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Rav Moshe Weber: Prayer

One must strive to concentrate in prayer, because “prayer is more efficacious than good deeds and sacrifices” (Brochot 32b). Indeed, good deeds and sacrifices prompt Nachos Ruach, satisfaction to Hashem, blessed be He – “Because you did My will, there was satisfaction before Me” (Sifray Pinchas 28:20).

Further, our sages, of blessed memory, say “The Holy One, blessed be He, desires the prayers of the righteous” (Yevamoth 64a); we learn that all Jews are considered righteous, as it says, “and your people are all righteous” (Isaiah 60:21). Hashem, blessed be He, desires the blessings – the priestly benediction of the Priests, as it says, “so shall they put My Name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them” (Numbers 6:27).

The priests, by blessing the people, place the name of Hashem on them, so to speak, to His delight (Rashi, Sotah 38b). This desire of Hashem for the prayers of the righteous, the Tzaddikim, is discussed in the Talmud (Brochot 7a): “R. Ishmael ben Elisha says: I once entered into the innermost part [of the Sanctuary] to offer incense, and I saw… the Lord of Hosts, seated upon a high and exalted throne. He said to me: ‘Ishmael my son, bless me!’ I replied, ‘Will that Your mercy may suppress Your anger and prevail over Your other attributes, so that You may deal with Your children according to the attribute of mercy and may You, on their behalf, stop short of the limit of strict justice!’ And He nodded to me with His head.

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