Prayer in the brit relationship
Another problem of the Jewish standing prayer, the 18 blessings stand in place of sacrifices. A sacrifice absolutely requires a confession whereas the 3rd blessing of the middle blessings does not qualify as a confession and as such a person add in the last or 13th middle blessing a proper confession, never the less the essential language of the standing prayer lacks a confession. How can the standing prayer exist in place of sacrifices when the latter absolutely requires a confession and the former has none?
Confession of Moshe Rabbenu
The gemarah in yoma 39 brings a dispute between the Sages and R. Meir. R. Meir brings the confession of Moshe following the sin of the golden calf whereas the Sages bring the confession employed by king David Ezra and Daniel, the sages poskined like the Nach! How could the Sages poskin the halacha against Moshe the Teacher of Israel and the halacha follow their opinion?
The general rule: individual and majority the halacha follows the majority in judgments from the rabbis.
The framers of the standing prayer did not include the confession of Moshe the Teacher of Israel because it was a confession from the rabbis! Rather they employed a confession from the Torah. The Talmud teaches that the agent of a person is like the person that sent him. If a sacrifice of holiness is like the agent of the person offering it and the agent is holy so too the person sending his agent must be holy. A sacrifice is where a person stands before an altar and makes an Oath/brit, this oath is most sacred! Hence the sacrifice, the agent of the person making the oath also is sacred.
The 13 middle blessings of the standing prayer their purpose: requests, being that a person can dedicate his/her soul to the Divine Name. If a person dedicates his/her soul unto the Divine Name, what is the name of a persons' dedicated Soul? The Name whose numerical value equals 26! Hence the intent of prayer is not unto the Creator who "sits" in heaven but rather the Creator whose habitation fills the soul of man. Consequently Moshe the Teacher of Israel said say not who will go up to Heaven to get this Torah rather its something very close to you its in your heart!
Bnai Noach Prayer Book
The Rav is currently working to establish a Bnai Noach prayer book. If i may add i'd like to discuss kavannah.
According to the Talmud, prayer lacking kavannah shares comparison to not praying at all! Prayer qualifies as a matter of the heart. The Talmud teaches that ideally one should have a fixed place where one prays. To my limited understanding the intent of the gemarah of brachot concerns not a fixed external place but rather a fixed internal place. Moshe the Teacher of Israel said that the Torah was not in the heavens rather its place being very close to a person - in the heart!
The Tur son of the Rosh ruled that the gemarah's teaching of a fixed place was the bet kenneset. This makes sense because of the Safer Torah. (Side note Bnai Noach need to make a Capital acquisition of a Safer Torah as soon as possible! Have investigated and found that an older Safer Torah goes for something between $10,000 to $15,000) None the less the difficulty to this opinion being the obvious the bet kenneset is an external form rather than an internal substance.
Yosef Karo in his famous Shulhan Aruch rules like Rabbano Yona. Rabbano Yona was a scholar during the period of the great dispute over Rambam's Mishneh Torah, he opposed the Rambam and as a result the dispute spread to the goyim and a decree was issued to burn all the gemarahs found in France. This was an absolute disaster to the Jewish community, because all gemarahs at this time were hand written - this was before the invention of the printing press! Rabbano Yona deeply regretted his opposition to Rambam and later wrote The Gates of Repentance. Rabbano Yona understood the gemarah of brachot, that the allusion to have a fixed place could not be a bet kenneset because all places in the bet kenneset were holy and that therefore he concluded that the fixed place must be in a person's home when he/she prayed. The difficulty to this line of reasoning being that a person at his home could put on tefillen, because tefillen have the din of a Safer Torah! Still the same difficulty his ruling fails to address, prayer is a matter of the heart and not the place!
My rav, Rav Aaron Nemuraskii of blessed memory instructed me concerning the ruling made by the Rosh. Its basis was Rashe explanation of a gemarah of Yoma, if i remember correctly, the Rosh/Rashe opinion was that a person on the festivals and Days of Judgment should have a particular prayer in his/her heart.
The Reshonim spoke very briefly, they just gave the chapter headings, a person with access to the primary sources could employ their hint and seek to understand the depths of the primary sources.
This approach to learning Rav Nemuraskii also followed. Serious people they need to find out for themselves, they don't need spoon feeding like a baby.
For me the fixed place in prayer is the pairings of the Festivals and Days of Awe. I remember where i stood and what i prayed at those particular moments in time and have a fixed place in my standing prayer where i remember them. Over the year as i learn Torah, i get a deeper insight of what i really meant when i prayed during the festivals and days of Awe.
One day i'd like to discuss Divine Names and how to employ them, but this is a very advanced teaching, students of Torah as well as their teacher must be in a state of T'hora. Rav Nemuraskii told me this was the most difficult and complex area of Torah that he encountered. When he taught i'd sit across from him and we'd learn together for 4 to 6 hour stretches, he was a very humble man, i miss his presence terribly. After learning we'd paint houses together and say the Mishnaot of Shabbos from memory while we worked. My Rav fought in the 1948 war of Independence, did he have stories! He was big on review he learned Sha's 8 times with Rav Elyashiv and reviewed each page that he learned 8 times! Rav Elyashiv gave me his blessing and his sons danced at my wedding. From Rav Nemuraskii i gained a method to learn the Sha's thanks to him i now have sha's at my fingertips. He was a great teacher of Torah.
The prayer shawl constitutes as a component of prayer and praying.
It appears to me that a four cornered garment has to have a minimum size before becoming fit to have ציצית. The obligation to wear ציצית rests upon a person and not the garment. The act of wrapping this ציצית around the person constitutes as witness that a bnai brit person accepts the obligation that the Ancient of Days
שאלהים הוא האלהים ושאין לישראל שום אלהים אחר
The commandments testify concerning the faithfulness of Israel to guard and maintain the integrity of our brit relationship. That non-Bnai Brit nations bow down and worship other gods the commandment of ציצית does not negate; only that we the bnai brit peoples shall worship in faith האלהים of our fathers.
Its not natural during the daily walk of life facing complexity stress and pressure for a finite person to strive to comprehend infinity. The ציצית by there unique presence can assist a person to keep a humble perspective of life. That todays troubles and turmoils shall transform into yesterdays old news. Practicing diplomacy among our divided and arguing alliance of peoples requires a sense of humility and humor. Its so easy to get caught up in life and begin to take one's self a little to seriously. We as human beings exist as works in progress. We Bnai Brit folk live as mere threads in the weaving of our national soul, called Israel through the generations.
ציצית concern the living and not the dead. The living need to struggle to bind the wounds of hatred that destroys the dignity of Israel among the nations. That the enemies of Israel hate the bnai brit peoples, this we can not change. That the bnai brit allied peoples hate and despise each other - the Shoah testifies that we the living must do Repentance. When the commandments become an excuse for the bnai brit allied peoples to hate one another then the commandments - our internal hatred and arrogance - transform beauty into strange works and loathing abominations.
When the commandments become an excuse for the bnai brit allied peoples to hate one another then the commandments - our internal hatred and arrogance
I don't understand this.
What do you mean?
The prophets compared Israel to a planted grape vine. However when Israel employed Torah as an excuse to pursue the desires of their hearts the prophets called Israel a wild vine.
A sacrifice contains great holiness. But a sacrifice with the wrong intentions the Torah calls an abomination. The Talmud debates if commandments require intent. Everyone agrees that time oriented commandments require intent/kavannah. Both sacrifices and strings qualify as time oriented commandments, as such both require kavannah.
Excellent question i hope this may help. Usually the question is better than the answer. At least i found this so in my experience
A further amplification
The Talmud and midrash debate whether bn offered only burnt offerings or also peace offerings. The kavannah of pigul, improper time or place, could turn a holy offering into an abomination. This teaching of the Talmud which interprets the intent of the 3rd book of Moshe gives meaning to the power and intent of kavannah! Prayer, according to the Talmud stands in place of sacrifices. As sacrifices require kavannah so too Prayer requires kavannah. The form of prayer: reading words found in a prayer-book.
The substance of prayer: kavannah! Substance and form work together and go hand in glove, but if a person looses his glove this in no way compares to losing his hand! The common denominator between sacrifices and ציצית: as time oriented commandments both require kavannah. Because ציצית teaches deep ideas whereas the 4 cornered garment functions only as a garment ציצית annexes the garment and the garment is only an accessory of ציצית. From this a person can grapple with 1 of the central emotional attributes, namely בטל. The emotion of בטל addresses the education of children's behavior unto their parents, as expressed in the commandment " honor your father and mother."
Its almost Purim, a very happy holiday. On Purim Jews read the book of Ester. The rabbinic commandment to read the book of Ester is a time oriented commandment. Some folk among my people say that reading the book of Ester with kavannah its interpretation: hearing every word that the public reader says. The problem with this childish and silly interpretation, Quill as a woman for you to hear the reading your standing behind a curtain which separates men from women. As i said Purim is a very happy festival and at the reading when the public reader says the name Haman the place explodes with noise. What happens if you miss a word have you not accomplished the commandment having kavannah!
Rather interpreting the intent of a gemarah a student of Torah must rely and employ the Middot of logic. There are several known schools of logic. Rabbi Yosi HaGallil?, a contemporary of R. Akiva, has 32 rules of logic. Toward the end of the 3rd chapter of Rosh Ha Shannah the Mishneh says If a person has Kavannah he has fulfilled the commandment of reading the book of Ester on Purim. If a person does not have Kavannah he has not fulfilled the commandment of reading the book of Ester on Purim.
The Vilna Gaon writes that "the King" is a hint unto the Ancient of Days. The book of Ester is unique in that it has no Divine Names! What does the word "hint" mean? According to Rabbi Yosi's rules of logic, #29, one possible meaning for hint - a numerical value. The numerical value of "the King" equals the numerical value of "Haman"!
When the public reader say "Haman" the place explodes with noise b/c the kavannah being to wipe out the name of Amelek, a commandment from the Torah. Now if "Haman" has a special kavannah and "the King" which is said many times more than "Haman" and has the same numerical value as "Haman" then its reasonable to assume that it also has a special kavannah! Why is Purim a happy festival for Am Israel? Because we accepted the Torah with love the Ancient of Days saved us from destruction by the hand of Amelek! If a person has kavannah when he/she hears the word "the King" to accept the Torah this person fulfills his/her obligation to have intent when reading the book of Ester. Accepting the Torah revelation given at Sinai means : not to go in the pathways of the nations. A person who goes in the pathways of the nations among the bnai brit peoples is called "a person of the earth" or a very very ignorant ass. The people of the earth pray to their god(s).
Accepting the Torah constitutes as a choice. "The King" means choice. A blessing has to have "Kingship". This is the halacha of R. Yohannan in the gemarah of brachot. The standing prayer lacks Kingship?! The Baali Tosaphot, the grand children of Rashe, say that when a person says Elohe Avraham etc. that here in a person has brought Kingship and thereby makes a blessing.
How is Elohe Avraham Kingship? Choice! and you learn it from the book of Ester and the gemarah of Rosh Ha-Shannah! Understanding being a thing placed into another thing! The standing prayer is adjacent to the Yoke of heaven: Hear Israel etc. because there in accepting the yoke of heaven, (this requires tefillen, tefillen having the din of a Safer Torah, thereby allowing a person to make a proper Oath), its Kavannah: accepting the oaths made by the fathers upon oneself. Hence the word "One" goes on the person accepting the obligations of the oaths made by the fathers of Israel. And the Standing Prayer is adjacent to the Yoke of Heaven because a person "chooses" to go in the pathways of the Fathers of Israel. And this according to the Baali Tosaphot makes this praise into a Blessing, because this choice gives kingship to the standing praise thereby making "Prayer". Hence an implied understanding of the Baali Tosaphot being that they hold that prayer is a commandment from the Torah. Which commandment? Honor your father and mother! Now we've gone full circle and returned to the kavannah of ציצית! cool.