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January 06, 1967 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-01-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

W eekly Quiz

Why does the Jewish house-
wife offer a prayer for the wel-
fare of her family when lighting
the Sabbath and holiday candles?
There is a tradition in Judaism
Which claims that one's prayers
are most effective when they are
offered upon the performance of
some Mitzva (a commandment of
the faith—a good and virtuous
deed). This is why we offer and
pledge charity upon praying for
the recovery of the sick and the
peace of the deceased. The light-
ing of the candles is considered a
performance of a Mitzva (Le. the
rabbis proclaimed it to be a duty
of every Jewish home). Thus, a
prayer given at its accomplishment
bears a better chance of being
heard and answered on High. Gen-
erally speaking, one must demon-
strate his faith in the Almighty
if he asks Him to grant him some
wish or desire. Some commentaries
feel that the lighting of the can-
dles presents an especially appro-
priate moment for praying for the
intellectual Tora growth
of one's chlidren because a candle
or light, in general, symbolizes
enlightenment. Thus, the Jewish
mother prays to the Almighty
asking Him that her children's
minds be enlightened with Tora
as the room in which she is stand-
ing is filled with the light of the
Sabbath candles which she is light-
ing (Kitzur Shaloh 197). The rab-
bis say that whosoever lights many
candles is assured of having
scholarly children. Others feel that
since the lighting of the candles
has been given, in preference, to
the housewife, it is an indication
of the fact that she has an eminent
role to play in our faith.
Why is it customary to take
hold of the wooden handles (i.e.
the extension of the two poles
around which the Holy Scroll is
wound) when pronouncing the
benediction over the Sefer Tora?
The Midrash (Bereshit Rabba)
bases this practice upon the order
given to Joshua by the Almighty
when He said to him "This . . .
Sefer Tora shall never be removed
from . . ." Holding the Tora in
this manner shows our inseparable
attachment for the Tora. Some
claim that this practice is based
upon a rule in the Shulckan Aruch
(Orah Hayim 6:4) which re-
quires one to hold in his hand that
over which he is about to pro-
nounce a benediction. From the
discussion found in the Palestin-
ian Talmud (Berakhot 7:1) it
seems that this practice may be
based upon the commandment
which Moses spoke unto the Le-
vites when he told them "Take
this Sefer Tora" (Deuteronomy
31:26). Some moralists deduce
from this practice the thought that
it is never enough to pay .mere
lip service to the Tora. One's in-
volvement with the Holy Scripture,
the Tora of the Jew, must be both
an active one as well as an oral
one.
Why does the one who is called
to the Tora engage in a respons-
ive call and reply with the con-
gregation before pronouncing
the benediction over the Tora
before the Tora portion is read?
The public reading of the Tora
is a congregational function as ori-
ginally ordained through Moses. A
congregational function always
commences as a group experience
by having the leader of the service
summon the congregation to
prayer and having the congrega-
tion respond to this summons.
Thus, the leader — both at the
morning service and the evening
service of the synagogue proclaims
"Blessed -be the Almighty, etc."
and the congregation responds
"Blessed be the Almighty, etc."
This makes whatever follows a
group endeavor instead of an iso-
lated experience on the part of
each individual. Since the reading
of the Tora is actually a separate
service in itself, the first reader
(in the , days when each person
read his own portion) would pro-
nounce this same proclamation
and the congregation would re-
spond, thus making the Tora read-

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

By RABBI SAMUEL J. FOX

(Copyright, 1967, JTA, Inc.)

ing a congregational function. Now
that no person reads the Tora by
himself, but rather has it read for
him by the professional, each per-
son makes both an opening and
closing benediction and thus the
following person called to the Tora
is obligated to summon the con-
gregation all over again. An addi-
tional reason for having each per-
son coming to the Tora call the
congregation together by the same
proclamation all over again is be-
cause some people may have en-
tered the synagogue after the
previous person or persons were
called to the Tora and thus may
not have heard and hence not re-
sponded to the proclamation.

Why is traditional Jewish
prayer always chanted with a
melody and never in a mono-
tone?

Friday, January 6, 1967-9

23,000 Welfare Families Reported on Israel Rolls

that the melody of prayer has made
JERUSALEM (ZINS) — The Haaretz. It is anticipated that the
it easier for the Jew to become number of families now on the year 1967 will see a further in-
more familiar with the prayers and rolls of social welfare has reached crease in the number of welfare
to add depth to their meaning.
23,000, according to a report in cases as a result of unemployment.

Why is it customary to build
the altar from which the Tora
is read, and that from which the
prayers are offered out of wood?
It has been suggested that this
was done because the platform in
the holy temple from which the
Torah was read was made of wood.
(Mishna Sota 7:8). Some claim
that this was done so that it would
be possible to move it out of the
way whenever it was necessary to
do so. Some are inclined to feel
that it is because the Tora has
been compared in the Scriptures to
a "tree of life" and thus the plat-
form from which it is read is made
from material that comes from a
"tree." It is possible that this may
signify the Tora as being a living
phenomenon instead of a compara-
tively lifeless matter such as stone
or metal. Even -the ark of old which
contained the tablets bearing the
ten commandments, which had gold
in it, nevertheless had a layer of
wood. The Psalmist speaks of the
"singing of all the trees of the
forest" as a sign of the glorious
reason some customarily have the
women read the chapter of the
Book of Samuel where the prayer
of the Jewish mother Hannah is
recorded.

- From the oldest of times in our
history, prayer, as well as Scrip-
ture reading was done with some
type of melody. The prophets speak
of melody ("Rina" and "Tefilla")
and prayer being associated
with each other. They are men-
tioned concurrently in the Bible
in a number of places. The Levites
who offered prayer in the holy
temple did so in song. The Tora
was always "read" with a melody
which many claim was even handed
down to Moses at Sinai. Prayer,
being an intense emotional experi-
ence required man's whole body
Self-Love
and soul. Nothing involves the hu-
Self-love is more cunning than
man soul and his whole being as
much as song, especially the song the most cunning man in the world.
of prayer. There is no question
—La Rochefoucauld.

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