Simply, v’niskeihem, “and their libations,” refers to the libations of the two sheep of the Korban Tamid, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Chazal (Taanis 2b) note the Torah twice departs from the singular form, v’niska, which is used in five pesukim, one time in the above pasuk, where it is spelled v’niskeihem, in the plural (with an added “mem” at the end of the word). Also, in pasuk 31, the Torah writes U’nesachecha with an added yud. To add to the equation, we note the word k’mishpatam (pasuk 33), while it says k’mishpat throughout the pesukim. All total, we have three superfluous letters: mem, yud, mem, which together spell the word mayim, water. This provides, say Chazal, proof that nisuach ha’mayim on Succos is min haTorah, a Biblically ordained mitzvah.
Horav Chaim Chaikin, zl (Rosh Yeshivah Aix Les Bains, France), who was a close student of the saintly Chafetz Chaim, quotes Chazal (Berachos 32b), who state that after the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash, the Shaarei Tefillah, Gates of Prayer, were sealed. The Shaarei Dimah, Gates of Tears, however, were not. What should a person do (since the Gates of Prayer are sealed)? He should weep during his prayers. Thus, his prayers will find access to Heaven via the tears that accompany his prayers. The Rosh Yeshivah relates that a Jew came to the Chafetz Chaim and said that he was in dire straits and was in need of the tzaddik’s blessing. Would the Chafetz Chaim daven for him? The Chafetz Chaim asked the man if he had personally davened to Hashem. The Jew replied in the affirmative. He had prayed, but he had received no response. The Chafetz Chaim asked him to bring his sefer Tehillim to him from which he had been praying. The sage leafed through the pages and said, “Your Tehillim looks good: no stains; no worn-out pages; no indication that you wept during Tehillim recital. This is not appropriate davening. Wait a moment, and let me show you how to pray.”
The Chafetz Chaim brought a ladder, climbed up to the top of his sefarim shank, bookcase, and retrieved an old, worn-out, pages-swollen Tehillim. He opened it and showed the man the tear-stains throughout the Tehillim. He said, “This is my late mother’s Tehillim in which she prayed constantly. Every one of her tefillos were accompanied by passionate weeping. This, my friend, is the meaning of davening.”
Tefillah is the act of baring one’s soul in supplication to Hashem. Chanah, mother of Shmuel HaNavi, teaches us that tefillah means pouring out one’s heart in such fervent prayer that an unsuspecting onlooker might think that the supplicant is drunk, i.e., not in control of his/her faculties. When we think of weeping, we associate it with adult emotions. This does not mean that a child’s tears are ineffective. A child who cries with seichel, common sense and intelligence, is certainly compelling and undoubtedly leaves an impact both on the world and in Heaven. An innocent child’s pure emotions, when expressed properly, can alter a decree. Their tears are the result of a purity of heart that trumps even those of adults. The following vignette conveys the impact that a child can have.
Horav David Segal, zl, better known as his nom de plume, named after his magnum opus, Turei Zahav, Taz, escaped from Poland during Tach v’Tat, the pogroms that devastated Eastern Europe in 1648/1649. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were slaughtered by the maniacal hordes of Bogdan Chmielnicki, a Ukrainian Cossack, who led a peasant uprising against Polish rule. In every battle, the Jews are the ones who become subject to the brunt of the destruction. This time was no different. The Taz and his Rebbetzin escaped in the nick of time, traveling far across Europe to a community that, although the residents had heard of the Taz, had never met him. The Gaon wanted to live under a cloak of anonymity so that he could devote himself to Torah study without any disturbance. He sought to retire from public exposure. For a source of income, he worked in the local kosher slaughterhouse as a menaker, removing the gid ha’nashe, sciatic nerve/sinew, and the accompanying fats from the hind portion of a cow/bull.
The Rav of the community where the Taz had taken up residence was far from erudite. Nonetheless, since this community was far from the established European Torah centers, as long as he knew more than his congregation, he qualified to serve as rav. Since he was unschooled in the laws of issur v’heter, kashrus, he took the easy way out. When he was presented with a question regarding the kashrus of a piece of meat or chicken, he would reply, “I suggest that you do not eat it. There are too many issues involved.” Thus, he protected himself from rendering a non-kosher piece of meat kosher. The poor members of the community, however, could not afford to accept the stringencies arising from his lack of knowledge. The Taz could not tolerate this. As a result, he began to issue his psakim, rulings, concerning the meat. Soon, the people became aware of the brilliant menaker who worked in the slaughterhouse, and they all began to turn to him for his rulings. Clearly, this did not sit well with the rav.
In those days, rabbanim had a privileged relationship with the ruling government. As a result, the Rav had permission to punish the Taz for overstepping his bounds and acting as rabbinic arbiter of Jewish law, when he was only a menaker. He had the Taz placed in a sort of cage, and the members of the community would pass by and look at the sinner who had offended the rav. While the Taz was imprisoned in the cage, he noticed a young girl pass, weeping incessantly. She was carrying a dead chicken in her hands. He called out to her, “Why are you weeping?” The girl tearfully explained that her family was very poor. They had saved their pennies with the hope of purchasing a chicken, which they did. When it was slaughtered, however, a questionable blemish was discovered. She ran to the Rav to render his ruling concerning the chicken’s kashrus. The rav replied that it was best not to eat it.
Now, they had no money and no chicken. The Taz asked to look at the chicken and discovered that it was kosher. Indeed, he had himself written about such a shailah, question, in his Taz commentary. Knowing that the rav would never accept the ruling of a “disgraced” person, he told the girl to return to the rav and informed him that the Taz rules that such a blemish is kosher. He told the girl the exact citation.
The child went to the rav, who was basically not a bad person – just terribly insecure. He looked up the Taz and acknowledged that the young girl was correct. He asked who had informed her of this Taz, and she told him, “The man in the cage.” The Rav then realized that he had erred egregiously by disgracing the gadol hador, preeminent leader of the generation. He publicly apologized to the Taz and asked for his forgiveness. The Taz’s secret was out, his greatness revealed. His wife, who together with him, had done everything to conceal their true identities asked, “You were so careful. What provoked you to speak to the girl which led to your secret getting out?” He explained, “The girl walked by weeping unremittingly. I could not ignore a child’s tears!”