#BlogElul 16 – Pray


BlogElul graphic Today’s verb is Pray. In my two previous blog posts on this subject (here and here), I mused on the thought that prayer is a good thing to do whether you believe there is Anyone on the other end of the line or not.

So what’s the big deal about prayer, especially if we may very well be talking to ourselves? Humans have been indulging in prayer for a very long time – whether we’ve been addressing forest spirits, fertility goddesses, ancestors or some crazy incorporeal Deity nobody has ever seen. Well, except for Moses, who had a unique relationship with the Almighty and apparently saw some things nobody else before or since has seen. Clearly, it is an important part of our psyche.

So why do we pray? On a childish level, it can be a simple request for something, like begging a parent for candy. We do this when we ask for healing, for example – which Moses was also not above, as shown in his prayer after his sister Miriam was stricken with leprosy for the sin of gossip:

יג וַיִּצְעַק מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-יְהוָה לֵאמֹר: אֵל, נָא רְפָא נָא לָהּ. 13
And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying: ‘Heal her now, O God, I beseech Thee.’

In our daily prayers, we also ask for protection from evil-doers, for justice, for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and for a whole slew of other things. This doesn’t mean we necessarily expect to receive any or all of these – but it’s a good thing to mention them and to send good thoughts about them into the Universe. We are also expected, as the Talmud tells us, to take action to repair the world and not just pray for the things we want.

In other words, pray for the good things you want – but also step forward and do your part in making your prayers come true. What could be bad?

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