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Parsha 06 – Noach and The Tears of a Princess

Kever Rochel - Tomb of Rachel - ca. 1870

Kever Rochel - Tomb of Rachel - ca. 1870

Kever Rochel Imeinu – the Tomb of Rachel, Bethlehem, ca. 1870.

With the yahrzeit of Rochel Imeinu (11th of Cheshvan) approaching, I’d like to share something about her resting place that we heard from the Rosh Yeshiva of the Breslov Yeshiva in Meah Shaarim, Rabbi Michel Dorfman z”l.

Every month on Erev Rosh Chodesh, a group of Breslov chassidim travel to Kever Rochel and Hevron for chatzos halayla – midnight prayers. On one such trip, several busloads of men poured into Kever Rochel in the middle of the night.

Reb Michel described how he separated from the crowd to pray in solitude on the women’s side of the tomb since, at that hour, it was empty. Then he asked us: “Do you know why I did that?”

When no one ventured to guess, he explained: “Chazal (the sages of the Talmud) tell us that women cry more easily than men do because they’re more sensitive to pain. That’s why, in the women’s section of Kever Rochel, rivers of tears are flowing all day long. By standing in that special place, I hoped our tefilos would be carried by those tears.”

Remembering Reb Michel’s words I wonder: since women have a greater power of tears, do we have a greater responsibility in caring about our generation? In Noach’s time, a deadly flood of unconscious behavior almost destroyed the world. That flood continues to this day. What if a woman’s tears can stem the tide? Sometimes we can fight fire with fire, so why not water with water?

In Rabeynu’s first story in Sipurey Maasiyos, when the king’s minister finds the handkerchief left by the missing princess, he holds it up to the sun to see if he can decipher the handwriting on it. Not only does he find out where the princess is, but he learns something even more important from the fact that the message is written in tears.

Before that moment in the story, we never hear that that the courageous minister ever weeps. But after receiving the message written in tears, the minister sheds tears until he finally rescues the princess. The medium was the message!

For more on Parshas Noach and how to care about our generation, listen to Likutey Halakhos, Orach Chaim 3, Hilkhos Shabbos 7:69.

Chodesh Cheshvan Tov uMevurach!


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