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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Why bother praying?

Yoma 76

Why must I pray to G-d for my needs?  Doesn’t He know what I need? 

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s students asked him: Why did the manna need to fall daily in the desert?  Why could it not simply fall once a year, why the need for a daily miracle?  Rashbi responded: Let me tell you a story.  There was once a king who would give his son an annual stipend.  As a result, the prince would come just once a year to pick up his cheque. 

The king decided to change the arrangement to a daily stipend.  This way, the son would remember on a daily basis where his sustenance was coming from and thereby have a regular relationship with his father, the king.   Similarly, explained Rashbi, the manna descended daily – an individual who had four or five children would worry lest the manna not fall tomorrow and their offspring would perish of hunger.  This fear directed one’s heart Heavenward on a constant basis.

The Almighty wants us to have a regular conversation with Him.  He always provides for us, but sometimes we forget where our bread is buttered.  Our daily prayer routine reminds us of our Father, the King and enables us to have a relationship with Him.  G-d doesn’t need our prayers to provide for us, but He wants us to be connected with Him. 

Prayer is a gift from G-d – the ability to have a constant relationship and conversation with our Father in Heaven.