Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tefillah: Birum Olam: Prayer stands at the Pinnacle of the World Volume I Issue 16

תפילה: ברום עולם
Tefillah: Birum Olam: Prayer stands at the Pinnacle of the World
Volume I Issue 16

Tefillah Thoughts

Hashem answers before we pray
We are currently discussing 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. Rabbi Yehudah HaChasid writes in Sefer Chasidim (§858) that prior to a person praying, his mazal (angel) prays on his behalf. This is the meaning of the verse that states vihayah terem yikrau vaani eeneh, it will be before that they call I will answer. This means that HaShem says, “ I will answer the person’s angel and then when the person prays for himself he will be answered because of the angel who prayed for him. This is also the meaning of what it states od heim midabrim vaani eshma; while they yet speak I will hear.
Tefillah Teachings

Cleaning ones hands before praying with any material

If one is concerned that by seeking out water prior to praying he will miss the prescribed time for prayer, he is allowed to clean his hands with a rock, dirt or anything that will clean and then he is permitted to pray, as it is said (Tehillim 26:6) erchatz binikayon kapai vaasovivo es mizbachacho HaShem, I wash my hands in purity and circle around Your altar, HaShem. This means to say that if one can, he should wash with water. If there is no water available, then he should use any material that will clean his hands.

Tefillah Translated and Elucidated

Adon Olam
Hashem returns our very own spirit
Viim ruchi giviyasi HaShem li vilo ira, with my spirit shall my body remain. Hashem is with me, I shall not fear. The Eitz Yosef offers a novel interpretation of this passage. He writes that one is declaring that he trusts in HaShem that along with the spirit that he deposited with HaShem will be his body. This means that despite the person’s sins, HaShem will not place another spirit in his body. Rather, the spirit that the person deposited by HaShem is that same spirit that HaShem will return to him. The reason for this is because HaShem is with me, so I will not be afraid.

Tefillah Tale

Blessing and praying with tears
A widow once came before the Heilege Imrei Yosef from Spinka and requested that the Rebbe give her a bracha to see much nachas from her orphaned son, so that he should grow in Torah and great yiras shamayim. The Rebbe blessed her warmly. The woman, however, was not satisfied. The son of the Rebbe was standing behind the Rebbe, and this son was the Heilege Chakal Yitzchak, who would one day take his father’s place. The widow requested of the Rebbe that her son should be like the son of the Rebbe. The Rebbe extended his hand and removed the large yarmulke that he wore under his hat. The Rebbe turned the yarmulke over on the palm of his hand and said, “this is not something one can attain with a bracha. With the tears that I poured out for my son, one could fill up this yarmulke, and even more!” [Biahalei Tzaddikim on Hagadah Shel Pesach]
Tefillah Test

Daas is everything

Last week we posed the question: why do we commence the blessings of supplications in Shemone Esrei by asking HaShem for daas, knowledge? The answer to this question is that the Yerushalmi (Brachos 5:2) states that one recites havdalah in the blessing of daas because if there is no daas, then how can one make distinctions? It would follow, then, that daas is the prerequisite for anything that we ask for, because without daas, man is no better than an animal, who cannot request anything. Thus, we should concentrate intensely when reciting this blessing because this blessing is the key to all our requests from HaShem.

This week’s question is, why do we mention the idea of hatov vihameitiv, that HaShem is good and beneficent, in the blessing of requesting prosperity? 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 16
Is sponsored in memory of
the Kedoshim who were killed
al Kiddush HaShem in Mumbai, India. HaShem should avenge their blood and bring the Ultimate Redemption to His Chosen People, speedily, in our days.

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
For sponsorships please call 248-506-0363.

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