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Pesukei d’Zimrah: Ashrei: Beit haLevi: The Will of Those Who Fear Him

The 4th of Iyar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yosef Dov (Yoshe Ber) Solovetchik of Brisk, the Beis Halevi: “The will of those who fear Him, He will do; and their cry, He will hear, and He will save them (Psalms 145:19).” We must ask if God is going to do the will of those who fear Him, why then is it necessary for Him to save them? The Talmud teaches that Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa was very poor and in response to a prayer they sent from heaven a golden leg of a table. He then saw in a dream that the righteous in Paradise are all sitting at a table with three legs, while his table had only two, he understood that the Golden leg he had received was from his table in paradise. He prayed again and they took the Golden leg back. The latter miracle was greater than the first. (Ta’anit 25)


From this story we can derive that there are three levels to the prayers of the righteous: The first level is that he is not granted his prayer at all. The second level is that they give him what he requested but will not take the gift back. The third, and highest level, is that of our story when they not only give a gift but were willing to take it back.

So it seems that the one of the second level, who is granted his request that will never be taken back, is actually worse off than the first righteous person who does not receive anything at all; because the first righteous person does not forfeit any of his portion in Paradise, while the second one, even after he realizes the cost of this gift, can do nothing about it.

This then is the explanation of our verse: God will do the will of those who fear Him and when they cry out to Him, He will save them, meaning he will take back the gift once they realize the price of their answered prayer. The one whose will is done is this second righteous person whose prayer is answered. The one who is saved, is the one who as in our story can convince heaven to reclaim the gift so that he does not lose any of his portion in Paradise. (Beit Halevi; Likkutim 129)

We can use this verse in prayer to ask God that He examined each gift that we request to be sure that it will be good for us not only in the here and now but will not deprive us of any part of our portion in Paradise.

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