Description: Rinah 01
Rav Shimshon Pincus dedicates two chapters to ‘tze’akah and na’akah.’ In a nutshell, tze’akah is an extension of Sha’vah which we have been learning about up till now, but whereas Shav’ah is a tefillah with words, that comes out of an extreme realization how desperate our situation is, tze’akah is the next level, where we cry out without words at all – simply scream to Hashem. Just as someone who is in trouble, being threatened by muggers, and sees someone who can help, will first cry out with words, ‘Please help!’ but if not answered, will simply scream, likewise, tze’akah is the next level after Sha’vah. Na’akah is when we utilize our pain and convert it into tefillah, by directing it toward Hashem. Rav Pincus goes into these concepts in greater detail, but for now I want to move on to Rinah, which is the next form of tefillah.
Rinah means to praise Hashem. The medrash in Parshas Va’eschanan says, a person might think he can just ask all he needs from Hashem and then leave, but Shlomo Hamelech already taught us, ‘lishmoah el harinah vi’el hatefillah,’ rinah means praising Hashem, and then comes tefillah which is asking for our needs. Likewise, the Gemarah in Maseches Brachos says that a person always has to first say organized words of praise to Hashem before asking for his needs, and that’s why we have the first three brachos of Shemonah Esray which are dedicated to praising Hashem.
The Rambam writes this halachah as well, and seems to indicate that the mitzvah min hatorah of tefillah, requires one to both praise Hashem first and then ask for one’s needs. This is a fascinating point – why would it be a facet of the mitzvah min hatorah – which doesn’t seem to require any structure at all, and any kind of tefillah should be sufficient to fulfill the Torah obligation? The fact that we have a Shemonah Esray and an obligation to daven three times a day are all rabbinic ordinances, but as far as the Torah is concerned one tefillah of any sort, would be sufficient. If so, why would it be necessary to have these two components – both praise and bakashah?
But the idea here is, that tefillah is referred to by the Torah as ‘Avodah.’ This isn’t translated as work, like Avodah Kashah that we had in Mitzrayim. Rather it is translated as service, the service of Hashem, much as the Kohanim in the Beis Hamikdash did ‘Avodah,’ service of Hashem, not work. Service of Hashem requires that one recognizes who one is serving. When a kohen served in the Beis Hamikdash he wore special clothing, and had a host of halachos how his service had to be done. These were all a product of the fact that he was serving in front of Hashem! The knowledge and appreciation of whom one is doing service for, defines the actions as ‘service!’ Otherwise they are meaningless. Likewise, when we daven, it only has the status of ‘avodah’ when we appreciate who we are davening to. That’s why it is so important to praise and elevate Hashem in our own eyes before we start to ask for different things.
More than understanding who Hashem is, we must understand the concept of ‘God’, of Elokus, what it means that Hashem is Elokim, which we clarify in the first three brachos of Shemonah Esray, Avos, Gevuros, and Kedushah