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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Jews do not pray

By Rabbi David Aaron



If the Divine is all knowing then why am I telling Him my problems? He already knows them. If the Divine is good then why am I asking for Him to change my situation?

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | At first glance prayer seems to be about whining and begging G-d, "Please heal this person … please bring me my soul-mate … please help my business, etc." One could mistakenly think that G-d is holding out on us and gets pleasure watching us grovel.

When we are faced with some very serious problems, it is customary to ask others to join together in our prayers. What is that all about? It seems as if we hope to move G-d through force: "G-d, if you don't respond to my prayers, then I will recruit through the e-mail thousands of others to pray."

Do we think these strategies really work? What are we actually doing here? If G-d is all knowing then why am I telling Him my problems? He already knows them. If G-d is good then why am I asking for Him to change my situation? Obviously whatever happens to me is for my best and I should just trust G-d.

To appreciate what we are actually doing when we pray, we have to examine what prayer really means. First, we have to understand that in Judaism we do not pray. Prayer is an English word. What Jews do is l'hispallel.

L'hispallel is a unique experience, but as with most Jewish things today, this holy word has been changed into an English word with a western connotation. The word "prayer" actually comes from the Latin word meaning "to beg" — exactly what most people feel prayer is. They imagine a big king in the sky who is getting a big ego boost from watching his subjects beg. This is a terrible image of our selves and of G-d.

L'hispallel has nothing to do with begging G-d to change His mind. L'hispallel is a reflexive verb and it means to do something to your self, not to G-d. When you are praying, your question should not be, "Is G-d listening to my prayers?" For sure he is. What you should really ask yourself is, "Am I listening to my prayers? Does what I say impact me? Have I changed?"

If you are under the impression that praying is communicating to G-d information that He does not already know, then the whole prayer experience becomes ridiculous. G-d knows that your business is falling apart. G-d knows that you desperately want your soul-mate. G-d knows exactly what is going on in your life. L'hispallel is not about G-d hearing your prayer. It is about you hearing your prayers. You need to say these things to G-d not because He need to hear them but because you need to hear yourself saying them to G-d.

L'hispallel means to do something to your self. Exactly what you are doing is pallel-ing yourself. And what exactly is that? We see the word palel in the story of Jacob and Joseph. When Joseph learns that his father Jacob is nearing his death, he goes to his father for a blessing for his two children. Jacob says, "I never palel-ti that I would ever see your face again, and G-d has granted me to even see the face of your children." What do you think the term means here? I never hoped…? I never imagined…? I never dreamed…? I never anticipated?



The great 11th century Torah commentator Rashi explains the verse to mean, "I never would have filled my heart to think the thought that I would ever see your face again." Therefore, when we l'hispallel, we are actively, intentionally trying to fill our hearts, to think the thoughts, to dream the dreams of what it is that we want to see and do in this world and then change ourselves in order to make these things happen. It is not G-d whom we are trying to change. It is ourselves and our relationship to G-d we are trying to change through prayer. If we change ourselves, we change our whole situation.

Please do not misunderstand this important principle. L'hispallel does not mean to meditate and talk to yourself as if you could ever make things happen for your self without G-d. Of course, G-d listens to our prayers and answers but we are not trying to change G-d's mind we are trying to change ourselves.

If you pray in order to change G-d's mind, then, please for G-d's sake, don't pray. We don't want to change G-d's mind. And thank G-d we can't change G-d's mind because G-d has made up His mind long time ago. G-d only and always loves us and seeks to give us the greatest good. As Psalmist praised, "His compassion (unconditional love) is upon all His creatures."

Of course, G-d hears our prayers and answers but He is waiting for us to hear our prayers and mean them. Prayer is not passive, it is proactive. Through prayer we must inspire ourselves to take action and make changes within ourselves, our community and the world. When we change ourselves for the good we let G-d's never-changing love for us and His abundant blessings become manifest in our lives. The more we praise G-d and acknowledge that He is the source of all blessings and truly want those blessings in our lives the more G-d's blessings flow into our lives.

Prayer is not about changing G-d's mind. G-d's mind is steadfast. He only and always loves us and wants to shower us with His blessings. Prayer is about changing our selves. Prayer is about attuning our will to G-d's will and making our selves receptive to receive His loving presence and blessings into our lives. G-d is waiting to hear from us and invite Him into our lives.

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JWR contributor Rabbi David Aaron is the founder and dean of Isralight, an international organization with programming in Israel, New York South Florida, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Toronto. He has taught and inspired thousands of Jews who are seeking meaning in their lives and a positive connection to their Jewish roots.

He is the author of the newly released, The Secret Life of G0d, and Endless Light: The Ancient Path of Kabbalah to Love, Spiritual Growth and Personal Power , Seeing G0d and Love is my religion. (Click on links to purchase books. Sales help fund JWR.) He lives in the old City of Jerusalem with his wife and their seven children.







© 2010, Rabbi David Aaron