Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Praying ' exclusively' to God

23rd day of Av, 5770

God is the only one whom we may serve, praise, and whom we may pray to. Praying to anything or anyone other than God is absolutely forbidden.

We can’t pray to an angel, and not even to ask from an angel to carry our prayer to God.

Three times a day, every day, we express our belief that: “Ki Atta Shomea’ Tefillat Kol Pe…” “YOU listen to everyone’s prayer… “. YOU, directly, without any intermediaries.

While other religions might consider ‘a grave’ (keber) as a sacred place of worship, our Rabbis warned against praying in a cemetery, next to a grave -- except for saying Kaddish and Hashkaba -- lest one be carried out by an impulse to address a loved one or a deceased Rabbi in his prayers, instead of praying directly to God Almighty. This is why one should avoid praying next to a grave, like other religions do.
Even in me'arat hamakhpela, in Chebron, where the Synagogues are close to the graves of our ancestors, one is warned not to address our prayers, God forbid, to our ancestors but only the God of our ancestors.

Part of being Jewish is the strong belief that haShem is ‘directly’ responsible for our fate. He forbade us to use intermediaries of any sort and commanded us to address and worship Him alone (Va’abadtem Et Hashem Elokekhem… ). Addressing another entity-intermediary --regardless of how important this intermediary might be--would be a great offense to His name.

Maimonides formulated this rule as the 5th of the 13 principles of our faith: “… it is only proper to pray to God. One may not pray to anyone or anything else”