Description: Rinah 02
Tefillah and Korbanos have the aspect of ‘Avodah’ in common. If you were to have a very close friend, someone you truly adored, respected, and even revered. You would want to be around him or her, learn from them, and gain from their closeness. You would perhaps give them gifts, both monetary and meaningful, to demonstrate the depths of your relationship. But you would never ever slaughter a calf or sheep, and sacrifice it in their honor! That’s not something you do for a friend – unless you begin to attribute to them godliness chas v’shalom and create an Avodah Zarah. Sacrifice is beyond the realm of friendship – it is something we do only to God.
Because in a friendship there is a balance. You are on equal turf, and there is a concept of chayechah kodmin, your life comes first. Sacrificing a korban means you are essentially spilling your own blood to Hashem, demonstrating the depth of your belief and trust in Hashem, your complete dependence, reliance, and hisbatlus to Hashem. It goes beyond your life, you are willing to give everything up to His greatness and Elokus. Hashem is nitzchiyus, He is forever and beyond this physical world, and therefore it is justified to sacrifice a korban, which in essence means you are sacrificing yourself, or giving yourself over completely to Hashem.
This is what tefillah is as well. You realize Hashem’s greatness, His omnipotence, how your life and all that you need is dependent on Hashem’s will, and only Hashem can fill them. It’s clear that your life is batail to Hashem – totally dependent. Once you have that recognition, naturally you ask for your needs from the only one who can fulfill them!
Perhaps we should even say, that if we were to only ask from Hashem what we need without first praising and recognizing His ultimate greatness, then we would be asking from Hashem just as we would ask a doctor to treat us, or a poor person would ask a rich person to lend him money. When you don’t have something and you approach someone who does, you ask for it. This would be simple asking without attributing any godliness and Elokus to Hashem – and would not be classified as ‘avodah’ at all. Avodah is only when we communicate Hashem’s godliness in our actions and tefillah. Nevertheless, doing so is davening, and Hashem will listen regardless, but what the Torah obligated us to do every day – is Avodah – and Avodah is only with praise first – because that’s how we change what we are doing from a simple request to a complete recognition and attribution of Elokus and godliness to Hashem – true service.
When we come to davening and specially when we have something on our mind that we need to daven for – we have a tendency to brush through the first brachos of Shemonah Esray and get to the request we so desperately need. However, we now see, that the whole nature of the tefillah, is entirely different if it is prefaced with the proper shevach and praise to Hashem first. From our perspective, if we utilize the first brachos to focus and appreciate Hashem’s greatness, then the act of asking for our needs becomes Avodah, and creates a tremendous bond between us and Hashem, the bond of a servant and a master, a God and His creation.