Friday, December 30, 2011

Tears, Tehillim, Tefillos, Techinnah .....



"Be very careful if you make a woman cry .... Ha'Shem counts her tears. Every tear a woman sheds is equivalent of a man’s sacrifices in life"
 ~  Tractate Baba Mezi'a 59a ~
Tears.
Usually a sign of weakness. Of unchecked emotion. Some would say they reflect a lack of control.
It's no secret that a man's biggest nightmare is to be caught crying. Men don't cry. Not real men at least.
Controlling emotion has been seen since time immemorial as a sign of strength.


Tears.
So real. So human. So normal.   They express sincerity at times. Compassion at others.

A gentle person cries. A sensitive person cries.
Tears express genuineness.

When it hurts we cry.
When we are touched we cry.
In pain and in joy we cry.
On a wedding day we cry.
When a baby is born we cry.
When a loved one passes on we cry.
In real moments we cry.

Tears, then, express the realest and truest part of us. They reflect our core that is usually concealed and rarely revealed.
To cry, then, is not a sign of weakness. But, perhaps to build walls around our emotion is.
It is strange that we have the capacity to cry, to expel water from our eyes when we are sad. It seems to serve no real purpose .... although science can explain the physiological “why”,  and mental health experts can explain the psychological “why”.  That still leaves the real question of “why” tears ..... just why were we created with that capacity?

It seems a mysterious part of what it means to be human to shed tears.  And yet, Torah, Tanakh & Talmud are replete with references to tears.  It seems less mysterious for Jews ... or so thinks this Jewish girl anyways.   Tears are somehow connected to the waters of Shamayim & their separation with the Sad Seas below,  Raindrops above and the earth in between.

Rabbi Eleazar said ..... "Since the destruction of the Temple, the gates of tefilah are locked, for it is written, Also when I cry out, he shutteth out my tefilah. Yet though the gates of tefilah are locked, the gates of tears are not, for it is written, Hear my tefilah, Ha'Shem, and give ear unto my cry, hold not thy peace at my tears."  ~ Talmud Tractate Baba Mezi'a ~

“A child’s tear rends the heavens to reach Ha'Shem” .... An old Yiddish Proverb oft repeated to me in childhood.

So tears penetrate  the "Gate of Tears" that gets you through to Ha'Shem, to the one who provides justice & respite for the afflicted, whether they be personal tears or those of Klal Yisrael ... Hashem does not forget a Jewish tear!

That is the purpose of tears in life!

And, I know in life too, there is no such a thing as coincidence If something has happened it's for a reason. Perhaps simple, perhaps not. Just unknown ... to me that is. It is not unknown to Ha'Shem. How could it be??

Hashem doesn't just do things or allow things without reason. Hashem decides and plans for each person what is best for them, on an individual level as he is persuaded .... not a blade of grass sways in the wind, or a wave breaks on a rocky shore, but that Ha'shem has decreed it first. He knows each wisp of wind, as he knows each of us he has created, intimately. And perhaps the reason I don't see the reason, or the hand of Ha'Shem at work is because what I really need is to work on myself to become closer and closer to Hashem. So, each Yisurim that I pass through is to bring me closer to Ha'Shem himself. It is to improve my Bitachon & Emuna in Him.

Hashem is full of Chesed and Rachamim for every Jew in the World. It is knowing this & trusting this, allied with tears that open the gate to Ha'Shem's mercy.
 
That is the purpose of Tears I think!!

And I wanted to write on this today because it has obsessed my heart recently,  not just recently,  forever really .....  I am a girl!!!

And, I'll end with a tale from the Artscroll translation of 'The Kinnos of Tisha B'Av' by Rabbi Avraham Chaim Feuer.

Rabbi Feuer (p.xiv) brings a beautiful story with Rabbi Aryeh Levin a man of rare compassion and sensitivity ......

Once a distraught, recently widowed woman came to him and cried uncontrollably. All of his efforts to console her were of no avail. Finally the widow said that she would accept consolation if he could please answer the following question. "Please tell me what happened to all of my tears? I prayed and prayed for my late husband, I recited chapter after chapter of Tehilim, and shed thousands upon thousands of tears. My very soul flowed into those tears. Were they all wasted?"

Gently, Rav Aryeh replied, "After a hundred and twenty years, when you will leave this world and ascend to the heavenly tribunal, you will see how meaningful and precious your tears were. You will discover that Hashem Himself gathered them in and counted every single teardrop and treasured it like a priceless gem. And you will discover that, whenever some harsh and evil decree was looming over the Jewish people, one of your tears came and washed the evil away, making it null and void. Even one sincere tear is a source of salvation!"

Hearing this the woman burst into a fresh flow of tears ~ not tears of sorrow and grief, but tears of courage and hope.   That is where I need to be ......

Thou has counted my wanderings, put Thou my tears into Thy bottle ... are they not in Thy book?
~ Tellihim 56.9 ~

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