Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tefillah: Birum Olam: Prayer stands at the Pinnacle of the World Volume I Issue 22

תפילה: ברום עולם
Tefillah: Birum Olam: Prayer stands at the Pinnacle of the World
Volume I Issue 22

Tefillah Thoughts

Prayer requires a focus of the heart and the mouth
It is said (Shemos 5:9) tichbad haavodah al haanashim viyaasu vah vial yishu bidivrei shaker, let the work be heavier upon the men and let them engage in it; and let them not pay attention to false words. The Baal HaTurim writes that the word yishu, pay attention, appear twice in Scripture. One instance is in the above verse and the second instance is where it is said (Shmuel II 22:42) yishu viain moshia, they cried out, but there was no savior. This teaches us, writes the Baal HaTurim, that those who do not have kavanah (focus) in their prayers, and yishu bidivrei sheker, they pay attention to false words, as they do not focus in their hearts what they are pronouncing with their mouths, regarding them it is said yishu viain moshia, they cried out, but there was no savior. However, regarding those who have kavanah when they pray as their heart is in line with what the utter from their mouth, it is said (Yeshaya 58:9) az tikra vaHaShem yaaneh tishava viyomar hineini, then you will call and HaShem will respond; you will cry out and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ It is regarding this that Dovid HaMelech stated (Tehillim 17:1) haazinah sifilosi bilo sifsei mirmah, give ear to my prayer, which is from lips without deceit. This means that when will HaShem hear my prayers? When my prayers are from lips without deceit that contradict the heart and are uttered without being in line with what is in the heart. The words of the Baal HaTurim speak for themselves, as they teaches us that one’s prayers will only be heard and accepted when he is focused on what he is uttering from his mouth.
Tefillah Teachings

Praying with the congregation means reciting Shemone Esrei with ten people

The essential requirement of Tefillah Bitzibur, praying with the congregation, is the recital of Shemone Esrei, which requires ten people praying together. This is unlike the prevalent thinking that the essential requirement of praying together with ten people is only to hear Kaddish, Kedusha and Barchu. This who think in this manner believe that it is sufficient to have ten people in the shul and this is a mistake. It is for this reason that one should exert himself to arrive in Shul in a timely fashion so that he can pray the Shemone Esrei with the congregation.

Tefillah Translated and Elucidated

HaShem has no comparison regarding His holiness
Lo naaroch eilav kidushaso, nor has His holiness any comparison. It is said (Vayikra 19:1-2) vayidabeir HaShem el Moshe leimor dabeir el kol adas binei Yisroel viamarta aleihem kedoshim tihyu ki kadosh ani HaShem Elokeichem, HaShem spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to the entire assembly of the children of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for holy am I, HaShem, your G-d. The Medrash (Vayikra Rabbah 24:9) states: you would think that you shall be holy like Me? Therefore it is said “for holy am I, HaShem, your G-d,” and My holiness is above your holiness. The Sefarim (Meor Ainayim Kedoshim; Kedushas Levi Ibid and others) offer a homiletical interpretation to this Medrash. They write that the Medrash is saying, “kidushasi limaalah – mikedushaschem, My holiness above is dependent on your being holy.” Thus, we can suggest that we are declaring that there is no comparison to HaShem’s holiness, but in a sense, HaShem is holy because we are holy. This, the Pinei Menachem (Kedoshim) explains, means that HaShem infused holiness into creation which we can use to make ourselves holy.

Tefillah Tale

Feeling someone else’s pain

HaRav Chaim Dovid Bakan, the menahel of Mosdos Bobov in America, received a phone call one Friday morning from the previous Bovover Rebbe, zt”l. The Rebbe requested that R’ Bakan write a certain letter for him, and deliver it by that afternoon, since it would be picked up on Motzei Shabbos.
R’ Bakan arrived by the Rebbe’s house that afternoon at one-thirty to deliver the letter. The Rebbetzin told him that the Rebbe had been cloistered in his room for a long time, and had asked not to be interrupted by phone calls or visitors. When R’ Bakan told her that the Rebbe had requested that he bring a letter at one-thirty, she suggested that he knock on the door.
R’ Bakan knocked, the Rebbe opened the door, and R’ Bakan stood back alarmed. The Rebbe’s face was wet with tears, and his eyes were red and swollen from crying. R’ Bakan reminded him about the letter, and the Rebbe requested that he wait for a few minutes. After a few minutes, the Rebbe opened the door, and asked R’ Bakan to come in. The Rebbe then sat down in his chair, and began crying again bitterly. R’ Bakan felt like he was going to faint, but he dared to ask, “Rebbe, what happened?”
The Rebbe answered, “Someone came to me and told me the name of a young boy who’s sick with cancer. I am davening that he should be healed.” The weeping of the Rebbe then got stronger, “Ribbono Shel Olam, aneini, aneini! A young boy is sick!”
The Rebbetzin the entered the room, and asked the Rebbe how long he intended to fast, and R’ Bakan understood that the Rebbe was fasting for the boy’s sake. The Rebbetzin said, “It will be Shabbos soon; there’s food waiting for you on the table.”
The Rebbe responded, “To eat…. to eat….that I should eat! Their soul abhors all food! When there’s a young boy who’s sick, am I able to eat?”
“Their soul abhors all food” rang in R’ Barkan’s ears for a long time after hearing the Rebbe utter these words. Later, on Shabbos afternoon after Mincha, when R’ Bakan read perek 107 in Tehillim, and read the words, ‘Their soul abhors all food,” he realized that these words are said on the sick person himself. The Rebbe however said it on himself because he truly shared in the tzaar of Yisrael. (Shloma Shel Malchus, Aleinu Lishabeiach) Reprinted with permission from

Tefillah Test

Kedoshim are the Jewish People and the angels

Last week we posed the question: in the third blessing of Shemone Esrei, Atah Kadosh, You are holy, who are the kedoshim that we refer to? The Eitz Yosef writes that the word kedoshim refers to the righteous amongst the Jewish People and to the angels on high. Rabbeinu Bachye (Devarim 34:5) writes that this refers to the souls of the righteous after they have passed on, as HaShem does not refer to anyone as being righteous while they are alive because a person can be tempted by his Evil Inclination to sin while he is alive.

This week’s question is, why in the blessing of Shemone Esrei of viliYerushalyim ircha do we recite the words visishkon bisocha kaasher dibarta, and may You rest within it as you have spoken? Why is it necessary to say that HaShem spoke that He will rest His Presence in Yerushalayim? 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 22

is sponsored in honor of the birth
of a boy to Yossi and Rivky Adler of Southfield, MI. Hashem should give them much nachas from all their children and they should be zoche lihachniso bivriso shel Avraham Avinu biito uvizmano.

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
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