Letters to a Prisoner

Written by Super User on . Posted in Torah

Volunteer chaplains Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue lead services in prisons and have developed a relationship with prisoners. These prisoners are eager to hear from people and discuss spiritual ideas via letters. The letters to prisoners program runs under the auspices of Ohev Sholom. For additional information, contact Roey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Shalom R.,

It is always a pleasure to read your letters. I absolutely agree with the point you made about humility. I think it’s interesting that Moses is declared to be the humblest man who ever lived and he is the man who spoke to G-d, face to face. Maybe that is the reason he was able to come so close to G-d?

 

Regarding your question of Hashem being a Man of War: I looked at the commentators on this verse and they write that G-d is more than a Man of War. G-d is actually a Master of War.

Your question remains, though—how can G-d be called a Man of War?

A possible answer is that G-d never wants to have to be a master of war. He wants the Jewish nation to be at peace. But once the Jews pray for his help in war, G-d becomes more than just a man of war but a master of war who cannot lose.

Since it is the time of year where we celebrate the holiday of Purim, I would like to share with you a dvar Torah especially for Purim that my good friend taught me.

Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner writes that “Yom Kippurim” is translated to mean Yom Kippur is like Purim. What does this mean? Yom Kippur is the time when we look into our future and regret all the sins we have done in our past. We think about every small sin we made, how we are sorry about it and how we can be better in the future.

Purim, on the other hand, is a time of moving forward without looking at our past in regret. What I committed in the past was in fact not me. Purim is different from Yom Kippur because Yom Kippur is a time of self-reflection with the goal of fixing the bad and good within ourselves. Purim, however, is a time where regrets do not exist. On Purim, we move forward and do not dwell in the past. It is only by moving forward that we will be able to make a life for ourselves. It is too easy to give up after we make a mistake. Purim tells us that one of the ways we can move forward is by saying that I am now an entirely new person. That person in the past was someone else and not me.

The key Hebrew phrase of Purim is “v’nahafoch hu,” to totally flip—that instead of fixating on what we have done wrong, we change that feeling and are in total joy on Purim. The joy comes from the sense that we can indeed go beyond our past sins.

I look forward to your next letter about Pesach!

All the Best,

Roey Herzfeld

Roey Herzfeld is a sophmore at the Berman Hebrew Academy, where he will play for the school baseball team this year. He attends Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue every Shabbat.