As we gather to in shul to do teshuva on Yom Kippur, how can we ask Hashem to have mercy, rachmanut, on us?
A beautiful example came from a video circulated this week ( https://tinyurl.com/yyzuzagb ) about the miraculous refuah of Teaneck’s own Micah Kaufman, who experienced immense highs and lows over the year 5780. Just prior to Rosh Hashanah last year he met the woman to whom he’d donated his own kidney, through Renewal, and saw, in person, the consequences of his mitzvah and the family he’d brought back together. He spent the next months doing bikur cholim, visiting other fellow kidney donors in the hospital and provided them with the unique chizuk and brachot one can provide only if they have “been there too.”
But a few months later, Micah’s own life hung in the balance as the community prayed for him after he was hit by a car. The same crash claimed the life of Teaneck’s Shelly Mermelstein, z”l. As Micah lay in a coma, the community came together in honest, urgent tefillah. Each synagogue in Teaneck, Bergenfield and many others said Tehillim in Micah’s zechut for many weeks. Many donated funds in the merit of his refuah and many others committed to doing various mitzvot on his behalf.
The communal prayer was simple: Have mercy on this ish chesed. Have mercy on him and return us to one another. It was with incredible thanks to Hashem that Micah began the extremely difficult road to recovery. Today he is not just on the mend, but thriving, baruch Hashem.
In Micah’s own words, presented live at Yeshivat Frisch’s teshuva program this week: “My story is testament to the power of prayer.”
This Yom Kippur, our community must pray. We must ask, again, for mercy from Hashem. The prayer is much the same: We ask that Hashem return us to one another. We ask that Hashem remove this terrible magefa (plague) from our midst, as we know that even as Hashem creates a disease, He also creates the cure.
We pray that we will be able to daven and sing together again. That we will not have to be socially distanced and “remote,” but that we can be socially close and “present.” That we can hug our parents, children, grandchildren and friends again, travel without fear and dance at smachot. We ask for mercy so there will be no more disappointment for our children, no more discomfort for the youngest among us, who had their year so incredibly altered and isolated. We pray that they have strength to recover from the stress this magefa created. We pray that there will have been positivity and goodness remembered even in this time of isolation.
We pray for mercy from Hashem. We pray as though all our friends’ lives hang in the balance. Because they do.