Photo Credit: Jewish Press

After saying the Yi’h’yu l’ratzon following Sim Shalom, some people have the minhag to say the kapital of tehillimShir lama’alos, esa einai el haharim,” before commencing Elokai n’tzor. This is based on the opinion of the Asara Ma’amaros written by the Ramah M’Pano, zt”l, zy”a, who said the saying of it is a special segulah for getting married. This is because it says “Mei’ayin yavo ezri – From where will my help come? Ezri mei’im Hashem – The help will come from Hashem,” and the word eizer specifically refers to one’s mate, as in the verse, “E’esah lo eizer k’negdo – I will make (for man) a helper to face him.”

Similarly, Rebbetzin Kanievsky, zt”l, zy”a related that it was the custom of her father, the great Rav Elyashiv, zt”l, zy”a, to say this kapital before the end of Shemoneh Esrei and he said it was the custom of his holy father, the Leshem, zt”l, zy”a. Rebbetzin Kanievsky also related that she heard from a son-in-law that there were about 20 older bochrim in the yeshiva of Chevron who had not yet found their partners. They heard about this segulah and within two months all 20 got engaged.


It should be noted that this chapter requesting eizer, help, can be applied to all sorts of needs such as a cure from sickness. I remember that I used to say this kapital of tehillim with my late beloved rebbetzin, Miriam Libby, zt”l, zy”a, during her chemotherapy. She had suffered, lo aleinu, from the dreaded disease pancreatic cancer which at that time had no known cure. When we said, “Ezri mei’im Hashem, oseh shamayim v’aretz – Help is from Hashem, the Maker of heaven and earth.” I explained to her the linkage as follows. Just like Hashem created heaven and earth, yeish mei’ayin, ex nihilo, something from nothing, He could certainly heal a person even if there is no known cure.

The Shaar HaKavanos writes that at this juncture in Shemoneh Esrei, during a time of plague (such as Covid), it is proper to say the chapter in tehillim, Lam’natzei’ach b’neginos mizmor shir.

The last part of Shemoneh Esrei is the prayer of Elokai n’tzor. In the Gemara in Berachos [17b], it records twelve different personal prayers of saintly tzaddikim. One of the twelve is Elokai n’tzor, the prayer of Mar, the son of Ravina. It became universally accepted by Klal Yisrael. The Imrei Shefer writes that it was the custom of the Chasam Sofer, zt”l, zy”a, to say all twelve of the aforementioned personal prayers every day.

Since it was constructed as a personal prayer, we say it in the lashon yachid, as a singular request. This is unlike the rest of the Shemoneh Esrei which we say in the lashon rabim, the plural. Indeed the Gaon, in the Shnos Eliyahu Berachos [5:1], writes that this prayer is a time for personal requests.

We begin the prayer, “Elokai n’tzor l’shoni mei’ra – My G-d, protect my tongue from evil.” It is amazing to note that the only mitzvah we ask Hashem directly to help us with, is when it comes to lashon hara, evil gossip. Even though the laws of Shabbos are so numerous and complex that the Mishna Berurah, in the preface of his third volume, writes that one who does not know the laws of Shabbos cannot possibly be a complete shomer Shabbos. Yet, we don’t ask Hashem for assistance in keeping Shabbos. Nor do we ask His help when it comes to the complexities of family purity, or keeping kosher.

I believe the reason why we zoom in on the transgressions of the tongue is because it is the most ruinous of sins. As the Gemara says in the beginning of Yerushalmi Peah, the three worst sins are idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed, and lashon hara is k’neged kulom, equal to them all. As the pasuk attests, “Hamaves v’hachaim b’yad halashon – Death and life are in the hand of the tongue. Furthermore, the Shelah HaKadosh, zt”l, zy”a, cites the Gemara in Bava Basra [154b], “V’kulom b’avak lashon hara – And everyone is guilty of the ‘dust’ of lashon hara.” Therefore, we all need to petition for assistance in avoiding it.

One might wonder, ‘How can we ask Hashem that we shouldn’t sin?’ After all, it says, “Hakol bidei shamayim chutz miyiras shamayim – Everything is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of G-d.” Isn’t the choice to avoid sin up to us? The Eitz Yosef cites the Avudraham who says that it is proper to ask Hashem’s assistance in avoiding sin. The Chareidim insists that one is required to pray to Hashem to save oneself from the wiles of the yeitzer hara, the evil inclination. As the Gemara says in Kiddushin [81b], the holy Amaraim would pray, “Rachmana litzlan, meiyeiter hara – May the merciful one save us from the evil inclination.” Indeed, the holy Shelah interprets “Elokai, n’tzor l’shoni meira – May G-d, guard my tongue from evil,” to also mean from the evil inclination who is called Evil, as in the verse, “Yeitzer leiv ha’adom ra m’ne’urav – The inclination of the heart of man is Evil (ra) from his youth.”

The Chofetz Chaim, in Shmiras HaLashon [Section 2:1] explains that since further on in this prayer we will ask that Hashem to open our hearts in Torah, we preface it now with the request to not sin with lashon hara because the mouth that sullies itself with lashon hara, its Torah is not worth anything! The Olas Tamid also cites the Chofetz Chaim who insists that this prayer for assistance in guarding our tongues is only effective if we combine it with our actual efforts to guard our tongue. Lip service alone is meaningless chatter.

Finally, the Seder HaYom adds another angle to this request. After finishing our prayers and perhaps realizing that they were not up to snuff and maybe we even said Hashem’s name without proper attention (It is for this reason that some people elevate their voice slightly when they say Hashem’s name!), we ask that in the future, Hashem, guard our tongue from such evil and help us pray with more sincere devotion.

In the merit of wanting a refined mouth, may Hashem bless us with long life, good health, and everything wonderful.


Transcribed and edited by Shelley Zeitlin.


Previous articleInternational Russian Shabbaton Unites And Inspires
Next article3 Wounded, 5 Arrested as Philadelphia Muslims Exchange Gunfire to End Ramadan
Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss is now stepping-up his speaking engagement and scholar-in-residence weekends. To book him for a speaking circuit or evening in your community, please call Rabbi Daniel Green at 908.783.7321. To receive a weekly cassette tape or CD directly from Rabbi Weiss, please write to Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, P.O. Box 658 Lakewood, New Jersey 08701 or contact him at [email protected]. Attend Rabbi Weiss’s weekly shiur at Rabbi Rotberg’s Shul in Toms River, Wednesday nights at 9:15 or join via zoom by going to and entering meeting code 7189163100, or more simply by going to Rabbi Weiss’s Daf Yomi shiurim can be heard LIVE at 2 Valley Stream, Lakewood, New Jersey Sunday thru Thursday at 8 pm and motzoi Shabbos at 9:15 pm, or by joining on the zoom using the same method as the Chumash shiur. It is also accessible on Kol Haloshon at (718) 906-6400, and on To Sponsor a Shiur, contact Rav Weiss by texting or calling 718.916.3100 or by email [email protected]. Shelley Zeitlin takes dictation of, and edits, Rabbi Weiss’s articles.