Shmuel Lesher is learning the Second Perek of Maseches Ta’anis with Akiva Finkelstein, Yisrael Wiener and Shmuel Pearl I.E. “The Memphis Boys” (even though Shmuel Pearl moved to Philadelphia recently, he is still one of the boys).
The first Mishna in the Perek discusses the Jewish prayers and rituals done during a drought. One interesting point is that the one appointed to lead the prayers must be someone who has children. A couple of the guys offered their own explanations. One explanation offered (which is also offered by Rashi’s) was that since the person has children, he will be more concerned with the famine caused by the drought because his own family is suffering.
Our goal for the summer is to understand the purpose of fasting and praying as part of the Jewish response to tragedy. When we turn to G-d in difficult times, we draw strength from our faith that the challenges G-d sends us are only opportunities for growth.