Online Adult Jewish learning

Prayers Course Information:

Course InfoDetailsSyllabusSample Lecture
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Prayers Series:
Prayers & Blessings

Below is a small excerpt from the Introductory Lesson


An Understanding of G-d

Sefer HaChinuch (The Book of Education see above) also identified the role of prayer relative to G-ds omnipotence. Rabbi Yoseph Albo (1380-1444, Spain) explains this concept:

Rabbi Yoseph Albo (Sefer HaIkkarim / Book of Fundamentals):

Prayer is an outgrowth of ones belief in divine providence. No one can engage in sincere prayer unless he believes that G-d can intervene in any circumstance whether favorable or unfavorable to determine its outcome. Someone who doubted either G-ds knowledge of human affairs or His ability to influence the outcome of events, would not pray.

Rabbi Moshe, son of Nachman (Nachmanides, 1194-1270, Spain) gives us a deeper insight into the recognition of G-d which prayer arouses, and upon which prayer depends. Nachmanides stresses that prayer is an outgrowth of our belief in the miraculous nature of divine providence:

Nachmanides (Collected Writings Discourse on Torah):

A person could not engage in serious prayer, be it for his wellbeing or for salvation from a difficult circumstance, unless he believed that G-d performs miracles regularly, albeit often enough in the guise of natural occurrences. Know that the only difference between the spectacular miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea, and more subtle forms of divine intervention as a response to our prayers, is that the former is an openly apparent miracle, while the latter is more likely a hidden miracle, which could be attributed to natural circumstances.

Both Rabbi Albo and Nachmanides make it clear that, more than a vehicle through which we make requests of G-d, prayer is a far-reaching statement of our belief in G-d. Prayer, both for our physical needs (as health, success in financial matters, and peace) and for our spiritual needs (as forgiveness, and assistance in moral improvement), express our conviction that G-d is the Creator Who controls the outcome of all events, Who knows our needs and Who responds to our prayers. Prayer is also a privilege which enables us to request G-ds intervention for ourselves and on behalf of others.