Mishnah Berurah Tiferet
By: Rabbi David Ashear
A person should never say to himself, How can I ask Hashem for something, when I’m on such a low spiritual level? Why would He be interested in hearing my requests, let alone granting them? Hashem always wants to hear from us, no matter what level we are on.
The Midrash (Shemot Rabbah) comments that Hashem caused Bnei Yisrael to be trapped against the sea because He wanted to hear their tefillot. In Egypt, as they suffered persecution, they prayed to Hashem, as the Torah says, “and they cried out” (Shemot 2:23). Once they left Egypt, however, they no longer prayed. The Midrash says that Hashem desired to hear Bnei Yisrael pray as they did in Egypt, and so He brought Pharaoh and his army to pursue them and trap them against the sea, at which point they again prayed –“the Children of Israel cried out to Hashem”
(Shemot 14:1O). Hashem then said, “this was the voice that I missed –
the same voice that I heard when Bnei Yisrael were in Egypt!”
Rabbi Chaim A. Yomnick notes that Hashem desired to hear the voice that He heard when Bnei Yisrael were in Egypt, despite the fact that the people at that time were submerged in the 49th level of impurity. Even though they had fallen to the lowest spiritual depths, Hashem cherished their prayers and even longed to hear them again afterward. This demonstrates that no matter what level a person is on, Hashem very much desires to hear his tefillot.
The Kedushat Levi (Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev) writes that we have to strengthen and reinforce our belief that Hashem, the King of the universe, wants to hear the prayers of all people, even those who are on the lowest spiritual levels. In fact, Rav Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin writes that sometimes those on a low spiritual level have even a greater chance of having prayers answered than others. These people are keenly aware of their unworthiness, and thus pray with complete trust in, and dependence on, Hashem’s mercy and compassion, and these are the greatest prayers of all.
The Chafetz Chaim delivered a public address in which he proclaimed, “I promise you Hashem is waiting and longs for the tefillot of each and every one of you.” One should never think for a moment that because of his wrongdoing Hashem is not interested in hearing from him and listening to his requests. No matter who a person is and what he has done, Hashem anxiously awaits his tefillot.
A man told me that when he was 60 years old, he was forced to sell all his stores and suddenly found himself without a source of income for the first time in his adult life. He didn’t know how he would support himself, and was thinking that he might have no choice but to sell his home and move into a small residence. The next morning, he remained in the shul after everyone else had left. He got down on his knees and said, “Please Hashem, I need help. Please give me another job.” He then got up, recited a chapter of Tehillim, and left.
On his way home, a car pulled up alongside him. A man he knew, who was the president of a large company, noticed him walking home and stopped to ask why he was not at work at that late hour. The man explained to him that he had to sell his stores and was now left without any work.
“Perfect!” the driver exclaimed. “I need a new manager for one of the divisions in my company, and I think you’re the perfect man for the job.” The man started work the next day, and earned the exact salary he needed. This man is not a great scholar or tzaddik, but just a simple Jew whose prayers were lovingly accepted by Hashem.
One should never be discouraged from crying out to Hashem. No matter who he is, Hashem very much wants to hear what he has to say.