not for the resulting glory, grandeur or riches, but rather for
man’s resulting advancements in wisdom, proper conduct and closeness to
Hashem... so that at long last our hearts of stone are replaced with hearts
of inspired and sincere, truly righteous behavior, from young to old.
Is this not worth thinking
about more than in a flashing moment or two in the course of a day beset by
the problems, or at least issues, of this world?
We are about to enter the
heart of Tammuz. We must recognize that the times and dates in the past
which have been so extremely unpleasant for us and our people could provide
just the opposite experience for us. Have you thought about what would have
happened on the 17th of Tammuz had B’nei Yisroel not made the Eigel--we
would have forever possessed the unbroken, original first set of Luchos!
Similarly, if the spies would
have come back with the right report on Tisha B’Av, it could have been a day
of rejoicing--and not crying----all these years! These days are days of
happening. Let us break away from the estrangement and void that we have
brought upon ourselves--and strive to draw closer to man’s true fulfillment.
Perhaps we can start by
especially thinking, hoping and praying for the Yeshua just a little bit
more during these days--from time to time through the day. In this zechus,
may we directly see and experience the Kedusha, the Chochma, the Gilui
Shechina we so sorely, sorely lack--speedily and literally in our days!