Special event L'Yerushalayim Mizmor, a great success!
Justice4JPnews - March 3, 2007
L'Yerushalayim Mizmor, the musical spectacular sponsored by the Municipality of Jerusalem, Moreshet Yisrael Department, which took place last night at the Gerard Behar Auditorium in Jerusalem was indeed spectacular!
A broad range of exceptionally talented women entertained a capacity audience (women only), who came to clap, hum, and sing along, to a dazzling array of songs, prayers, and poetry set to music. The show was a first-rate professional production with performers of world-class caliber. Out of religious conviction, these amazing singers perform for women only.
In her address to the audience, Jerusalem City Councilor Mina Fenton pointed out that this special evening is the opening event in a series of events that the Municipality of Jerusalem is sponsoring in honor of International Women's Day (March 8, 2008).
The City Councilwoman said that in honor of International Women's Day, Esther Pollard had been selected to be the guest of honor. Fenton explained that Esther, in her tireless advocacy for her husband Jonathan Pollard for the last 2 decades, is the living embodiment of courage, faith, strength, constancy, consistence and truthfulness -a model for all women. Her words were received with resounding applause from the packed auditorium.
Mrs. Zahava Bazak, President of Emunah Women, appeared on stage next. Mrs. Bazak warmly welcomed all the participants and provided some informative information on the activities and outreach of Emunah Women, a great many of whom were present in the audience. Before closing her speech, Mrs. Bazak greeted Esther Pollard and made a heart-felt public blessing, that Jonathan be speedily released, and reunited with Esther in Jerusalem very, very soon, to which all responded heartily, "Amain!"
Esther Pollard took the stage only towards the end of the evening. Her appearance was preceded by a musical introduction by the talented and gifted singer, Mrs. Naomi Knobel. (Just as an aside, when Mrs. Knobel is not performing on stage, she is the executive assistant who runs the office of HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu, shlita.)
In a heartwarming performance consisting of song and narration, Knobel described her own prison meeting with Jonathan Pollard which occurred during one of the visits by HaRav Eliyahu. In song and in speech, Knobel shared with the audience Pollard's deep abiding faith; his service to Israel; his enormous self-sacrifice; his humanity and kindness to all; his amazing father-and-son rapport with HaRav Eliyahu; his oneness with his wife, Esther; and the personal message Pollard sent to her children: "Tell your children how fortunate they are to live in Eretz Yisrael; and how blessed they are to learn Torah in Yerushalayim!"
Immediately following Knobel, Esther Pollard was invited to speak. Esther alighted the stage carrying a small, but obviously heavy, rectangular bag. She set the bag down lovingly and began to speak, first of all thanking Councilwoman Mina Fenton and the City of Jerusalem for the great honor of allowing her to participate in such a wonderful event. She pointed out that the music, the poetry, and the prayers, combined with the marvelous effect of so many women sitting together and singing together, to produce an electrified atmosphere. "You can feel the excitement, the joy, the unity!" she said.
"When I spoke with Jonathan earlier today," Pollard continued, "I asked him, Jonathan what should I say to the women of Jerusalem tonight?"
"Jonathan responded, 'Esther, you have to remember that there is no such thing as coincidence. Every single woman who will be sitting in the audience tonight received a personal invitation from Heaven to be there to hear what you have to say. You have to give the women an important message. Remind them, because of the righteous women, The People of Israel was redeemed from Egypt; and now, once again, the fate of Israel is in the hands of righteous women. You have to give the women Jewish weapons to fight for us. You have to explain to them the power of Jewish unity; and the importance of group prayer.'
"My husband's rabbi," Esther continued, "HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu shlita, refers to Jonathan as 'the Yosaif HaTzadik of our generation. The Rav says that because of Jonathan's centrality, because he is the Joseph of our generation, whoever prays for Jonathan, also prays for all of our captives and MIAs, and for all of Am Yisrael at the same time. Jonathan pointed out to me that that tonight, where each and every single woman received her own call from Heaven to be here; tonight where there is such a unified atmosphere; tonight where the music and song has produced such achdut Yisrael (such Jewish unity), this might be the perfect opportunity for us to pray for Jonathan and for all of Am Yisrael!" The audience burst into spontaneous wild applause.
When the applause died down, Esther Pollard continued. "First let me take a moment, as Jonathan requested, to explain a little more about the power of group prayer. According to the Holy Zohar," she said, there is a formula that teaches us the value of group prayer (See Addendum below). For example, if one person prays alone, their prayer has the prayer power of one. Especially if he or she prays in Jerusalem their prayers are heard in Heaven and that is fine. But, when 2 pray together, the Zohar tells us that the numbers change radically and 2 people together have the prayer power of 21. According to the same formula, 3 people praying together have the prayer power of 321 people. Four people praying together have the prayer power of 4,321 people, and so on," said Pollard, until you reach the number 10, which is a "minyan" (a prayer quorum, according to Jewish Law.) According to this formula, a minyan has the prayer power of nearly 11 billion people praying! Look around! We have more than one minyan here in the audience tonight! We have 50 or 60 minyanim! We have the kind of unity and the kind of prayer power here tonight to bring Jonathan's immediate redemption and the redemption of all Am Yisrael (G-d willing, amain!)"
With that, Esther Pollard bent down and picked up the bag she had lovingly set down upon the stage. "Jonathan told me to give you Jewish weapons, so that is what I am going to do!" she declared. She opened the bag, displaying its contents to the audience: hundreds and hundreds of prayer cards. These special Pollard Prayer cards were authored by HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu and consist of "Nishmat Kol Chai" followed by a special prayer for Jonathan Pollard. Pollard assured the audience (and especially the nervous producers) that experience has taught her that it only takes a minute or so to hand out the prayer cards, and she called upon Eleonora Shiffrin (of the Committee for Pollard) and Naomi Knobel to come forward and assist with the distribution. Within a flash, everyone had their prayer cards. Without needing to be cued, the stage manager turned up the lights in the auditorium to make it easy to read.
Esther then asked Mina Fenton to join her on the stage to be ready to lead the group recitation of the special prayer for Jonathan Pollard. Next, she called upon Bella Amiram (the kindly Jerusalem widow who adopted the Pollards) to come forward to lead the group recitation of Nishmat Kol Chai. A teacher by profession and an expert linguist, Bella Amiram was the right person for the job! Bella masterfully shepherded the massive recitation of this beautiful prayer of praise to HaShem, with dignity, grace and power. The air was electric!
Mina Fenton took up where Bella left off and led the women through the heartfelt, impassioned, special prayer for Jonathan. After concluding, Mina took the opportunity to personally bless Esther and Jonathan publicly once again; to bless the entire audience for their share in the mitzvah of Pidyan Shvuyim; and to bless all of Am Yisrael. Her deeply-felt blessings received resounding 'amains'.
Esther Pollard concluded this segment of the program by thanking everyone for their participation in this great event. She indicated that the Pollard prayer cards are meant to be a gift to each woman; to please keep them and use them often! She urged the women to teach their family and friends what they experienced here tonight about the power of group prayer for Am Yisrael. She blessed the participants and all of Am Yisrael for a speedy redemption for Jonathan, for all our MIAs and captives and for all of Am Yisrael!
Esther descended the stage to return to her seat. As she passed each aisle on her way to the back of the theatre, over and over again people reached out to squeeze her hand, to touch her, to bless her, and to kiss her. She was deeply moved by the overwhelming response from the crowd.
Onstage, the entire cast of professional singers regrouped for one last (and extremely appropriate) performance: a lively medley of songs all based on "Eshet Chayil" (A Woman of Valor). The evening ended on a spiritual high!
It was touching to note how all of the women filing out of the auditorium after the show, again used the opportunity to stop and greet Esther, to bless her, or just to squeeze her hand. Esther reports, that one of the most moving moments occurred when a woman from Gush Eztion, with joyful tears in her eyes, squeezed Esther's hand and exclaimed excitedly, "HaShem was here tonight! We all felt it!"
The Advantage of Group Prayer is Exponential
From the teachings of HaRav HaGaon Mutzafi
Source: The Holy Zohar
According the Holy Zohar, the prayer power of a group of people praying together can be determined by counting down the number in the group and then restating. The resulting number is the prayer power of the group. For example, if two pray together, count down from 2. The count is 2, 1. Restated, it is 21.
Here is a sample chart:
1- one person praying alone has the power of 1
2 - have the prayer power of 21
3 - have the prayer power of 321
4 - have the prayer power of 4,321
5 - have the prayer power of 54,321
6 - have the prayer power of 654,321
7 - have the prayer power of 7,654,321
8 - have the prayer power of 87,654,321
9 - have the prayer power of 987,654,321
10 - have the prayer power of 10,987,654,321
And so on