Posted on January 9, 2017 (5778) By Mordechai Lewis | Series: | Level:

“It happened during those many days, that the king of Egypt died and the Children of Israel groaned from the work and they cried out. Their cry for help from the oppression rose up to G-d.”

Rav Chayim ibn Attar also is known as the Ohr HaChayim, says the following:

The meaning of, the Children of Israel groaned “from the work,” is not that they cried out in prayer to the Almighty to save them, but rather, that they cried out from the agony of the harsh labor, like a person who howls because of his pain. The posuk then informs us that that outcry went up before Hashem. This is the point of its later statement.

Which later statement?

The posuk in this week’s parsha: “And I, too, have heard the groan of the children of Israel…”

The Ohr HaChayim says, “We can further explain what [the posuk] means with, Their outcry from the work went up, based on that which is stated: From the straits, I called upon G-d; G-d answered me with expansiveness. This teaches that one of the prayers that are readily accepted by Hashem is a prayer that is uttered out of distress (‘from the straits’); and so, it is stated elsewhere: I called, in my distress, to Hashem and He answered me. That is the point of *[the posuk’s] statement, their outcry from the work went up to G-d; it means that they prayed and their prayer went up to G-d and was accepted by Him because it came from the distress caused by the hardship of the work.”

Similarly, Rabbeinu Bachayei writes the following:

“Even though the time of the redemption had arrived, they weren’t worthy of being redeemed. However, once they all cried out in unison from the work that they were undergoing, their tefillos were accepted… This is to teach you that the tefillah of a person is only complete when one cries out from the pain and stress that are contained within one’s heart. This type of tefillah is more accepted by Hashem then mere lip service.”

From the day that the Beis HaMikdosh was destroyed, the ‘gates of tefillah’ was closed. Still, the ‘gates of tears’ were never closed. In fact, crying out in prayer is beneficial for a person because it has the effect (i.e. power) to reverse a decree.

If that’s the case, why don’t we cry to Hashem?

Both children and adults, want to think of themselves as macho. Even if they’re undergoing mental anguish, they’d rather bottle themselves up, then express their emotions to others or even our Creator! They believe crying is showing a sign of weakness or maybe that’s what America has brainwashed us to think. In the words Rav Shimon Schwab zt”l: “Most of us are – and forgive my expression – emotionally constipated.”

Next time you have a real difficulty go into a room and shut off the light. Then do the following:

  1. Thank Hashem with enthusiasm for everything that you have in life.
  2. The harder part: Thank Him with enthusiasm for all the difficulties that you have and realize without these challenges you wouldn’t be the spiritually accomplished person that you are TODAY without them!

If tears are cascading down your face while thanking Hashem, you may have changed your predicament in heaven!

The posuk says, “And I, too, have heard the groan of the children of Israel…”

The statement [of the posuk], “and I too, have heard,” means that aside from the fact that [the Jewish people] prayed to the Attribute of Mercy and aside from the love that Hashem has for the Patriarchs and their covenant with Him to redeem their children (as explained in the previous posuk), there is a third element in Hashem’s decision to redeem the Jewish people at this time. This is that Hashem hastened the redemption due to their cries alone (i.e., even without any prayers), which came from the pain of the enslavement, that is, Hashem heard the sound of their cries of intense pain and had mercy on them.

May we all cry out to Hashem, instead of trying to bottle up our soul’s emotions and merit to experience our own personal redemption!


Dedicated in memory of Miriam Liba bas R’ Aharon – a tzadeikes in our time; Dovid Tzvi ben Yosef Yochanan, Kayla Rus bas Bunim Tuvia, Chana Tziporah bas HaRav, Nochum Yehuda HaKohein, Dovid ben Uri HaLevi, Sarah bas Henoch Avraham, Dovid Avraham ben Chiya Kehos, Rafael Chaim Yitzchak Yaakov ben Binyamin Yehudah, Berinah Z’latah bas Reuven Yitzchak, Yosef ben Moshe HaLevi, Rafael Shachar ben Aharon, Aliza bas Henreias, Moshe ben Aliza, Yitzchak Hillel ben Aliza, Henreias Leah bas Aliza, Altah Soshah Devorah bas Aryeh Leibush, Mashah Tzivyah bas R’ Shlomo Zalman, Shmuel Dovid HaLevi ben R’ Yosef Moshe HaLevi, Yehudah Ruvein ben Meir and as a merit for a complete recovery of Chayah Malka bas Bas-Sheva, Menachem ben Rivka and among the other sick ones of our nation.


To view this article with footnotes, go to For comments or feedback, please email [email protected]

Mordechai Lewis is a 25-year-old yeshiva bochur who is Kovea Itim while working. He enjoys freelance writing on various Jewish hashkafic topics as well as Divrei Torah.