Thursday, November 13, 2014

Parshas Chayey Sarah - the tefillos of the Avos

The passuk says in this week’s sedrah (24:63-64):

וַיֵּצֵא יִצְחָק לָשׂוּחַ בַּשָּׂדֶה לִפְנוֹת עָרֶב וַיִּשָּׂא עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה גְמַלִּים בָּאִים. וַתִּשָּׂא רִבְקָה אֶת עֵינֶיהָ וַתֵּרֶא אֶת יִצְחָק וַתִּפֹּל מֵעַל הַגָּמָל

“And Yitzchak went to daven in the field towards evening and he lifted up his eyes and he saw and behold camels were coming. And Rivkah lifted up her eyes and she saw Yitzchak and she fell from the camel.”

The gemara says in Berachos 26b:

אברהם תקן תפלת שחרית שנא' (בראשית י"ט, כ"ז) וישכם אברהם בבקר אל המקום אשר עמד שם ואין עמידה אלא תפלה שנאמר (תהלים ק"ו, ל') ויעמד פינחס ויפלל יצחק תקן תפלת מנחה שנאמר (בראשית כ"ד, ס"ג) ויצא יצחק לשוח בשדה לפנות ערב ואין שיחה אלא תפלה שנאמר (תהלים ק"ב, א') תפלה לעני כי יעטף ולפני ה' ישפוך שיחו יעקב תקן תפלת ערבית שנאמר (בראשית כ"ח, י"א) ויפגע במקום וילן שם ואין פגיעה אלא תפלה שנאמר (ירמיהו ז', ט"ז) ואתה אל תתפלל בעד העם הזה ואל תשא בעדם רנה ותפלה ואל תפגע בי

“Avraham enacted shacharis as the passuk says ‘and Avraham got up early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood’ and standing refers to davening as the passuk says ‘and Pinchas stood and he davened’.

Yitzchak enacted minchah as the passuk says ‘And Yitzchak went to talk in the field towards evening’ and talking refers to davening as the passuk says ‘A prayer of the poor man when he wraps himself and pours out his speech before Hashem.’

Yaakov enacted Maariv as the passuk says ‘and he met the place and he rested there’ and meeting refers to davening as the passuk says ‘and you do not daven for this people and do not raise for them supplication and prayer and do not entreat me’.”


  •      Why are different terms used to describe the tefillos instituted by the Avos so that amidah refers to Shacharis, sichah refers to Mincha and pegiah refers to Maariv?
The passuk (24:42) recounts how Eliezer told the events leading up to his finding Rivkah to Lavan and Besuel:

וָאָבֹא הַיּוֹם אֶל הָעָיִן וָאֹמַר ה' אֱלֹקֵי אֲדֹנִי אַבְרָהָם אִם יֶשְׁךָ נָּא מַצְלִיחַ דַּרְכִּי אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי הֹלֵךְ עָלֶיהָ

“And I came today to the well and I said, ‘Hashem the G-d of my master Avraham if you will make the way that I go on successful.’”

Rashi comments:

אמר רבי אחא יפה שיחתן של עבדי אבות לפני המקום מתורתן של בנים שהרי פרשה של אליעזר כפולה בתורה והרבה גופי תורה לא נתנו אלא ברמיזה

“Rebbi Acha said, ‘The speech of the slaves of the Avos is dearer than the Torah of their children, as you see that the parshah of Eliezer is repeated in its entirety whereas many main principles of the Torah were only hinted to.’”


  •       Why is the principle that יפה שיחתן של עבדי אבות לפני המקום מתורתן של בנים hinted at specifically in the recounting of Eliezer finding Rivka as a wife for Yitzchak?
The Pachad Yitzchak explains as follows:


  •      Avraham Avinu acted as a light to show that Hashem created the world and does chesed to us and that people should also live with chesed. Avraham resolutely stood his ground in face of the world’s opposition to his idea so his tefillah is called amidah.


  •      Yitzchak Avinu showed the importance of examining and perfecting every part of one’s life and actions, therefore his avodah is represented by the word sichah, meaning speech, because through speech every individual facet of a person may be described and uplifted.


  •      Yaakov Avinu showed how the most mundane aspects of olam hazeh can be used for the service of Hashem, therefore his avodah is represented by the word pegiah, meaning to meet or strike.

When Yitzchak married Rivka, his avodah became a foundation of klal yisrael so it is as this time that we learn the principle that יפה שיחתן של עבדי אבות לפני המקום מתורתן של בנים as now the avodah of the avos moved from the avodah of Avraham of amidah to the avodah of Yitzchak of sichah.

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