Thursday, November 27, 2008
Tefillah: Birum Olam: Prayer stands at the Pinnacle of the World Volume I Issue 15
תפילה: ברום עולם
Tefillah: Birum Olam: Prayer stands at the Pinnacle of the World
Volume I Issue 15
Hashem answers before we pray
We have discussed previously the need for one to pray despite the fact that HaShem knows what is inside a person’s heart. In the next few issues we will discuss the verse that states (Yeshaya 65:24) vihayah terem yikrau vaani eeneh od heim midabrim vaani eshma, it will be before that they call I will answer; while they yet speak I will hear. What does it mean that HaShem will respond before they even call out? It would seem to be paradoxical that HaShem answers someone before the person prays to HaShem. The Haflaah (Kesubos 8b) writes that regarding ordinary people, even if HaShem does not answer their prayers, HaShem is still referred to as the One Who bestows knowledge, gathers in the exiles of the Jewish People, and is the Builder of Jerusalem. The reason for this is because even if we do not have our prayers answered immediately, we still maintain the belief that HaShem will answer us in the future. Regarding the righteous, however, immediately upon beseeching HaShem, their prayers are answered, as we find in the Gemara (Taanis 24a; 25b; Bava Metzia 85b) that the Sages said the words mashiv haruach, He makes the wind blow, and the winds began blowing. They said morid hageshem, He Who makes the rain descend and the rain began to fall. Thus, according to the Haflaah, this verse that states that HaShem answers before they call, applies only to the prayers of the righteous.
Seeking out water to wash before praying
One who sits in his house has the status of one who is traveling on the road and is only required to seek water behind his location for the distance of a mil. One who is traveling and requires water does not have to seek out water if his search will cause him to have to travel alone. Similarly, if seeking out water will cause that he will not arrive at his destination while it is still day, he does not have to seek out water at all.
Tefillah Translated and Elucidated
Sleep is a sign of faith
Biyado afkid ruchi bieis ishan viaira, into His hand I shall entrust my spirit when I go to sleep – and I shall awaken! The Gemara (Brachos 57b) states that sleep is one sixtieth of death. It is well known that awakening from sleep is akin to the resurrection of the dead. It is for this reason that in the blessing of Elokai neshama we recite the words baruch atah HaShem hamachazir neshamos lifgarim meisim, blessed are You, HaShem, Who restores souls to dead bodies. The Maharal (Gur Aryeh Bereishis 2:7) writes that the idea of burial is that one is deposited in the earth for the purpose of coming alive in the future. Given the fact that man has the potential to be resurrected, it is fitting that he be buried in the earth. It is therefore appropriate that here we declare that we are depositing our spirits with HaShem for safekeeping, as since we are confident that we will awaken, it follows that first we should deposit our spirits with HaShem when we fall asleep.
Sticking around for a minyan
A man once approached Rav Sholom Schwadron zt”l after he had delivered his Friday night talk and told him the following story. (Found in The Maggid Speaks by Rabbi Paysach Krohn.)
The time after World War I was one of relative freedom for the Jews of Russia. I was involved in diamonds and things were going very well.
Every morning I was at my office at 8:00AM and I was busy all day. One morning I went to my office a bit early to get some paperwork done, carrying, as usual, my valise of diamonds and jewelry. On the way I heard a man calling out from a small synagogue, asking for ‘a tzenter,’ the tenth man to complete the minyan. When he saw me turn towards him, he shouted to me, “Come in, come in, we need you for the minyan.”
Realizing that I had time to spare I decided to help out and be the tenth man. However, upon entering I saw that there were only three other men beside myself and the man at the door who by now had resumed his search for ‘a tzenter.’
A bit upset at having been duped, I turned to the man at the door complaining that I wasn’t the tenth but the fifth! “Don’t worry,” he called back. “Many Jews pass here and we’ll have a minyan in no time.” I began reciting Tehillim for the next ten minutes. By that time he had only managed to find one more person so I got up to leave. “Please,” he began to plead with me. “Today is my father’s yahrtzeit and I’m trying to get a minyan together as fast as possible in order to say Kaddish. Please stay.”
“I can’t stay any longer,” I protested. “I must be in my office right now.”
At this point he turned a bit nasty. “I’m not letting you out! I have yahrtzeit and I have to say Kaddish. As soon as I get ten together you can go.”
I reluctantly returned to my Tehillim but when another ten minutes had only yielded two more people I again began to make my way toward the door. He pointed his finger at me and said: “If you were the one saying Kaddish for your father you’d want me to stay and I would. Now I want you to do the same for me!”
His pointing out how I would feel in his shoes made me view the whole situation differently and I decided that come what may, I would remain. At about 8:30 he finally got his minyan together. I thought he would say a Kaddish and let us go but he instead began at the beginning of services. I calculated that I wouldn’t reach my office until well after 9:00.
I kept hoping that an eleventh man would enter the synagogue, allowing me to duck out but it didn’t happen. I was stuck there until the final amen was answered after the final Kaddish. He then thanked us profusely, served some cake and drinks and let us leave.
When I and my valise filled with jewelry came within two blocks of my office a man I knew came frantically running over to me. “The Bolsheviks took over the government and some of them came in and killed the Jews at the diamond exchange. They’re now busy looting as much as they can. Run for your life!” I ran for my life, hid for a few days and was finally able to get out of Russia. [Reprinted with permission from Torah.org]
The souls of the righteous will also experience the rebuilding of Yerushalayim
Last week we posed the question: how is the third blessing of Shemone Esrei associated with Yaakov? The Doveir Shalom, found in Otzar HaTefillos, cites a Medrash that states that when Yaakov arrived at Beis El and encountered the Gates of Mercy, he sanctified HaShem’s Name and recited HaKel HaKadosh. Thus, Yaakov discerned HaShem with the attribute of Kadosh, holiness, It is also said (Yeshaya 29:23) vihikdishu es kidosh Yaakov, they will sanctify the Holy One of Yaakov. Furthermore, it is said (Tehillim 22:4) viatah kadosh yosheiv tehillos Yisroel, yet You are the Holy One, enthroned upon the praises of Israel. Yisroel refers to Yaakov who is called Yisroel Saba, Israel the elder. Yaakov discerned the concealment of HaShem, and for this reason we declare that You, Hashem, are holy, as You are holy and concealed in Your essence. The Maharal (Gur Aryeh Bereishis 28:11) elaborates on the theme of Yaakov being referred to as holy. One profound point that the Maharal makes regarding Yaakov is that he more than the other Patriarchs was separated from the physical and it was for this reason that Yaakov was called Kadosh. It is worth mentioning that the Gemara (Megillah 18a) states that HaShem referred to Yaakov as Keil, G-d. Thus, we see that Yaakov more than anyone else had this element of holiness and separation from the physical.
This week’s question is, why do we commence the blessings of supplications in Shemone Esrei by asking HaShem for daas, knowledge? If you have a possible answer, please email me at BirumOlam@gmail.com 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 15
Is sponsored lizchus Refuah shileima Chaya bas Docha Rachel bisoch shaar cholei Yisroel
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