On Tuesday night, March 19, Chazaq and TorahAnytime hosted a livestream shiur titled “Chizuk for Turbulent Times.” First, Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff, rav of Agudath Israel Bais Binyomin in Brooklyn, imparted that we should follow the guidelines of the government and of the g’dolei Yisrael. “We are completely in the hands of the Ribbono shel Olam. This mageifah is teaching us that it’s all HaKadosh Baruch Hu.” Now, we can’t daven b’tzibur. We can’t learn in typical fashion. Children are denied the privilege to protect klal Yisrael.
“We have to know that if this is what Hashem wants, then this is what we want.” Rabbi Lieff added, “We have to celebrate. We are ovdei Hashem. He noted how, in his beis midrash, there is usually learning and davening going on from 5:30 in the morning until 11:30 at night. There are thousands who are davening and millions of dollars are donated to tz’dakah. “It is r’tzon Hashem that the doors are shuttered, but the gates to heaven are not closed.” He advised everyone to daven the same time you usually daven when you go to shul, and perhaps try to daven Vasikin. Wear a hat and jacket. Daven with your children. Say the following chapters of T’hilim: 91, 142, 83, and 130. Also, recite the K’tores. He explained that K’tores is a gift of an angel to Moshe Rabbeinu to forestall a plague. K’tores is kiddush Hashem. He advised everyone to make a kabbalah not to talk in shul when we are finally reunited with our shul. Leave the phone out of shul. Show kavod to the shul. Accept on ourselves to earn the right to daven in shul and to send our children to yeshivah. He taught that we are now required to not daven with a minyan, since that is what the g’dolim say. We still have this emunah of ein od milvado, even if Torah learning and davening is at home and children are not going to yeshivah. He said that the plague will just disappear, just as it came.
Next, Rabbi Eliezer Ginsburg, rav of Agudas Yisroel of Flatbush South and Rosh Kollel of the Mirrer Yeshiva, shared: “You must strengthen your mood. You must know that there is a Creator and there is hashgachah pratis. He shared the famous story in the Gemara when Rabbi Akiva was looking for a place to spend the night in a small village and no one would allow him to stay. All he had was a candle, a donkey, and a rooster, and each of these things was taken away. It seemed like things were going very badly for him but, in reality, it was all good as people came and attacked the village and killed everyone there. If the attackers had seen the light or heard the rooster or donkey, then Rabbi Akiva would have been killed.
Rabbi Ginsburg also lamented that we can’t go into our yeshivos or shuls, and our children don’t have school; though we can’t understand it, we have to know it’s good. This could be a test to bring Mashiach if we merit it. “He loves us. We are His children… Not being able to go to shul or to be in yeshivah weighs on all of us. What do we have to accept on ourselves? We have to say to Hashem: ‘Let us back into our shuls and we are going to respect your mikdash m’at much more.’ This is a place to be closer to Hashem and to separate ourselves from the world outside. We have to make sure those new inventions that take us out of shul when we’re in the shul are removed. No more texting in shul. It can’t be brought into the shul.”
Rabbi Ginsburg imparted that Hashem gave us beautiful shuls, homes, businesses, and families. How much did we appreciate it and recognize that it was all from Hashem? “A small virus has turned over the whole world. Clearly, it’s the hand of G-d. We are the nation that accepted the Torah that carries the responsibility of the world. We have to say to Hashem, ‘I recognize that it’s You.’ This will give Hashem nachas ruach. This will turn it around, and He can put the virus into the sea. It’s up to us, klal Yisrael.”
He advised, “Be strong. Don’t become depressed. Have emunah.”
Following this, Rabbi Osher Weiss, Rosh Kollel of Machon Minchas Osher L’Torah V’Horaah, spoke. “Everyone feels isolated. We are all connected – our families, our communities, the world. How do we deal with this crisis?” Rabbi Weiss taught that it is a positive mitzvah to cry out to Hashem. Scientists say that pandemics just happen; but we believe in hashgachah. Nothing happens unless Hashem wants it to happen. “A y’sod in our emunah is that when tragedy strikes our people, it’s Hashem calling out to us.” We don’t know what Hashem wants, but we do know that we need to be better – with more Torah and more t’filah. We need to take advantage of every situation and circumstance. Davening at home is an opportunity to daven better. Take time and say the Korbanos. “Focus on every word.” He suggested spending one hour for Shacharis and 15-20 minutes for Minchah and for Maariv. This is an opportunity to spend more time with your spouse and children. Learn together and turn it into quality time. You can do chesed by calling people on the phone. Learn more. There are many shiurim online. “Take advantage of these crazy circumstances. Be aware that this is from Hashem. We must work on Torah, t’shuvah, tz’dakah, and t’filah.”
This shiur can be viewed on www.TorahAnytime.com.
By Susie Garber