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Prayer

First prayer

The first independent action of the created Man was a prayer.

The Torah says: “There were still no field plants on the earth, no field grasses piercing out, because God did not send rain to the earth ...” ( Bereshit 2:5).

The Writing greatest commentator Rashi explains: fauna, created by land on the third day of Creation, was still in its infancy in anticipation of rain.

Why did the Creator not send rain?

Because he was waiting for the prayer of the First Man. [1]

Experts of the innermost teachings indicate that every word of the real prayer makes the necessary changes in the higher worlds. As a result, blessed effects go down to earth – amongst others, in the form of rain, promising abundant harvests.

According to the teachings of Kabbalah, the praying person becomes a kind of a “companion” of the Highest in the governance of the world. [2]

Appeal of the Jewish soul

When Leah, the wife of our forefather Jacob, gave birth to his fourth son, she said: “This time I will thank (אוֹדֶה - Odeh) God” - and called her son Yehudah (Bereshit 29:35).

Name Yehuda cognates with the word Mode – “thank”.

Each born child - a gift from God. Our life itself - is a gift of the Creator, and therefore it deserves gratitude.

Health – is the greatest gift of Heaven (often we realize this only after losing it).

Sunlight – is the greatest gift, and blessed rain – as well.

When a person realizes this, his heart is full of gratitude, and the feeling looks for a way out in the prayer.

The essence of the Jewish soul lays in this gratitude to God.

Most Jews living on earth are the direct descendants of Yehudah (only a few are of the tribe of Levi and other sons of Jacob). That is why in the holy language - Hebrew - Jews are called the yehudi - a descendant of Yehudah.

In our genetic code gratitude to God and the need for prayer are infixed.

Jacob’s voice

The Torah says: “The voice – is the voice of Jacob, but the hands – are the hands of Esau” (Bereshit 27:22).

Wise men emphasize that Esau’s strength is in his “hands”, which brilliantly possess sword and bow. But Jacob’s strength is in his “voice” - in prayer and words of wisdom.

In accordance with the Jewish understanding of history, European nations descended from Esau. You and I descended from Jacob, also called Israel in the Torah.

King David’s psalm says: “Some trust in carts, others – in their horses, - we appeal to the Lord’s name” (Tehillim 20:8).

Surrounding nations - Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans - were always stronger than we were. But they escaped from the scene of history a long time ago, and we – stayed.

Our approach has stood the test of time.

“The Voice” turned out to be stronger than the “hands”!

The voice of wisdom and prayer.

The voice of a pure heart

“The Jacob’s Voice” is made up of our voices, addressed to God.

Even if we do not know the holy language and ancient prayers.

The story tells that one day on Yom Kippur uneducated, but a God-fearing balagola (cab driver) named Shmelke came to the synagogue, where rabbi Levi-Yitzchak Berdichever prayed. He could not read and just said to the Creator: “Lord of the world! You know that I never learned the words of prayer. The only thing I know - this is the Hebrew alphabet, that my father taught me when I was a kid. So, I will pronounce letters, and you, please, take them and gather into the right words”.

Shmelke then began to pray: “Aleph! Beth! Gimel! Dalet!...”

Some people looked at him puzzled. But after the prayer rabbi Levi-Yitzchak said to the community: “I have good news for you. Due to sincere prayer of rabbi Shmelke many misfortunes, which were to happen to the Jewish people, were abolished”.

The Creator hears the voice of the pure heart!

A wise and righteous man rabbi Yisrael Baal-Shem-Tov explained it in the following way: “If the baby babbles in its infant bed “ma-ba-na” all the wise men of the Universe coming together, will not be able to sort out what he wants – to eat, to drink or something else. But the mother immediately understands his babbling. And so is God - He listens to the babble of His sons and immediately understands them!” [3]

The voice of the pure heart, referred to the Creator with the words of gratitude or with the ask for help, will always be heard.

Rabbi A. Kats

[1] Rashi, Bereshit 2:5.

[2] Nefesh Hachaim 2:10; see also Babylonian Talmud, Taanit 2а.

[3] Sarei Hamea 3:14.




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