Halacha for Monday 16 Elul 5778 August 27 2018

The Power of Prayer

Our Sages (Berachot 29b) explained the words of the Tanna who taught, “Do not make your prayer established”: “Rabbi Oshaya says, this refers to one who considers one’s prayer like a burden (i.e. if one perceives it as a set law that one must pray and one does so in an almost forced manner in order to fulfill one’s obligation). The Sages say, this refers to one who does not pray in a supplicating manner. (This means that one’s prayer should resemble a supplication before Hashem by praying with humility and with one’s whole heart.)” The Rambam (Chapter 4 of Hilchot Tefillah, Halacha 16) rules in accordance with the opinion of the Sages.

Similarly, our Sages taught us (Sotah 5a) that one’s prayer is not accepted unless one makes one’s heart as flesh (which is soft, as opposed to like stone, which is hard). This means that one must pray in a humble and subdued manner.

This is certainly true during the Month of Elul when Hashem desires the prayers of the Jewish nation in that we must invigorate our prayers and to turn our hope to Hashem so that He will fulfill our hearts’ wishes for the good in order that we may serve Him.

An incident occurred not long ago to a young Kollel man and a religious seminary girl (both of North African descent) who were married several years ago. They quickly realized that there was a medical issue which prevented them with being blessed with children. In their distress, they prayed that Hashem bring about their salvation and they also frequented doctors in hopes of some good news.

One Thursday night, this young man lay asleep in his bed and he dreamed that he was sitting in the room of the righteous and saintly Mekubal, Hagaon Harav Yisrael Abuchatzera zt”l, the famed “Baba Sali.” The Baba Sali turned to the young man and asked him, “What do you request?” The young man responded, “I wish to merit having children.” The Baba Sali replied to him, “Fine. You shall have children.” The young man then proceeded to exit the Baba Sali’s room and at the entrance, he sees his father and Rosh Yeshiva sitting with books of Tehillim in their hands. He then awoke and realized this was a dream.

The next morning, this young man called his mother and told her about his dream. His mother told him, “You must be wondering what your father and Rosh Yeshiva were doing there. Let me tell you: Last week, your father called your Rosh Yeshiva and told him, ‘Rosh Yeshiva, you are my son’s spiritual father and I am his biological father. It is incumbent upon us both to do something so that our son can bear children.’ The Rosh Yeshiva inquired, ‘And what is it that I can do?’ Your father then replied, ‘I would like you to come with me to the Baba Sali’s grave so that we may pray together for our son’s salvation.’”

“The Rosh Yeshiva told your father, ‘I am do not have time at the moment but I will make myself available on Thursday night and accompany you to Netivot to the Baba Sali’s grave so that we may pray there together.’ Indeed, last night your father and the Rosh Yeshiva traveled to Netivot and prayed at the Baba Sali’s grave that you merit Heavenly salvation.” Indeed, this couple finally merited bearing children in the merit of the appropriate efforts they put forth through prayer and complete faith in Hashem.

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