Prayer Knows No Length
The important thing about prayer is not the length or brevity of it but rather the feeling and intensity that is instilled in it. There are men who pray but briefly and yet pour their hearts out before G-d and there are others who stand before their Maker for a long time seeking his help.
One day, following the studies in the Beit Midrash the students of Rabbi Eliezer rose to say the afternoon prayer. The cantor became immersed in prayer for a long time. Finally the students became so annoyed at his lengthy praying that they walked over to Rabbi Eliezer and said:
"Rabbi, behold how lengthy this cantor is!" Rabbi Eliezer smiled and replied:
"Does he then pray any longer than Moses our teacher who prayed for the Jewish people for 40 days and 40 nights?"
Still another time, as the students gathered to pray, the cantor began and finished in what appeared to be unseeing haste.
Once again the students gathered about Rabbi Eliezer and complained:
"Rabbi, behold how briefly this one prays!
This time Rabbi Eliezer answered them as follows:
"And yet, does he pray any more briefly than Moses our teacher who, when praying for Miriam who had been stricken by leprosy, merely prayed:
"Lord, please; heal her, please."
Neither length nor brevity is the important factor in prayer to the Almighty. It is the sincerity and devotion of the prayer that really count.
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Page last updated - 05/29/2009