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Pesukei D’Zimrah: Baruch She’amar: Degel Machane Ephraim: Constant Renewal

The 17th of Iyar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sadlikov, grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, author of Degel Machaneh Ephraim (1748-1800): An important principle in the service of the Creator is that faith is of its essence. My grandfather, the Baal Shem Tov emphasized that it is the basis of the entire Torah and divine service. King David said, “all your commandments are rooted in faith (Psalms 119:86),” because the essence of the Commandments is belief in God. Only he who believes that God renews the act of Creation every day can pray every day; for as he becomes a new creature each day: and the world are newly created, he must pray and give praise and thanks to Him who created everything, including himself.


Likewise, he must pray for himself, for his wife and children, for his daily sustenance, and for all appropriate things.

If you do not believe with complete faith that God renews the act of Creation each day, then you will see prayer and the Mitzvot as commonplace and meaningless, and you will score in the recitation of the same words every day.

My grandfather spoke in this vein when he commented on the verse, “Do not cast me off in old age (Psalms 71:9).” This means that prayers should not be considered old by the supplicant. Just as old age causes weakness in man’s limbs, because of the diminishing powers, juices, and circulation of the blood that keeps man alive, so it is with matters of the spirit.

That which is old, prayer by rote, gives man neither great pleasure nor vitality. This is not the case with something new; prayer in which the worshiper believes in senses immediate relevance.

This is the meaning of, “consider them (the words of the Torah) each day as new,” for “they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23).” “They are new every morning,” refers to God renewing the act of Creation daily, and because of this, “great is Your faithfulness.” The us, faith is the foundation of prayer and the Commandments. (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Ephraim; Degel Machne Ephraim: Eikev)

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