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RABBI CHAIM LOBEL הרב חיים לובל

This week is Parshat Be’Shalach
Candle Lighting 1/14/11 4:34 PM NYC EST 
Rabbi Chaim Lobel – Young Israel of Aberdeen, NJ
www.yiaberdeen.com

 

Prayer - In Memoriam of Mr. David M. Warren (Menachem Dovid ben Harav Yosef Z’L)

Midrash Rabba (Shemot Rabba 21:4, compilation of Talmudic Aggada – homiletic, 400 CE – 600 CE) explains that when a poor man approaches his fellow for help, he is ignored. However, if a rich person were to approach him, he would immediately listen and accept his words. But G-d is different. All are equal and listened to equally, as it says in Psalms (68:3; King David 1040 BCE – 970 BCE) "Listener of Prayer, to You (G-d) all flesh comes." 

The Midrash Rabba proves its point by comparing the prayer of Moses with the prayer of a destitute man. By Moses, it is written, "a Prayer by Moses, a man of G-d" (Psalms 90:1). By the destitute man, it is written, "a Prayer by the afflicted man" (Psalms 102:1). The Midrash Rabba notes that, in both cases, Psalms refers to both as prayer that G-d hears. 

This is further explained by the Midrash of when the Jewish people were stranded at the Sea of Reeds and threatened by the powerful Egyptian army. Some called out to G-d in the form of prayer for salvation (see also Nahmanides, Gerona, Spain 1194 – 1270; Exodus 14:10 -11). When Moses prayed, G-d retorted "Why do you call to me?" (Exodus 14:15) The Midrash Rabba explains that G-d was telling Moses that He had already heard the prayer of those destitute at the Sea of Reeds . 

The Yefe Toar (Rabbi Shmuel Jaffe Ashkenazi; Constantina, Spain, 17 Century), commenting on the Midrash Rabba, explains that the verse in Psalms (102:1) is not only referring to a person who is destitute of materialistic possessions and in need of salvation, but also a person of wealth but is destitute of righteous deeds and needs salvation. 

No matter the individual's background, prayer is not a privilege given to only those who are worthy. Prayer is a direct line to G-d, open to all.

Shabbat Shalom


 


 
   
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