As the war in Gaza continues, our focus remains on Tefila; the prayers of each individual and the Klal together are of paramount importance. Davening is a challenge for adults and children alike and maintaining enthusiasm week after week is not an easy task. With a greater appreciation for the power of Tefila, we may actually be able to capitalize on the current tragic and frightening circumstance to propel our and our children’s Tefila to a much higher level.
In the beginning of our Parsha, the Torah tells us that Yitzchak Avinu’s impassioned and relentless prayers for himself and Rivka Imeinu to have a child were answered. (Bereishis 25:21, Rashi). It apparently took passion and constant Tefila to achieve the desired result. One doesn’t stop davening as long as his goal remains possible yet elusive.
One doesn’t stop davening as long as his goal remains possible yet elusive.One doesn’t stop davening as long as his goal remains possible yet elusive.An additional insight into Tefila can be gleaned from an incident brought in Melachim Beis (6:15-17). The Navi recounts an incident where the king of Aram was attacking Klal Yisrael with the intent of kidnapping the Navi Elisha. The pesukim describe how Elisha’s attendant saw the vast army surrounding their city, and did not perceive that there was much of a defense on the side of the Bnei Yisrael. When he expressed his great concern to Elisha, the response from Elisha was not to worry – we have many more soldiers and armaments than our enemy.
The next pasuk describes how Elisha davened that his attendant’s eyes would be opened to see what he was talking about. The servant then saw the mountainside filled with Jewish soldiers and chariots, surrounding and protecting Elisha. The soldiers were actually angels! The Malbim and other Meforshim explain that the soldiers and the armaments were created by Elisha’s Tefilos – they were spiritual creations that emerged as real soldiers and weapons on the battlefield.
they were spiritual creations that emerged as real soldiers and weapons on the battlefield.they were spiritual creations that emerged as real soldiers and weapons on the battlefield.Rabbi Yisrael Reisman, Shlita, elaborates on this idea to show even more vividly how angels are created by our Tefilos and in accordance with the quality of our Tefilos. At Akeidas Yitzchak, In the pasuk where the Malach tells Avraham not to sacrifice Yitzchak (Bereishis 22:12), the Malach continues to tell Avraham that now he, the Malach, knows that Avraham is G-d fearing; because you Avraham did not withhold (sacrificing) your son from me. The Vilna Gaon, as quoted by Rabbi Reisman, questions why the Malach says “from me.” It should say “from Hashem.”
The Gra (Vilna Gaon) explains that a Malach is created from every prayer, every good deed. However, not all Malachim are the same. Some are strong, robust, enthusiastic. Others are lethargic, weak, incomplete. What causes the difference? The enthusiasm and passion with which we davened, performed mitzvos and did chasodim. Focused, passionate prayer will create a strong, robust Malach. Distracted, rushed and mindless davening will create an incomplete, ineffective Malach.
We have the power to create additional soldiers, greater firepower to defend Klal Yisrael.We have the power to create additional soldiers, greater firepower to defend Klal Yisrael.This explains why Avraham’s Malach said – “you did not withhold from me.” The Malach knew he was complete, strong and whole. He therefore knew that what created him was a level of Yiras Shomayim that was extremely lofty.
As we struggle to help our children make davening meaningful, this message can be very powerful. Each word of Tefila recited correctly and with sincerity creates a Malach, another soldier in the Army of Klal Yisrael. How we do with our davening yields direct results on the battlefield, on all battlefields and confrontations. We have the power to create additional soldiers, greater firepower to defend Klal Yisrael. What greater motivation do we need to work on improving our davening!
May we all, parents and children, work hard on our davening and mitzvos, which is the greatest contribution we can make to ensure the safety and well-being of Acheinu Bnei Yisrael and help bring the Geulah Shelaima.
Have a prayerful, angelic Shabbos,
Rabbi Kalman Baumann