Halacha Date: 25 Elul 5783 September 11 2023
“Hashem Wants Our Heart”
One should try to focus as much as possible on one’s prayers throughout the year, especially during the Days of Awe, and not pray hastily, G-d-forbid. Rather, one should calmly, with utmost concentration, and in a supplicating manner.
We must remember that the highest level of prayer is that which is said with concentration and as a result, one merits repairing many spiritual matters in the upper realms and one will be handsomely rewarded. On the other hand, prayer without concentration can be likened to a body without a soul. One who prays hastily during the Days of Awe causes great harm to oneself and one’s family, for this awakens Heavenly prosecution in that even during the Days of Awe, one acts indifferently towards Hashem. During prayer, one stands before Hashem, and one must be fearful and worried on this holiest of days.
Anyone who appreciates the loftiness of the Days of Awe customarily tries to recite all prayers of these days with much precision and care. There are many Machzorim on the market containing several versions for various texts, some which can be relied upon and others which cannot be relied upon at all, we have thus arranged some aspects of the prayer services, about which many people inquire about every year, according to the opinion of Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l as quoted in his works.
Regarding the text, “Veya’asu Chulam Agudah Ehat,” the word “Ehat” is punctuated with a Segol under the Alef and a Kamatz under the Chet, making the proper pronunciation, “Ehat.” This is based on the verse in Shmuel II (2, 25): “Va’yitkabetzu Benei Vinyamin Va’yihyu La’Agudah Ehat.”
Regarding the text, “She'yadanu Hashem Elokeinu She’hasholtan Lefanecha,” in most Machzorim this word is punctuated with a Chataf-Kamatz under the Shin, i.e. “Sholtan,” similar to the punctuation of the word “Korban.” Nevertheless, the custom of Maran zt”l was to pronounce this word “Shilton” as is the custom in Jerusalem, based on the verse, “Ein Shilton Mi’yom Ha’Mavet.” This is indeed the opinion of most Acharonim and Maran zt”l. Therefore, the correct pronunciation would be “She’hashilton.” (One should not say, “Kemo Sheyadanu Hashem Elokeinu”; rather, one should merely say, “Sheyadanu Hashem Elokeinu.”)
If one errs in his prayer of Rosh Hashanah which falls on a regular weekday (on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, this year, 5783) and concludes the blessing by reciting “Zichron Teru’a” instead of “Yom Teru’a,” one need not repeat one’s prayer. Similarly, if one recited “Yom Teru’a” instead of “Zichron Teru’a” on Rosh Hashanah which coincides with Shabbat, one need not repeat. (Mishnah Berurah Chapter 582, Subsection 7 and Chazon Ovadia- Yamim Nora’im, page 72)
One should recite “Ten Chelkeinu Betoratach” and not “Sim Chelkeinu Betoratach,” as this is the correct text according to the Rishonim.