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MIRACLE AT THE KOTEL

By: Rabbi David Ashear

A person who trusts in Hashem is always happy. If things don’t go his way, he strengthens his faith. He doesn’t fall into depression or despair when his prayers aren’t answered. He knows the pasuk in Tehillim (27:14) that states that one should pray to Hashem, and if he is not answered, he should strengthen himself – and pray even more. The person who trusts in Hashem has heard hundreds of stories about Hashem’s salvation, and knows with confidence that Hashem can save him from his problems in but an instant. He also knows the inestimable value of heartfelt prayer.

I heard of a couple, Yaakov and Miriam; both are baalei teshuvah. They lived in Israel and were childless for twelve years. They tried every procedure possible, but nothing worked, and the doctors could not figure out the source of the problem. Finally, they reached the mutual decision to divorce, in the hope that they could each remarry and have children with a different spouse. Yaakov’s friends pleaded with him to reconsider his decision, noting that since he was a Kohen, he would not be able to remarry his wife once they divorced. But his mind was made up, and he gave her a get.

Within a few months, he discovered that his wife was expecting. He was heartbroken. They had tried to have children for twelve years and nothing worked, and now he could not marry her again and raise the child together. It is difficult for us to even begin to imagine the agony he felt.

Devasted, Yaakov went to his rabbi and showed him the get, hoping that maybe the rabbi could find something wrong with the document so it could be invalidated. But the rabbi found nothing wrong. The rabbi advised Yaakov to bring the get to Rav Elyashiv, who was one of the greatest halachic sages of the generation, to see if perhaps he could find a basis for disqualifying the get. To Yaakov’s dismay, Rav Elyashiv, too, found that the get was perfectly valid. There seemed to be no hope of bringing the family back together.

Rav Elyashiv urged him to go to the Kotel to pray. “Go pour your heart out at the Kotel,” he said. “Hashem is the only One Who could help you. Many people have received salvation there at the Kotel.”

Yaakov went to the Kotel and cried his eyes out. As he was praying, a stranger came over to him and said, “You have to see your father.” Yaakov paid no attention to the man. He had never seen this man before, and besides, although he had a father in Dallas, they were not on good terms. He hadn’t gone to visit him in a long time. And so, Yaakov went back to his prayers. But a few minutes later, the stranger returned and told him he had to go to his father. Yaakov was very perplexed. That night, he thought about this incident for a long time, and finally decided that he should go visit his father.

Yaakov took a flight to Dallas, and when he walked into his father’s home, his father, for the first time in his life, called him by his Jewish name, Yaakov, instead of Jason. “Yaakov!” he said. “It’s so great to see you! How’s everything? Did you bring your wife?” Upon hearing this, Yaakov broke down crying. He told his father the entire story, and the painful situation he now faced.

His father listened and kept silent for a number of minutes. Finally, he said, “My son, there is something I need to tell you. Your mother swore me to secrecy, but now I must tell you: you are not really my son. We were childless, and your mother wanted a child very badly. We adopted you, but we never told a soul. Everybody assumed that you were our biological son. And you grew up thinking you are a Kohen, but you’re not.” He showed Yaakov the adoption papers, and Yaakov retuned home and remarried his wife.

That stranger at the Kotel was Hashem’s messenger. This is the power of heartfelt prayer.

The person who trusts in Hashem knows that Hashem can help him in an instant. He also knows that if he hasn’t been answered yet, there must be a very good reason for it, and therefore he thanks Hashem, confident that Hashem knows best. And, he knows that Hashem wants him to continue praying, and he always anticipates his salvation the next time he prays.

Adapted from “Living Emunah,” by Rabbi David Ashear,
with permission of the copyright holders, ArtScroll / Mesorah Publications, Ltd.