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What is the Reason: Tzaddik Print E-mail

whyWhat is the reason we ask Tzaddikim (Righteous People) to pray for us? R. K.

The Talmud (Bava Kamma 116a) teaches that one should go in search of a Torah Scholar for a blessing to be saved from suffering.

The Rema (Yoreh Dei’ah 335:10) when discussing the laws of visiting the sick and caring for one who is dying, recommends going to the “sage of the city” to request a blessing for the person who is ill. The Ateret Zekainim (Orach Chaim 110) says that this is based on the historical fact that the Children of Israel would consult with the Urim V’Tumim of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin (Supreme Court) before going to war. Rashi (Berachot 3b) explains that they consulted the Sanhedrin in order for the rabbis to pray for them. The Meromai Sadeh points out that they asked for the prayers of the Sanhedrin even after being instructed by the High Priest to go into battle.

My favorite source is Nachmanides description and explanation of the counting of Israel by Moses and Aaron: Each person would step in front of these two giants and introduce themselves in order that Moses and Aaron could recognize each individual and bless them.

If, during Temple times, it was necessary for a penitent to bring a sacrifice in order to achieve atonement, how can we, who do not have the opportunity to make offerings achieve the same atonement? F.G.

The Mabit answers (Beit Elokim, Chapter 2) that a sin during Temple times was considerably worse, as it was in the face of the Divine Presence, and therefore required an offering to repair its damage. However, we who unfortunately do not live with a Temple do not cause as much damage when we sin. That is why we do not need an offering to achieve full atonement.

Why do we not make a blessing on the pleasure of physical relations? P. M.

The Ya’avetz (Mor U’ketzia #240) and the Derech Pikudecha (Positive Commandment 1; Dibbur 1) both hold that we do not bless the pleasure because we should only be focused on the Mitzvah. That would not explain why we do not recite a Mitzvah blessing on relations. We would have to examine whether the actual Mitzvah is to be fruitful and relations are, not the fulfillment of the commandment, but the means by which we fulfill our Mitzvah. There is another practical consideration which is we do not know before relations whether we will derive and give pleasure. The Asher Yatzar we recite afterward can be considered the post-mitzvah blessing.

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