Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Kislev 5768 - November 22, 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

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

Part 3

A Tefilloh that is not prayed brings tribulations

Every pain that Hashem sends, G-d forbid, to a man in this world is to arouse him to tefilloh.

Chazal said concerning the posuk: "Pharaoh approached" (Shemos 14:10)—"This can be compared to a king who wanted to hear the voice of his mistress" (Shemos Rabbah, Parsha 21). In the gemora it is said: "The Ovos were barren because HaKodosh Boruch Hu desires the tefillos of tzaddikim" (Yevamos 64a).

The gemora says in regards to this: "A man should always precede prayer to tribulation" (Sanhedrin 44b). One must arouse himself to prayer beforehand, so that he will not need the tribulation to arouse him, G-d forbid. All the exiles and sufferings are only for the purpose of elevating all the worldly matters to the highest place of the world by means of prayer.

(HaRav Tzoddok HaCohen of Lublin zt'l, Resisei Lailah)


We are accustomed to understand that tefilloh is necessary because of troubles and when we are suffering, we hope for Hashem's deliverance and we pray for it. According to this, it would be better if we never suffered and never had to pray, since the purpose of the prayer is just to be relieved of the troubles. The Midrash, however, shows us that the truth is the opposite. All the troubles and suffering that the Am Yisroel suffered were in order that they would pray to Hashem and be rescued.

The essence of tefilloh is, "And [Avrom] invoked Hashem by Name" (Bereishis 12:8), as the Targum Onkelos renders: "And he prayed in the Name of Hashem." We need to understand the simple meaning of invoking the Name of Hashem. It is as a person calls and asks his friend to come over. The same applies to calling the Name of Hashem.

When we call the Name of Hashem, His Name immediately has an effect in the place where He is called, as it is written: "Wherever I allow My name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you" (Shemos 20:21). All the salvations and successes we could achieve, we achieve only when His Name comes to us, for Hashem's Name is the source of all success, and He is the source of salvation.

All that Yisroel merited in the revelation of Yetzias Mitzrayim, they achieved and acquired by means of, "And they cried out." The revelation of Yetzias Mitzrayim, which was the greatest salvation ever and forms the basis for what is written in the pesukim, "To be a G-d to you," and, "To be to Him a treasured people," was born and came into being from their crying out to Hashem in their time of trouble, which is calling in the Name of Hashem.

When a person has trouble of some kind and he is rescued from it, he thanks Hashem for the salvation. However, he would be much happier if he never had the trouble in the first place. But this is not truth. The reason for the salvation is Hashem's revelation, and it was the trouble that gave rise to this revelation for, because of the trouble he called out in Hashem's Name amidst tribulation, which gave rise to the salvation.

Without the trouble there would have been no calling on the Name of Hashem, and he would not have been privileged to receive that Divine assistance. According to this, the salvation was not because he needed to be saved from the trouble. It was not caused by the trouble, and it was not because of the trouble that he needed the salvation. The opposite is true: the entire reason for the trouble was so that there could be a salvation. It all follows the logic of cause and effect. The cause of all troubles is so that there would be a "crying out" and the Name of Hashem would come to them.

(Maran HaRav Yeruchom Levovitz zt'l, Daas Chochmoh UMussar)

Torah and Tefilloh as well

The avodoh of tefilloh has a special importance in our generation, and therefore we need to make efforts to pursue it.

It is cited in the name of Rav Chaim Vital that in the first generations of the Amoraim, the teachers of the gemora, their Torah was keva. Their main avodoh was in Torah. But now, in the generation of the Heels of the Moshiach, the main avodoh is in tefilloh.

It is obvious that Rav Chaim Vital's intention is not that the general rule, "the study of Torah is equivalent to them all" (Shabbos 127a) has changed. Certainly, today as well it is the case that one word of the Torah is equivalent to more than all the mitzvos and all the tefillos, as the Nefesh HaChaim cites from the words of Chazal at length.

Rather, his words are explained by the example of the shofar on Rosh Hashonoh. Certainly, one page of gemora studied on Rosh Hashonoh is more important than all the shofar blasts of the day, as the Mishnah taught: "The study of Torah is equivalent to them all" (Ibid.). However, the day's main avodoh is to blow the shofar, and someone who disparages fulfilling the mitzvah of shofar and studies gemora all day does not have even the mitzvah of Torah. It is specifically the mitzvah of shofar that is the special avodoh of the day, and a person's main focus must be on this matter, for that is the main matter of the day.

The same applies to our generation with regard to the avodoh of tefilloh. Although one needs to make his Torah the permanent thing and every other endeavor should be secondary to Torah for the main spiritual elevation of a man is only through his toil in Torah study, nevertheless, there is a special importance for the avodoh of tefilloh in our generation. Therefore, one needs to expend the effort and pursue it, and to give it special importance, because it is the special focal point for our days.

(Rav Shimshon Pincus, Shaarim BeTefilloh)

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