Saturday, September 02, 2006

Daf Yomi - Yoma 87 - Yaakov's Tefilah Voluntary?

One opinion in the Gemora maintains that tefillas maariv is not an obligation but rather only voluntary. A question is asked by the mefarshim. Each of our forefathers instituted one tefillah. Yaakov avinu established maariv. He was known to be the bechir shebovos. How can it be that his tefillah is only a voluntary one.

I once heard from Rabbi Blum (possibly in the name of Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky) an explanation. The Sforno on the possuk "im yeheye Elokim imodi etc." says a fascinating pshat. Yaakov at that time was on such a high level that he begged from Hashem to be treated only with the midas hadin. He did not want to accept Hashem's boundless compassion. Hashem agreed and that is why it is found that Yaakov suffereed the most from all of the Avos.

This is why the tefillah that Yaakov instituted could not be a requirement on Klal Yisroel. The foundation of tefillah is compassion. We beseech and pray to Hashem for Him to shower us with His mercy. Yaakov who personifies midas hadin could not compel others to rely on midas harachamim.

7 comments:

Velvel said...

Why are we obligated in maariv now?

josh waxman said...

velvel:
check out what Rif has to say on the matter, over at the Rif blog, on the gemara Berachot 27b:

http://alfasi.blogspot.com/2005/03/rif-brachot-19a.html

"[{The Mishna said:} "THE EVENING PRAYER {Maariv} HAS NO FIXED LIMIT."
What does it mean it has no fixed limit? It has no fixed limit according to the one who says] the Maariv prayer is optional.
Rav Yehuda cited Shmuel: Rabban Gamliel says it is obligatory, and Rabbi Yehoshua says it is optional.
Abaye says: The halacha is like the one who says it is obligatory.
And Rava said: The halacha is like the one who says it is optional.

And we establish that the halacha is like Rava. However, these words are only when he has never prayed it {Maariv}, but once you have prayed the evening prayer {Maariv, once}, he has already transformed it for himself into an obligation, and if he errs, he returns to the beginning, as we have said."

ben said...

Perhaps we are obligated in maariv now because Yaakov represents galus, which is symbolized by night and is middas hadin, and that is what Yaakov asked for.

joshwaxman said...

yet the Amoraim were also in galut in Bavel, no?

Avromi said...

and l'halacha it is also accepted as an obligation now

Aton said...

Interesting. In Toras HaSod I am told that Yaakov is identified as personifying Tiferes, which corresponds to Middas HaRachamim!

Avromi said...

i can't answer that but the possuk titein emes l'yaakov chesed lavrohom shows din.