Eretz Yisrael Time

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Sunday, June 22, 2008
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I have always found the concept of prayer to be an extremely difficult one.

What does it do? What is it for? Who is it for? Does it work? And if it works, what does that actually mean that it worked? And does God actually need our prayers?

(I’m not going to try to begin answering any of these questions in this post.)

Obviously there are different kinds of prayers.

The most common are prayers of thanks and prayers of supplication.

Another kind is a little more subtle, it involves keeping pre-Destruction rituals in our collective memory (Karbanos), and of course there is the kind that is there to remind us what our collective (and personal) mission in this world is (Aleinu).

Yet even with the prayers of supplication, what is the goal? What are you praying for if the situation seems hopeless? A miracle? Yet miracles don’t seem to openly happen every day. Yet we continue to pray.

And what happens if the prayer goes unanswered?

In Jewish thought, there seems to be no such thing as an unanswered prayer.

A prayer may not be immediately answered, answered the way you wanted, or answered at all, but prayers seems to be something fungible. They are saved up and if not applied to this case they are applied to something else.

Western Wall Prayers is offering to be your agent for 40 days of prayer at the Kotel. As I mentioned on Jameel’s site, my wife is a very big believer in 40 days of prayer (and if fact she prayed for 40 days before she met me, and then prayed again for 40 days (quite a few times, in fact) for us to get engaged).

I haven’t actually found the source for the 40 days, but I believe I found the source for praying at the Kotel.

Psalm 20 is a very interesting psalm dealing with prayers of supplication.

But one particular lines seems to answer part of the mystery.

Tehillim 20:3 : “May He dispatch your help from the Sanctuary and support you from Zion.

Thus the origin of praying at the Kotel (the closest we can normally get to Har HaBayit) the Dispatch Center of the blessings as indicated by the line.

I’m still looking for the origins of repeating the request for 40 days, so if anyone thinks they have a good answer I’d like to hear it.

In the meantime, if you have some special prayer for God (such as finding a spouse, improved financial situation, health, etc.) that you’d like prayed for you at the Kotel for 40 days, then you should contact
Western Wall Prayers.

(And if you need someone to say Kaddish every day for someone that passed away, they offer that service too).


Beisrunner said...

דברים ט,יח
ואתנפל לפני ה' כראשנה, ארבעים יום וארבעים לילה

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