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Shmuel HaNavi lived for 52 years, fulfilling his mother’s words. A Levite would normally begin his service in the Sanctuary at twenty-five, for a duration of not more than fifty years. Since Shmuel was only two when Chana brought him to Eli, his fifty was actualized at fifty-two — his mother having in essence shortened his life.

Chana was endowed with Ruach Hakodesh as she euphorically paid tribute to Hashem with prayer and songs of praise. She subsequently bore five more children, and for each child Chana brought into the world, her adversary buried two… until Penina was left with two sons. She tearfully begged Chana to forgive her for having tormented her about her barrenness and asked Chana to pray that her remaining two children be saved.

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Shmuel HaNavi is considered to be in the exalted league of Moshe and Aharon. The righteous Prophet served G-d and the people with genuine loyalty and devotion and merited to anoint two kings – Shaul HaMelech and Dovid HaMelech – in his relatively brief sojourn in this world.

Chana’s demeanor and style of prayer to the Ribono Shel Olam has over the generations served as a paradigm for the Jewish woman. And how intriguing that the story of Chana and the catastrophic occurrence of Rabi Akiva’s talmidim should both incorporate the powerful lesson that antagonizing or hurting another can, Heaven forbid, lead to the gravest of consequences — an apt message year round, but especially apropos for this month of Iyar when we strive to reach a level of virtuousness that will make us truly deserving of being His Chosen.

Iyar’s letters transposed spell yira – fear. “Reishis chochma yiras Hashem” – The beginning of wisdom lies in the fear of God. [Proverbs 7:1]

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