web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Q & A: Prayer And Its Origins (Part IV)

Questions-Answers-logo

Summary of our response up to this point: The Gemara (Ta’anit 2a) explains that “to love the L-rd your G-d and to serve Him with all your heart” (Deuteronomy 11:13) refers to a type of service that is of the heart, i.e., prayer.

The Patriarchs were not bound by the Torah, yet our sages teach us that they nonetheless observed the mitzvot, including the mitzvah of prayer. They state that the Patriarchs established the three daily prayers (Berachot 26b). Abraham established Shacharit, Isaac instituted Minchah, and Jacob introduced Ma’ariv. They did not establish the formal text of these prayers. Rather, they set the times of day for prayer.

The Rambam (Hilchot Tefillah 1) writes that we are required to pray daily, praising G-d and imploring him for all our personal needs, followed by words of gratitude for all He has given us. Since it is a positive precept that is not dependent upon time, women and slaves are required to pray.

Originally, there was no set wording or order to the prayers. After the Jews were exiled and interspersed among the nations, however, they no longer all spoke the same language, and many were unable to articulate proper prayers. Therefore, Ezra the Scribe and his beit din established a set text as well as fixed times for prayer. They organized the 18 benedictions of the Amidah (Megillah 17b-18a) and set two daily prayers to correspond to the two daily offerings in the Holy Temple. They also established a third prayer, Mussaf, for those days on which an additional sacrifice would have been offered in the Temple. Finally, they also established an optional evening prayer, called Arbit or Ma’ariv, which all of Israel ultimately accepted upon themselves as an obligatory prayer.

The Rambam also discusses the role of the sheliach tzibbur, which was established for those who could not recite the prayers themselves. The fact that a distinction was made between those who knew how to pray and those who did not is proof that some had memorized a text while others had not mastered it.

Last week we mentioned that references to obligatory tefillah refer to the Amidah. This tefillah is considered the central focus of each prayer session. This is evident from the focus placed upon it in halacha. For example, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 109:1) rules that a latecomer to shul can only start his Amidah if he will finish it before the chazzan reaches Kedushah during the repetition of the Amidah. Others say that he can start if he will can conclude his Amidah before the chazzan reaches Modim.

Although poskim may differ on some of the details, it is clear that the Amidah is the main component of tefillah. Nevertheless, it is not the only component.

 

* * * * *

If we examine the daily prayers, we find much more than just the Amidah. Immediately preceding the Amidah is Keriat Shema and its blessings: Yotzer Ohr, Ahavah Rabbah, and Ga’al Yisrael. The Gemara (Berachot 2a and 8b) teaches us that reciting Shema is a biblical requirement and should be read twice daily, in the evening and in the morning, as the Torah states, “b’shachbecha u’vekumecha – when you retire and when you arise.”

The Rambam (Hilchot Tefilah 7:17) states that one must connect ge’ulah (the blessing of Ga’al Yisrael) to tefillah (the Amidah). Thus the obvious placement of Keriat Shema is before the Amidah.

Preceding Shema and its berachot is Pesukei D’zimrah, which is based on two passages in the Talmud. The first is Berachot 30b which states, “The pious men of old used to wait an hour before praying in order to concentrate their thoughts on their Father in Heaven.” The Gemara (32b) cites Psalms 84:5as the source for this: “Ashrei yoshvei veisecha – Happy are they who dwell in Your house.” In Shabbos 118b, R. Yosi proclaims, “May my portion be with those who recite the entire Hallel every day.” The Gemara asks, “But that is not so, for a sage said: ‘He who recites Hallel every day is a blasphemer and reproacher.’” The Gemara answers, “We refer to Pesukei D’zimrah – the Verses of Song.”

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: Prayer And Its Origins (Part IV)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
F-16 fighter jet.
ISIS ‘Prince’ of Iraq’s Anbar Province Killed
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Nimchinsky-112114-Learning

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-prayer-and-its-origins-part-iv/2014/08/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: