We had an interesting discussion at one of my classes this week surrounding Prayer.
Prayer is referred to in the Talmud as “Avodah Shebelev” – “service of the heart”. Prayer is supposed to be an emotional experience, coming from the depths of one’s heart and being. When we pray, we are talking to ourselves and to G-d as well. It is supposed to be a moving and electrifying experience. Yet how many of us can say that we come out of a prayer session truly moved, motivated and empowered?
In this week’s Torah portion, “Nasso”, we will read about the details concerning the sacrifices that were offered by each of the tribes. Each sacrifice was exactly the same, yet the Torah dedicates roughly three columns to repeating the identical sacrifice bought by each tribe? It could have just said, “This was the sacrifice brought by Reuvan and such was bought by the rest of the tribes”?
One answer is this. According to one opinion in the Talmud, the prayers that we say today, are in a place of the sacrifices. Although the words in our Siddurim are the same for all those who recite them, when the individual is engaged in true prayer, those words take on different meaning and effect. Similarly with one person praying daily. The person you are in the morning is not necessarily the person you are that same afternoon. You have had new experiences and challenges. So this should all be reflected in prayer. Thus, although the words are the same, the person reciting them is different leading to a new and exciting prayer experience.
This is why the Torah repeats the sacrifices. Hashem is showing us that although the ritual may be the same, it is the intention and position of the individual bringing the offering that counts the most!
Wishing you all a Shabbat shalom and looking forward to PRAYING with you in Shul!!
Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman