Dreaming of Moshiach

Monday, November 13, 2006

Prayers and Praise to HaShem

R. Yochanan, zs'l, says: Who is destined for the future world? - one who says the blessing "Ga'al Yisrael" - Redeemed Israel in Shemona Esrei/Amida prayer.

R. Yona of Gerona, zs'l, questioned the extravagant praise and reward granted to one who fulfills this requirement. Is a mere recitation of a few words enough to guarantee the world-to-come? His answer (Berakhot) is the person will merit such a great reward because when God redeemed us and took us out of Egypt, it was so that we should serve Him, as is written, "For they are My servants whom I have taken out of the Land of Egypt".

In the blessing of Ga'al Yisrael, we mention the kindness that the Creator did for us. Prayer is avoda (service), as is said, "'And you shall serve HaShem your God' (Bava Kama 92b).

Therefore, when one mentions the exodus from Egypt during prayers, he shows that just as a slave who has been bought by his master must obey his master's commands, so too he recognizes the goodness and redemption which the Creator redeemed him, and that he is His slave and serves Him. And since he recognizes that he is His slave as a result of the fact that He redeemed him, and fulfills His will and commandments, it follows that he will merit the world-to-come as a result.

How is tefilla, the turning to God in supplication and request, a service of God? He who prays declares that there is no other source for his good than God. "Ein lanu ela Avinu she-bashamayim" - We have no one other than our Father in heaven.

Is there anywhere else to where man can turn to satisfy his thirst for a mission, for significance, for the means to survive? What we lack - which is everything - can be satisfied only by Him. It is the angels' job to sing in the heavenly court; our job is to serve. We serve by stating: Without You I am nothing, dust and ashes, therefore I turn to You for... for everything listed in the Shemona Esrei - wisdom, forgiveness, health, redemption, sustenance, justice, etc.

Where did we learn this, to view God not just as a convenient supply house but as the master of our fate and the source of our lives? From the exodus, when He redeemed us from being slaves to exploitative man and granted us the freedom and value of accepting His values and His munificence for ourselves.

When one mentions the redemption from Egypt during prayer, he shows that he trusts God. For one who does not trust Him will not request anything from Him. And this idea is found in (Midrash) Shemot Rabba on Parashat Bo, where it is written that when Israel saw the miracles and the wonders which God did for them against the laws of nature, they trusted in Him.

When we pray and mention the redemption (geula), it is a trust ("bitachon") of faith and fear of God, and therefore, merits the person to have a share in Olam HaBa (the world-to-come).

Prayer needs to come from the inner room of the heart and not superficial. Each person that wants it and works for it, will receive it. You must believe in yourself that it's possible

To learn more Jewish Education for both parents and children, including fascinating videos of parents, principals and children discussing various issues; http://www.gottorah.com/




והיה השם למלך על כל הארץ, ביום ההוא יהיה השם אחד - ושמו אחד ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds אין עוד מלבדו