I have several versions of a book on my shelf: The Symphony of Creation. I first heard of it reading Abraham Joshua Heschel’s The Prophets. It is a book of the Universe’s prayers to its Creator. I am in the second section of the book, and I came across this portion on the portion of the Glory of the Clouds:
Aharon loved people and drew them close to the Torah. Since he loved each Jew and saw the true goodness within, he was able to plead on their behalf in the Kadosh HaKadosh on Yom Kippur. The Avnei Nezer once commented that the reason the prayers of the zaddikim are so powerful in heaven is not only due to their righteousness, but also because of their great love and concern for the people whom they pray. When a person truly loves his friend and shares his pain with all of his heart, he is able to enact miraculous on his behalf, like the greatest of the tzaddikim.
Reading this passage, I saw the limitations of my own prayers: how so often I pray for my needs and wants, without thinking of others. I also saw that I do little to draw people to the Torah in my day-to-day life since I left the Breakthrough Club (where I celebrated Jewish Holidays with the patients). It occurred to me that I rarely said prayers for my deceased Uncle Charlie, and how I might say prayers for my Grandmas and even my Grandpas… but, more, I should pray for the living… my friends (who will remain nameless); my fellow Jews at the synagogue (who will again remain nameless); and my relatives (who will again remain nameless).
This last Boxer Day (December 26, 2022) when Mom and I visited Uncle Jerry and Aunt Margaret, Aunt Margaret mentioned a man whom Mom had not remembered. Aunt Margaret said he “liked” Mom when she was much younger. I find myself wondering if this man, who I think is a widower, could be the love of Mom’s old age. Perhaps I could ask God if this is possible…
The point is, I need to pray for other people, the way this midrashim says Aharon (Moses’ brother) prayed for others. More, I am spreading the word to others that they are to pray for others, and not just themselves. More, these prayers should be followed by deeds. Perhaps if I can talk to my rabbi, I can teach another class… and if I cannot to contribute to my synagogue in some other way… I only wish I could contribute to the larger community in some other way.