Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tefillah: Birum Olam: Prayer stands at the Pinnacle of the World Volume I Issue 13

תפילה: ברום עולם
Tefillah: Birum Olam: Prayer stands at the Pinnacle of the World
Volume I Issue 13

Tefillah Thoughts

The reason why our text of prayers are referred to as “the Siddur”
We refer to the text of our prayers as “the Siddur.” Why is this so? Should we not refer to our liturgy as something more relevant, such as Tefillos, prayers, or Techinos, supplications? The Sfas Emes (Shabbos HaGadol 5654) writes based on the Maharal that the reason why the Pesach Seder is thus named is because we relate the miracles that HaShem performed for us upon leaving Egypt. We are thus declaring that our “Seder,” i.e. the natural order for the Jewish people, is an existence of miracles. In a similar vein we can suggest that our prayers that effect our salvation, which are nothing short of miracles, is our natural order of life. It is for this reason, then, that we refer to our order of prayers and supplications as “the Siddur,” as our entire existence is replete with miracles.
Tefillah Teachings

Seeking out water to wash before praying

One who does not have water available with which to wash before praying must seek out water to wash his hands. He is required to seek out water either a distance of four mil before him or behind him the distance of a mil (a mil is the distance of eighteen minutes).

Tefillah Translated and Elucidated

Adon Olam

Our Rock in times of distress
Vihu Keili vichai goali vitzur chevli bieis tzara, He is my G-d, my living Redeemer, Rock of my pain in time of distress. It is noteworthy that the word tzur, which means rock, and the word tzara, which means distress, are similar. Why do we refer to HaShem as our Rock? The answer to this question is that we are declaring that HaShem is specifically my Rock and my Fortress when I am in distress. When times are good, it is easy to forget that HaShem is what keeps me alive. When one is, Heaven forbid, in distress, he recognizes that his very existence is from HaShem, his Rock and his creator.

Tefillah Tale
How far is Levov from Heaven?
A man once came to the Admor of Lelov, bemoaning his great difficulty in earning a living, and his suffering in being unable to provide adequately for his household. He asked the Rebbe’s advice on moving to America. The Rebbe answered by saying, “I’ll tell you a story and you’ll understand.”
“There was a Rav in a certain town, who was a great talmid chacham, but he lived in dire poverty. The town he lived in was very small and the Jews of the town were also poor, and were unable to provide the Rav with an adequate income.”
“Once, two rich men came to the Rav and requested that he serve as a dayan on a Din Torah between them. However, they had a stipulation; they wanted the Rav to travel to their town to judge the case. They offered him a large amount of money if he would agree to this. The Rav listened to their offer and said, “I’ll have to think it over. I’ll answer you after Mincha. After Mincha, the Rav told them, “No, I don’t wish to travel.”
“After the men left, the Rebbetzin began to cry, “What did you do? An opportunity arose to earn some money, and you refused to travel?! And what happened while you were davening mincha?”
“The Rav answered her, “While I was davening mincha, I reached the bracha, “Bless this year for good” and I thought, ‘What does it mean that I’m asking Hashem to bless the year? HaKadosh Boruch Hu will send goodness, bracha and parnasah, but from where? From His Kisei Hakavod directly to my house. This is a distance of millions of years. The Gemara says that from the land to the heavens is five hundred years, and from the rakia upwards is another five hundred years, and so on. However, Hashem will send his bracha from such a great distance, because for Him it is not distant at all.’”
“I said to myself, ‘If Hashem sends His bracha from such a great distance, will He only send it to the town of these two men? If it’s from such a great distance, He can send it straight to my house, and not only to their town. This is why I decided not to travel.”
“And so it was. At the end, the two men returned and agreed to hold the Beis Din in the house of the Rav, and pay him the same amount of money.”
This was the answer which the Rebbe of Lelov told the Jew who wanted to move to America to find a solution for his dire poverty. (Shaal Avicha Veyagadcha) [Reprinted with permission from]
Tefillah Test

Redemption is constantly happening

Last week we posed the question: which two blessings of Shemone Esrei begin with the letter vav and what possible reason is there for this? Rabbi Shimon Schwab writes that the blessing of vilamalshinim, and for slanderers, follows the blessing of hashivah shofteinu, return our judges. The reason for this is because the blessing hashivah shofteinu refers to the communal repentance, whereas the blessing of vilamalshinim refers to the idea that the wicked should be punished immediately. It is for this reason that the blessing of vilamalshinim begins with the letter vav. Next week we will discuss the other blessing that begins with the letter vav.
If you have a possible answer, please email me at and your answer will be posted in next week’s edition of Birum Olam.

Tefillah: Birum Olam: Prayer stands at the Pinnacle of the World
Volume I Issue 13

Is sponsored by
Rabbi Zorach Menachem Spira
In memory of his dear father
Mordechai ע"ה ben Dovid נ"י
On his yahrtzeit
October 22, 2002 ט"ז מרחשון תשס"ג
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
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