Chasam Sofer – When Tefilos Don’t Work
When the great Gaon Rav Meshulam Igra was sick, the people beseeched Hashem with Tefila to spare his life. Their tefilos went unanswered and Rav Meshulam was niftar. Seeing the disappointment of the people the Chasam Sofer stood up to be Maspid him as follows. He told a Mashal of a broken ax trying to chop down a tree. The mightiest logger can swing away all day at the tree but if the ax is broken it will not help.
Surely said the Chasam Sofer, when people gather to daven with Kavana, Hashem answers their tefilos and grants their request. However the tool for tefila is the mouth and when the mouth is contaminated with forbidden speech it simply doesn’t function properly. No matter hard one davens, broken mouths cannot accomplish the task.
“Zachor Eis Asher Asa Hashem L’Miriam BaDerech B’Tzaischem MiMitzrayim”
The Ramban and other Rishonim count among the Mitzvos Aseh Min HaTorah the mitzva of remembering and saying with your mouth each day what Hashem did to Miriam when she spoke about her brother Moshe. The Chofetz Chaim in Shaar Tvunah Perek 12 says that being Mikayem this mitzva can save you from the aveira of Lashon Hara. More than just saying the pasuk, says the Chofetz Chaim, one must think about the incident in order for it to have its intended effect.