And he must remain there until the death of the Cohain Gadol (Bamidbar 35:25)
I know you probably heard this many times before but imagine you find a magic lantern on a deserted beach. You rub it and a magic genie jumps out and grants you one wish. What would be your wish? I know… this would never really happen unless you are watching a fairy tale, but it is still good to do this exercise. It makes you focus on what is the most important thing in your life.
In this week’s parsha, we learn about the Ir Miklat: if a person accidentally kills another person, he is to run to a city of refuge and stay there until the death of the Cohain Gadol. Rashi explains why he waits until specifically the Cohain Gadol dies; the Cohain Gadol should have davened that this type of pitfall would not occur during his lifetime. It is not merely good enough to daven, but a person has to daven for the correct things. It seems like Rashi is stating the Cohain Gadol did not pray for the correct things.
We are in the middle of the Three Weeks. Why do the Three Weeks need to come over the summer? This is a time when people should think about vacations and fun-in-the-sun. It is not a time to be mourning. But I think this is exactly why the Three Weeks come during the summer. It is to remind us of what is really the most important thing. Do we pray for leisure and vacation time? Do we pray for relaxation? These are very nice things, but they should not be the only focus of our prays. The main focus needs to be on Hashem. It needs to be connecting to Hashem and returning to our Homeland. It is about lessening the hatred between people and increasing the peace between people.
So if you ever find a magic lantern and a genie grants you a wish, don’t waste it. Don’t ask for the wrong thing; ask for Hashem to send us Moshiach and bring peace to the world.
(And let me tell you a secret… every time you are davening, you are holding a magic lantern. Don’t waste your prayers.)
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