Torah Prayer vs New Testament Prayer Pt 2
“Who is the person who desires life? Who is truly concerned about himself? Who is the one who wishes to be worthy of serving God through prayer, which is a person’s main source of life, as it is written, “Prayer to God is my life” (Psalms 42:9). Outpouring of the Soul
Below are only a few of the Hebrew terms that you will find in the study of Jewish prayer.
Hitbodedut: Daily personal prayer and meditation. Reflecting on ones actions and discussing them with the Creator; taking a daily account of yourself before your Creator.
This is done in private. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov recommended if possible go to a field or forest to pray personal prayer. He taught that when praying in nature the creation around you assist you in your prayers before the Creator. If this is not possible go into a room where you can be alone without being disturbed.
The best time of day to do this is toward the end of your day so you can discuss with your Creator the events of the day; your shortcoming, your triumphs and needs.
“pouring out one’s soul and heart like water before God’s presence (paraphrased Lam. 2:19). He will learn how to ask God for all that he needs, both materially and spiritually. This holy path is the ancient one walked by our righteous forefathers.” Outpouring of the Soul
Tefilah: This is the Hebrew word found in many of the Hebrew Scriptures including Psalms 42:9 the Psalm mentioned above. It is translated into the English as ‘prayer’ but it has a much deeper meaning than just prayer; because prayer in and of itself denotes two distinct beings, a lesser one making request from a superior one. The word tefilah has the element of connection like one gets when communing with someone else. It takes on the fact that there is a deeper knowledge of the one you are talking to.
L’hitpalel: This is the Hebrew verb ‘to pray’, this does not mean, ‘to ask’ or ‘to petition’. The root word ‘palal’ – to judge – thus ‘to pray’ means to judge oneself denoting that the purpose of ‘tefilah’ is to transform yourself.
We can find this lesson in the Creator’s conversation with Cain in Genesis 4:7 where He tells Cain that “if he would improve himself then he would be forgiven…” When we take a daily accounting of our self and do self-judging i.e. tefilah before the Creator we will begin to transform our self as He instructed. The advantage of this as taught to us by the Sages of Israel is that if you take care of properly judging yourself before the Creator, when a particular sin or action is brought before the Heavenly Court against you, the Great Judge will tell the Court that it has already been taken care of, there is nothing to discuss.
Korbanos: This is the Hebrew word for ‘offerings’ sometimes translated as ‘sacrifice’ which is inaccurate. Korbanos means to ‘draw near’. During the time of the Temple in Jerusalem and in the future one, when one brings an offering to be offered up to the Creator on the altar, it will have the element of the one bringing the offering to draw near to his Creator.
We are told in the Prophets to bring our words i.e. our prayers to God as an offering to Him. Hosea 14:3 “Take with you words, and return unto the Eternal; say unto Him: ‘Forgive all iniquity, and accept that which is good; so will we render for bullocks the offering of our lips.”
When we bring our words, our self-assessment, our needs, worries and joys before the Creator in a direct fashion without going through a mediator, we will connect one on one with Him. Remember that He is close to all who call upon Him; to all who call unto Him in truth – the truth is, going to your Creator only requires you alone and no one else.
As stated in the first part, these are not intended to be all-inclusive blogs. I am bringing you some basic information to get you started on your own research. It is not wrong to start asking questions about your belief system. I will get a bit more detailed on this when we get to the topic of faith.
Terry W. Hayes
Rabbi Nachman – Outpouring of The Soul translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
To Pray As A Jew by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin
For further studies of the differences between Christianity and Torah Judaism see, Let’s Get Biblical by Rabbi Tovia Singer. https://outreachjudaism.org/