Halacha for Sunday 2 Iyar 5780 April 26 2020

Wording One’s Prayer Before Hashem

Approximately one year ago, we had discussed the laws of prayer and mentioned that one may insert personal prayers into the middle of the blessings of the Amida prayer, especially within the “Shema Kolenu” blessing and after reciting the second “Yihyu Le’Ratzon” at the conclusion of the Amida. We have also mentioned that when one prays before Hashem, especially within the Amida prayer, that one not speak needlessly and certainly not inappropriate things. One should be cautious to prepare one’s self properly for prayer and be succinct and articulate as one open one’s mouth in prayer before Hashem.

Indeed, the holy Zohar teaches that one must express the requests in one’s prayers in a suitable fashion. Rabbeinu Moshe Cordovero zt”l quotes the words of the Zohar.

The Sefer Yalkut Yosef (Chapter 119) offers a source for this idea based on the verse, “And the Canaanite king of Arad who dwelled in the south heard that Israel had arrived etc. and he waged war against Israel and he took captives from among them.” Rashi explains that the “Canaanite” refers to Amalek and the reason why the Torah refers to them as Canaanites is because Amalek changed to speaking in the Canaanite language as the Jewish nation traveled near them so that the Jews would think that they were actually Canaanites and would pray to Hashem to help them defeat the Canaanites when in fact they were actually Amalekites. Since the Jewish nation did not pray for the correct matter, their prayer was not effective.

Based on the above, if one prays for the wrong thing, even if one’s intention was clear, one’s prayer will not be as effective as one who enunciated the prayer correctly and articulately.

Indeed, the Gemara (Baba Metzia 106a) states that if one leases his fields to another in order to plant wheat in them and the renter then goes and plants barley, after which the fields are ruined, the lessor may tell the renter that “I had instructed you to plant wheat. Since you decided to plant barley, you are now liable for the damage to the field. Were you to plant wheat as I had instructed, Hashem may have accepted my prayers as I had been praying for the successful growth of the wheat crop. I had never prayed for the success of the barley crop.” We see that one must take care to pray for the correct matter.

Similarly, there was once a man whose son had fallen ill as a result of a dreaded disease. The father went and requested from several sages that they pray for his son to be healed from this disease. Indeed, the son was healed from this disease but had then perished in a car accident soon thereafter. One should therefore pray for general goodness from Hashem and this father should have asked that Hashem grant this child many years of good health.

Certainly, one must not go on and on needlessly during one’s prayer, such as one who speaks freely during the Amida prayer and repeats his requests several times. Rather, one should pray in a clear and brief manner and Hashem will certainly accept these prayers willingly.

If one sees that as a result of elongating one’s prayer, one will miss answering Kaddish and Kedusha, it is appropriate for one to shorten one’s prayer in order not to miss out on answering these portions of the prayer. Indeed, on Chanukah and Purim, there are those that rule that one should omit reciting “Al Ha’Nissim” in order not to miss answering Kedusha. Although the Halacha does not follow this view, nevertheless, this only applies to such prayers established by our Sages. However, regarding one’s own personal requests and prayers, it is preferable that one omit them in favor of answering Kaddish and Kedusha properly. Later, after the second recitation of “Yihyu Le’Ratzon,” one may continue one’s personal prayer at will.

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Holiday of Shavuot- Teachings of Kindness

The Torah introduces the momentous event of the giving of the Torah to the Jewish nation with the verse (Shemot 19), “On the third month from when the children of Israel left Egypt, on this day they arrived at the Sinai desert.” Our Sages in the Pesikta ask: Why is it that the Torah w......

Read Halacha

“Shover Oyevim U’Machnia Zedim” (The Twelfth Blessing of the Amida)

Question: In the Blessing regarding the heretics in the daily Amida prayer, how should one end the twelfth blessing: “Shover Oyevim U’Machnia Zedim” (He who smashes enemies and humbles the wicked) or “Shover Oyevim U’Machnia Minim” (He who smashes enemies and humb......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by strik......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Cooking on Yom Tov

In the previous Halachot we have explained that although Shabbat and Yom Tov are equal in their prohibition to perform work on them and it is therefore a Torah prohibition to drive a car on Yom Tov, nevertheless, certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking and frying, are permitt......

Read Halacha

How One Should Conduct Himself in the Morning

The Mishnah in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 5) states: “Yehuda ben Tema says: Be bold like a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and mighty as a lion to perform the will of your father in Heaven.” Let us now explain this Mishnah. The Tanna writes that one must be as “bold as a ......

Read Halacha

The Holiday of Shavuot- Coronavirus

The holiday of Shavuot will be celebrated, G-d willing, at the conclusion of the period of the counting of the Omer this coming Friday (beginning from Thursday night), the 6th of Sivan (and outside of Israel on Shabbat, the 7th of Sivan as well). Let us, therefore, begin to discuss some of the perti......

Read Halacha

Deceit and Trickery

One may not deceive or trick others when it comes to monetary transactions. Monetary Deceit If one knows that one’s merchandise is flawed or faulty, one must reveal this to the buyer. For instance, if one wishes to sell his home and he knows that the ceiling is full of mold because of a bu......

Read Halacha

Reciting Kaddish

Question: What is the significance of reciting Kaddish for a deceased individual? Answer: When an individual departs from this world, his surviving children must make a concerted effort to pray with a Minyan three times a day in order to be able to recite Kaddish for their father or mother. Simil......

Read Halacha