Prayer Essentials

For the week ending 27 June 2015 / 10 Tammuz 5775

Shemoneh Esrei: The Fourteenth Blessing: Part 3

by Rabbi Yitzchak Botton
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

One morning, as Moish exits the shul building he sees Dave, a young member, with a tzedaka box. He stops and asks him what he’s collecting for. “It is for my wedding.” “Mazel Tov!” Moish says as he looks at the change in the box — a collection of pennies and nickels with an occasional quarter. “When is the big day?” he asks as he reaches into his pocket for some change. “When I collect enough money for the wedding,” Dave’s resplies. Moish then reconsiders and hands Dave a five dollar bill, adding, “I’m sure she’s a great young woman. Good luck!”

Every request for the redemption is like a penny in our story. When we beseech G-d to bring the final redemption, it is not a personal request for the benefit of one person or a small group of people; rather it is for the entire Jewish People throughout every generation. Accordingly, one should realize that it will not be the prayers of one generation that will merit the redemption, but rather the prayers of every generation will be collected together, as in the story, and when there will be enough merit — G-d will answer us.

A question remains. The Jewish People have been praying together three times a day for millennia for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Beit Hamikdash. How is it that we have not yet merited to see our prayers answered?

Answer: Even if a prayer seems to go unanswered, it does not mean that the prayer was in vain, Heaven forbid. Besides adding to the collection of prayers, the person will also be rewarded for fulfilling a positive commandment, as well as for expressing his faith in G-d, the only One Who can grant his requests. This is true regarding all prayer; how much more so will one be rewarded for the selfless prayer for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, when the glory of G-d will fill the world, as it is said about the end of days, “It will be on that day that G-d will be One and His name will be One.” (Beit Elokim)

In fact, every letter and word said in prayer for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the final redemption is precious to G-d. He receives much joy and pleasure when His children, although suffering in exile, place the suffering of the Divine Presence which has also been exiled, first. Even though G-d has not rebuilt Jerusalem because the appointed time has not arrived yet, we have done our part in continuing to pray each day for the final redemption. (The Path of the Just).

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