The Sefer ha-Aggadah on Prayer

Sukkoth is over, but I am still reading the Sefer ha-Aggadah. I had already discovered in myself the flaw that though possessing the desire to learn, I did little to teach others. Now I was reminded of a flaw I already knew I have:

When you pray, make your prayer not routine but a plea for mercy and supplication before the Holy One, blessed be He.

Rabbi Eliezer said: When a prayer is routine, it is not a supplication.

What is meant by a routine? R. Jacob bar Idi said in the name of R. Hoshaia: Anyone whose prayer is to him nothing but a heavy burden. The sages said: He who does not say it as one supplicating. R. Josephboth said: He who is unable to bring anything fresh into it. Abba bar Avin and R. Hanina bar Avin both said: He who does not make an effort to pray [in the morning and in the evening at the proper time, namely] when the sun appears to stand still.

I believe my prayers are sincere enough. Yet they are not by any means daily, and I have a tendency to get up late and ignore the setting sun. There have been a few times when I have tried to keep the Torah in the fullest since: praying as a Jew, and not merely eating as one or going to the synagogue on Shabbat. Unfortunately, it seemed beyond my reach. I especially wish I had the self-discipline to do it because traditionally it was only men who were required to do the ultimate: set prayers three times a day, including morning prayers and evening prayers.

I am reminded of what is theoretically the worse Jew: a rabbi had a son who spent his night out carousing. When he got home, his father made him say his morning prayers before sending him to bed. I guess that adds some spice to what must be dull to at least some of the people reading it.

Published by hadassahalderson

I am a professional author who lives in Wichita, KS. I went to Friends University and spent one year at Claremont Graduate University. My published work includes: The Bible According to Eve I-IV and Faust in Love.

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