On Wednesday evening, April 20, Chazaq, the Queens Jewish Link, the BJL, TorahAnytime, and Chickens for Shabbos hosted an emergency T’hilim gathering for the community at Congregation Khal Nachlas Yitzchok on behalf of Rabbi Moshe Neuman, Dean Emeritus of the Bais Yaakov Academy of Queens.
Rabbi Noach Isaac Oelbaum, rav of Khal Nachlas Yitzchok, greeted everyone and shared that Rabbi Neuman was the dean of the Bais Yaakov of Queens for over 50 years. He was the type of menahel that is hard to find. You can’t find a more dedicated or caring menahel who cared for each and every talmidah. He greeted the students with a smile every morning, and he was at the buses at the end of the day to wish them a good night. Though the school has hundreds of students, Rabbi Neuman knew each girl’s name. It was so meaningful to the students that their menahel greeted them by name. We are asking for mercy from Hashem. We, as a people, never give up, no matter what the situation is. Hashem is a creator of r’fuos. We say that in the brachah before Sh’ma every morning. Many times, a situation doesn’t seem to have a cure in the way of nature. The Ran taught that Hashem creates a r’fuah even if it appears in nature that there is no existing cure. We should never give up hope, but we should beg Hashem. “This is not the time to keep quiet.”
In T’hilim, it says to cry out and Hashem is listening and saves us from all of our troubles. In the past few years, we have lived through a terrible mageifah. Hundreds of T’hilim groups have formed on behalf of klal Yisrael. “Tonight is different from those previous gatherings on behalf of the klal. Tonight, we gather together on behalf of one single person, Moshe ben Pessla. For us, there is no difference if we are talking about a large group of people or one individual. We can’t evaluate what one neshamah means in Shamayim. The Gemara teaches us that if you save one nefesh, it is like saving an entire world.
The Chasam Sofer shared that the Beis HaMikdash is Hashem’s dwelling place in this world. Yet, we are forbidden to build it on Shabbos. Shabbos overrides it. On the other hand, one is obligated to violate Shabbos to save the life of a Yid. This is how much the life of a Yid means. It has more holiness than the Beis HaMikdash.
Rabbi Oelbaum shared that gathering together in achdus like this is a great kiddush Hashem. Achdus is a s’gulah to receive great y’shuah. The generation of King David was a great generation. In that time, little children knew Torah and could darshan. However, when the people of that time went to war, they were defeated because there was machlokes among them. On the other hand, the generation of Ach’av were all idolators but there was no machlokes among them and because of their achdus they were victorious at war.
If klal Yisrael comes together, then no nation has strength to rule over us. “Here we came together for the sake of Rav Moshe Neuman. That unity alone is a tremendous s’gulah for a y’shuah.” He went on to teach that we have to be very careful about the words we say. When a situation appears hopeless, don’t allow yourself to verbalize words like “he can’t make it.” The Chasam Sofer taught that there was a baby that was very sick, and the bris milah had to be delayed. The baby then passed away. The Chasam Sofer wasn’t surprised that the baby died, because he said that he heard people saying that the baby wouldn’t make it. “The fact that people said it, could make it happen.” We have no idea what the power of words are. Rabbi Oelbaum stressed that at all times we should not make negative predictions.
Rav Pam zt”l taught that people think the strength of t’filah is just with great rabbis and tzadikim. They don’t realize that each Yid has tremendous power with his prayers. The Gemara says that if a person has a tree that isn’t bearing fruit and is sick, he should paint it red. This way, people will know that the tree is ill and they will daven for it. If this is the case, then we see we have a clear responsibility to pray for a person in pain physically or financially. Rav Pam taught that if we hear a siren or see flashing lights of an ambulance or we see names on a T’hilim list, we should stop and pray for the people who are sick or injured.
We need to have belief in the power of our prayers, and also we need emunah that Hashem hears and accepts our prayers.
“Hashem should accept our t’filos with rachamim for Rav Moshe ben Pessla.”
Following this, Robbie Aboff, Events Coordinator of Chazaq, led the kahal in reciting T’hilim.
By Susie Garber