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The Boomerang Tefillah Effect

The answer to my tefillos surprised even me

I couldn’t believe my good fortune. The dean of the American seminary where I worked as an administrative assistant wasn’t able to go to Israel to recruit students and asked me to go in her place.

I’d longed to go to Israel for years, but financial obligations precluded that. I was a widow helping to support a kollel couple, a daughter in a master’s program, and two teenage boys in yeshivah; a vacation to Israel was completely out of my budget. And now this all expenses-paid-for trip was being handed to me on a silver platter.

Wanting to show my hakaras hatov to Hashem for this amazing opportunity, I resolved to use my time in Israel to fervently daven for the singles in my hometown. Since I myself was in my late twenties when I got married, I had a special affinity for older singles. I never forgot what it felt like to attend a simchah alone or hope a Shabbos invitation would come earlier in the week rather than later.

I knew that there was a group of devoted mothers who met every week to say Tehilllim for their single daughters and also for other unmarried women in our community. I obtained a copy of their shidduch list. With my luggage, my round-trip-ticket, the shidduch list, and a heart full of gratitude to Hashem, I was off to Israel.

After a restful Shabbos with friends, I spent the following week zipping all over Jerusalem, speaking in seminaries morning, noon, and night, accompanied by one of our seminary’s most popular teachers, Mindi.

The wonderful whirlwind week of meeting students ended, and Mindi and I parted ways. I had a few days to myself before returning to the States. I spent time with family and friends, and tried to go to the Kosel each day.

I took the private oath I’d made to myself to daven for singles very seriously, and would sit as close to the Kosel as possible to pray for all those wonderful women in my special community who needed a shidduch.

A few days before leaving Israel, I met up again with Mindi and we went to Kever Rochel together. I took out my now-crumpled sheets of shidduch names.

A funny thing happened when I was davening. As I was reciting those names, concentrating intensely, I recited a familiar name that was only listed in Hebrew. I made a mental note to look at it more closely another time.

An hour later Mindi and I took our seats on the bus and headed back to Jerusalem. I mentioned to Mindi the familiar name that been on the shidduch list that I couldn’t quite place. Then, looking at the name again, I burst into peals of laughter.

The name, Rochel Rivka bas Leba, was… my name! Someone had put my name on the shidduch list, and I’d been davening for myself, along with everyone else. (I hadn’t intended to daven for a shidduch for myself until my single daughter was married.)

“Well,” Mindi commented, “you never know what mazel that could bring, davening for others before you daven for yourself.”

When I returned home, I found out that my name had been added to this shidduch list many years ago. I was so touched by this act of kindness, and I hoped I’d repaid the members of the group by davening hard for everyone in Israel.

Just three short months later, Mindi and I met with the dean for another follow-up meeting about our trip to Israel. I asked if I could start off the meeting. Instead of talking about the seminaries we went to, I began talking about the shidduch list I’d taken with me, and my realization after visiting Kever Rochel that my name was on the list.

Everyone had confused expressions on their faces until I explained to them that my tefillos had worked, and in an unexpected way. I was a kallah — engaged to a wonderful widower who I was introduced to a few weeks after I came back from Israel.

Ten happily married years later, I am proof positive of the boomerang tefillah effect. When you give your full heart to others, Hashem will indeed multiply your brachos.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 728)

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