Renowned rabbi Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman spoke this Saturday night regarding recent developments in Israel, where many great rabbis have fallen ill. Among those known to be seriously ill are Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef.
Rabbi Shteinman linked the spate of illnesses among Jewish leaders to foreign affairs – specifically, to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s nuclear program.
“We must realize there is a wicked man in Iran who is preparing a large bomb for us. He wishes to annihilate all the Jews, from the babies to the elders,” Rabbi Shteinman said.
“Because this has been talked about so much, people are already used to hearing it, and nobody prays about it,” he continued. “Everyone thinks, ‘Nu, G-d will help us, nothing will happen.’ They don’t understand that there is a heavenly decree against us.”
The illnesses that appear to deal a blow to the Jewish people are actually a sign of Divine mercy, he continued. “The Holy One, Blessed is He, wants our prayers, so He tries to shake us up however he can, so that people will finally start to pray… Our prayer is the only thing that can help.”
The rabbi later said, “People don’t understand – or don’t want to understand – how dangerous our situation is here in the land of Israel. Every moment here there are threats, and if G-d did not protect us from them there would be complete chaos.”
Every prayer is important, even if it does not appear to bring about the desired result, Rabbi Shteinman told his audience. “Even if it seems like it did not help, even if the leader we prayed for dies and it seems nobody paid attention to our prayer, we must know that with the Holy One nothing is wasted. What did not help here, will help elsewhere.”
He noted that some have questioned the need to pray for those who have reached an advanced age. "A Jew must know that every moment of life is a blessing, and it is good for the righteous in particular to remain alive," he said.