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.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Eating Meat Following Rosh Chodesh Av

The Mishnah in Masechet Ta’anit (26b) tells us that on Erev Tisha Be’av during the last meal one eats before the fast, one may not eat meat, drink wine, or eat two cooked foods, such as rice and an egg. Although the letter of the law dictates that the prohibition to eat meat only applies......

Read Halacha

Laws Pertaining to Tisha Be’av

There are five categories of abstinence which must be observed on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s body with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages also prohibited learning Torah on Tisha Be’av, for the word......

Read Halacha

Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat Which Coincides with Tisha Be’av and the Laws of an Ill Individual Who Must Eat on Tisha Be’av

On years during which Tisha Be’av falls out on Motza’ei Shabbat, such as this year, 5782, there are three opinions among the Rishonim regarding how Havdala should be recited on a cup of wine on Motza’ei Shabbat. The first opinion is that of the Geonim who write that one should r......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"- The Year 5782

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. Nevertheless, the Sephardic custom is not as string......

Read Halacha


Those Who are Obligated and Exempt from the Fast of Tisha Be’av and their Status When Tisha Be’av Falls Out on Motza’ei Shabbat

Someone Ill with a Non-Life-Threatening Illness, An Elderly Person, and a Woman who has Recently Given Birth One who is ill (meaning when one is actually bedridden and the like, even if the illness is not life-threatening) is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. When in doubt about one’s......

Read Halacha

Frying Fish in a Meat Pot, Baking Fish and Meat in the Same Oven, and Maran zt”l’s Custom

There is a well-known prohibition of eating fish and meat together, as discussed by the Gemara and Poskim. Cooking Fish in a Meat Pot Although it is prohibited to cook a dairy dish in a meat pot as we have discussed in a previous Halacha, nevertheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writ......

Read Halacha

When Av Begins, We Diminish Our Joy

This coming Friday will mark Rosh Chodesh Av. Next Shabbat will mark Tisha Be’av, however, since fast days are prohibited on Shabbat (besides for Yom Kippur), Tisha Be’av will be observed next Motza’ei Shabbat and Sunday. May Hashem soon switch this month to one of joy and celebrat......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Last Meal Before the Fast of Tisha Be’av on Shabbat

On Erev Tisha Be’av, our Sages prohibited eating meat and drinking wine during the last meal before the onset of the fast of Tisha Be’av held after halachic midday. They likewise forbade eating two cooked foods during this meal.  Nevertheless, this year, 5782, since the fast of T......

Read Halacha