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Prayers help

Prayers help even when naturally there is no hope

Our Sages, of blessed memory, have revealed to us that prayers have the power to redeem even if in a natural manner there is no more hope.

 

The strengths and merits of prayers are very great and they are able to save even unnaturally – especially if the prayers come from a pure mouth (Maharsha, Kedushin); and the saying of the sages – "Even if a sharp sword is on a person's neck he should not despair of mercy"   is well known.

 

The writer merited hearing a frightening story from the person who experienced it and this symbolizes the truth of the aforesaid. "I am a Holocaust survivor", the man retold, "and I lost most of my family. I myself was hanging from the noose by the Nazis, may their memory be erased, but I prayed to the Creator to save me and I had faith in Him even in those critical moments when I was close to death that He would certainly hear my prayers. Suddenly the battalion's commander appeared and yelled at the executioner to take me off rope and I was saved with G-d's mercy - and I subsequently built up wonderful generations of family."

Every year this man makes a feast of thanksgiving to G-d and tells his story in public so that people hear and understand his lesson - that G-d has no restraints from saving us and we must pray to Him and have faith in Him.

 

Similarly Rabbainu Bichaya (One of the Rishonim Sages who lived about eight hundred years ago) wrote that the power of prayer is tremendous and can change Nature. He added that troubles and hardships befall a person to make him pray to G-d, because G-d longs to hear the voice of prayer from His children.

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Open miracles as a result of prayers by the gravesite of RASHBY, from an eye-witness

For many generations the gravesite of RASBY has been one of the key gravesites of the righteous where Jews would pour out their hearts to G-d. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai has great merits, for many people have witnessed salvation and the prayers uttered at this holy site have been answered.

The rumor of redemption and wonders that occurred following prayers at the gravesite have spread and now from far and near masses throng to this site – and even Gentiles have recognized the holiness of the site.

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The gravesite of RASHBY, a refuge during an earthquake

Rabbi Yosef, the author of Aidut BiYosef told of wondrous events that took place in his days in this holy place. In his days there was a great earthquake in Tsfat: "…and when the earthquake erupted (in October 1762) all the Arabs and gentiles came to that place, to the building of RASHBY ob''m and the door was closed and they all opened their mouths and yelled: 'Rabbi Shimon, Rabbi Shimon, because you are a great, important person in the world, we heard from our forefathers about your importance, and in our eyes you are also important – open your door.' The door immediately opened by itself and they all went in. And they and their wives and their homes were all saved and no damage was done to those people. And now, he – Rabbi Shimon – is truly important in their eyes."

 

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Later on in the epistle he returns to this topic. Several months later there was an additional earthquake. "When the second earthquake occurred (in December) everyone – the Jews, gentiles and Arabs ran to the building of the RASHBY ob'm as they had done the first time and when they came closer they all saw that the entire building had risen up high and was jumping in the air, like a person, up and down, and the dome on top of the building was divided into two open halves. When they saw that they became terribly frightened and shaken. They all began yelling, 'Rabbi Shimon, Rabbi Shimon, if your building is destroyed, what will be our end?' More than half an hour elapsed and then the earth was still, the earthquake ended and the building stood in its place. The two parts of the split dome joined together as before and it was not damaged at all. The people who came there saw the great miracle in that building from the outside and within. They looked for some mark or crack in the building, but there was no sign or crack in the walls – it looked like it always had."2

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2 ibid, pp. 305. The author of the Ahavat Tzion also related: "The gentiles also pledge oil for the gravesite of RASHBY and his son Rabbi Elazar and they swear to one another in the name of Rabbi Shimon in Meiron and several times they were saved in his merit."

 

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