“In other words, the Divine reaction to Klal Yisrael’s prayer was that they should stop praying. Thus, the prayer was futile. If so, why pray altogether? To this our Sages answer that the prayer at the Red Sea was a unique form of prayer. It was a prayer in which ‘Klal Yisrael seized upon the occupation of their forefathers.’ Namely, this was not comparable to other prayers.
“The purpose of this prayer was to establish the holy lineage of Klal Yisrael, not to make a specific request of G-d. Let us take the example of someone who presents a request to a king. The king’s response at first is that under normal conditions, there is no valid reason for him to heed the request. But, during the audience, the petitioner points to his pedigree. He mentions the name of his father and remarks that the father was a friend of the king. Accordingly, the king assures the son that his request will be heeded, solely on the merit of his own friendship with the father. So, too, by Klal Yisrael.
“When they were told to ‘be silent,’ the intention was not to imply that their prayers were in vain. No, the prayers manifested their connection to the Patriarchs. Accordingly, no further prayers were needed. Once Jews relate their relationship (yichus) to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, G-d responds favorably. The purpose of this prayer was to crystallize that once the lineage was noted, further prayer was not needed. The response was not due to the inherent good qualities of Klal Yisrael, but to their lineage.
“Whenever Klal Yisrael in its entirety is in danger, a special form of prayer emerges, a prayer based not on the merits of the petitioners, but on their relationship with the Patriarchs. Such a response results in Divine action and a cessation of the necessity for further human prayers. As Rashi says, ‘The matter depends upon Me, not you.’ (An elaboration of this theme is noted in Pachad Yitzchak, Purim, ma’amar 19.)
Finally, Rabbi Cohen writes, “In the three major prayers of each day, the Amidah commences with reference to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. Perhaps such prayers are based upon this consideration. When Klal Yisrael is in danger, it appears necessary to make note of the Patriarchs. They are the secret weapon of Klal Yisrael. Mention of our ancestors brings about Divine salvation.”
Indeed, in summation, our Shemoneh Esreh that we pray three times daily is our strongest weapon. Of course, the Psalms and the Tefillah for the Tzahal (Prayer for the Israel Defense Forces) that we recite are vital. Yet, we must be sure to strengthen our concentration and contemplation when we recite the Amidah, and we should seek out as many of our brethren as possible to join our prayer services. Let us beseech the Heavens for the peace of Israel.
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