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Thursday, Mar-Cheshvan 30, 5779 / November 8, 2018


Today is Rosh Chodesh Kislev.  As in every Rosh Chodesh, additional prayers and Halel are added. We also read the Torah concerning the sacrifices of Rosh Chodesh, and the Musaf service is recited. 


In this week's Parsha, Toldot, the Torah tells us that Yitzchak and Rivkah were not blessed with children. After twenty years of marriage, G-d answered their prayers for children and Rivkah conceived.  But she had a difficult pregnancy with a constant struggle within her womb.  Rivkah was distressed and regretted wanting to become pregnant.  She went to Noach's son, Shaim, to inquire about her situation.


Shaim told her, "There are two nations within your womb. Two peoples shall be separated from you and the elder one will serve the younger one."  Rivkah gave birth to twins. The first child was called Esau.  Then his brother came forth holding Esau's heel.  He was named Yaakov (Jacob).


The matriarchs, Sarah, Rivkah and Rachel were barren. The fact that they gave birth, was a miracle.


Q.Why did G-d make this so? 


A.Our sages explain that G-d wanted the matriarchs to pray to Him, for G-d loves their prayers.


The very birth of the Jewish nation is related to the miraculous forces higher than nature.  Sarah gave birth to Yitzchak at the age of 90 defying the laws of nature. Jacob's birth was also related to the prayer of his parents. Indeed, Jewish existence and survival was and is connected with prayer.


Prayer is one of the thirteen principles of Jewish faith, as composed by Maimonedes. Prayer is an essential part of our Jewish faith. The mitzvah of prayer is found in the Sh'ma Israel (Hear O' Israel), recited every morning and night. "To love the L-rd your G-d and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul."  "Serve Him with all your heart," is prayer which is a service of the heart.


The Talmudic sageRabbi Chama bar Chanina said, "If a person sees that their prayer wasn't answered they shall continue praying. One should not get discouraged and continue praying.


Rabbi Ze'era said, "A person who has a friend who beseeches him with his needs and pleas continuously may come to dislike him and avoid him.  But, with the Holy One blessed be He, it is not so.  The more a man pleads with G-d for his needs and wants the more G-d loves him."


It is never too late for prayer,”Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Elazar said, "Even if a sharp sword is actually resting on a man's neck, he should not hold himself back from praying for G-d's mercy!"


May all our prayers for good health, Nachas and success be answered promptly and speedily. Amen