Kenneth Cohen

Crying Out to G-d

During the week long dialogue between Moshe Rabbeinu and Hashem, Moshe is given the reason why it’s time to redeem the Jewish people.

Hashem tells Moshe that the “cry” of the Jewish nation has reached Him. This cry cannot be ignored, and it must have a response. A similar language was used when the “cry” of the evil perpetrated by the people of Sodom, had reached the Heaven. There, as well, Avraham Avinu is told that this cannot be ignored. It was time that justice be meted out to these decadent people.

We see from here the power of collective prayer, on the one side, and collective evil and immorality, on the other.

The Orchot Tzaddikim speaks of how the Jewish people are one family, and one entity. We must never rejoice at the misfortune of any of our people- including those that we do not have positive feelings toward.

We must pay closer attention in our prayers to include all of the Jewish people.

There are thirteen blessings of request in the daily Shmone Esrei. All of these requests are made in the plural. We pray that all of Israel should repent and become closer to G-d. We also pray that all of Israel be granted good health and prosperity.
We are not emphasizing collective prayer and collective requests, nearly enough. We must get far away from factionalizing and elitism. We must love and pray for the welfare of every Jew, regardless of his background. In this way, our collective “cry” can reach the Heavens, and redemption can come to our people.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at