web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Rescue Us From The Valley Of Tears


Lessons-logo

Share Button

Our forefather Yaakov is considered to have been the patriarch who endured the most suffering. Although our rabbis look to the binding of Yitzchak and the trial of Avraham as the epitome of suffering in the form of self-sacrifice, Yaakov is our greatest teacher in the difficult subject of dealing with life’s hardships.

His suffering began when, as a young man, he had to run away from his parents’ house. He fled from the treacherous Eisav into the clutches of the deceitful and poisonous Lavan. His trials continued after leaving Lavan’s domain: his famous showdown with Eisav and his army of 400 men; the violation of Dinah by Schechem; the death of his mother Rivkah at night without proper burial; the passing of Rachel and her burial on a roadside; and finally the “death” of Yosef, which was actually his abduction and slavery in Egypt.

In Parshat Vayishlach, after the death of Rivkah, Yaakov created a paradigm for dealing with future sadness in the nation of Israel.

He cried deeply and mourned the loss of his mother. It was the first tragic death in the family of the patriarchs. Yaakov’s pain is memorialized by his naming of a city after the tree where his crying took place – Alon Bachut, the tree of tears. Rav Saadia Gaon and others translate the city’s name as the plain of tears.

In the Lecha Dodi prayer we sing Friday night during Kabbalat Shabbat, we ask God to save us from Emek Habacha, the Valley of Tears, for we have been dwelling there for too long. What started as Yaakov’s flat plain of tears outside the city of Bet El, after thousands of years and the copious tears shed by the Jewish nation over that time period, became the valley of tears.

Someone who hears tragic news, like in Parshat Vayeishev where Yaakov believes that his dear son Yosef was torn apart by wild animals, is swept away and immersed into the valley of tears.

We were blessed with a beautiful child who we presumed was healthy until the age of eight months. And then Noah ascended to heaven 10 years ago on 21 Kislev, after living four years and one day in this world. So we identify with Yaakov’s situation after he was led to believe that Yosef was no longer.

That may be why it says in Vayeishev that Yaakov could not be comforted from the sadness he felt in losing Yosef for 22 years, despite his great stature as one of our eternal role models. Yaakov filled the plain of tears, originally carved out with sadness for the loss of his mother, with 22 years of his deep, heartfelt tears for Yosef’s disappearance.

The tears of all our generations – from Yaakov to the Jews in the Holocaust, and those in between – are seemingly endless. And our tears cried over our dear Noah trickled down into the valley as well. We felt trapped in the valley for many years. But little by little, God helped us escape. We cannot believe that now, 10 years after Noah’s passing, we are able to look back and appreciate Him for all that we went through – but we have and we do.

You climb to the top of the valley and move away, and you leave it in hindsight. But it is always there, and the tears you cried are eternal. If you are fortunate, you are lifted high above and look at it from God’s infinite perspective.

Once you have been to the valley, you relate more deeply to those that have also been there. You speak to them without speaking. And just mentioning the valley unites you in a bonding of your souls. The tears you cried flowed into the river that lies within the valley, and your tears merge with theirs. You want to ease their sadness, but cannot. And once you have left the valley behind, you can still return in an instant. Not to cry again, but to behold the tears you once cried. Your tears that were cried once will never dry.

Sad though your return is to the valley, it is part of what makes you alive. Without your connection to it, you have no compass. You never realized it, but from the point of your sadness and forward, the valley has become your guide. Wherever you find yourself in life, you always measure yourself by how far you have come since leaving the valley. The valley may be a real entity, as we see from the tree of tears that Yaakov named. But it also resides in a part of us that we didn’t know existed. We may not want to know it’s there, and can’t believe it’s there – but it is.

We know our tears have not been shed in vain. Despite the sadness we felt from Noah’s passing, the joy of knowing that Hashem gave us this precious gift far exceeds the sorrow. Although no one would ever ask for this type of gift, once it has been given to you, you realize that you have witnessed the ultimate truth.

May we all be zocheh to the coming of Moshiach, and have all of our holy neshamot return to us in happiness – bimheirah b’yameinu, amen.

To contribute to the foundation we created in Noah Raphael’s memory to help children facing serious illness, please send a tax-deductible check to Noah’s Spark Foundation, c/o Jarashow, 5 South Myrtle Ave., Spring Valley, NY 10977.

Share Button

About the Author:


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.

No Responses to “Rescue Us From The Valley Of Tears”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Judaism Stories
Reiss-041814-King

Amazingly, each and every blade was green and moist as if it was just freshly cut.

PTI-041814

All the commentaries ask why Hashem focuses on the Exodus as opposed to saying, “I am Hashem who created the entire world.”

Leff-041814

Someone who focuses only on the bones of the Torah makes his bones dry and passionless.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

More Articles from Jonathan Jarashow
Lessons-logo

Our forefather Yaakov is considered to have been the patriarch who endured the most suffering. Although our rabbis look to the binding of Yitzchak and the trial of Avraham as the epitome of suffering in the form of self-sacrifice, Yaakov is our greatest teacher in the difficult subject of dealing with life’s hardships.

In late August, Jewish music sensation and Shlomo Carlebach/Bob Marley hybrid Matisyahu released “Light,” his third album. Having enjoyed his first two albums immensely, and already humming some of Matisyahu’s new tracks, I began to wax philosophical while listening to his newest compilation. I asked myself: Can we define ourselves by what we think of Matisyahu and his music?

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/rescue-us-from-the-valley-of-tears/2010/01/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: