web analytics
January 27, 2015 / 7 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


I Have Yichus

The-Shmuz

“And Yitzchak prayed intensely opposite his wife because she was barren. And Hashem listened to him, and Rivkah became pregnant.” – Bereishis 25:21

The Imahos were all barren. According to a midrash, it wasn’t that they were simply incapable of having children, they lacked the very organs necessary to conceive. Knowing this, Yitzchak and Rivkah davened for a miracle. They each stood in their opposite corners, imploring, entreating, and begging Hashem to allow them to have a child. After twenty years of their pleading, Hashem granted the miracle – Rivkah became pregnant.

However, the pasuk says Hashem listened to his prayers. Rashi makes the observation that it was to Yitzchak’s prayers that Hashem listened, not Rivkah’s. Rashi explains that this is because Yitzchak was the son of a tzaddik, whereas Rivkah was the daughter of a rasha. Since there is no comparison between the prayers of a tzaddik who is the child of tzaddik to the prayers of a tzaddik who is the child of a rasha, Hashem listened to his prayers rather than to hers.

But wasn’t Rivkah greater because she overcame her upbringing? The problem with this Rashi is we know a person isn’t judged according to where he is now but to where he came from. The fact that Rivkah came from “lowly stock” and yet managed to overcome her upbringing is to her credit – she is even greater because of it.

In fact, just one pasuk earlier we are told Rivkah was the daughter of Besuel, the sister of Lavan, and from a city of devious people. Rashi explains that the Torah repeats her lineage there to show to us how great she was: “Even though her father was wicked, even though her brother was wicked, and even though she came from a town of wicked people, she was righteous.”

Precisely because she came from the house of wicked people and wasn’t negatively influenced, she was considered greater than if she had been born into a house of holy people. Yet here we see that because she came from the house of wicked people, her prayers weren’t accepted. This seems to be a direct contradiction.

Who I Am Vs. Who My Father Is

The answer to this seeming inconsistency is that there are two systems involved in weighing a person’s merits. The first system is based on the individual: Who am I and what have I accomplished in this world? Based on where I started, based on the talents and abilities given to me, how far did I go? How much did I change? That is the system used to measure me when I leave this earth. Who am I now, compared to who I was when I started?

But there is a second system that comes into play when a person stands in front of Hashem during davening.

The following parable helps us understand this system. A loyal friend of the king has a son who turned to bad ways. When petitioning the king to have mercy, he doesn’t present his case based on the merit of his son – he asks the king to remember who he, the father, is. He asks the king to remember all the years of loyal service he provided, to ignore the faults of his son, and to remember the love and devotion he has showered on the king.

So, too, when the son of a tzaddik comes in front of Hashem, it may well be that his merit alone isn’t sufficient to change the judgment. Based on his merit alone, he may not deserve whatever it is he is requesting. But the merit of his father who stands for him carries him far beyond his own arguments.

When Rivkah stood in front of Hashem, she was a very holy woman – but as great as she was, her merit alone was not sufficient to bring forth the type of miracle needed. When Yitzchak stood in front of Hashem, he was effectively twice as tall as Rivka because his own merit and the merit of his father were working for him. As noted above, it may well be that Rivkah herself was greater because she had overcome the obstacles of her father’s house, but in terms of asking mercy from Hashem, she stood alone. Therefore, Hashem listened to Yitzchak’s prayer, not to Rivkah’s.

This concept has great relevance to our lives. There may be many times when we think about approaching Hashem for help and may say to ourselves, “Am I worthy? Do I have the right to ask, let alone expect, Hashem to grant this request? Am I so great that Hashem should change the course of events for me?”

And the answer may well be no, our merit alone is not sufficient. Based on who we are, based on what we have done, it may very well be that we have no right to expect these things from Hashem.

However, our Sages were very wise when they crafted our prayers; they are based on invoking the merits of the Avos. When we make requests of Hashem, we begin by doing so in the merit of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. As children of the Avos, we ask that Hashem remember their righteousness and answer our requests in their merit, not our own. By ourselves, we may not merit health, well-being or parnassah, but we ask that in the z’chus of our forefathers, Hashem have mercy.

Understanding this concept can help us relate to the unique power and effect our prayers can have – well above what we may be entitled to.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “I Have Yichus

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hassnain Aliamin , one of four Muslim teenagers who attacked a Jew in Gateshead.
‘Let’s Go Jew-Bashing’ Muslims Hauled into British Court
Latest Judaism Stories
Tissot_The_Waters_Are_Divided

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

Parshat Bo

Before performing the 10th plague God makes a fundamental argument about the ultimate nature of justice.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Life Before The Printed Word
‘A Revi’is Of Blood’
(Yevamos 114a-b)

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“It means that the disqualification of relatives as witnesses is a procedural issue, not a question of honesty,” explained Rabbi Dayan.

Property ownership is an extremely important and fundamental right and principle according to the Torah.

The tenderest description of the husband/wife relationship is “re’im v’ahuvim/loving, kind friends”

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

Suddenly, she turns to me and says, “B’emet, I need to thank you, you made me excited to come back to Israel.”

Pesach is called “zikaron,” a Biblical term used describing an object eliciting a certain memory

Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus

Pharaoh perverted symbols of life (the Nile and midwives) into agents of death.

I think that we have to follow the approach of the Tannaim and Amoraim. They followed the latest scientific developments of their time.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

The-Shmuz

It is exactly like that of an animal, with all of the passions and desires necessary to drive man though his daily existence.

How did their hatred toward the Jews make their own lives disgusting? It’s the Jews they hated, not themselves.

When Hashem made man, He created two worlds – this world and the World to Come. Each has its purpose.

Because we see these events as world changing, as moments in history, they become part of us forever.

Our right to exist and our form of self-government were decided by the ruling parties.

If Hashem is watching tzaddikim, why couldn’t He just save Yosef from all the suffering he was about to endure?

If a man owns a successful small business, he might do a million dollars a year in sales. But that is the gross revenue, not the amount he takes home.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/i-have-yichus/2013/10/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: