Vol 35.30 - Vayigash 1 Spanish French Audio Video
1. Regarding the law of the silent prayer of the Amidah, it states in the Zohar:
“A person should not raise his voice in prayer but rather pray silently, with a voice that is not heard. This is prayer that is constantly accepted. The sign for this is (is in Gen. 45:16) “And the voice was heard (in Pharaoh's house)” (וְהַקֹּ֣ל נִשְׁמַ֗ע). The word “kol/voice” is written without a “Vav” meaning that a silent prayer is heard, as is written regarding Chana “and her voice was not heard”. This is prayer that G-d accepts. When it contains Will and Intent/Kavana and Rectification as is proper, and to unify the unification of the Master, as is fitting each day” (כד אתעביד גו רעותא וכוונה ותקונא כדקא יאות וליחדא יחודא דמרי' כדקא יאות בכל יומא)
The commentators write that from the words of the Zohar it appears that the law of not hearing one’s voice means not only that others should not hear it, but rather that “even he himself should not hear his voice”.
This is also apparent from the Zohar in Parshat Vayakhel
“If that prayer is heard by the ears of a person, that prayer is not accepted Above . . Moreover the word of prayer is united in the Supernal world, and speech of the Supernal world does not need to be heard”.
However, in Halacha, Rambam rules (and also in Shulchan Aruch)
“He should whisper silently to his ears, and his voice should not be heard”
The Tur states,
“There are those who say that, when it says that one should not hear one’s voice, that it means that it must be completely silent where even he does not hear his voice. They cite proof from the Tosefta where it states:
“I might think that one may hear his own prayer, yet it has already been explained regarding Chana that, “her voice was not heard””.
However, from our Talmud, it only restricts sounding of one’s voice, which implies raising one’s voice so that others can hear. However, one may hear one’s own voice. This is stated expressly in the Talmud Yerushalmi, as it states: “one might think that one can raise his voice in his prayer. Yet it has already been explained regarding Chana, “her voice was not heard””
2. Indeed, even though all agree that it is prohibited to raise one’s voice so that others can hear it, it states in the Talmud Yerushalmi,
“When R’ Yonah prayed in a synagogue he prayed quietly. And when he prayed at home, he prayed in a loud voice so that his family would learn from him how to pray”.
'וכד הוה מצלי גו בייתי' הוה מצלי בקלא עד דילפון בני ביתא צלותי' מיני
The Tur learns from this Talmud Yerushalmi that “if he raises his voice . . so that his family should learn from him, it is permitted”.
The commentators explain, that according to the Tur, “one’s family learning from him how to pray” – means that he would do this for this purpose, and he explains that the word, “so that/Ad” means “in order that/Kedei” (ופירוש עד כלשון כדי) (that his family should learn from him how to pray).
However, the Beit Yosef states,
“He would raise his voice until it was done inadvertently so that his family would learn from him, even though it states that one who raises his voice in prayer is from the false prophets. However, it says regarding this that if one cannot concentrate with silent prayer, that he is permitted etc. (to raise one’s voice)”
We thus find that there is a debate in the reason for the exemption to raise one’s voice so that others can hear it:
3. One can understand all this by prefacing, that the source of this law is derived from the (aforementioned) Talmud regarding Chana where it states, “Her voice was not heard”.
The Talmud states (Ber. 31a):
“I might have thought that one may make his voice heard in his Amidah prayer; it has already been articulated by Chana in her prayer, as it is states: “her voice was not heard” (I Samuel 1:13).
Yet later on there in the Talmud it states,
“How many significant Halachot can be derived from these verses of the prayer of Chana? . . ‘And her voice could not be heard’. From this we learn that it is forbidden to raise one’s voice in his Amidah prayer”.
There are many versions of this:
“‘And her voice was not heard’. From this (we learn that) it is forbidden to raise one’s voice in his prayer”
“From here (one learns that) one who prays must not sound his voice in his prayer” (this version is similarly in the Rosh and the Tur).
“From here (one learns that) one who prays, his prayer must be silent (בלחש)”
One must understand the reason for the different textual versions.
One could say that the reason for this is:
In the scope of hearing one’s voice in prayer, there are, in general, two laws:
(Similar to what is stated in the aforementioned Beraita there “One who sounds his voice during prayer is among those of little faith”, “One who raises his voice during prayer is among the false prophets”)
This law itself can be expressed in two manners:
One could say that the three aforementioned manners are emphasized in the different versions that are derived from Chana’s prayer:
One could say that also Rambam and Shulchan Aruch disagree in this aspect:
“A person should not raise his voice during his Amidah, nor should he pray in his heart. Rather, he should pronounce the words with his lips, whispering silently in a tone that he can hear. He should not make his voice audible unless he is sick or cannot concentrate otherwise. In such a case, it is permitted”.
Whereas, in the Shulchan Aruch, the Beit Yosef (the “Mechaber/author”) states:
“One should not merely pray in one's heart, but he must pronounce the words with his lips and cause them to be heard in a whisper tone in his own ears (ומשמיע לאזניו בלחש). However, he should not sound his voice (so that others can hear). However, if one is unable to concentrate by praying silently, he is allowed to raise his voice”
Although, in general, the wording of the Beit Yosef is like the wording of Rambam. Nevertheless, there is a crucial difference in the order of the words:
“A person should not raise his voice during his Amidah”.
He afterward continues,
“Nor should he pray in his heart. Rather, he should pronounce the words etc.”
“One should not merely pray in one's heart, but he must pronounce the words etc.”
It appears that both, according to Rambam as well as the Beit Yosef, the prohibition of sounding one’s voice in prayer is due to the essential scope of prayer.
Therefore, when Rambam comes to define, “Control of one's voice: What is implied?” he begins with “A person should not raise his voice during his Amidah”. And only afterward writes, “Nor should he pray in his heart. Rather, he should pronounce the words whispering in a tone that he can hear.” This is to emphasize that it is speaking about the speech of prayer which is the main aspect in the Mitzvah of prayer.
Whereas, the Shulchan Aruch begins the chapter/Siman with “One who prays needs to have concentration etc.” And he continues in the subsection/Sif after that, “One should not merely think about the words of prayer in one's heart, but he must actually pronounce the words with his lips and cause them to be heard in a whisper tone in his own ears”
For due to the essential scope of prayer Avodah (intent/Kavana) of the heart, there is a place to say that one may pray just in one’s heart. Therefore, he begins that “one may not merely pray in one’s heart, but etc.” Therefore, even when sounds one’s voice silently, it is due to prayer of the heart.
4. The explanation of the matter is:
It is known that there are two aspects in prayer:
One could say that the aforementioned methods (par 3) in the scope of the law of hearing one’s voice is dependent upon what is the main aspect of prayer:
Accordingly, there is a place to say that the speech of prayer must specifically be in a voice that others can hear. For this is the scope of speech, namely that it is for another’s sake. For although G-d knows the thoughts of man, nevertheless, from the perspective of the person praying, his request must be comparable and similar to a request from a mortal king. Therefore, there must specifically be speech. From this, it is understood, that in essence, there must be speech that is specifically heard.
This is the reason for the thought that the entire prohibition of sounding one’s voice in prayer is just a “side prohibition” (“among those of little faith”, “among the false prophets”)
For in essence, due to the scope of prayer, prayer must be with a voice that is specifically heard. The only reason that it is prohibited is because of the concern that he is of “little faith” etc.
Accordingly, one could say that this is the view of the Tur, who permits raising one’s voice in order that one’s “family would learn from him how to pray”. For the entire prohibition of raising one’s voice is just a side prohibition, and is permitted even because of such a reason.
One could say that even according to the view of Rambam, that it is a law in the speech of prayer, that he maintains that the main aspect of prayer is the requests of one’s needs, and that prayer is a Mitzvah of speech. Nevertheless, he maintains that the essential scope of prayer obligates specifically silent speech. In other words, since prayer is the request from G-d - the King of Kings, the Holy One blessed be He – and it must be with awe and fear. Therefore, prayer must specifically be silent. For it is not honor to the king to speak before him in a loud voice. In other words, quiet speech depicts awe and fear (האימה ופחד) since he is standing before the King of Kings, the Holy One blessed be He.
This is also the reason that the Beit Yosef maintains that one is not permitted to raise one’s voice, in general, so that one’s family learn from him etc. For speech in a loud voice is the opposite of the boundary of prayer. The entire exemption is just in a situation where it is impossible to concentrate if one does not pray in a loud voice. For then the scope of the prayer itself (intent and the thoughts of the heart) obligate speech in a loud voice.
5. According to all the aforementioned, one can explain the view of the Zohar that silent prayer means that a person himself does not hear his voice:
For according to Pnimiyut HaTorah, not only is the main aspect of prayer the intent and the thoughts of the heart. Moreover, the Amidah prayer is the epitome of attachment in prayer itself. As is known regarding the four steps of prayer, that the Amidah prayer corresponds to the world of Atzilut, which is the world of unification (האחדות), where there is no entity besides G-d.
This is the inner theme of the Amidah prayer - that he is standing before the king. This is not just a description of the state of the person praying. Rather, according to Pnimiyut HaTorah, this itself is the essence of the aspect of prayer. Namely, that the person is standing before the King with utter bitul.
(One could say that this is the inner explanation of the Halacha that at the time of prayer, it must be as “one who is standing before the King”. In addition, “Even if a Jewish king greets him, he should not respond”.
(As opposed to Kriat Shema, where it is permitted to greet someone out of awe and deference).
This is not only a practical law, namely that the person praying is in a standing and condition where he hears that they are greeting him, and he realizes that someone is greeting him. Yet, it is just that, in actuality, he does not respond since he is standing before the king. Rather, this is his true condition of the person praying, namely that the reason that he does not respond is because his entire being is bitul).
This is also the reason that prayer must specifically be silent, as the Alter Rebbe explains in the explanation of the level of Yehuda that it is,
“The level of “Hoda’ah” (thanks/ הודאה), which represents Bitul and self-nullification (בטול והתכללות) . . Therefore prayer is silent and quiet (בלחש ובחשאי) . . the level of utter and complete Bitul (ביטול במציאות ממש לגמרי). This is the level of actual outpouring of the soul to the lap of his Father, to be naught and complete nothingness” (השתפכות אל חיק אבי' ממש להיות כאין ואפס ממש).
Accordingly, it is also understood why, according to Pnimiyut HaTorah, prayer must be silent – where even the person himself does not hear his voice. For specifically with this, the great bitul of the Amidah prayer, is expressed, where one does not feel his being. So much so, that he himself does not hear the voice of his prayer.
6. In Torah Or, at the end of our Parsha it states:
“So too, one can understand why the Shemona Esrei (Amidah) prayer is silent, only at this time. For Nukva (Malchut) is in the level of a recipient (מקבל) and not a giver (משפיע). However, in the Future, when it (Malchut) ascends to be at the level of a giver, like the male itself, then the Shemona Esrei will be recited with a loud voice and there will be the voice of the bride (אז יהי' שמו"ע בקול רם ויהי' קול כלה)“
Seemingly, this requires examination:
For since, according to Pnimiyut HaTorah (the view of the Zohar), the aspect of silent prayer is due to the scope and essence of prayer. Namely, that it expresses the bitul of one’s being in prayer, which is the true meaning of the Amidah prayer (corresponding to the world of Atzilut) – how is it possible to say that in the Future, prayer will be loud, which is the opposite of bitul?
One could explain this according to what my father wrote in his notes on Zohar there, in the explanation of the wording there:
“The three expressions:
are because prayer is in Malchut.
(and he continues)
“and to unify the unification of the Master” (וליחדא יחודא דמרי') is in the womb of Malchut (' ברחם המל ) for (at that place) there is the unification (היחוד), as is understood”.
One could say that this is why my father precisely notes the three expressions “Will and Kavana and Rectification”, which is connected with all the levels of Malchut. For according to this, it is explained that the aspect of utter bitul of prayer is in all the levels.
In other words, the utter bitul of prayer must not just be in a manner where all of the powers of one’s soul are nullified as if they do not exist, but also that the bitul resides in all the powers, Will and Intellect and Middot until (it affects) actual deed. In other words, the bitul must also be from their being (גם מצד מציאותם). And the thanks and the bitul in deed is a result not just of the bitul of the essence of his soul to G-d, but rather from a bitul that is in all of his powers.
Accordingly, one can explain why in the Future, the Amidah prayer will be in a loud voice.
The purpose of bitul, that is possible to be attained at this time -
even the level of utter bitul, even in a manner that it resides in all of his powers – from the power of will until the power of deed –
is just in a manner that negates the being of the person (ששולל מציאות האדם), the bitul of each power of the powers of his soul.
However, in the Future, where there will be the completeness of utter bitul (הביטול בתכלית השלימות), so much so that “The glory of G-d will be revealed, and all flesh will see together”. Namely, that the flesh, of its own accord will “see/perceive” G-d. Then, all entities will reveal that there is no other (besides Him) (הרי בכל המציאות יתגלה שאין עוד) – that they are not an entity, at all.
Moreover, in Yisroel, it will be revealed that Yisroel and G-d are entirely one (ישראל וקוב"ה כולא חד). In a manner that their being itself is the essence of G-dliness, as it were.
This is similar to the saying, “who are the kings – the rabbis” (מאן מלכי רבנן). For their entire being is the King. Therefore, at that time, the quality of the aspect of utter bitul of prayer will be revealed, and therefore prayer will be in a loud voice, whose aspect is – the revelation of the quality of bitul (גילוי מעלת הביטול).
MSichas Shabbat Parshat Vayigash 5746
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