Thursday, Jul 29, 2021

A Touch of Comfort

The Shelah Hakadosh notices that the term zamrah and all of its variations (mizmor, zemiros) appear 102 times throughout the entirety of Sefer Tehillim. This is hinted in the words we recite in the 147th chapter of Tehillim, “Ki tov zamrah Elokeinu,” as the  numerical value of the term Elokeinu equals 102. Hence, zamrah is recited 102 times.

 

But there is a deeper meaning to this gematriya. The term Elokeinu connotes the Al-mighty’s harsh middas hadin, and yet, this, too, may be expressed as zamrah, a song, the melody of din. There are times when the world seems to be collapsing around us. It may be physical, mental or emotional health that is causing the “sky is falling” mentality. But when those dark clouds hover above our heads and we sense the impending doom, we must not fret or fear. It is nothing more than a precursor to the rain and goodness the Al-mighty wishes to bestow upon us. This is the meaning of “Hamechaseh shomayim ba’avim, hameichin la’aretz matar.” He covers the skies with clouds (in order) to prepare (and water) the earth with rain.

 

If only we believed, truly believed, that the doom and despair we dread lead to goodness and benevolence, our worries and fears would evaporate.

 

It is easy to wonder why the stormy clouds must gather in the first place. Why can’t it always be sunny? But everything Hashem does is for our good. He has a Master Plan and not always are we privileged to see it develop. But nothing in life is happenstance. Everything has a rhyme and a reason.

 

When the Chasam Sofer was a young man, He went to learn for two years by the great Rav Michel Sheyar in Meyentz. While he was there, he lived in the home of one of the prestigious and wealthy baalei batim of the city. At that time, he shared his quarters with a non-Jewish French student. While young Moshe Sofer continued to learn with great diligence, he did not have the time or the interest to develop a friendship with the Frenchman, but he also sensed that fate had brought them together. He acted cordially towards his housemate, and after two years of learning in Meyentz, the Chasam Sofer returned home.

 

Thirty-five years passed and the Chasam Sofer became one of the Torah leaders of the world. At that time, Napoleon’s armies swept through Europe, capturing one country after another. When France encountered the Austrian army, the Austrians fought with great resilience and much blood was spilled on the battlefield.

 

Two Jews decided that they would benefit from the ammunition found on the dead soldiers of those battlefields. They both staked claim to the guns and sought to sell the ammunition back to the Austrians. The two quarreled over who was rightfully entitled to the spoils of the war. They turned to the Chasam Sofer and asked that he determine the rightful owner. After deliberating, the Chasam Sofer decided in favor of one of the sides. In the meantime, the one who lost the case approached the French and slandered the victor, providing incriminating evidence against him and the Chasam Sofer.

 

The Chasam Sofer was immediately incarcerated. He was informed that his trial would be short and swift and he would be executed publicly for treason. After a few days, he was brought before the judge, awaiting his sentencing. But he waited in vain. The judge called out, “My old friend, don’t you recognize me?”

 

The Chasam Sofer looked up and immediately recognized his former housemate. He explained that he had nothing to do with the ammunition. He was merely arbitrating between the two sides and had been framed. Knowing how just and righteous he was, the judge absolved his former housemate immediately of all wrongdoing and set him free.

 

The Chasam Sofer explained, “It says in the posuk, ‘Vera’isa es achorai ufanai lo yeirau.’ This means that ‘befanai,  before things happen, we don’t always see the purpose in all that transpires, but ‘achorai,’ afterwards, we are able to see the Handiwork of the Al-mighty with greater clarity.”

 

We must not get down when things don’t go our way. We may not understand why things must be the way they are. We might fear the darkening of the skies and tremble at the oncoming storm, but time will show how the darkened clouds always bring rain and shower goodness upon our lives.

– – – – –

TEASER

 

We must not get down when things don’t go our way.

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