ישיבת כרם ביבנה

הכרה: The Essence of Tefillah

הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן

תפילה במשנת הרמב"ן #01  /  #02 / #03#04  /  Summary  /

A Compilation of Several שיחות given in KBY תשע״ט

Edited by: Moishy Rothman

It says in שמות ג-יג,יד:


 


יג) וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי בָא אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתִּי לָהֶם אֱלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם שְׁלָחַנִי אֲלֵיכֶם וְאָמְרוּ לִי מַה שְּׁמוֹ מָה אֹמַר אֲלֵהֶם:


יד) וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֶל מֹשֶׁה אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה וַיֹּאמֶר כֹּה תֹאמַר לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶהְיֶה שְׁלָחַנִי אֲלֵיכֶם:


 


Let’s understand what משה is asking for and what הקב״ה replies to him.


We know that the Jews in Egypt were pagans. Except for שבט לוי, they didnt have faith in a monotheistic G-d. They worshiped the deities of Egypt. Just look at what יחזקאל tells us in his twentieth chapter. They knew there was a G-d, but their medium of interaction wasnt through Him. They believed in the Creator and there was ultimately One G-d. They knew the constellations didnt have that. However, they chose to have an interaction with these intermediaries because they were too intimidated by being with the All-Powerful G-d. Thus, they began serving G-ds intermediaries like the constellations, Sun, moon etc. giving them independent meaning outside of G-d. This was the mistake and this is the level at which we find כלל ישראל in שיעבוד מצרים[1].


Moshe, who has apparently reached a level of אספקלריא המאירה[2], is now talking to G-d. As an aside, realize that at this point משה has already mastered of all the various disciplines necessary for the attainment of prophecy, as רמב״ם writes[3], being able to see reality through all its various facets and viewpoints, spanning from physics to metaphysics to just about everything in between: מטבור הארץ עד כסא הכבוד. To better knowG-d, one must be aware of His handiwork[4], His expression of חכמה. Therefore, its the נביא’s job to know a lot. משה is the really the first Rabbi, Doctor.


Though on a high level of understanding, he didnt have total clarity (this clarity came only after requesting הריני נא את דרכיך ואדעך [שמות לג-יג].) משה wants to understand something which he has trouble defining because he doesnt really understand it yet. Hes asking for “G-d’s name,” מה שמו. Why is this important? What would משה do with this information? A name, in a vacuum, is not indicative of anything if I dont know what the name connotes. The answer is that a Name of הקב״ה means a certain description of a הנהגה, a way or method in interacting in the world. Its what I describe G-d as He interacts with me: G-d of mercy of justice, of kindness etc. משה wanted to clarify that. This is what מה שמו means: In which way will You interact with us? Will we see You as the G-d of justice, the G-d of compassion, or another Name?


There are different names of הקב״ה and each one has a unique meaning. י-ק-ו-ק means the Source of ongoing creation[5]. Other names describe certain actions associated with G-d. These include ק-ל, אלוקינו and other names. These names are different than י-ק-ו-ק. They demonstrate our perception of how G-d expresses Himself to us. Its a more subjective interaction. For this reason, we can add the suffix of –יו to the end of these names since they display our perception of הקב״ה towards us. י-ק-ו-ק, however, doesnt have suffixes attached to its name, since it doesnt imply interaction but rather a more objective, essential conception of הקב״ה[6].


There are many Names of הקב״ה.” Each Name of הקב״ה tells us what הנהגה will He express onto us. How are we supposed to relate to You? Until now we were serving the constellations and we didnt need to go to You. Now, we are coming to You. When we pray to You, what should we be thinking of?But the question begs its: Why did they need to have a name? Either you believe He can do it or not. The answer is quite obvious if you start looking at our interaction with G-d as a genuine and real relationship. Logically, if you want to start having a relationship with anyone, you need to start knowing what that person is. When you want to form a relationship with the Creator, you should start asking yourself Who is He? When you daven, to Whom are you davening before? Is it the G-d of Infinity, the Former of Creation? The הריב״ש writes in a [7]תשובה למעשה one should focus on י-ק-ו-ק which includes all the other names of ה׳. All these names are different הנהגות of י-ק-ו-ק in our lives. Ideally we would like to focus on one specific הנהגה. But we dont know, so its better to talk to the G-d Whos name is י-ק-ו-ק which has every type of הנהגה expressed through it.


When understanding our פסוק, the question the Jews are asking is Who are we davening to?Now, this question isn’t “Which specific הנהגה is He using to get us out?Youre in hell now. You dont have time to philosophize how youll get out. Just get out and say thank You. Their question less abstract and more concrete: Given that we havent interacted with You until now, we now want to start having this relationship. The problem is, however, for a relationship to be anything of meaning, we need to understand the Other. We need to know Who You are. So, Who are You? Whats Your Name?” תפילה, a mode in which this relationship can be developed, demands a certain awareness of before Whom you are standing before. This is the message of this פסוק. Who are you talking to? The extent to how much you know and understand Who He is, the more your תפילה has an effect. This is a very important יסוד.


            The רמב״ן here elaborates this idea at length. He writes:


 


ואמרו לי מה שמו - הפסוק הזה אומר לך פרשני, כי לא יתכן שיאמר משה ואמרו לי מה שמו להיות להם אות שיאמינו בו, כי שאלת שמו ואמירתו להם אינה אות למי שלא יאמין בו מתחילה. שאם ידעו ישראל אותו השם גם משה כהם ידע אותו, והנה ידיעתו כידיעתם ואיננה אות ומופת כלל, ואם לא שמעו בו מה הראיה שיאמינו בדבריו כלל. והנה אחרי הודיעו את השם הגדול אמר והן לא יאמינו לי (להלן ד א), ואז נתן לו אותות.


…ולפי דעתי היה משה גם בעת ההיא אב בחכמה גדול במעלת הנבואה, ודרך שאלה בקש שיודיעהו מי השולח אותו, כלומר באי זו מדה הוא שלוח אליהם, כענין שאמר ישעיה ועתה ה' אלהים שלחני ורוחו (ישעיה מח טז). והנה אמר ישאלוני על שליחותי אם היא במדת אל שדי היא שעמדה לאבות, או במדת רחמים עליונית שתעשה בה אותות ומופתים מחודשים ביצירה. וזה בעבור שאמר לו אנכי אלהי אביך אלהי אברהם (לעיל פסוק ו), ולא פירש שם משמותיו הקדושים כלל, ושמע משה שהבטיחו על מעמד הר סיני ומתן תורה, והוא היודע כי התורה לא תנתן בשם אל שדי הנזכר באבות רק השם הגדול שבו היה העולם, ועל כן שאל מה אומר אליהם:


ורבותינו נתעוררו לזה, אמרו ויאמר משה אל האלהים הנה אנכי בא אל בני ישראל, אמר ר' שמעון בשם ר' סימון אמר משה עתיד אני לעשות סרסור בינך וביניהם, כשתתן להם התורה ותאמר להם אנכי ה' אלהיך. אלהי אבותיכם שלחני אליכם, אותה שעה נתברר משה על עסקיו, שנתירא אם ישאלו לו מה שמו מה אומר אליהם, באותה שעה היה מבקש משה שיודיענו הקב"ה את השם הגדול. וזה ענין השאלה:


והנה ענהו האלהים אהיה אשר אהיה, אהיה עמכם בצרה זו ואהיה עמכם בצרות אחרות, אמר לפניו רבונו של עולם דיה לצרה בשעתה, אמר לו יפה אמרת, כה תאמר לבני ישראל וגו'. לשון רש"י מדברי רבותינו (ברכות ט ב). והכונה להם בזה, כי משה אמר לפניו יתברך, ואמרו לי מה שמו, שיגיד להם השם שיורה הוראה שלמה על המציאות ועל ההשגחה, והקב"ה השיבו למה זה ישאלו לשמי, אין להם צורך לראיה אחרת כי אהיה עמהם בכל צרתם יקראוני ואענם, והיא הראיה הגדולה שיש אלהים בישראל קרובים אלינו בכל קראנו אליו ויש אלהים שופטים בארץ. וזה פירוש נכון באגדה זו:


 


משה wants to understand the שם ה׳ for himself. Youre sending me; I want to know Who You are. Now, משה already had a relationship with G-d. Why does he want to know the Name? One option could be, as the רמב״ם writes[8], that נבואות can brought about not as messages to be said to the people, but also as a method of enhancing the ידיעת אלוקים of the נביא. Most prophecies are private in this way. Know G-d. Understand as much as you can. First do Gemara. As רמב״ם writes[9] that this can be attained by anyone and is the prerequisite to the further development of ידיעת אלוקים as it’s מיישב המוח והלב.  Avoid having any בלבול. There is no agenda here. Be intellectually honest of what the text says. Then we can build it up to even more ידיעת אלוקים.


However, that option is not plausible since משה is not just asking for himself. Hes asking on behalf of the all the Jews who will also ask this question. They want to understand Who G-d is: Is He ק-ל שק-י, an interaction within the עולם הטבע. [שק-י comes from the word די, which means enough, a limitation within טבע.] Or is He expressing Himself with fireworks, showing רחמים, much more than what is deserved? This might be the case, but this doesnt explain exactly why בנ״י will ask this question. משה, who trying to prepare himself  for this question, doesnt tell us the motive behind the question. Why would they even want to ask? What does it matter to them how its done?


The explanation must be as we explained above. These pagan Jews are becoming more and more exposed to G-d and starting to form a relationship with Him. They want to know Who He is to further the relationship. As the רמב״ן writes, משה is asking on behalf of כלל ישראל to understand which “Name” encompasses the unique characteristics of G-d. Firstly, they want to understand G-d as the Ultimate Existent, Source of all, existing not as an expression of “x” but rather everything is an expression of Him. Secondly, they want to see G-d as the משגיח. We dont just want to see G-d as an Intelligent Designer, but we want to see Him as well in our day-to-day lives: Ultimate Existent which is involved in the today. They basically wanted a crash course on G-d. You just told me that there is this Master Creator of reality. Now you want to tell me that Hes involved in EVERYTHING. Its something foreign to the ancient, pagan thinker. The Creator in ancient religion interacted with the upper bodies like the sun, moon and stars. He didnt go directly to the people. This is quite interesting. They thought רם כל על גויים כבודו and we told them המשפילי לראות בשמים ובארץ[10]. It’s a new way of thinking for these people. The question is not just in the abstract. These people were being reintegrated into monotheism, and they wanted to know it.


            G-d knew that the people didnt want to ask this question as part of their philosophical quest. They wanted to feel comfortable. People always ask me questions in השקפה. They want me to cover up their חסרונות by telling them a nice מדרש. Do you really have questions on G-d or is there something else bothering you? What’s really bothering you? Youre not a philosopher. When was the last time you read Kierkegaard? This is what G-d tells משה. They dont need a proof. Drop the philosophy. Tell them this proof:” I’ll always be for them when they call out to Me;[11] theyll experience this. This is the ultimate proof. They will know that I care for them, and if I save them it means that I have no limitations stopping Me, for I am the source of everything. Dont give them philosophical discourses. Promise them that I will be an experiential reality. We understand that. In the beginning, people dont want to get into the cold philosophy. They want to identify with something. They want to feel good about something. So הקב״ה said Hell take care of them. And He sure did. For 40 years, He was the provider of shelter, food, clothing, water, air conditioning. It was like paradise.


            The Jewish people just wanted to know Him. G-d tells them, at this stage, you have to experience this. Dont figure out how it works. First, inhale it. When you get used to it then you can start digging in. Dont ask for PhDs. Experience it in your davening. When you ask, youll see that youll be answered. This is the ראיה גדולה.


            Man needs emotional experiences. Its not enough to conceptualize and philosophize about certain ideas and think thats enough. Its not real until you feel it.  רמב״ן[12] tells us that even the great משה רבנו needed to experience to genuinely understand. ה׳ tells משה to take the מטה and throw it on the ground and watch it turn into a נחש. Why did משה need to have this sign shown to him?


Let’s figure out who were talking about. This is משה רבנו. משה is on הר סיני. He’s told to remove his shoes (שמות פרק ג פסוק ה). When יהושע is in the presence of the מלאך ה׳ he is also told to remove his shoes, but only one of his shoes (יהושע פרק ה פסוק טו). Whats the difference between two shoes and one shoe? This requires something more than פשט. The [13]רמב״ם writes that when the נביא goes through the process of prophecy, he experiences an epileptic seizure. His awareness is static and he doesnt understand what G-d is telling him.  This stage allows the נביא to lose his body awareness, allowing him to achieve clarity of what the message is. משה doesnt need to go through that. He doesnt experience life with a bodily awareness altogether. Hes like one of the angels. He can literally talk to G-d and doesnt need an explanation. The words go straight into him because there is no body obstructing the message. He lost his body awareness. When did he lose that? Its here when he takes off his shoes.The  [14]של״הexplains that shoes refer to the body. The נשמה starts בשמי מרומם[15] and the lower level of the נשמה is expressed and enveloped in the body. So the נשמה for the body, or the נפש, is like the shoe in which the leg goes into. So, take off those shoes. Take away your body from your נשמה. Remove that awareness. יהושע couldnt remove this awareness like that of משה. He was able to remove this body-consciousness, but not consistently. He had to go through the epileptic seizure like the other prophets to do so. Thus, he was sporadic.


משה is not just a believer. Hes high up there. Hes on a very high level of understanding. So why does the נחש have to be proven in front of משה? The רמב״ן (שמות ד:ג) explains that even though הקב״ה taught משה that He has the ability to surpass nature, He wanted to show it to משה. He writes:


 


ויאמר השליכהו ארצה וישליכהו ארצה - לא הבינותי למה עשה האותות למשה, כי מאמין היה משה שהקב"ה מדבר עמו. והראוי שיאמר המטה אשר בידך תשלך ארצה לפניהם והיה לנחש, וכן באות השני, כאשר אמר בשלישי ולקחת ממימי היאור (פסוק ט). ולכן נאמנו דברי רבותינו (שמו"ר ג יב) שהיה לו הראשון רמז שספר עליהן לשון הרע, והשני להענישו בו. וזה טעם וינס משה מפניו, כי פחד שמא יענש וינשכו הנחש. וכל אדם מתרחק מן המזיק לו אע"פ שידע שאם יהיה כן בחפץ השם אין מציל מידו. ואולי אע"פ שהודיעו (לעיל פסוקים יד טו) השם הגדול שבו נברא העולם ובו נהיה כל דבר, רצה להראותו כי בו יעשו אותות ומופתים בשנוי התולדות, למען יתחזק הענין בלבו של משה וידע באמת כי על ידו יעשו בעולם דברים מחודשים. ודי למשה בשני האותות, ולא היו שם מים, על כן צוהו שיעשה האות השלישי לעיני העם:


 


ה׳ wanted משה to internalize those ideas as experiences. Even משה רבנו, the greatest prophet, also needed something tangible, something experiential. The cerebral is never enough. To concretize the idea one needs feeling. This will give him a ידיעה באמת of this truth. And beforehand, he didnt know it was true? Yes, he knew its true, but its not a ידיעה. It’s merely a השכלה. A ידיעה is something which is tied to you. Its vivid in your conscious. Its also אמת. It’s consistent and everlasting[16]. It needs to be מוחלט, absolute[17]. Thats what אמת also means. When you say וטהר לבנו לעבדך באמת it means let us serve You consistently, absolutely. Once you have this, you have successfully taken the ideas and concepts and integrated them into your perspective. Its now the lens in which you see reality.


It’s an important idea in השקפה. Even the greatest thinkers need a dose of reality. The Mittleler Rebbe[18] once wrote that no one thinks that you dont need emotion. Of course, we need it. We are emotional animals. But dont create perception based off emotion. After you have a verified, objective reality, then be emotional about it. Dont say you a comic book view of G-d because you think G-d should be x or y. First figure out Who G-d is then become emotional with it. The יסוד has to come from מחשבה. Then you experience it.


            I once had a student who said G-d can’t be” x.” I asked her why not. She told me, My soul tells me so.Well how do you know? Maybe your soul speaks French! The הרגשה is a tool after you have the ידיעה. If you think that just living the ivory tower of though is enough, you are not being עובד ה׳. You know what an עבד means. It means a slave. Youre not the crown prince. It means that your עבדך בן אמתך. You were never free. You were born into this. Thats your identity. When you are תופס that you are this and there is nothing else there then be happy. It doesnt say love Yiddishkeit and then be an עבד. If that were the case, it would mean you would have to be independent. I feel good about myself. Im accomplished. No! Youre an עבד. Youre identity is dependent on Him. Enjoy being the עבד of ה׳. Thats what it takes to be an עובד ה׳.


So משה, though he knew it, still needed the experience. This is an incredible חיזוק. They once asked the בעל התניא why didnt the מגיד of Mezrich have any stories of מופתים? He answered that there were plenty of מופתים under the table, but there was so much to hear on top of the table. Who cared to look under it? it was the people who didn’t chap whats on top who looked below. But this רמב״ן tells that even a משה רבנו needs a shtickle מופת or two. This is the reality. Its like the smoker who knows that smoking is back for him. But once you see the spots on the lungs you stop. The information becomes vivid and real. You see the world differently now. You go cold turkey.


In many ways, we are like ET. We have very big heads, thin necks[19] and a very small, underdeveloped bodies. We have a lot of information, but we havent internalized it as part of how we live and feel. We carry the heavy weight of G-d knowledge, but its a burden on us. How do we widen our necks? I think that if one experiences science, the world of nature, creating an experience of nature. Take your children to museums of science to make them experience something real. You have to internalize your religion by making it tangible. Look in a microscope and recognize the חכמה. The theory of random design for me is non-logical. Im into intelligent design- and it’s quite intelligent. To say otherwise is like saying logic started with pandemoniumhighly improbable. Thats how you encounter G-d. Thats what the רמב״ם recommends. This is so important. I see today children today who dont have any religious experiences. Once science is presented as in opposition to religion, religion loses its most valuable tool to experience this world of thought.


Once cerebral knowledge morphs into emotional intelligence it becomes אמת. It stays there and you move. Nothing in cerebral knowledge will make you move[20]. It needs some vividness to govern your life. משה רבנו only needed two of these experiences. I think we need a little bit more.


So, from the רמב״ן, I’ve come to the conclusion of several postulations. Ive come to understand that even משה רבנו needs חיזוק with מוחשיות. I’ve come to learn that ultimate knowledge of G-d is not via philosophy. Rather, תפילה is the ultimate tangible evidence of G-ds existence. This is the ראיה גדולה of the רמב״ן.


Now its true davening, when done correctly, will generate a certain reaction, but we are not צדיקים גדולים. So, what does it mean for us? How can we start developing this experience? If  תפילה is an exercise which creates this vivid experience of ידיעת ה׳, how does that work? What are we looking for when we daven? It has to start with a preexistent ידיעה. The מנהג in Lubavitch would be to learn Chassidus an hour before davening. I remember my best davening when I was younger. One שבת morning in camp, I decided that I wanted to learn the Chassidus by the lakefront. I woke up early, went to the lake, overlooking the mountains and just started learning it. I started davening. It took ages. It was incredible. I wanted to understand what I was saying. It was the most beautiful davening in my life. Once in my life I really davened. I didn’t Kvech. Some put on a show as if G-d is putting pins and needles in his face. Who does that? Would you do that before the President of the United States? The point is, you need to daven with דעת. Rav Nachman writes[21] that if you daven around nature, nature helps you daven better. Its very true as I can testify. You experience פרק שירה; the trees are singing with you. It was an experience which helps make it vivid and real.


 


            תפילה being conducive and inductive to ידיעת ה׳ only works if its an experience. How do we do it? The רמב״ם (ריש פ״ד הל׳ תפילה) actually gives us guidelines how to prepare ourselves for davening in הלכות תפילה. He writes that there are five things which need to be there for תפילה.


 


חמשה דברים מעכבין את התפלה אע"פ שהגיע זמנה, טהרת ידים, וכיסוי הערוה, וטהרת מקום תפלה, ודברים החופזים אותו, וכוונת הלב.


 


טהרת ידים. Washing hands is symbolic for the conclusion of an act or process. The מי שילוח writes[22] that the first thing necessary for קבלת עול מלכות שמים is נטילת ידים. First be מפנה[23]. Walk away from anything you are programed with. Be real. Be you. Take off all that external baggage which is not really you. Then wash your hands. Totally, divorce yourself from that past.


 


כיסוי ערוה. ערוה connotes something which symbolizes total expression of the self. The טומאה of ערוה is due to that expression without חשבון[24]. This is a place where self-expression is not existent. You are supposed to be in a place totally בטל before G-d. Its a time of מורה, and therefore, cover up the parts which imply the “I.” Now is a time for ביטול. Youre not in a place where you need to recognize that you’re totally dependent on Him. You are a relative existence. You are no more than an expression of His will and whim. You are declaring that He is the One Who Im dependent on, no one else. If you think about it, thats what all these ברכות are about. Its recognizing total dependence.


 


טהרת מקום התפילה. Don’t go on a date in a dump. Though It doesnt make a difference for G-d, it will make a difference for you. Your environment effect how you interact with Him. These things create a setting conducive for attaining within yourself a sense of G-d awareness.


 


דברים החופזים. When you are in a situation when you have to talk fast, you wont be able to focus. We want you to really mean what you are saying. So, calm down.


 


כוונת הלב. This is serious. One who doesnt daven with כוונה is doing nothing and he must go back and do it again. The רמב״ם actually writes that if one cant focus properly then he may not daven! For many people, especially during מנחה in Manhattan, this is hard. Its really hard. Youre in the middle of finals and you catch” a mincha. It’s not good. Why? One needs to daven in a sense of G-d awareness. When you daven without that sense of awareness, youre saying that its not important to you. It’s חירוף וגידוף. It doesnt matter if Hes here or not. Im doing my thing. Excuse me! תפילה is supposed to be your encounter with G-d and that can only happen if you focus about G-d. How dare you start saying words without the desire to understand whats going on?


…מצא דעתו משובשת ולבו טרוד אסור לו להתפלל עד שתתיישב דעתו, לפיכך הבא מן הדרך והוא עיף או מיצר אסור לו להתפלל עד שתתיישב דעתו, אמרו חכמים ישהה שלשה ימים עד שינוח ותתקרר דעתו ואח"כ יתפלל (פרק ד הלכה טו).


In the days of חז״ל, some didnt daven after traveling for three days. The G-d awareness was so apparent that after a heavy caravan, you need three days to relax and actually regain the strength to focus. The רמ״א writes[25] however, that we dont have כוונה anyway, so there is no need to go back. It doesnt mean this is permissible! It’s בגדר עבירה שנעשת בו כבר נעשת כהיתר. The הלכה tells us that we need this כוונה for at least the first three ברכות. Afterwards, we dont demand more, though obviously more is better. At least if you focus on the first three, the effect will continue for the rest of the תפילה[26].


 


כיצד היא הכוונה שיפנה את לבו מכל המחשבות ויראה עצמו כאלו הוא עומד לפני השכינה (שם הלכה טז).


 


This is not the G-d of philosophy. Its the vivid G-d of experience. Its the G-d of science, math, and nature. The G-d of השגחה and שכר ועונש. The שכינה resides in this world. Its the G-d of פסוקי דזמרא. You live in it. That’s לפני השכינה. When you say a ברכה, you say ברוך אתה. You are speaking direction to Him. The רשב״א writes in a [27]תשובה points out that though we start every ברכה in the second person, we end off in third person. Whats going on? He says that הקב״ה is נסתר בעצמיותו and נגלה במעשיו. I know what G-d does. Thats the שכינה. He’s the G-d of יוצר מאורות, of פסוקי דזמרא. I see nature. Its an incredible tool for G-d awareness, and precisely because of this tool, my שכינה-perception is not like your or anyone elses because we each have different life experiences. It can only be subjective. Its experiential and thats the only way it becomes real and genuine.


            We have so many הלכות which train us to gain this perception of before Whom we are standing. The idea of צניעות in the privacy of ones room trains us to perceive הקב״ה even when no one is around. One who lives in a reality of an awareness of הקב״ה wont naturally expose himself even when no one is around because he recognizes there is Someone ever-present. Thats also the הלכות of how to dress in the morning.


There are other sources to this idea. The Gemara says in ברכות כח: that the תלמידים of תנאים asked רבי אלעזר give us the “key” to life so that we can merit חיי עולם הבא. It says:


 


תנו רבנן: כשחלה רבי אליעזר, נכנסו תלמידיו לבקרו. אמרו לו: רבינו, למדנו אורחות חיים ונזכה בהן לחיי העולם הבא. אמר להם: הזהרו בכבוד חבריכם, ומנעו בניכם מן ההגיון, והושיבום בין ברכי תלמידי חכמים, וכשאתם מתפללים - דעו לפני מי אתם עומדים, ובשביל כך תזכו לחיי העולם הבא.


 


They obviously were religious, but their question was a question of priority and focus. Were doing so many different things, can you guide us with one basic, fundamental principle in which we should live our lives? Give us something to focus on. He responds the following: first, honor each other. Respect differences. Truth is not in anyones pocket. Even theology is not a monopoly. Its not my way or the highwayanywhere. Second, dont teach young children philosophy. First let them be grounded in ש״ס. Then develop a deeper sense of thought. Theyre too young for this. First learn תוספות. You dont realize that the greatest form of נסתר is from the נגלה. The רמב״ן[28] writes, when discussing ועשית הישר והטוב, that your outlook on life should come from the הלכות, taking out the kernel idea. Third, send your children to sit amongst scholars. That should be your “מקשים העולם.” Thats the world you should be in. Obviously, you experience different places, but wheres your base? Its there. Fourth, when you daven דעו before Whom you are praying. דעת is not cerebral knowledge. חכמה is raw knowledge. בינה is the fleshed-out סברא of the knowledge. This is what you should be doing in learning: conceptualizing and broadening the idea. Then you take that context and dimension and assimilate it in your own self. דעת means connection. This can be either in the form of carnal knowledge or intellectual knowledge. וידע אדם את אשתו is carnal connection. Ideas which integrate into your being, becoming part of your emotional intelligence is also a form of דעת[29]. When you daven, know this. This is so important. And its to be created by each person.


The ש״ע סימן קב rules that its prohibited to pass over one whos davening within four אמות. To pass on their side is permitted. The מ״ב (ס״ק טו) explains its permitted since its for כוונה reason. This is so indicative of what תפילה really is. If the point is to just say the words, then I wouldnt really mind if people pass me by. But to concentrate on דע לפני מי, thats hard if there is movement around me. I need it to be quiet, with my eyes closed to generate this intense meditation. But theres something must more frightening happing here. The חיי אדם explains[30] on this הלכה that one cant pass in front of the מתפלל because that it’s a הפסקה between the davener and the שכינה. Thats frightening. It means to say that מקומו של אדם, which is four אמות, is now enveloped in שכינה while one is talking to G-d. Hes not just in front of him. Hes totally engulfed. You might feel this during Neilah. It’s frightening how vivid this reality can be in every single תפילה we daven. That’s what דע לפני מי אתה מתפלל means. Its definitional to what his מקום is. Man, and all reality, is defined based off time and space. Its his basic sense of existence. When we say that the מתפלל’s מקום is defined by the שכינה, it means his existence is defined by the שכינה. That’s my space. Its the essence of your existence. The space which makes you “is” is an expression of the שכינה. In other words, תפילה is transformational.


This last הלכה tells us that when one davens before הקב״ה, he’s not just creating an awareness of הקב״ה before him but its more than that. The שכינה is actually present, with the מתפלל. Another הלכה shows us this idea as well. In סימן קג it says that If one has to pass gas באונס while davening, he should move outside his four אמות and pass the gas and then wait a bit and say, “הקב״ה I’m ashamed and we are nothing after death.Then he returns. Why does he have to come back? Is there any קדושת מקום in the place where hes davening? The ב״י explains[31] that the שכינה is found in the place where one davens and is waiting for him to come back. Its not that you experience that Hes there. You experience and think about Him and, therefore, Hes there waiting for you. That became a מקום לשכינה. Until now we talked about internalizing ideals. Now we are saying that G-d is present when you think about Him. The extent that you live with a consciousness of that presence is the extent in which G-d comes and is involved in your life. If you want to be in dialogue with G-d, seeing it as something real, then it is real. He’s creating the relationship with these thoughts. The רמב״ם and רמב״ן write this in several places[32]. The extent that a person is דבק בהקב״ה in his mind is the extent there is השגחה פרטית. ה׳ isקרוב לכל קוראיו לכל אשר יקראוהו באמת. A person with consistent G-d awareness will be protected from מקרה. Thats why man needs so much השתדלות. It’s hard to actualize this 24/7. But at least realize it during תפילה. It’s the great laboratory of developing this awareness. Hes actually there. And if you really daven, Hes actually there. Therefore, once you walk away, now you have to return to the שכינה. He’s there.


The Gemara in ברכות ה: develops this idea further. It says;


 


תניא, אבא בנימין אומר: שנים שנכנסו להתפלל, וקדם אחד מהם להתפלל ולא המתין את חברו ויצא - טורפין לו תפלתו בפניו, שנאמר: חטרף נפשו באפו הלמענך תעזב ארץ.


 


If two are davening and then one of the מתפללים leaves, leaving the other alone, the תפילות of that person are torn and he causes the שכינה to be moved from its place. Many explain[33] that its dealing with one who is in field and it is nighttime. Leaving the other in Shul is dangerous for the other person. But רש״י explains the סוגיא differently[34]. These consequences come about to punish the deserter for his incorrect השקפה. You thought that when you left the שכינה also left with you, leaving the other מתפלל alone? The שכינה is there with the other person. How could you walk out? In הלכה, we dont follow this רש״י. But the יסוד is there. Its not an issue of endangering the person. Its an issue of unconsciousness of the שכינה which is present. You go to קברי צדיקים and a person is davening. Daven with him. The שכינה is there. Why do you go to the כותל? It’s a מקום of השארת השכינה. Everyone goes there to daven. The ר״ן in his דרשות (דרשה ח) explains that entities used to bring שכינה down have power to connect the person with the G-d expressed through those people. This is the power of תפילה.


All this is davening. Its an unbelievable exercise of internalizing G-d awareness. The more we understand, the more we bring the Presence of G-d in our lives. Therefore, everyone should start to stop and think. Create an emotional awareness of הקב״ה. For G-d to answer you, you need to be in dialogue with Him. To do that you need to be aware of Whom you are standing in front of. You need to conjure up that image. Now you can understand what the Jews in Egypt were asking for. They wanted to know Who they were talking to? G-d redeemed them because of their צעקתם. It was their תפילה.


 


Let’s take this further. Its not just that תפילה demands a certain awareness. Its not that it merely requires an experience of מציאות הקב״ה. It’s much more. The עיקר צורת התפילה is not the בקשה, the request, but rather the הכרה. This is new level. The entire point of this exercise is to get to this goal.


            Did you even notice on ראש השנה and יום כיפור we say to G-d something very fascinating? We tell Him I know You.” כמו שידענו שהשלטן לפניך…. What is this Now that you know, what is He going to do? You didnt ask Him anything? If you want something you ask for it. You dont tell the person that he has that trait. What is the significance of this ידיעה?


            The Gemara in בבא מציעא פה quotes a story of אליהו who would come to greet רבי:


 


אליהו הוה שכיח במתיבתא דרבי, יומא חד ריש ירחא הוה, נגה ליה ולא אתא. אמר ליה: מאי טעמא נגה ליה למר? - אמר ליה: אדאוקימנא לאברהם ומשינא ידיה ומצלי, ומגנינא ליה. וכן ליצחק, וכן ליעקב. - ולוקמינהו בהדי הדדי! - סברי: תקפי ברחמי, ומייתי ליה למשיח בלא זמניה. - אמר ליה: ויש דוגמתן בעולם הזה? - אמר ליה: איכא, רבי חייא ובניו. גזר רבי תעניתא, אחתינהו לרבי חייא ובניו. אמר משיב הרוח - ונשבה זיקא, אמר מוריד הגשם - ואתא מיטרא, כי מטא למימר מחיה המתים - רגש עלמא. אמרי ברקיעא: מאן גלי רזיא בעלמא? - אמרי: אליהו. אתיוהו לאליהו, מחיוהו שתין פולסי דנורא. אתא אידמי להו כדובא דנורא, על בינייהו וטרדינהו.


 


Notice there was no בקשה in this גמרא. It was pure שבח. What comes out from this is that עיקר תפילה, in its essence, doesnt require בקשה. It’s the הכרה of the שבח. And רב חייא ובניו’s הכרה was so strong that they can just say they recognize הקב״ה as the מוריד הגשם and it rains.


 


            This is seen also in a גמרא בבא קמא נ about the daughter of נחוניא חופר שיחין. It says:


 


תנו רבנן: מעשה בבתו של נחוניא חופר שיחין שנפלה לבור גדול, באו והודיעו את רבי חנינא בן דוסא. שעה ראשונה - אמר להם: שלום, שניה - אמר להם: שלום, שלישית - אמר להם: עלתה. אמרו לה: מי העלך? אמרה להם: זכר של רחלים נזדמן לי וזקן אחד מנהיגו. אמרו לו: נביא אתה? אמר להם: לא נביא אנכי ולא בן נביא אנכי, אלא כך אמרתי: דבר שאותו צדיק מצטער בו יכשל בו זרעו? אמר רבי אחא: אף על פי כן מת בנו בצמא, שנאמר: בוסביביו נשערה מאד, מלמד, שהקדוש ברוך הוא מדקדק עם סביביו אפילו כחוט השערה.


 


Though his daughter didnt die from the water, his son died from lack of water. All the ראשונים ask what changed? The בעלי תוספות offer an answer. But if you take a look at the שיטה מקובצת in the name of the רבנו ישעיהו, youll find an answer which points out the essence of what is תפילה is about. He writes:


 


יכשל בו זרעו. ואף על גב דמת בנו בצמא מכל מקום לא נכשל באותו דבר ממש. ולרבינו נראה לפרש אמרתי כלומר השמעתי דבר זה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא והם דבר שנצטער וכו' והסכים הקדוש ברוך הוא לדברי שכן דרכו של הקדוש ברוך הוא שמסכים לסברת הצדיקים שבדור וכשמת בנו בצמא כבר מת רבי חנינא.


וכן מצינו בחגיגה שלא היו אומרים דבר במתיבתא דרקיעא בשם רבי מאיר מפני שלמד מאחר עד שאמר רבי אבהו לאליהו ומאי איכפת ליה אגוז מצא בירר את האוכל וזרק את הפסולת והסכים הקדוש ברוך הוא לדעתו ואמרו מכאן ואילך דבר בשם רבי מאיר.


 


The answer there is that רבי חנניא בן דוסא died and wasnt there to daven for the son. What did רבי חנניא בן דוסא originally pray for? The Gemara only tells us that he said it cant be that הקב״ה punishes one with something which that person did מצוות with. That really isnt much of a prayer. There was no request. There was merely a recognition of one of the מדות of הקב״ה. It’s very much like אברהם’s plea of השופט כל הארץ לא יעשה משפט. אברהם didnt ask G-d to spare סדום. All he pointed out that is given that הקב״ה acts towards His creations with משפט, it cant be that such an act will occcur. Yet we see that it works. You must understand the power of ידיעת אלוקים. I know this is a מדה of הקב״ה and I know this can’t be.  It’s because of the הכרה of the person, and not necessarily his בקשה, does his תפילה have power. The הכרה of הקב״ה actually creates a power which הקב״ה allows Himself to be משעבד to. He’s משועבד to your הכרה. As long as there as a מכיר then הקב״ה followed the demands of the הכרה. Once that person is not there anymore to express that הכרה in this world, that ability to invoke the מדות של הקב״ה disappear. Thats why the son of the well-digger died. After רבי חנניא בן דוסא, there was no one who could really, genuinely recognize the מדה כנגד מדה of הקב״ה. If you aren’t מכיר הקב״ה’s מדות, rather just believing them in an abstract way, the תפילה is lacking. Once he died, the תפילה lost its effect.


            The שיטה brings a proof to this idea. There was a dispute between two אמוראים about a certain aspect of פלגש בגבעה. אליהו comes to tell us that הקב״ה was actually telling over the תורה of these two people. However, there is one תנא ה׳ doesnt say תורה in the his name. It was רבי מאיר. Because he learnt from אלישע בן אבויה, אחר, who was a heretic, his תורה was invalid. In other words, his תורה didnt have a רושם למעלה. It’s frightening. סתם משנה רבי מאיר! At that time when אליהו told this over, one אמורא asks אליהו why this is so. He took the essence, the תורה of אחר, and threw away all the אפיקורסות surrounding it? At that moment, הקב״ה then started accepting רבי מאיר’s תורה. What changed? הקב״ה’s הנהגה in our reality is dependent on our הכרה. Once the סברא was said, and he knows הקב״ה will follow this סברא, then הקב״ה acts with that סברא.


            Here we see outright that mans recognition of ה׳ and His interactions with us is the essence and goal of the תפילה. You dont even have to ask for it if you do it properly. Its all about your הכרה. The תלמוד הרמב״ן in אמונה ובטחון (פרק יט) uses this idea to explain why there is an איסור to mention שם ה׳ לשוה.


 


ודע כי כל זמן שאדם מחשב בתוך לבו שמו של הקב"ה או אחד מנפלאותיו, יש לפניו התעוררות כפי מחשבת מעלת החושב, וזה שאמר הכתוב בכל המקום אשר אזכיר את שמי וגו׳. וכשההתעוררות ההיא מתעורר על דבר ריק במה יברכהו, והוא ראוי אל ההפך. וקרוב לענין זה מה שאמר הכתוב אם תעירו ואם תעוררו את האהבה עד שתחפץ. ואם לא היה כח באדם לעורר הדברים לא היה משביעם שלא לעשות. ופי' עד שתחפץ, עד שתצא מן הכח אל הפועל, כלומר לא תעירו עצמכם, שכן מצינו לשון עוררות בדוד אע"פ שהוא מבנין הפעיל, כמו העירה והקיצה למשפט. לא התעוררות האהבה עד שיהיה שם הדבר הראוי שיהיה התעוררות בזה על ידו. זהו עד שתחפץ, שתעשה חפץ על ידי הסבה ההיא, מלשון רז"ל לאנקוטי חפצא בידי, כלומר כלי. והרבה כמו זה בלשון גמרא.


 


He explains anytime you say שמות of ה׳, (on the assumption that he understands what the word means) that מדה of ה׳ is awaken and now used as a means of interaction with man. When man says ק-ל, he’s invoking the idea that הקב״ה is a G-d who is All-Powerful and expresses רחמים. Thus, הקב״ה interacts with man with that מדה. But if one just says it without needing it, he’s מעורר a מדה for no reason. You should only be מעורר it when you need it and therefore אסור to do so. הכרה is again seen as a powerful tool to invoke the מדות of הקב״ה. To more you understand the more you’re מעורר the מדה. Thats the יסוד of the איסור של שם שמים לשוה.


 


            As a fundamental aspect to our understanding of תפילה, this defining factor of הכרה expresses itself in the first instance we find תפילה in the תורה. The פסוק (בראשית ב:ה) tells us:


 


וְכֹל שִׂיחַ הַשָּׂדֶה טֶרֶם יִהְיֶה בָאָרֶץ וְכָל עֵשֶׂב הַשָּׂדֶה טֶרֶם יִצְמָח כִּי לֹא הִמְטִיר יְקֹוָק אֱלֹהִים עַל הָאָרֶץ וְאָדָם אַיִן לַעֲבֹד אֶת הָאֲדָמָה:


 


One has to understand what the עבודה here refers to. There was no need to work the land at that time. There was no curse of בזעת אפיך תאכל בו לחם. Everything was growing on trees. עבודת האדמה, as the רמב״ן write, refers to עבודת הקרבנות ותפילה. The תורה it telling us that Man was not there to serve ה׳ אלוקים and therefore it didnt rain.


But how does תפילה impact reality to allow rain to fall? רש״י explains:


 


כי לא המטיר - ומה טעם לא המטיר, לפי שאדם אין לעבוד את האדמה ואין מכיר בטובתם של גשמים, וכשבא אדם וידע שהם צורך לעולם התפלל עליהם וירדו, וצמחו האילנות והדשאים:


 


There was no rain since there was no one who had the הכרה that הקב״ה is the Giver of the rain. From this it seems that הקב״ה will only grant something if there is someone who will pray for it thereby recognizing its need and its Source. As רש״י clarifies, part recognizing הקב״ה as the Source of the rain is not only realizing where its coming from but, as important, understanding why its needed and wanting that rain. You cant just pray for השיבנו אבינו לתורתך but not want it. It doesnt work. The litmus test for the true מכיר is the one who realizes that he needs it. This is a big כלל in תפילה. If you need it, then it’s a תפילה. If not, youre just paying lip-service. This is a מפתח גדול לתפילה. You really need it. If youre davening for someone else, you need him to have that ישועה. If not, its not going to work.


            It’s no coincidence that when presenting תפילה in בראשית, the double name, ה׳ אלוקים, is used. We find this double name used before חטא האדם, in the declaration of שמע, during מתן תורה, and when אליהו overcame the נביאי הבעל. Otherwise these two names dont come together. Alone, these names have independent meaning. שם ה׳ connotes the One Who constantly creates existence. Hes the constant Source of time and space. Hes the מחדש בכל יום תמיד מעשה בראשית. אלוקים means שליט ושופט. He’s the Boss. He runs the show; the Maker of science and physics. So, when we use these names together, we are referring to G-d Who is the Source of reality, expressing Himself through the natural world and her laws. All matter is a condensed form of energy. The energy is the same in everything we experience, but its constricted into different forms. There is now a system, boundaries. עד כאן ותו לו. The Independent, Infinite Being is expressing Himself via the constricted reality we experience and comprehend. This is ה׳ אלוקים[35]. And with this perspective in which תפילה should done, a הכרה of G-d both as Creator and Former.


[36]למשל, its like the old fashions movie reels. On the movie screen, you see a lot of different pictures. But, in essence, youre looking at white light which is being filtered by the film passing between the light and the screen. The picture you see is a constriction of white light. Now you see black, blue, red etc. If you stand in the back of the theater, you dont see the movie with its colors; rather, the beautiful white light going through a process of צמצום. The audience doesnt see this. They just see the contracted form of the light. The goal is to see both. You think that the תורה is the black letters. Thats not so. Its the white parchment which has dark spots, or contractions of white, allowing you to see something. But its so much more than just the words. Do you see the letters or everything around the black which looks like אותיות? It depends where youre coming from. If you see the world as energy and a given entity as the constriction of that energy thats one perspective. If you grew up your whole life in the movie theater, then you think the contracted form is all there is. You need to take a step back to appreciate this. Its always that way. Theres an אמת lying in the פרטים and your awareness of reality is not in that. Its in the whole picture. The real חכמה is to see everything as one. Its like the birds. They see the world as we do and with a “bird’s eye view.They see the macro and the micro all together as one reality[37]


            The רמב״ן writes[38] that everything the תורה discussing creation is not mainly referring to what happened in this world but above in the שרש העליונים. The reality here is a symptom of what happened in other realms of reality. בראשית, as תרגום translates it[39], refers to חכמה. In the tool of wisdom, ה׳ created reality. Everything in this world moves only after the core reality is moved. Energy must exist before matter. If you cut the electricity, the movie goes black. When אדם davens, he’s davening with the perspective of ה׳ אלוקים before him: The G-d of existence expressing Himself in creation. Hes praying for G-d to change reality both in a physical sense as well as a metaphysical sense. He asks for the upper realms to be changed to then express those changes in nature. This is the צורה של תפילה. It’s recognizing and appreciating all thats going on. If you learn your meteorology, realizing all thats going on in the עולם הגשמי, and recognizing that there is so much beyond that, youll see everything differently. Youll daven differently. Youll even put on תפילין differently! תפילה is the breeding ground for our אמונה and ידיעת אלוקים. You see reality not merely limited to this world but on a far, larger plane. Understand that there is so much going on above our world[40].


So, when אדם davened for rain he saw all this. He recognized that rain is not more than the constriction of a certain שרש העליון. Therefore, he didnt just pray for the end result of rain. He prayed for everything it takes to make rain come. He looked at things where they came from. He understood cloud formation, the science behind rain. He understood even further, praying for the metaphysical aspects which influence rainfall as well. Real תפילה is when you are מכיר the whole process and understand that is what I want and all that can be done by G-d. The profounder the הכרה, the profounder the תפילה, and the profounder the effect[41].


 


ידיעת האדם is קובע הנהגת הבורא. Theחינוך  writes in [42]פרשת עקב about the idea of the word ברכה:


 


ידוע הדבר ומפורסם כי השם ברוך הוא פועל כל הנמצא, וברא האדם והשליטו על הארץ ועל כל אשר בה…


 


It’s known that ה׳ makes, in the present[43], all reality. He made man and gave him the capability to daven and control it. One has to understand what this means. You dont control creation. Youre not even aware of how much creation there is. Do you know the infinite number of octopi? Did you even wonder what the commandment of וכבשוה is[44]? If it means harnessing technology to control the entire globe, then we havent done a great job. How much technology is there over the entire world? Most of nature is not harnessed. Go to South Africa. It means something much more profounder than technological advances. It means mans capability of understanding is his source for conquest. Man is afraid of things he doesnt know. People are frightened of death because they dont understand it. The unknown can be scary. People are afraid of exploring because it takes them out of their comfort zone. It bruises their ego and they dont want to do that. You’re תאוה and גאוה inhibit your creativity and curiosity. Why is Columbus so חשוב? Its because he wasnt scared. The more you understand life and death the less scared you become. The more you understand sickness the less fear you have of it. Instead of being constantly ambushed with new unknowns, you recognize the system and work with it. כבשוה means not to be afraid of it because you can understand it. Man has the ability of שלטון through חכמה. Your comprehension is real כיבוש. I govern it now. They dont phase me anymore. The extent that you fulfill וכבשוה is the extent that existence is worthwhile. G-d only said כי טוב on man after this ברכה of כיבוש and the רמב״ן writes[45] that using the word טוב in reference of creation refers to G-ds desire to maintain existence. Thus, the more כיבוש there is, the more there is reason for existence to be here.


 


…וממדותיו ברוך הוא שהוא רב חסד והוא חפץ בטובת בריותיו ורוצה להיותן ראויין וזכאין לקבל טובה מאתו, וזה באמת משלמותו ברוך הוא, כי לא יקרא שלם בטובה רק מי שהוא מטיב לאחרים זולתו, אין ספק בזה לכל בן דעת. ואחר הסכמה זו שידענו בחיוב מרוב שלמות טובו שחפצו להריק עלינו מברכתו, נאמר שענין הברכה שאנו אומרים לפניו איננו רק הזכרה לעורר נפשנו בדברי פינו, כי הוא המבורך ומבורך יכלול כל הטובות, ומתוך ההתעוררות הטוב הזה בנפשנו ויחוד מחשבתנו להודות אליו שכל הטובות כלולות בו והוא המלך עליהם לשלחם על כל אשר יחפוץ, אנו זוכים במעשה הטוב הזה להמשיך עלינו מברכותיו.


 


Sometimes, as a part of the expression of חסד, ה׳ gives you כלים to receive חסד. Similarly, the same way הקב״ה gives עונשים to a person to help him in whatever way, He also gives him the כלים to withstand those stresses[46] because if He wouldnt give them to him, he would fall apart. These ייסורן are incredible cleansers. Once you can take them in then they can change you for the better. If you dont then you get angry. So אדרבה, He wont give you ייסורן. Youre not ראוי for them. Did you even think of it like that? I once was in a home of a big lawyer and walk into his office and I see a big picture of רבי יחזקאל סרנא. I asked the man whats this picture doing here and he told me that רבי יחזקאל has an interaction with him once. This lawyer wanted to donate electric lighting to the Chevron Yeshiva. רב יחזקאל told him No. Youre not worth it. What זכות do you have?This man was so taken aback by a personality like רב סרנא, a man of such firm principles, he actually promised to wear תפילין everyday. Then he was allowed to donate some money. This is the יסוד. You dont get it unless you can cope with it and grow from it. Youre not even זוכה לייסורן if you cant handle them. This is תפילה as well. Its a means to make ones self a כלי to receive חסדי הקב״ה.


The חינוך continues:


ואחר הזכרה והודאה זו לפניו אנו מבקשים ממנו מה שאנו צריכים דעת או סליחה לעוונותינו או רפואה או עושר וכל דבר. וכן אחר הבקשה ממנו אנו חוזרים ומודים אליו בזה לומר כי ממנו יבוא אלינו, וזהו פתיחה וחתימה של ברכות, פן נחשב כעבד שנטל פרס מרבו והולך לו בלא רשות כמתגנב. ונמצא לפי הנחת טעם זה, שיהיה ברוך תואר, כלומר הודאה אליו כי הוא כולל כל הברכות. ובלשון יתברך שאנו מזכירין תמיד שהוא מהתפעל, נאמר שהכוונה בו שאנחנו מתחננין אליו שיהי רצון מלפניו לסבב לב בריותיו להיות נכון לפניו שיודו הכל אליו ובו יתהללו, וזהו פירוש יתברך, כלומר יהי רצון מלפניך שכל בני העולם יהיו מיחסים הברכה אליך ומודים כי ממך תתפשט בכל, ועם הודאת הכל בזה תנוח ברכתו בעולם ויושלם חפצו שהוא חפץ להיטיב כמו שאמרנו, ותשלום החפץ תכלית כל המבוקש. והנה מצאנו קצת טעם אף בלשון יתברך המתמיה. ומן השורש הזה הוא מה שאמרו זכרונם לברכה [חולין ס' ע"ב] שהקדוש ברוך הוא מתאוה לתפלתן של צדיקים, לומר שחפצו שיעשו פעולה שיזכו בה לפניו וימשיכו עליהם מטובו כי חפץ חסד הוא, ולתת עליהם מברכתו מרוב שלמותו כמו שכתבנו. וזהו השורש הגדול לכל אשר יעשה האדם טוב בעולם הזה, שזה שכרו מאת השם שמשלים חפצו באשר הוא רוצה בטובתן של בריות.


 


That the way to become a כלי is via הודאה: an admission that הקב״ה is the One who can do it. That הכרה is what gives your תפילה power. When you say רפאנו ה׳ ונרפא, what are you thinking? Is it, I have to go to the doctor but G-d help me too” or, “G-d, You are the Healer, so let this medicine work.I had a friend, who I worked with for many years, who, before taking his medicine, would say תהלים for ten minutes beforehand and then say יהי רצון שיהיה עסק זה לרפואה. He took the medicine. But he took his רפאנו seriously. He wasnt just paying lip service. You need to do השתדלות but recognize where its ultimately coming from.


What does it mean to bless G-d?He also needs your ברכה? What are you doing? ברוך means I have an awareness that He is the מקור הברכה. I understand everything comes from Him. Like a בריכה or pool. Hes the Source of all multitude. The word also has connotations of the word ברך or knee. Like the knee which goes up and down, we recognize הקב״ה as the One Who can bring down all that. But that’s all it. It’s the pure recognition that He is the מקור הכל. But the ברכה only has an effect on those who understand and appreciate that He can actually do it. If you internalize that idea that He is the מקור הכל then you can become a כלי to receive His ברכה. He doesnt give it over for free. He only gives it to מכירים. Saying, I can really do it, but some help wouldnt hurt,doesnt work. Youre missing the point. ברוך means the recognition that EVERYTHING is in His control to fulfill and nothing else. Did you actually realize that אתה חונך לאדם דעת? Did you chap that without Him you wouldnt understands a thing? When you say אהבה רבה start meaning it! You know how much you kvetch in that ברכה. Youre saying- אבינו.. האב… הרחמן… המרחם… רחם עלינו…! Youre literally begging for some דעת. G-d will not give you anything if you dont show Him you need it, realizing that He is the only one who can give it to you. Part of this is to be עמל and יגיע for תורה. If you work hard for it, it shows it means something to you[47]. Only then will He give it to you as a מתנת חנם. There is no תפילה as poignant as this one; declaring that you are nothing before Him. It’s only after that can you make philosophical declarations of שמע. That’s a הכרה.


            If you go through שמונה עשרה, youll find this trend. When you say אתה חונן, youre not asking for anything. Youre pointing out Who G-d is. Every ברכה you say is a recognition of הקב״ה as the: Healer, Savior, Benefactor etc. Even the requests are not personal. They are for the entire כלל ישראל. Except for שמע קולנו, there is no private prayer. What youre simply saying is that you are מכיר the מקור הברכה and you want that ריבוי to be expressed onto all כלל ישראל.


We say מודים אנחנו לך. It means I acquiesce. I acknowledge my total dependence on You. It doesnt mean thank. Thats what it means in the next line of נודה לך…על חיינו וכו׳. Here it’s מודים…שאתה. We admit that You are x[48]. I am כולו מכיר this reality. In truth, thanking and admitting are two sides of the same coin. As children, we dont have an issue saying thank you. Adults have a problem with the phrase. Teenagers hate saying it. They want their independence. Saying thank you is a declaration of total dependence. I admit that I am dependent on you. As an adolescent, you refuse to believe that you need someone else to help you. As you mature, you start to realize how much you need others and, naturally, saying thank you becomes that much easier.


            The כמו שידענו of תפילת ימים נוראים exemplifies this idea. Its not begging for anything. Its actually saying you chap. You have got to have a lot of guts to really say that. It means telling G-d to accept man’s ידיעה of Him. You have the confidence of telling Him עוז בידך וגבורה בימינך. It’s frightening to daven such a תפילה. But in truth, you dont have to be scared as long as you tell Him that youre doing the best you can to know. I know it will never be enough but Im doing my best.Thats all that G-d wants from you. Life doesnt have to be perfect to be wonderful. He doesnt demand perfection. He demands a wonderful life. Not a perfect life. The only thing which is perfect is death. There is no חצי שיעור of death. Dead is dead. Everything else is relative. Thats what He wants; לאו דוקא a perfect life. All He wants is you to try your best. Think about it. The goal of תפילה is הכרת השכינה. This is an impossible feat. How can man get to that point? All He wants you to do is try.



 





[1] ראה רמב״ם הל׳ ע״ז פרק א הלכה א




[2]  ראה רמב״ם יסודי התורה פרק ז הלכה ו


This is a level which no one else reached or will reach. The type of prophecy that משה experienced was very unique. As רמב״ם writes, הקב״ה actually “created” this unique in order to experience this this form of prophecy. The תרגום יונתן explains that משה saw in the סנה his teacher named שר התורה. G-d, for whatever reason, sent him this teacher to become this prophet. Obviously, he worked his way up, as משה was a בעל בחירה, but his potential was quite incredibly high.




[3] ראה שם הלכה א




[4] ראה מורה נבוכים חלק א פרק נד 




[5] ראה שער היחוד והאמונה פרק ד


The י at the beginning of the Name connotes consistency, while הווה implies existence. Therefore, the Name connotes G-d Who constantly creates existence.




[6] ראה מורה נבוכים חלק א פרק סא


The idea having a name for G-d’s “essence” is not accepted by many Jewish thinkers since concepts of infinity and essence can’t be understood together. You can’t define the Infinite. Nevertheless, the חכמי הקבלה explain that the name refers to the Source of reality. Infinity which shows itself in a mode called “source of reality” is exposed to us and thus has a name. It’s the Infinite expressed through finitude as Creator.




[7] ראה שו״ת ריב״ש סימן קנז. וראה דרך מצותיך שורש מצות התפילה פרק ח




[8] הלכות יסודי התורה פרק ז הלכה ז




[9] שם פרק ד הלכה יג




[10] ליקוטי תורה פ׳ בהר 93 מג עמוד ג




[11] The prerequisite to תפילה is תשובה. This is not easy. Making an objective assessment of your heart is never easy. How do we do this? Rav Nachman writes that the first thing is that G-d wants you to be a happy person. He wants you to have a healthy sense of self-confidence. Appreciate the good in you. Everyone has something special. Love it. Appreciate what you have. It’s an incredible זכות to be Jewish. The Commander calls you up to the Marines. It’s special. Appreciate the responsibility, potential and the job in its larger context. If not, don’t do it. you’ll get depressed. But, once you have this then open the puss. Remember this. This is the way to do genuine תשובה.




[12] שמות פרק ג פסוק ה




[13] הלכות יסודי התורה פרק ז הלכה ב




[14] ראה פרשת שמות שם. וע׳ הגהות מהרי״ץ ברוח חיים פרק א משנה א




[15] There are parts of the נשמה which doesn’t even express themselves in the body at all. That’s why you say נשמה שנתת בי טהרה היא. You don’t say טהורה היתה because it still is pure up there. Sin is experienced in נפש ורוח, your life force and emotional persona. The נשמה hovers above that.




[16] That’s why a pit which doesn’t consistently produce water is called a בור מכזב. For this reason as well the requirement of שירטוט is on דברים שיש להם אמיתה של תורה, their status will never be בטל.




[17] ע׳ רמב״ם הלכות יסודי התורה פרק א הלכות ב-ד




[18] ראה קונטרס ההתפעלות




[19] ראה דרך מצותיך זכירת ומחיית עמלק פרק א




[20] ראה דרך מצותיך מצות אהבת ה׳




[21] ע׳ ליקוטי מהר״ן ממהדורא תנינא מאמר יא




[22] ראה סוד ישרים מהדו״ת שופטים עמוד שסא




[23] See ברכות טו.




[24] ראה מורה נבוכים חלק ג פרק נג




[25] או״ח סימן קא סעיף א




[26] See ריטב״א who explains that one must wait מהלך ד׳ אמות after תפילה because “your lips are still quivering.” It means physiologically, you’re still there until after the time space of 4 אמות. It’s because you were still עומד לפני ה׳.




[27] ראה שו"ת הרשב"א חלק ה סימן נב


עוד שאלת למה נתקן נוסח הברכה מחצה נמצא ומחצה נסתר?


תשובה דע דיש לבעלי החכמה סוד נשגב ואין לנו כאן עסק בנסתרות. ואמנם יש טעם נגלה גדול התועלת במה שתקנו נוסח הברכות כן ר"ל בנגלה ובנסתר לפי שכבר ידעת דשני יסודות יש שעליהם נבנה הכל. האחד לדעת שהוא ית' מחויב המציאות ושאין ספק בזה כלל כמו שנתבאר ונתפרסם המופת עליו ביאור רב. והב' שאין אמתתו ית' מושגת כי אם לעצמו ית' לבד והוא במציאותו נגלה לכל ובאמתת מהותו נסתר ונעלם מהכל. וכדי לקבוע שתי הפנות האלה בנפשותינו קבעו הנוסח בנגלה ונסתר. ברוך אתה כמדבר עם מי שהוא נמצא מפורסם עם שהוא מדבר עמו פנים אל פנים. וכדי שלא תשבש המחשבה שהוא ית' נמצא כמציאות שאר הנמצאים (ושחס) [ושיש יחס] בין מציאותו למציאותם קבעו אשר קדשנו, לקבוע בנפשותינו שאע"פ שהוא מפורסם מהות מציאותו נעלם ונסתר שאי אפשר לדבר בו רק בנסתר ברוך הוא.




[28] ראה דברים פרק ו פסוק יח




[29] ע׳ תניא פרק ג




[30] ע׳ משנ״ב או״ח סימן קב ס״ק טו




[31] וז״ל ״ומ"ש רבינו כשיכלה הריח חוזר למקומו. כתב רבינו הגדול מהר"י אבוהב ז"ל שהטעם הוא מפני שצריך שיחזור למקום שהתחיל להתפלל שהרי צריך שיהיה לו מקום מיוחד לתפילה ע"כ. ואני אומר דאפילו לדברי מי שסובר שלא אמרו אלא שצריך להיות לו בית הכנסת מיוחד אבל לא בעי מקום מיוחד להתפלל בו וכמו שכתבתי בסימן צ' (פג. ד"ה ומ"ש ואין) שאני הכא שהתחיל כבר להתפלל וכבר קבעה השכינה מקום שם וכשבקש להתעטש נתרחק ממקום שכינה ולכך צריך הוא לחזור למקום שקבע לשכינה ולסיים שם תפילתו וגם הרמב"ם (שם) כתב שחוזר למקומו אלא שלא כתב שיחזור למקומו עד [אחר] שיאמר רבון העולמים וכו' ורבינו כתב שיחזור קודם שיאמר רבון העולמים ונקטינן כדברי הרמב"ם ז"ל:״




[32] ראה מו״נ ח״ג פרק יח ורמב״ן איוב פרק לז פסוק ז




[33] see תוספות ו.




[34] וראה לשון רש״י ברכות ה: וז״ל ״הלמענך תעזב ארץ - וכי סבור היית שבשבילך שיצאת, תסתלק השכינה ויעזוב את חבירך המתפלל לפניו.״ וע״ע שו״ת גאונים דפוס ליק סימן קיג וערוך.




[35] ע׳ פרקי דר״א ד״ה הוא אחד ושמו אחד




[36] ref. Illusions by Richard Bach




[37]ע׳ ברכות נו עמוד ב׳ ד״ה וציפור ושם ביאור הגר״א לאגדות


This is the Gemara which describes three forms of peace: the bird the kettle and the river. One who can’t live someone else creates a divide between him and the other, like the river which divides. That’s one way of dealing with things. We can’t interact. Others are like the kettle. Fire and water don’t interact well together. But if you place a מחצה של ברזל between them, they work very well to make a hot cup of tea. That’s what you call remote proximity. The ultimate proximity of דעת is the bird. Up and down are all one.




[38] בראשית פרק א סוף פירושו לפסוק א




[39] תגרום ירושלמי בראשית פרק א פסוק א.




[40] See רמב״ן by כלאים as he explains this is the reason for the איסור. To mix to species would undo סדר עולמות.


See דרך ה׳ פרק ה אות ב as well on this topic.




[41] See גר״א ישיעהו פרק ה who describes that when one asks for מטר, he’s asking for נבואה from above. Here there’s rain. But if the world had כלים, it would receive רוח הקודש as well. If you ask for דגן תירוש ויצהר, you ask for חכמה בינה ודעת. If you ask for אוכל לבהמתך, you’re asking for השרת חכמה לחיות הקודש. I’m asking for food for my cow. But behind it it’s מזון לחיות הקודש and is expressed in food for animals. There is so much behind what we see and the more הכרה, the more impact it has.




[42] מצוה ת״ל




[43] ראה שער היחוד והאמונה פרק ב




[44] בראשית פרק א פסוק כח




[45] שם פסוק ד




[46] ע׳ סנהדרין ק. וראה עולת ראי״ה חלק א עמוד קנז ד״ה אנא




[47] ע׳ בני יששכר חודש סיון מאמר ד אות ג




[48] See פחד יצחק חנוכה.



 

 

השיעור ניתן בכ"ג שבט תשע"ט

קוד השיעור: 8501

סרוק כדי להעלות את השיעור באתר:

A Compilation of Several Sichot given in KBY (זמן חורף תשעט)

לשליחת שאלה או הארה בנוגע לשיעור:




הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
E K
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
E K
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
E 2 K
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
E 2 P K
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
ע 2 K
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
ע 2 P K
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
ע K
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
הרב מנחם מנדל בלכמן
E 2 P K
הרב ישי בוכריס
הרב ישי בוכריס
ע K
הרב זכריה טובי <br> ראש הכולל
הרב זכריה טובי
ראש הכולל
ע K
הרב משה סתיו
הרב משה סתיו
ע 2
הרב משה סתיו
הרב משה סתיו
ע 2
הרב משה סתיו
הרב משה סתיו
ע 2