Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Kislev 5768 - November 15, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
The Importance of Tefilloh in Our Day and Age — And Yitzchok Prayed . . .

Excerpted from a Collection of Commentaries from Otzros HaTefilloh by HaRav Avraham Nishri

Part 2

Hashem did not heal him because he did not pray

"Moshe said to Hashem, `I beseech You, O Hashem. I am not a man of words, neither from yesterday nor from the day before yesterday, nor from the time You have spoken to Your servant, for I am heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue'" (Shemos 4:10).

According to the Midrash, Moshe said, "I am heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue from my youth, and so much more so in my old age, and You have never healed me from the time You have spoken to Your servant. And You command me in this mission."

The reason Hashem never healed him nor removed the heaviness of his mouth was because he did not pray for it. And Moshe did not pray for it because he did not want to go.

(Rabbeinu Bechayeh, Shemos 4:10)

No deliverance without prayer

Everyone knows that it is prohibited to question HaKodosh Boruch Hu's traits and His ways, for He is certainly always right and His ways are righteous and fair. However, it is permissible to present claims before HaKodosh Boruch Hu for every trouble and tribulation that happens. On the contrary, we find in the Tanach that HaKodosh Boruch Hu Himself encourages man to make claims and unburden his troubles before Him, as it is said: "And give Him no rest, until He establishes and until He makes Jerusalem a praise in the land" (Yeshayohu 62:7).

In our day and age we see that when the people of a country suffer very much from the laws and ordinances of the government they gather together in groups. They send emissaries to speak on their behalf to the big ministers to beseech them about the governmental laws and ordinances they cannot bear. They give no rest until the government fulfills their request.

If so, my brothers and friends, the same applies to our matter. Many afflictions, troubles, and distresses pass over us daily, both in the home and outside. So much more so we must pour our prayer, supplication, and beseeching before the Creator, Who is full of mercy. We must not give Him rest until He sends us, in His kindness, His Divine assistance. He will certainly hear the voice of our supplication, as we find many times in our holy Torah and in the Prophets, HaKodosh Boruch Hu desires the voice of our prayer. He has cautioned us that at any time of trouble and tribulation we should cry out before Him and arouse His mercy upon us.

What comes out of our words is that all our many troubles, from which we have not been rescued, are because we do not cry out and increase prayer over them. For if we would only pray and pour out our conversation before HaKodosh Boruch Hu He will certainly not return our prayers and supplications empty-handed.

One must not be satisfied with the fact he prays the Shemoneh Esrei three times a day. A number of times each day we must pour out our prayer and supplications privately in our home, from the depth of our heart. This is because the three daily prayers have become habitual in our mouths and we do not pay attention to them enough.

However, if each person will contemplate individually, privately, and make a spiritual accounting about his situation and his status, his great poverty and numerous annoyances, he will not pray by rote. Above all, he should contemplate his distress that he earns only the bare necessities, and pour out his heart like water to Hashem. Then, his prayer will be with deep intention, a broken heart, and a low spirit. A prayer of this sort will certainly not be returned empty-handed.

(Maran HaChofetz Chaim, Likutei Amarim, 10)

If one does not pray in the good times he will bring upon himself troubles, G-d forbid

The fundamental concept is that Klal Yisroel is always in the aspect of, "from the straits did I call to G-d" (Tehillim 118:5). They never have anyone to rely upon or anyone else to turn to besides calling out to Hashem!

The nations of the world are placed under the control of nature, as it is written: "And lest you lift up your eyes to heaven, and see the sun, and the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, which Hashem your G-d assigned to all peoples under the entire heaven, and be drawn away to prostrate yourselves before them and worship them" (Devorim 4:19). They indeed have upon what to rely: "These trust in chariots and these in horses" (Tehillim 20:8). The nations have their "chariots" and "horses." These are what Hashem assigned to them.

However, "but we — we mention the name of Hashem our G- d" (Ibid.). We have nothing, the laws of nature do not bind us; all the guidance of Klal Yisroel is above the laws of nature. If so, we actually have no connection to a situation of expansion and increase, or a situation of pressure and dire straits, we are always suspended on nothingness, with no status or process. Who can we trust, who can deliver us? Certainly, we can rely only on our Father is Heaven, "but we — we mention the name of Hashem our G- d."

A person must recognize this at a time of expansion; he must make no distinction between a time of expansion and a time of straits. His prayer during a situation of expansion must be the same as his prayer in straits—for he always calls to Hashem "from the straits." Then, it will abode very well for him. Then, "G-d answered me with a vast expanse" (Tehillim 118:5). G-d will rescue him and he will never come to any straits, G-d forbid.

And if not, if he does not recognize that even when he is tranquil he is hanging unto nothingness, and he does not have the feeling of "from the straits" even in a comfortable situation, then Heaven will place him in an actual situation of distress. Then, amidst the distress, he will surely recognize there is no rescue besides Hashem. Because forever more You are G-d, whether in distress or expanse, there is no other besides You. This will certainly bring him into the secret of tefilloh in truth, and also during the times of expansion, he will recognize: "From the straits did I call to G-d" (Ibid.)— and it will be well for him.

In our time, when the winds of death and a great pit surround us, a time of great distress, we must know the great obligation of crying out, "I called out in my distress."

We have already learnt that the purpose of the troubles is to make our voice heard, to recognize that "our Redeemer and Deliverer forever more is Your Name, there is no god besides You." And if we shall call out in the Name of Hashem, then there will be no difference at all between the situations, whether distress or expansion, and if, "from the straits did I call to G-d," then we may be certain that, "G-d answered me with a vast expanse" (Ibid.).

(Maran HaRav Yeruchom Levovitz zt'l, Daas Torah, Parshas Beshalach)

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.