The Three Weeks

The Power of Forgiveness

July 19, 2011

adapted for this series from Rabbi Yaacov Haber’s “REACHINGS”

A true story from the Six Day War:

Many areas of Jerusalem were being shelled, including Mea Shearim, which contained a number of yeshivot. The students of one of these, the famous Mir Yeshiva, just like everyone else, spent their time in a bomb shelter. They were praying, and learning, with great concentration, with the sounds of explosions around them all the time.

The shelter contained a number of people other than the members of the Yeshiva, and one of these, a woman, suddenly cried out: “L-rd of the universe! I have been married and divorced, and during my marriage, my husband treated me terribly for many years, abusing me and humiliating me in public. But now I’m prepared to forgive him, and I pray that You, L-rd, will then, similarly, forgive the Jewish people for whatever sins of theirs are causing this present suffering!”

The Rosh Yeshiva of Mir Yeshiva, Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz, one of the great Torah scholars of his generation, overheard this, and exclaimed: “If we get out of this alive, it will be on this woman’s merit!” And they did…