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7.20.2006

TEFILAH-----why?

Why do we have to daven 3 times a day?? I mean I'm sure g-d knows what were thinking. why does he need us to say it?? I mean he knows everything. right????


You are 100% correct. The reason why we daven is not to let Hashem know what we want. He knows that already.

Rather, Hashem arranged the world such that there are things that we want that He is ready and willing to give us, but only if we ask for them. By davening, we fulfill our part of obtaining what Hashem has in store for us. If we don't daven, even if Hashem wants to give us what we want, could be He won't, because we didn't ask for it.

The reason He set things up like this is for our sake. By always asking for what He gives us, we thereby become more in tune with the fact that everything is under His control. Our purpose in this world is to connect to Hashem (please see the Basic Judaism forum), and part of connecting to Hashem is being mindful that He is the only power in the world and that everything that happens here is only His will. Davening helps us reach that level.

Ok, well then why can’t we have certain times a day to just think of what we are asking of g-d? why does everyone say to be careful with every word? I mean g-d knows what were saying even if we mumble it.


We do. At a certain point in the Brachah "Shema Koleinu" and at the end of "Elokai Netzor" in Shemona Esrei, we may insert any prayer we want for whatever we want. The Siddurim usually have an asterisk in Shema Koleinu at this point, with an option to say a certain prayer for sick people which would be printed on the bottom of the page.

However, the compilers of the Siddur were possessors of Ruach HaKodesh, and very, very holy men, and they knew precisely the best way to get Hashem to answer our prayers in the most beneficial manner.

On Rosh Hashanah we blow the Shofar to invoke the memory of the Akeidah, for instance. But the Akeidah is not the only invocation possible, and the Anshei kneses Hagedolah put together the best possible combinations of words and pesukim to maximize our chances of getting our tefilos accepted.

Prayer is not just "asking" Hashem for things. it is connecting to Him in a way that His sustenance flows into this world in precisely the way that we desire. You can only make this happen because you have a soul that is able to connect to Hashem. You pray with your soul, not just with your words. And unfortunately we don't know too much about how our soul communicates with Hashem -- but Chazal did. So they told us the best way to do it.

A lot of Davening also has to do with who you are. Each Shevet (tribe) has another "pathway" though which they are capable of drawing down Hashem's sustenance to the world. One tribe cannot use the conduit of the other; it just won't work.

There's a lot more to Davening than just letting Hashem know what you want. Talking to Hashem is not the same as talking to a human being. It is a spiritual process that involves connecting your soul to the Source of sustenance of the world. Chazal taught us how to do that.


How come if we skip tal umatar livracha in shimona esrei we have to say it over and things like that? I mean g-d knows we meant to day it and we think that we want rain so what’s the difference?


We pray not only for the purpose of communicating with Hashem. Tefilah also has an effect on us. It sanctifies us by making us closer to Hashem.

Humans are comprised of both physical and spirtual components, and it's not so easy to sanctify both of them at the same time, since what affects a physical thing won't affect a spiritual thing and vice versa.

So Hashem created a system of Mitzvos that involves (1) thought - Kavanah, (2) action - Maaseh, and (3) speech - Dibur.

The thought components of our Mitzvos affect the Neshoma, since both thought and Neshoma are spiritual. Actions affect the body - they are both physical, and speech affects your Ruach (spirit) since they are both in between.

Tefilah was designed to comprise both thought (Kavanah), speech (the words) and action (bowing and standing etc.). Each one of these components functions on its own and impacts on a different part of us.

And each one, in order to properly affect us, has to be done according to the instructions of Hilchos Tefilah.

So yes, it's true that Hashem knows what we had intended to say. But if we don't say it, the "speech" component of our Tefilah is still deficient, even though the "kavanah" part may still be intact. And since the "speech" part is necessary to affect a different part of us, we have to do it over.

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