Israel Forever

For the week ending 9 August 2003 / 11 Av 5763

The Miracle of Aliya

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Each and every Jew who has succeeded in realizing his dream to settle in Eretz Yisrael has his own special story to tell. Aliya to the Holy Land has always presented a challenge, and many olim describe their triumph over the obstacles as a miracle.

This weeks Torah portion supplies the source for these miracles with the very first word which also serves as the title. The gematria mathematical equivalent of the Hebrew word Vaetchanan is 515. This word describes Moshes prayers to G-d to be permitted to enter Eretz Yisrael, and its gematria, say our Sages, indicates that Moshe offered a total of 515 prayers for this purpose.

Were the prayers of Moshe an exercise in futility after G-d had categorically denied him entry into the land because of his actions in the "waters of dispute"?

It is a principle of Torah philosophy that that no prayers ever go to waste. Even if they do not achieve the personal objective of the one offering them they have the power to help others with the same need. Only G-d knows where to apply this power.

Moshe was aware that millions of other Jews throughout the centuries would also wish to enter Eretz Yisrael. His 515 prayers created 515 different ways for them to achieve this goal which eluded him.

While credit must be given to all who encourage and assist the aliya of Jews from abroad, it must always be remembered that it was Moshes prayers that make the miracle happen for Jews to come to Israel forever.

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