Peninei Halakha

01. Prayer

Prayer is one of the principal expressions of belief in God. People are not perfect; they are flawed and they long to improve themselves. They therefore turn to the Creator of the world in prayer.

Human imperfection is apparent on two levels. Most people feel a need to pray to God only when their daily routines are disrupted. For example, when someone is ill or injured and her pain intensifies, when she understands that all the doctors in the world cannot guarantee her health and well-being, and only God, in Whose hands is the soul of every living thing, can cure her and grant her a long happy life – then she prays to God from the depth of her heart to heal her. So it is, whenever a calamity befalls a person, her livelihood suffers, enemies rise against her, or her close friends turn their backs on her. She then understands how the good things in her life hang in the balance and she turns to God to help and save her. However, when daily routines function in their usual proper manner, most people do not detect anything missing and generally do not feel a need to pray to God.

Those who delve more deeply understand that even their everyday lives are not perfect. Even when they are healthy and earning a steady income, their family life is good, their friends are loyal, and the situation in their country is stable, perceptive people sense their existential inadequacy. They know that their lives are finite, and even if all goes well, there will come a day when they will die of old age. Now, too, when they are young and strong, they are unable to comprehend everything in their lives, and not everything turns out the way they intended. They cannot achieve all of their aspirations or fully attain even one goal. Out of this sense of inadequacy, they turn to God, the God of the heavens and the earth, the only One Who can redeem them from their imperfection. By connecting with God in prayer, people begin the process of fulfillment and redemption.

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Translated By:
Series Editor: Rabbi Elli Fischer

The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman