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Why Do We Need To Pray?

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

Why do we need to pray to G-d? G-d is inherently perfect; He doesn’t need our prayers. We need to pray. The Hebrew word for praying is “L’Hitpallel,” a reflexive verb, which means to judge ourselves. When we pray, we are forced to look at ourselves and clarify our thoughts and emotions. What are our deepest desires? Who are we, really? [1]

Yet “pallel” means more than judging yourself. The first time it is used in the Torah is when Yaacov, who thought his son Yosef was dead for many years, is finally reunited with him. “Lo palati,” Yaacov says, “I didn’t imagine I would ever see you, and now I’m seeing your children.” From this we learn that prayer is also an exercise in imagination, a time “of self-transformation where we fill our hearts to envision what could be.” [2] This year, when we pray on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, our hearts should be filled with the vision we have for ourselves, our loved ones, and the world.  Through prayer, G-d can enable us to make this vision a reality.

[1] Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, Twerski on Prayer

[2] Sara Yoheved Rigler, quoting Rabbi David Aaron

Book Suggestion: Twerski on Prayer (a great book that discusses the deeper meanings behind the Jewish prayers)

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