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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Jewish Prayer Direct to G-d

One of the most wonderful things about Judaism is that we don't need an intermediary to pray to G-d.  That's one of main lessons we learn from the Biblical story of Chana (Hannah) in Shiloh.

After almost four hundred years of a leaderless anarchy, when after conquering the Promised Land, it was time for the Jewish People to take the next step and choose a king. 
Judges Chapter 21 שׁוֹפְטִים
כה  בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם, אֵין מֶלֶךְ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל:  אִישׁ הַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינָיו, יַעֲשֶׂה.  {ש} 25 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes. {P}
It took a woman to finally set this in motion.

The Biblical Chana, barren, though married to Elkanah who had many children with his other wife, Penina, couldn't understand why Chana wasn't satisfied with her life.  During one of their pilgrimages to the Mishkan, Holy Tabernacle in Shiloh, Chana went to pray.  She prayed for a son who would be dedicated to work for G-d and the Jewish People.
1 Samuel Chapter 1 שְׁמוּאֵל א
א  וַיְהִי אִישׁ אֶחָד מִן-הָרָמָתַיִם, צוֹפִים--מֵהַר אֶפְרָיִם; וּשְׁמוֹ אֶלְקָנָה בֶּן-יְרֹחָם בֶּן-אֱלִיהוּא, בֶּן-תֹּחוּ בֶן-צוּף--אֶפְרָתִי. 1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of the hill-country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
ב  וְלוֹ, שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים--שֵׁם אַחַת חַנָּה, וְשֵׁם הַשֵּׁנִית פְּנִנָּה; וַיְהִי לִפְנִנָּה יְלָדִים, וּלְחַנָּה אֵין יְלָדִים. 2 And he had two wives: the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
ג  וְעָלָה הָאִישׁ הַהוּא מֵעִירוֹ מִיָּמִים יָמִימָה, לְהִשְׁתַּחֲו‍ֹת וְלִזְבֹּחַ לַיהוָה צְבָאוֹת בְּשִׁלֹה; וְשָׁם שְׁנֵי בְנֵי-עֵלִי, חָפְנִי וּפִנְחָס, כֹּהֲנִים, לַיהוָה. 3 And this man went up out of his city from year to year to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there priests unto the LORD.
ו  וְכִעֲסַתָּה צָרָתָהּ גַּם-כַּעַס, בַּעֲבוּר הַרְּעִמָהּ:  כִּי-סָגַר יְהוָה, בְּעַד רַחְמָהּ. 6 And her rival vexed her sore, to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.
ז  וְכֵן יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁנָה בְשָׁנָה, מִדֵּי עֲלֹתָהּ בְּבֵית יְהוָה--כֵּן, תַּכְעִסֶנָּה; וַתִּבְכֶּה, וְלֹא תֹאכַל. 7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she vexed her; therefore she wept, and would not eat.
ח  וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ אֶלְקָנָה אִישָׁהּ, חַנָּה לָמֶה תִבְכִּי וְלָמֶה לֹא תֹאכְלִי, וְלָמֶה, יֵרַע לְבָבֵךְ:  הֲלוֹא אָנֹכִי טוֹב לָךְ, מֵעֲשָׂרָה בָּנִים. 8 And Elkanah her husband said unto her: 'Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?'
י  וְהִיא, מָרַת נָפֶשׁ; וַתִּתְפַּלֵּל עַל-יְהוָה, וּבָכֹה תִבְכֶּה. 10 and she was in bitterness of soul--and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
יא  וַתִּדֹּר נֶדֶר וַתֹּאמַר, יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת אִם-רָאֹה תִרְאֶה בָּעֳנִי אֲמָתֶךָ וּזְכַרְתַּנִי וְלֹא-תִשְׁכַּח אֶת-אֲמָתֶךָ, וְנָתַתָּה לַאֲמָתְךָ, זֶרַע אֲנָשִׁים--וּנְתַתִּיו לַיהוָה כָּל-יְמֵי חַיָּיו, וּמוֹרָה לֹא-יַעֲלֶה עַל-רֹאשׁוֹ. 11 And she vowed a vow, and said: 'O LORD of hosts, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of Thy handmaid, and remember me, and not forget Thy handmaid, but wilt give unto Thy handmaid a man-child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.'
יב  וְהָיָה כִּי הִרְבְּתָה, לְהִתְפַּלֵּל לִפְנֵי יְהוָה; וְעֵלִי, שֹׁמֵר אֶת-פִּיהָ. 12 And it came to pass, as she prayed long before the LORD, that Eli watched her mouth.
יג  וְחַנָּה, הִיא מְדַבֶּרֶת עַל-לִבָּהּ--רַק שְׂפָתֶיהָ נָּעוֹת, וְקוֹלָהּ לֹא יִשָּׁמֵעַ; וַיַּחְשְׁבֶהָ עֵלִי, לְשִׁכֹּרָה. 13 Now Hannah, she spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice could not be heard; therefore, Eli thought she had been drunken.
G-d answered Chana's prayers, and she gave birth to a son, who was the Prophet Shmuel (Samuel,) the person who led the Jewish People after the capture of the Holy Ark and anointed the first two kings, Saul and David.

For the past few years I have been inviting women to join me at Shiloh HaKeduma, Tel Shiloh for Rosh Chodesh Prayers.  Shiloh is easily accessible by public or private transportation.  Please spread the word.

Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Av
Monday, July 8, 2013
1 Av 5773, 8:30am
Tour of Tel & Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors

תפילת נשים
ראש חודש אב בתל שילה

יום ב' 8-7 א' אב תשע"ג 8:30
יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל
נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות
There's now a very interesting and well kept up tourist center in Shiloh, Shiloh HaKeduma, at Tel Shiloh.  You can arrange tours and events there by emailing visit@telshilo.org.il or call 02-994-4019.


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