web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 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.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Prayer And Torah – The Two Pillars Of Faith


YU-041213

We recite twice dailyואהבת את ה’ אלוקיך בכל לבבך וכבל נפשך ובכל מאדך” – Love your G-d with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your possessions.” What is meant by “heart” and “soul”?

Many commentaries explain that “לב“– “heart” means emotions, and “נפש” – “soul” means intellect. The Jew must love Hashem emotionally and intellectually – with his לב and נפש.

The פרשה of קריאת שמע is the מצוה of קבלת עול מלכות שמים – accepting the yoke of Heaven’s Kingdom – of believing Hashem is our G-d. Thus, it is at its core the מצוה of אמונה בשם. Clearly, this is the most fundamental idea in the Torah and that is why we recite this most sacred belief and commitment every day and night of our lives.

It is clear that the מצוה of אמונה is not just accepting and believing in an abstract concept of G-d as truth. While it is true that this abstract belief is included in the first פסוק of שמע, the second פסוק demands אהבה – to love Hashem with our heart and soul – emotionally and intellectually. What does this mean? How can we successfully keep this mitzvah every day?

One must first ask another question. Why is love of Hashem such an important element of אמונה?

The answer is simple.

G-d is not an abstraction. He is a reality.  One we can and must experience with every fiber of our being – both with our emotional self as well as with our intellectual self. Through our love of Hashem we achieve the goal, of knowing His existence at every level of our being. We not only know about Him, but we also know Him, Himself.

This is extremely important. בכל דרכיך דעהו” – Know Him in all of your ways.” The believer lives with Hashem and is in His presence constantly, without interruption. The effects of this G-d-awareness are monumental, and totally affect one’s thoughts and behavior so that he becomes a שמים ירא  – a G-d-fearing Jew.

How does one move from שמע – abstract belief – to ואהבת – to active love and total connection with G-d?

There are two pillars of Jewish service of עבודת השם – and that is the theme of the second paragraph of קריאת שמע.

ולעבדו בכל לבבכם ובכל נפשכם” – Serve G-d with all your heart and all your soul.”

The רמב”ם in ספר המצוות says that one fulfills this מצוה of עבודת ה‘ – G-dly service – through prayer and the study of Torah. He writes:

Serve Him with prayer – עבדבו בתפלה

Serve Him with Torah – עבדהו בתורה.

The service of G-d is the actualization of the love of G-d. When you love someone, you will express it through service. A mother serves her family with food. A father serves his family with income. Service is a reflection and expression of the parents’ love for their children. When we serve Hashem we are actively expressing our love of and for Him. We are making our love real, our belief in Him real – not just an abstract concept.

How does prayer express our love for Hashem? Prayer is the expression of our emotional love.   איזוהי עבודה שהיא בלב -  הוי אומר זו תפלה.  Our sages say, “What is the service of the heart – it is prayer.”

Prayer reflects all of the emotions of love. Some of these are:

Appreciation – for example, when we say the blessing of “אשר יצר” – we thank Hashem for giving us bodies that function normally and in good health.

Joy – for example, when we sing הלל, we express our joy during festivals and for יציאת מצרים at the Pesach Seder.

Anguish – when we beseech G-d to heal a loved one with anguished prayers.

Longing – when we recite the lamentation on תשעה באב for the חורבן בית המקדש and long to see it rebuilt.

Prayer includes every other divine, holy human emotion as well. Prayer puts us in Hashem’s presence. We feel his embrace and closeness; we know that He is listening to our prayers. Thus, our knowledge of Him becomes an emotional experience and a reality.

About the Author:


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 “Prayer And Torah – The Two Pillars Of Faith”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
US Secretary of State John Kerry with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier before P5+1 talks. Nov. 22, 2014.
BREAKING: West About to Cave on Key Iranian Demand
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 Hershel Reichman
YU-041213

When you love someone, you will express it through service. A mother serves her family with food. A father serves his family with income. Service is a reflection and expression of the parents’ love for their children.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/prayer-and-torah-the-two-pillars-of-faith/2013/04/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: