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Tuesday, Mar-Cheshvan 28, 5780 / November 26, 2019


In this week's Parsha, Toldot, the Torah tells us that Yitzchak (Isaac) and Rivkah (Rebbeca), after twenty years of marriage were still not blessed with children. They prayed and G-d answered their prayers.  Rivkah conceived, but she had a very difficult pregnancy. There was a constant struggle within her womb. Rivkah was distressed and went to Noach's son, Shem, to ask about her situation.


Shem 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 ruddy, with a mantle of hair and they called his name Esau. Then his brother came forth holding unto Esau's heel. He was named Yaakov (Jacob).


Q.Why is it that three of our matriarchs; Sarah, Rivkah and Rachel couldn’t have children by the laws of nature, only through a miracle?


A.  Our sages explain that G-d wanted them to pray to Him, for G-d loves the prayers of the righteous.


It also teaches us that the birth and existence of the Jewish nation is related to forces much 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. Jacob had his children when he was in his eighties. Jewish existence and survival, throughout the generations and to this day, was and is connected with G-dly forces higher than nature.


"Tefilah" - "Prayer" is an essential part and one of the principals of our Jewish faith.  Our sages find the importance of the mitzvah of prayer in the Sh'ma Israel (Hear O' Israel...), which we recite every morning and night each day of the year; "...To love the L-rd your G-d and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul..."  To "serve Him with all your heart" refers to prayer which is a service of the heart.


Q. Can a person ever find themselves in a situation when it is too late for prayer to help?


A.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!" It is never too late for prayer.


Q. Does one's continuous prayers become bothersome to G-d?


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