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Prayer Revival

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 21/3/2020

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Fascinating Insights—The Sefer (in English)

Prayer Revival

The Gemara tells us that Tefilla corresponds to the תמיד offering[1] (קרבן).[2] This is shown in the following:


A) In Shemoneh Esrei in the Bracha of רצה—Avoda, Temple Service—we sayובתפלתם והשב את העבודה לדביר ביתך ואשי ישראל ותפלתם..., be favorable toward their prayer and restore the service to the Holy of Holies of Your Temple, The fire offerings of Israel and their prayer accept favorably.[3]  


B) It is writtenוהביאותים אל הר קדשי ושמחתים בבית תפלתי עולתיהם וזבחיהם...,[4] I will bring them to My holy mountain and gladden them in My House of prayer, their elevation and feast offerings will find favor on My Altar. That is to say, הר קדשי, the Beis Hamikdash where קרבנות, offerings were brought is also בית תפלתי, house of prayer.


C) At the conclusion of Shemoneh Esrei we sayיהי רצון...שיבנה בית המקדש...וערבה לה' מנחת יהודה..., may it be the will of Hashem that the Beis Hamikdash should be rebuilt…then the offering of Yehuda will be pleasing to You, as Tefilla is in place of Avoda.[5]


Since Tefilla is in the place of קרבנות, we should daven in that way.[6] 


1) A קרבן is a ריח ניחוח, pleasing aroma to Hashem. This is how our davening should be. This can be done by davening with a pleasant voice, being on time and so on.


2) Just as קרבנות are in a set place, so too one should have a מקום קבוע, set place for Tefilla.


3) For קרבנות, a גוף נקי, clean body is necessary. The same applies when we daven as one can’t daven if he needs to use the bathroom and the like.


4) A קרבן is offered while the Kohen stands.[7] This is just as the main parts of Tefilla must be recited while standing.


5) The recital of Tefilla (Shemoneh Esrei) is in the plural (as in סלח לנו, forgive us, רפאנו, heal us, and so on) similar to קרבנות that are brought as a קרבן צבור, communal offering.


6) We do הפשט ונתוח, skinning the animal and cutting it into pieces. In a similar way, we must do the same in that we prepare our mind before davening, humble ourselves and realize we are about to daven to Hashem, the source of everything.[8]


7) Just as the wrong thought (thinking to eat it beyond the time limit or in the wrong place) invalidates a קרבן, likewise, we must not have a מחשבה זרה, foreign thought during Tefilla.


8) Salt is placed on קרבנותעל כל קרבנך תקריב מלח, on every offering, offer salt.[9] Similarly, we should daven with tears (which are salty).[10]  


9) Just as the Kohen’s feet must be aligned during his עבודה, service, similarly, during Shemoneh Esrei, our feet should be aligned.


קרבנות connect us to Hashem. This is shown in the word קרבן as it is rooted in קרוב, to come close because it brings us closer to Hashem. Similarly, Tefilla is an expression of connection as in נפתולי אלה-ים נפתלתי.[11]


How much can one attach himself to Hashem during Tefilla? The Baal Hatanya needed to be revived many times in the middle of Tefilla because of his דביקות, attachment to Hashem. When the Kedushas Levi would daven, no one was able to go near him because of the abundant Kedusha. The Shomer Emunim[12] relates that a רשע גמור, completely wicked person that heard the Tefilla of the Kedushas Levi would do Teshuva against his will! His Tefilla would even cause non-Jews to convert!!!


Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] The Rema Mipano (Asara Maamaros, מאמר אם כל חי, 3:23) writes that Eliyahu still offers the two Korban Tamids daily even though the Beis Hamikdash is destroyed. He continues further that the skins of the Kodshim (Korbanos)… they say that Eliyahu makes scrolls and writes the merits of each one of the Jewish people. The Meil Tzedaka (246) writes the sages said in Aggada that if not for Eliyahu, we wouldn’t have been able to live with the wicked Edomites as since the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, Eliyahu offers two Karbon Tamids daily and he writes on the skins Mitzvos and Tzedakos that the Jewish people do daily.

[2] Brachos 26b. That is, Shacharis and Mincha. Mussaf corresponds to the Korban Mussaf and Maariv to the limbs and fats of the Korbanos (See though the Rambam in Hilchos Tefilla 1:6 and Tur, Orach Chaim 235 that Maariv corresponds to the burning of the limbs and fats remaining from the afternoon Tamid).  A hint to that Tefilla corresponds to the קרבן תמיד is the following: Tefilla is called עבודה שבלב, service that is performed in the heart (Taanis 2a). If we go inside the word לב (as בלב means in the לב)—למד, בית—we form the word תמיד. It also has been pointed out that the heart is that which constantly pumps which is the meaning of the word תמיד, constant. 

[3] In the Bracha of רצה, we say תמיד עבודת ישראל, may the service of your people always be favorable. This also alludes to the קרבן תמיד in which Tefilla takes its place. 

[4] Yeshaya 56:7.

[5] Orach Chaim 123:1. In a similar vein, it is written ונשלמה פרים שפתינו, let our lips substitute for our bulls (Hoshea 14:3). Also, תכון תפלתי קטרת, let my prayer stand as incense before You (Tehillim 141:2). 

[6] Shulchan Aruch and Tur Orach Chaim 98:4.

[7] See Sota 38a.

[8] With other Mitzvos, there is the action of the Mitzva that one is doing. A person shakes his Lulav and so on. However, when it comes to the Avoda in the Beis Hamikdash, the Kohen was actually part of it as if the Kohen had a blemish, the entire קרבן was invalid. The same is with Tefilla as we are also part of the Tefilla itself (שערים בתפלה, p. 132-3).

[9] Vayikra 2:13.

[10] The Kesav Sofer (see Drashos Ksav Sofer, p. 150) in the Hesped of his father, the Chassam Sofer, said that the Tefillos of his father three times daily were with tears in great measure—תפלתו ג' פעמים בכל יום בדמעות שליש. In the Sefer Minhagai Chassam Sofer (פ"א, אות יג) it is written about the Chassam Sofer: he was always lengthy in his Tefillos and all were davened with great Kavana along with tears in great measure. In the Sefer מנהגי רבותינו והליכותיהם (Chelek Minhagei Chassam Sofer, chapter 1,p. 13), it is related what the daughter of the Chassam Sofer, Rebbitzen Simcha Lehman, reported: My father had three Tallasim he would daven with. Nearly every month we needed to wash one Tallis since due to the many tears of my father that he had from davening, his Tallis became sweaty and black.

[11] Breishis 30:8 with Rashi. The Gemara tells us that Halachos can be learned from Chana’s Tefilla (Brachos 31a). Chana dedicated Shmuel—the child Chana davened for—to Hashem (Shmuel 1, 27:28). Likewise, we should daven and dedicate ourselves to Hashem. 

[12] Shomer Emunim, Pischu Shearim, 19. 

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