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Prayer Skills-Ramban-A Gift of Love

The 11th of Nisan is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Moshe ben Nachman, the Ramban: in my opinion, “seeking God,” always refers to prayer. It is thus written, “I sought God and He answered me (Psalms 34:5Pesukei d’Zimrah-Shabbat & Festivals),” and, “Seek Me and live (Amos 5:4).” [Ramban: Genesis 25:22]


We must dispute the Rambam’s contention that prayer is a commandment of the Torah, since the Talmud clearly states that it was ordained by the rabbis. The Rambam himself states that even though the time and text of prayer is not ordained by the Torah, the basic obligation is. This also does not seem to be correct. For if it is not a daily obligation, then when does the Torah require prayer? Is it enough that one pray once a year, or even once during his lifetime?

It is therefore certain that the concept of prayer is not an obligation at all. It is merely a feature of God’s love, that He listens and answers whenever we call Him.

When the Torah says, “Serve Him with all your heart,” the main intent is to command that all our service of God be with all our hearts. The complete intent should be for His name, without any ulterior motive. One should not observe the commandments without feeling, or in order to obtain some personal benefit (Ramban; Commentary on Sefer HaMitzvot)

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