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INSIGHT: Please!! Please!! Please!!... 515 Times!The Hidden Prayers

515 Prayers!

515 Prayers!

How exciting! The Jewish Nation was almost there, ready and raring to enter the Holy Land. “And now, after all of these trials and tribulations, here we are! Soon, you will all have the great privilege of entering Eretz Yisrael,” Moshe said with much excitement. But then, his tone turned serious. “However, I am sorry to say, I will not be joining you.”

“Oh no!” the people cried out in disappointment, their hearts sinking. “But why? Why?!”

“You know the story. It didn’t happen that long ago. I hit the rock, instead of speaking to it, so that it would give us water,” Moshe responded with tears in his eyes. “That was my mistake and for that I was punished. HaShem has decreed that I shall not enter the land.”

Moshe then shared with his people how he prayed to HaShem to allow him to enter the Promised Land. “HaShem, Elokim… please… please! Change Your decree and allow me to enter the Land.”

The people were sad as their leader continued, “Don’t think I gave up easily! I asked. I pleaded. I begged, with all my heart and all my soul! In fact, I prayed and prayed – 515 times to be exact!”

“Hmmm…” the people hmmmed. “I wonder why Moshe is telling us this.”

“And you know why I am telling you this?! It’s so you shall realize how magnificent Eretz Yisrael is, and what a great privilege it is to enter this land. I can’t but you can! Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and be a holy people in the Holy Land.”

Bnei Yisrael understood.

Shazak insight

Please!! Please!! Please!!... 515 Times!

Our wise Sages pointed out that Moshe prayed 515 times to HaShem. Take the first word of the Parsha, VaEschanan – ואתחנן . Add up the letters (6+1+400+8+50+50) and what do you get? 515!

Now, add the letters of the Hebrew word for “prayer,” Tefilah – תפלה (400+80+30+5), and what do you get? You guessed it… 515! That’s right… No less than 515 prayers!

Now, what do you think Moshe’s prayers sounded like? Did he repeat the same exact prayer 515 times? Moshe was more creative than that and managed to come up with new prayers each time he prayed.

Our wise Sages shared with us some behind-the-scenes of Moshe’s prayers:

  1.   HaShem! That is Your name of mercy and compassion!

Elokim! This is Your name of strength and strictness.

Please, please, even if I am not deserving, let your compassionate HaShem win over the strictness of Elokim!”

  1. “HaShem! Elokim! If You want to follow the strict letter of the law, let it be that way. The Torah says that a boss must always pay his workers on time. (Look back in Parshas Mishpatim, under the title “Pay Up,” for a Shazak Scenario.) Now, after faithfully leading Your people 40 years in the desert, it surely is time that I get “paid.” But I don’t want money – I am just asking to enter the Land!”
  2. HaShem! Elokim! It was I who lead the war against Sichon and Og and we succeeded in conquering those lands – those are the nations at the border outside Eretz Yisrael. Have mercy, HaShem. Please let me finish the job that I started!”
  3. HaShem! Elokim! You are merciful and all powerful! Remember how You swore to destroy the entire nation after the Sin of the Golden Calf, yet You didn’t? You reversed your decree then, for hundreds of thousands of people. Surely you can do the same for me, just one person!”
  4. And one more passionate plea, which flows from the very end of last week’s Parsha, Parshas Devarim, when Moshe hands over the leadership to Yehoshua.

HaShem! Elokim! After hitting the rock, You decreed that I shall not lead Bnei Yisrael into the land, and I accepted that. I even handed over the leadership to my worthy student, Yehoshua. Now, have mercy and let me enter the land, not as a leader, but as a private citizen!”

  1. In the words of Rashi, “VaEschanan is related to the word Chinum, meaning “for free,” – although Tzadikim, righteous people, base their prayer-requests to be answered on the merit of their good deeds, still they request from HaShem nothing more than a “free gift.”

So, there you have it… 6 out of 515 forms of prayers… That leaves 509 prayers.

Shazak insight

The Hidden Prayers

Stop and think for a moment. How could Moshe have prayed so many prayers about the same exact thing?

Here is something to keep in mind: Rabbi Nosson Noteh Schapiro was the famous rabbi of Cracow, Poland, who lived around 400 years ago.

Today, he is most known by the name of the book he wrote, Megaleh Amukos, “Revealers of Deep [Secrets].” The entire Sefer, which is nearly 400 pages long, provides us with 252 explanations on the single word Va’eschanan!

So if the Megaleh Amukos could compose that many explanations, is it so surprising that Moshe composed 515 unique prayers to HaShem asking to be allowed to enter Eretz Yisroel?

SHAZAK
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