The Mitzvah of Prayer
The opinion of Nachmanides (the Ramban) regarding prayer is well known. It is found in his work called “Comments of The Ramban to the Book of Mitzvot”. He explains that prayer cannot be defined as a Torah obligation. Rather, it is an expression of Gd’s kindness to listen to all who call out to Him in prayer, just as a loving king, in his great mercy, listens to the requests of his people. Perhaps, according to this approach, prayer is more than a mitzvah since it represents the essential connection between man and his Creator.
In contrast to this, Maimonides (the Rambam) counts prayer as one of the six hundred and thirteen mitzvot of the Torah (Sefer Hamitzvot, mitzvah 5). According to his ruling it is one’s daily obligation to pray to
One may ask what these two great Torah giants are arguing about. What is the gain or loss (other than the one mentioned above) if we call prayer a command or not?
As in any dialogue, there are two parties involved.
From the perspective of man’s responsibility in the world, prayer as a command teaches a person that he is obligated to express his belief in
If, however, we look at prayer from
A difference between these two approaches would be in a case where someone didn’t pray because he felt absolutely sure that