Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The 16th Berakha: 'Listen to our prayers'

Today is the 4th day of Adar I, 5771

Hear our voice, HaShem our God, our compassionate father have mercy and compassion on us, and accept our prayers with mercy and favor... and from before You, our King do not dismiss us empty handed.

This is the sixteenth and last berakha of the section called 'requests' (baqashot).

In practical terms, in this berakha we can (or according to many Rabbis, we 'should') add our own personal and particular requests, those petitions which were not specifically covered by the berakhot we just recited --for example, we can ask here from haShem to help us or our children to find their shiddukh, the right man or woman to marry--. Or we can ask God in more in detail for something which belongs to an area that we have already covered, for example refua shelema --good health-- for a loved one who is sick.

It is important to notice that in this berakha we are not 'pressuring God to fulfill our prayers', but we are begging Him to 'listen' to our prayers. We can not impose on God, no matter how good we are or how just our cause is, to comply with all our requests. There is no guarantee that we will receive all what we have asked for.

We ask God to 'listen'. Knowing that God Almighty 'listens' to our prayers means that when my wishes are not fulfilled is not because HaShem did not hear me, rather because His answer was 'no'.

It is part of our faith that haShem knows better than anybody else, including myself, what is ultimately better --or necessary-- for me.

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024

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