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 Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. The Sephardic Custom Nevertheless, the Sephardic c......

Read Halacha

Mourning Customs Observed During the “Three Weeks”

---------------------------------- By Popular Request: There is room for leniency regarding listening to music during the "Three Weeks" for those who are in isolation or quarantine in cases of need. This is especially true regarding young children and one must do one's utmost to lif......

Read Halacha

Eating Meat with Fish

Since we have discussed several laws related to eating meat and dairy in the previous days, let us now discuss some laws related to eating fish with either chicken or meat and other related laws. Fish Baked With Meat The Gemara in Masechet Pesachim (76b) states: “Regarding fish that was ba......

Read Halacha

The Prohibition to Eat Meat and Dairy on the Same Table

The Reasons and Parameters of This Law If one is eating dairy foods, our Sages have enacted that one may not allow meat foods to be placed on the same table. For instance, one who is eating bread with cheese may not place meat on the same table. The reason for this is because we are concerned that ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Eating Meat and Dairy on the Same Table-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have explained that it is forbidden to eat dairy foods on a table on which meat foods are placed, for there is concern that the individual eating will taste some of the other foods on the table, thus having transgressed the grave prohibition of eating milk and meat togethe......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Glassware and Pyrex Regarding the Prohibition of Milk and Meat Mixtures-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have written that according to Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch, glassware does not absorb any flavor from foods placed in it and thus, there is no prohibition to use a glass vessel for meat and then after it is washed well, to use it for dairy (although the Rama does rule st......

Read Halacha

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils?

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils? Answer: We have already established in the previous Halacha that one is obligated to designate two separate sets of dishes and flatware for dairy and meat, for dishes used with either......

Read Halacha

The “Shehecheyanu” Blessing on a New Garment

Question: When is the appropriate time to recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on a new garment, at the time of purchase or the first time one wears it? Similarly, must one recite this blessing for every new piece of clothing one purchases? Answer: The Mishnah (Berachot 54a) teaches us ......

Read Halacha