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Va'eira: The Power of One Sigh

Miriam aflalo

“And the hail hit in the whole land of Mitzrayim. And Moshe went out from Pharaoh, from the city, and spread out his pa lms to Ha shem. And the thunder and hail stopp ed and the rain didn’t reach the earth.”

Chazal ask: What happened to the hail? It froze in midair. And when will it come down? In the days of Yehoshua when he will fight with the Amori. And the remainder of the hail is waiting to come down in the future — in the days of Gog and Maggog. People have to prepare ahead of time. Store food, plan for

the future … But Hashem? He created the whole world, and is renewing it daily. So … why did Hashem have to save the hail until the days of Yehoshua? Is it difficult for Him to make new hail stones when needed? (Maayanei HaChayim, Rav Chaim Zeitchik)

The taxi driver waits another half a minute until the meter jumps, and then lazily turns it off. “That’ll be eighteen shekels, Lady.” The “lady” is me, tense and harried in the back seat. I pass him a fifty-shekel bill, and wait for my change. Suddenly, I see the bus I need to catch approaching the bus stop. “Please,” I implore, “I’m in a major rush.” But the driver is busily sorting through his change, as if he has all the time in the world. Finally, he passes me thirty shekels and hesitates. That’s it. The bus is already pulling into my stop, and I bolt from the car. The driver gained two free shekels — but I miss the bus. Oh well, everything is from Shamayim, I try to comfort myself. But I feel tears threatening. I had taken a taxi to the bus stop specifically to make this bus, and now I’ll have to wait another half hour. My kids will get home meanwhile, and they’ll be hungry and cranky. I look for my cell phone to inform them of my delay. But no phone. I left it in the taxi. This is one of those days. I try to give myself a pep talk. It should be a kapparah. But there’s no room to stand under the bus stop. The rain is trickling down my neck, and I’m cold and wet. Things seems to be piling up on me all at once, and I’m feeling overwhelmed. Inadequate. Everyone is counting on me to be successful in everything. Not to lose my cell phone, not to waste money, and to be home in time to make lunch. I need to be there to take care of their needs. But does anybody think of me? I know I have to thank G-d that this is not a major tragedy But right now it’s hard. Is there anyone who cares about my tears? Does anyone care that sometimes the daily grind gets too much for me? Yes. Somebody cares.

It seems that the hail of Mitzrayim was especially dear to Hashem. Because it was created from the sighs and moans of Bnei Yisrael. Every orb of hail was saturated with the tears of every slave in Mitzrayim. Every sigh went up to the Heavens. From the boiling tears, fire was created, flickering in the middle of the hail. That’s why this hail was so precious to Hashem. It had the zchus and power to avenge on Bnei Yisrael’s enemies. (ibid.)

At night, darkness falls, and one by one, the lights go out in every house. At night, come the sighs. Suddenly, we’re not forced to keep a smile on our faces, to show everyone how well we’re managing. Suddenly, we don’t have keep up the show. In the morning, you’ll have to paste a smile on your face again. Again, you’ll have to stifle the sighs. But at night … in the dark … nobody sees and nobody knows. At night, you can notice your aches and pains. And you can cry without anyone seeing. But truthfully, does anyone care about all your pain?

Hashem cares. Every night, He descends to collect all the broken shards of sighs. And He collects them all in his jar of tears. All the silent groans, and whispered sighs from the myriad challenges of daily life. And He keeps them all in His treasure house.

And this is the miracle within the miracle. Water and fire mixed together made peace to guard the children of Hashem. Tears like water, and sighs mixed with blood — that is a unique creation that can overcome the fiery anger of the wicked. And therefore, He hides it and puts it aside until the days of Yehoshua, and even to the days of Mashiach. (ibid.)

Every sigh that you had. Every pain. Every difficulty is set aside for you with love. One day all the accumulated sighs will come and bear testimony for you. One day you’ll understand their true power.

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