Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Never Too Late

Chazzal teach us that Chizkiyahu Melech Yehudah was amongst the greatest leaders of our people. He enacted laws that would cultivate Gedolim and Talmidei Chachomim in all of Klal Yisroel and our people flourished under his reign. Yet, Chizkiyahu saw with prophecy that he was destined to have a child who would be as wicked as he was righteous. He was thus afraid to produce a child. However, he was advised not to engage in influencing and tampering with the destiny and master plan of Hakadosh Baruch Hu. It was not his 'cheshbon' to influence the heavenly ordinances.

He understood the message and bore this child whom he named Menashe. Sure enough, Menashe grew up to be one of the most wicked people in our history. Where his Father had promoted spirituality, Menashe stifled it. Under his reign, our leaders were killed and their "blood flowed through the streets". Torah learning was forbidden and idolatry carried the day. Chazzal tell that Menashe was ultimately captured by opposing forces and thrown into a cauldron of burning water. As he lay trapped in the water with his flesh burning off his body, the Gemorah says that he began to call out to all of his idols by name, imploring them to save him from his predicament! He begged this idol, the other idol etc. Of course, none of these idols whom he had worshipped his entire life, came to help him in his time of need! Finally, the Gemorah relates that when Menashe was at the end of his rope, so to speak, he called out to Hakadosh Baruch Hu with the following proposal:

He said "Hashem, please help save me from my predicament - for if you do not, then "kol anpin shavim" - You are all the same! Meaning; - Menashe was telling the Ribbono Shel Olam - "look, I called out to all of my Idols and they could not help me. Now I am calling out to you. If you cannot help me either, then you are just like them; you are all the same!

The Gemorah relates that the Angels quickly intervened and closed the Sharei Shamayim (Gates of Heaven) so that the pleas of this Rasha would not reach the Kisei Hakavod! What happened next is a complete mystery. Hakadosh Baruch Hu "drilled a small hole" in his heavens to allow the voice of the dying Menashe to come up to his throne and he proceeded to save Menashe's life in a most miraculous way (as the Gemorah tells).

This story is a complete mystery!

For one thing, why did Hashem decide to save the life of this Rasha - who had spent his entire life rejecting Hakadosh Baruch Hu while attempting to wipe out all vestiges of spirituality from our people? Moreover, when Menashe finally did reach out to Hashem, look at the seeming Chutzpah with which he approached this! He actually makes conditions with Hashem! He equates Hashem with his worthless idols and says that If Hashem doesn't help him, then he is the same as the rest of those idols!! The sheer chutzpa of this statement! Of course the idols were not in a position to save him! They cannot! However, if Hashem were not to save him, it would be completely justified...after all, he didn't deserve it!

There are really two puzzling questions here
  1. Why did Hashem save him?
  2. What was the meaning behind Menashes cryptic and seemingly brazen plea to Hashem?
The answer to these questions is incredibly beautiful and a lesson for all of us.

Menashe's plea to Hashem was beautiful and profound in its depth. He was actually telling Hakadosh Baruch Hu the following:

"Look, I know what a Rasha I have been all of my life and that I am completely unworthy of your salvation. However, my Father (Chizkiyahu) always taught me as a child, that our Father in heaven displays kindness without boundaries or limitations. I was taught that your mercy for your children is without borders and not impeded by and contained within the framework of any yardstick or measure. Therefore, if you do not save me now in my time of need and despair, this would be an indication that I have simply strayed too far and that I am beyond salvation. This would mean that it is actually possible for a human being on this Earth to sin so badly, that he would actually place himself beyond the scope of your mercy. This means by extension, that your mercy is finite; that it is limited by the constraints of finite boundaries. If this is the case, then you are not the Hashem I was taught about in my youth!!

Upon hearing his pleas, the Malachei Hashareis moved quickly to block his prayers from advancing to the Kisei Hakavod. However, Hashem destined otherwise. Hashem created an opening for Menashe's tefillos to reach his heavenly throne and he actually granted him his request and saved his life!


Hashem wanted to make an example of Menashe and to teach all future generations that it is never "too late" to do Teshuva and to repent. Indeed, there is no such thing as a Jew straying too far from the fold...there is no such thing as Hashems' patience and mercy being overridden by the sins of a Jew.

No Jew is ever beyond salvation, because G-Ds' mercy and patience is without boundaries or limitations!

Indeed, the lesson we take from Menashe ben Chizkiyahu Melech Yehudah, is both profound and timely. It is never too late for a Jew to do Teshuva and come closer to Borei Olam!

Heard from Heard From Rav Shimshon Pincus zt"l; OhrShimshon.com


  1. amazing! incedible! awesome! inspiring! soooo profound! really beautiful! Thanks for sharing!


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