web analytics
April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Q & A: Selichot Restrictions (Part II)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

But this, in turn, raises an additional question. Why would we invoke angels as mediators? Do we not address our prayers directly to G-d? Rashi (Shabbos 12b; also Sotah 33a, where our sugya is tangentially repeated) describes the angels as “bringing our prayers behind the Curtain,” or “delivering our prayers,” which offers us but a glimmer in the way of understanding this phenomenon.

We should note here that there is a clear difference between individual prayer (tefillat yachid) and communal prayer (tefillat hatzibur), as stated by the Gemara (Berachot 8a) quoting a verse from Job (36:5), “Hen Kel kabbir lo yim’as – G-d does not despise the prayer of a congregation.” The Gemara seems to indicate, based on this verse, that the prayers of a congregation are assured of delivery on high. Why is an individual’s prayer not treated likewise?

Discussing whether ministering angels indeed know the innermost thoughts of man, the Noam Elimelech (Parshat Be’ha’alotecha) suggests that the angels in charge of bringing our prayers to G-d have been given the ability to discern between prayers that are pure and those that are tainted with improper thoughts. How are they able to do that if they do not know the innermost thoughts of man? A man’s actions create an aura around him. While bad deeds produce a negative, repelling aura, good deeds create a fragrant emanation similar to incense. Likewise, pure prayers create a good aura and improper prayers produce a negative aura, enabling angels to recognize which prayers are worthy of being brought up to G-d. Thus, it is through man’s prayers that angels are capable of discerning whether man’s thoughts are good or bad.

While this somewhat clarifies how angels understand man’s inner thoughts, we still don’t understand why their detection of man’s thoughts doesn’t apply when people pray in Aramaic. The various interpretations offered result in different rulings among the poskim. The Rif states that tefillat yachid is permitted only in Hebrew, whereas the “chachmei Tzorfat” (the Sages of France) allow an individual to pray in any language, except when he is praying for his own needs. The Rosh opines that even personal requests can be made in languages other than Hebrew – with the exception of Aramaic.

Rabbenu Yona’s commentary on the Rif (7a) at the beginning of the second chapter of Berachot – parallel to the topic discussed in Shabbos 12b and Sotah 33a – furnishes us with the Scriptural source of the angels’ role in the purveyance of our prayers to G-d. It is written (Job 33:23), “Im yesh alav mal’ach meilitz echad mini alef – If there be for him an interceding angel, one of a thousand….”

Rabbenu Yona notes, however, that it is only the individual, not the congregation, who is in need of an interceding angel. This approach also offers us a better understanding of the Noam Elimelech’s interpretation of the angels’ role in regard to prayer, for they judge the validity of prayers on an individual basis and not in a congregational situation.

(To be continued)

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.

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: Selichot Restrictions (Part II)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
What Obama does not say but write on personal emails now is known to Russian hackers.
Russian Hackers Reading Obama’s Personal E-mails
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

In her diary, Anne Frank wrote words that provided hope for a humanity faced with suffering.

Leff-042415

The Arizal taught this same approach, making the point that the Torah would never mention wicked people and their sins if there was not great depth involved from which we are to learn from.

Staum-042415

Humility is not achieved when all is well and life is peachy but rather when times are trying and challenging.

In order to be free of the negative consequences of violating a shvu’ah or a neder, the shvu’ah or neder themselves must be annulled.

“I accept the ruling,” said Mr. Broyer, “but would like to understand the reasoning.”

He feared the people would have a change of heart and support Rechavam.

Ramifications Of A Printers Error
‘The Note Holder’s Burden of Proof’
(Kesubos 83b)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

In this case one could reason that by applying halach achar harov we could permit the forbidden bird as well.

“What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon,” my husband remarked. “Well, baruch Hashem we are safe, there was no accident, and I’m sure there is a good reason for everything that happened to us,” I mused.

The answer to this question is based on one of the greatest shortcomings of man – self-limiting beliefs.

Myth that niddah=dirty stopped many women from accepting laws of family purity and must be shattered

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

Rabbi Fohrman connects the metzora purification process with the korban pesach.

The day after Israel was declared a State, everyone recited Hallel and people danced in the streets.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: What if someone forgot to count sefirah Thursday evening but only realized after he finished davening Friday evening? The catch is that he accepted Shabbos early so that it is still light outside. Can he still count for Thursday evening and then count for Friday night with a berachah once it gets dark?

Pesach Bernstein
(Via E-Mail)

Question: What if a person counted the Omer but forgot to utter the blessing beforehand? Has he fulfilled his obligation? Incidentally, why do we recite a blessing for this counting but not for the “zayin nekiyim – seven clean days”?

M. Goldman
Miami Beach, FL

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-selichot-restrictions-part-ii/2012/09/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: