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Shabbat Shalom

Shabbat Shalom

The Torah in this week’s portion speaks of an inadvertent murderer who has
to flee to one of the cites of refuge scattered across the length and
breadth of ancient Israel. He has to remain there until the Cohen Gadol
passes away. The Gemara in Makot (11a) relates how the Cohen Gadol’s mother
would cook and bake for these murderers and make sure to supply them with
provisions to sustain themselves. The rationale for feeding these guys was
that it should really be like a bribe, so that they would not daven for the
Cohen to die which would immediately release them from this exile. How
puzzling!! How it is possible that the High Priest, one of the holiest
people in the generation could have his own prayers and merits overcome by
the prayers of an ordinary fellow? An inadvertent murderer, no less? I saw
in a commentary by Rabbi Yechezkel Sheinfeld a deep answer with practical
ramifications for those who want to have our prayers answered .You see,
these men, banished to the cities of refuge, would have had to uproot their
entire lives, leave behind their jobs , their homes, their friends and
extended families. They would have to live in a foreign place and literally
begin their lives from scratch. They would be broken, their hearts broken.
Our sages teach that prayer which emanates from a broken heart goes straight
to Hashem. Such prayer can even outweigh the many merits and indeed the
prayer of the High Priest. So that is why the mother of the Koheinim Gadolim
would look after these Rotzchim be Shogeg so they would not daven so hard.
לב נשבר ונדכה אלוקים לא תבזהA broken and saddened heart is never despised by
G d!

Rabbi David Shaw

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