According to the midrash on Megillas Esther, before Esther HaMalka went in uninvited to Achasveirosh, she spent three days fasting, wearing sack-cloth, and praying by way of the window (toward Yerushalyim). She pleaded and cried for HaShem’s mercy, moving from window to window in the house of Achasveirosh (Esther Rabba 8:7).
This midrash seems a bit strange. Why did Esther feel the need to move from window to window? Wouldn’t one window have sufficed? And, why be so conspicuous about it? Why not just daven from within the palace?
Perhaps her behavior was hinting to the fact that just as each window offered a different view on the grounds surrounding the palace, the tefillos that she made during those three days took on various angles and forms.
The truth is HaShem never gets tired of hearing from us– even if we keep making the same ultimate requests over and over again, and even if we spend an abundant amount of time and energy rehashing details that He already knows.
According to the Midrash, after the incident at the waters of Merivah (Shemos 17: 1-7), HaShem made a vow restricting Moshe Rabbeinu from entering Eretz Yisroel. From the moment Moshe learned about the decree, he never stopped davening that it be overturned. Not only did he do this daily, but whenever a new ais ratzon presented itself (such as following the conquest of Sichon and Og), he used the opportunity to pray once more.
Moshe’s prayers were so powerful and effective that HaShem had to actually step in and stop his supplications (Dvarim 3:26). Chazal tell us that had Moshe davened one more tefillah, he would have been successful in getting his request. He would have been able to “force” HaShem’s Hand, so to speak, to annul the negative decree. Since Moshe’s arrival in Eretz Yisroel would have ushed in Moshiach, and the world wasn’t ready for that yet, HaShem had to intervene.
This teaches us a very powerful idea about tefillah. By including this episode in the Torah, HaShem is telling us that through tefillah we have the ability to change our mazel and even abolish a negative decree that will personally affect us.
What this means for us in a practical sense, is that we should use every opportunity presented to us to daven to HaShem for Sciata D’Shamaya in the areas of our lives where we are struggling the most. This includes formal davening from a siddur and when we are saying tehillim. It means beseeching HaShem at a bris, at the chupah of a wedding, at a levaya, at a kever, during the yartzeit if a tzadik, while completing any mitzvah, such as taking challah, giving tzedakah, or honoring our parents. It also means making spontaneous tefillahs in our own words to HaShem as we go about our day.
No sincere tefillah goes unnoticed, and no sincere tefillah is without its affect- whether or not we are zoche to see it. Tefillah is a reality that HaShem put into the world. Whenever we daven sincerely, with the simple emunah that HaShem is listening, that He runs the world, and our yehoshua can come at any moment, that is when Hashem opens the doors to our requests and miracles can indeed happen.
Even in a situation where your desired outcome is not ultimately what is best for you, and you thus don’t receive it, you will often walk away from the experience stronger, possessing more clarity, and be closer to HaShem, those around you, and yourself.
Know that HaShem has already begun to answer you.
- What exactly is a woman's purpose in Judaism?
- How does a woman come closer to HaShem without the mitzvah of learning Torah?
- What about single women or those without children?