Haazinu: The Power of Tefilah
By Harav Yonah Burr
וידבר ד' אל משה בעצם היום הזה לאמר: עלה אל הר העברים הזה הר נבו אשר בארץ מואב אשר על פני ירחו... ומת בהר אשר אתה עלה שמה והאסף אל עמיך
Hashem spoke to Moshe in the middle of the day saying, ascend the Nevo Mountain... there you will die and be gathered unto your nation.
Rashi quotes the Sifri:
The expression in the middle of the day is used three times in the Torah:
It is used regarding Noach entering the Teiva in the middle of the day, as a statement to the generation of the flood. Noach would enter the Teiva in full view, in the middle of the day. Nothing you do can stop him. Try smashing the Teiva with axes -- you won’t be successful.
It is used again regarding the Jewish People leaving Mitzraim. They would leave in the middle of the day, again in full view, to show the Egyptians that there was nothing they could do to block the Will of Hashem.
The third time is in this week’s parsha regarding the death of Moshe Rabbeinu. Hashem says He will take Moshe in the middle of the day, and nothing we do can stop that from occurring.
Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz asks: It is understandable regarding the Teiva, or the Exodus, one might think it is within their power to stop it, we can theoretically smash the Ark, or block the Jews from leaving, but how could anyone think that they could possibly stop Moshe from dying?
Explains Rav Chaim zt’l, that in spite of all the complaining and arguing, the Jewish People had a tremendous love for their leader Moshe. He was the vehicle through which Hashem performed all the miracles during these forty years, and he was the conduit through which Hashem gave us His Torah. If the entire nation would unite in Tefilla, perhaps our prayers would have the power to stop the inevitable from happening. Perhaps we could even prevent our beloved leader from passing on! To this Hashem responds, that in this case it will not be possible to prevent- Hashem has His reasons, and it was determined that it was time for Moshe to ascend to Shamayim and for the people to have a new leader. Even the collective prayer of the entire nation will not be able to prevent this from happening.
We see from this however, the potential power of our tefillah- potentially, it is possible for our collective tefillos to suspend the laws of nature. And Hashem had to go out of His way to explain that in this case we have to make an exception. It is time for Moshe to go; but fundamentally, the people were correct-normally, there is no limit to the power of our tefillos.
The period between Yom Kippur and Sukkos is a time of closeness with Hashem. May Hashem answer all our tefillos, and may we merit to see the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days!
Have a wonderful Shabbos!