Friday, May 28, 2010

Speaking Carefully & Davening for Others

There are many lessons we can learn from the incident mentioned in this weeks parsha, Parshas Beha'aloscha - the story of Miriam getting tzara'as.

Just to backtrack, Miriam spoke about her own brother, her brother that she loved (Moshe) and only spoke to one person (Aharon) and didn't say anything mean or bad. All she did was equate him with the other nevi'im. This was not harmful to him in any way and nobody else knew about what she said. Yet, she still got tzara'as.

We learn from here how careful we have to be with the way we speak. It is so easy to speak negatively about other people. How about if we tried to become more aware of the things we say so we can make sure that every day we say at least one positive thing about or to someone. It can be a compliment directly to that person or you can tell someone about how another person did something nice to help you out. Speaking positively will surely make this world a better and happier place!

We can take a lesson from the fact that Moshe davened for her. He said to Hashem, "Ana kel na refa na la" - Hashem, please heal her now. He kept his tefillah short because the entire Jewish Nation was waiting to continue traveling through the desert. According to the Or HaChaim, Moshe’s tefillah was answered immediately and Miriam was healed of her tzara'as although she still had to remain separate from the rest of the camp.

We see from here how important it is to daven for other people. We all know individuals who are going through hard times. Who knows what the extra tefillah can do to help bring their yeshuah one step closer? This will also make you into a more caring and sensitive person. Thinking beyond yourself and your needs helps you get rid of the selfishness inside of you.

If we felt closely connected to others and really cared about them, we would have them in mind in our tefillos more often.

Rabbi Shalom Shwadron frequently relates the following incident to illustrate how different a person will react when he really feels someone’s suffering.

A little boy was playing in front of Rabbi Shwadron’s house in Jerusalem. The child fell, and received a nasty cut. Hearing the child’s cries, Rabbi Shwadron ran outside, put a towel over the cut, and rushed over with the boy to the home of a doctor who lived nearby. As he was running, an elderly lady noticed his concern and distress and thinking it was one of Rabbi Shwadron’s children, called out, "Don’t worry, don’t worry. G-d will help."

It so happened that the boy was the woman’s grandson. Rabbi Shwadron was curious to see her reaction when she would realize the child’s identity. Sure enough, as soon as she realized that it was her own grandson, she stopped saying, "Don’t worry," and started screaming at the top of her lungs, "My Meir! My Meir!" while neighbors tried to calm her down.

When someone else’s child is involved, you might detachedly say, "Don’t worry"; but when your own child is involved, you’ll shout.

(Heard from Rabbi Shalom Shwadron, quoted in Love Your Neighbor, p. 129)

Let us take a lesson from this weeks parsha and speak more positively about others. And next time you daven, try to have someone else in mind. So many people need yeshuos! And always remember, Hashem can do ANYTHING!!


  1. Firstly- thank you so much for this post.
    I had a question regarding the story included. The woman who initially told her neighbor "dont worry" but then started screaming when she found out it was her grandson, shows that she did not display the same care. But let's say if she really did feel in others pain, what should her reaction have been like? was it wrong for her to be worried when she found out it was her grandson?

  2. luv-I think that if she really felt in others pain, her initial reaction would have been one of care and concern, one of real, true worry - similar to the reaction she had when she found out it was her own grandchild. It is normal for people to worry when someone close to them is hurt. But if she really felt like it was someone close to her (which is what we strive to emulate-the middah of really feeling for someone else), she would have felt worried right away!

  3. MW-Thanks, glad you liked it! Me too :)


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