This week’s parsha (Torah portion of the week)-Ve’etchanan- the name of which means Tefilah (prayer), teaches us the proper way to pray.
There are four conditions necessary in order for Tefilah to be accepted:
- One must approach prayer as a pauper knocking upon the door of a potential benefactor, realizing that he is totally dependent on this person and, on his own, is powerless to help himself.
- One must beseech G-d’s mercy, recognizing that all and any merit that he might have has been inundated by the good that he has already received in his life. True, he has attached a Mezuza (parchment scroll) to his doorpost but who gave him the house? True, he has Tzitzit (4 corner garment with strings) on the corners of his garment but who gave him clothing? True, he wears Tefilin (phylacteries) on his arm but who gave him that arm and the rest of his body?
- One must daven (pray) at the proper times designated for prayer (morning, afternoon and evening). This, of course, does not preclude spontaneous cries and supplications to G-d. However, there are designated times for Tefilah which compel us to reach out to and place our trust in Hashem (G-d) at crucial junctures of our daily cycle. Ignoring these designated times exhibits a certain degree of casualness in our approach to our Creator. That is clearly not an effective mode for prayer.
- One must clearly express what he is praying for. Although Hashem is very precisely aware of our needs without our specifically mentioning it, Tefilah is necessary for us to recognize the source of all that we have. Only through clear delineation in Tefilah is that point driven home.
adapted by AishTamid of Los Angeles/Rabbi Ciner