PRAYER (pps.176-183)

hard cover page 178

Prayer is fundamentally a twofold cry: first, a call that God hear our prayer in the here-and-now— that Hester Panim not be effected. We are mevakesh oenei Elohim (“seekers of the face od god”), asking that God manifest his consciousness in the here-and-now.624 We call for the Rachok, the “Far One” to become Karov, the “Near One.”

Prayer is an attempt to pierce the veils of contracted consciousness.625

Hear my words, O Lord;
penetrate my thoughtful meditations;
Hearken unto the voice of my cry …
-Psalms 5:2-3

Incline Thine ear, O Lord, and hear;
open Thine eyes, O Lord, and see. . .
-Isaiah 37: 15

Ye fast not this day
So as to make your voice to be heard on high.
-Isaiah 58:2

Rouse Thyself!
Why sleepest Thou, O Lord?
-Psalms 44:18626

From Thy Abode, our king, appear…

Prayer is also a cry that God intervene,628 that God should, in effect, increase our dependence, inasmuch as the price we pay for our independence is too heavy.

Prayer is secondly a call that God hear and accept the specifics of our tefillot (prayers), our supplications and entreaties, our praise, our thanksgiving (tachnunim, shevach, ve-hodaya).

Though our tefillot are heard out-of-time, if the real-time consciousness of God is contracted to the point where the probability of short-term efficacy of tefillah is low, what then is

——————- NOTES ——————-

624 See Buber, Eclipse of God, p. 126. “. . . prayer . . . ultimately asks for the manifestation of the divine presence, for this Presence’s becoming dialogically perceivable.”

625 See Heschel, Man’s Quest for God, p. 11. “In all his prayers he begs, explicitly or implicity, ‘Do not forsake me, O Lord.’ ”

626 T B. Sotah 48 records that the Levites of the First Temple recited this very psalm to awaken the slumbering God.

627 See Luban, “The Kaddish,” p. 214 (juxtaposing the Kedushah and the Kaddish). “[The Kaddish] is not only a prayer to God. It is a prayer for God, for the manifestation of His presence.”

628 See Heschel, Man’s Quest for God, p. 15. “Prayer is an invitation to God to intervene in our lives, to let His will prevail in our affairs; it is the opening of a window to Him in our will, an effort to make Him the Lord of our soul.”


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