New Page 1
writes in Koheles (Ecclesiastes) ‘For G-d is in heaven and you are on earth
(,so keep your words few)’ (5:1). This implies that no human being has the
capacity to reach G-d’s place in the heavens. So how then is it possible that
one’s prayers can reach G-d?
The Talmud states
that our Patriarchs established each of the daily prayers. Avraham (Abraham)
initiated Shacharis (the Morning Prayers), Yitzchok (Isaac) originated Mincha
(the afternoon prayer) and Yaakov (Jacob) instituted Maariv (the evening
prayers). Abraham, the first of the
Patriarchs is referred to as: “the biggest man among the Anakim
(giants)” (Joshua 14:15). Our forefathers were ‘giants among men’ whose
spiritual stature reached to the very heavens. The force of the prayers that
they initiated propels our paltry prayers heavenward, taking them before G-d’s
Throne of Mercy. Our prayers are
essentially riding on their shoulders and brought directly in front of G-d on
His Throne of Glory.
This is also true
of the Siddur (Prayer Book). Its prayers were instituted by the Anshei
Knesses Hagedolah (Men of the Great Assembly), which was made up of 120
sages and many prophets (such as Ezra, Nehemiah, Mordechai, etc.). So when we
pray from the siddur we have in our hand the power of these great and holy men.
between our prayers and the prayers originated by our forefathers is like the
difference between demolishing a wall with a wrecking ball or with dynamite. The
ball needs tremendous force to demolish the wall, but with the dynamite you just
need a small amout and the wall comes crashing down. By employing the formulas
that these great personalities instituted, we have in our hands the energy to
knock down the obstacles between G-d and ourselves and bring our petitions
directly in front of Hashem.
The same is true
with Tehillim (Psalm), the wonderful book authored by King David. The Book of
Psalms incorporates all the prayers and supplications that are buried in the
heart of every Jew; and all the praises and adulations that one would wish to
articulate for every situation throughout all the generations. One who recites
Tehillim has all the intensity and potency of King David himself; an influence
that is way beyond any that one can muster.
(Adapted from the
lectures of Rabbi Shimshon Dovid Pincus, zt’l. Shaarim B’Tefila, p.
of Tehillim is that King David himself stands beside one who places himself
under its shelter and watches over him. The
Talmud states that one who studies the words of the sages forms a bond with that
sage and even in the grave, the lips of that sage move as his teachings are
uttered. This is what creates the bond between one who devotedly recites the
words of Tehillim and King David.
A classical story
is told of a righteous woman who would recite Tehillim at the bedside of women
in labor, to ease their pain; no sooner had she begun her reading of the Psalms,
that the baby would be born and in a healthy state.
The woman and her
husband (who was a Rabbi) decided to move to Eretz Yisroel and settled in Tzefas.
They agreed not to disclose her special power of
helping women in distress with her recital of Tehillim; so as not to be called on constantly which would hamper
her from immersing herself in her prayers with total concentration.
One day though, they heard of a young woman in the
throes of labor who was suffering terribly. When it became known that the doctor
declared the woman`s life to be in danger, she felt compelled to help the woman.
She therefore went to the woman`s house and began saying Tehillim,
and, as before, the baby was born shortly thereafter. The residents of
Tzefas realized that the Rebbetzin had helped the woman, and her reputation soon
spread, so that, as before, she was called whenever a woman experienced
difficulties in childbirth.
that time, Eretz Yisrael was ruled by
a Turkish sheik. One day, the sheik`s daughter was undergoing a difficult
childbirth and her doctor despaired of her life. The sheik’s adviser had heard
of the Rebbetzin’s ability to help people with her reciting of Tehillim
and he told the sheik about it.
sheik sent an urgent message to the Rebbetzin demanding her services for his
daughter. Although she was hesitant to go, her husband insisted that she must go
or risk placing the entire Jewish community in danger. Once again, her fervent
prayers achieved their desired result and the sheik`s daughter gave birth
speedily and without complication.
sheik was most grateful for her assistance, and the adviser was dismayed to see
that his plan had backfired. The sheik then called for the woman and asked her,,
Tell me what you wish for a reward. I will give you whatever you
ask! She shunned any sort of financial reward, and told the sheik that all
she wished was to
be able to recite the entire Book of Tehillim
in the Me`aras HaMachpaluh, the cave where our three forefathers and
mothers are buried along with Adam and Chavah (Eve), which at that time was off
limits to Jews. The sheik gladly consented, impressed by the modesty of her
the favorable impression that the Rebbetzin made on the sheik, he decided to
eliminate her. He bribed the guard in the Me`aras
HaMachpaluh to lock the door of the chamber so that the Rebbetzin would be
trapped in the room and die of hunger.
Rebbetzin came to the holy site and began to recite Tehillim.
The guard locked the door behind her, and after a few hours, when she had
completed her tearful prayers, she tried to go out but found that she was
trapped. She immediately grasped the evil scheme that had been planned for her.
out her Book of Psalms once again, she prayed, Hashem,
if it is Your wish that I must die now, I accept this wholeheartedly, but I beg
of You, please: I do not want to defile this holy place by dying here. Please,
Master of the World, take me out of here so that I may die elsewhere...”. She
continued her heartfelt plea until she fell asleep. She dreamt that a man of
saintly appearance with a crown on his head was standing over her. I am Dovid
HaMelech (King David). Because you
dedicated your life to the recital of Tehillim
which I authored, I have come to save you. In her dream she saw him
leading her out of the cave when she awoke she found herself outside the Me’aras HaMachpaluh safe
and sound .
From Gut Voch, Avrohom Barash. Mesorah