How does Tefillah Work?

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    • Michal 1 year ago

      When Rachel saw that she had borne Yaakov no children, she became envious of her sister; and Rachel said to Yaakov, “Give me children, or I shall die[1].”[2]

      Jacob was incensed at Rachel, and said, “Can I take the place of God, who has denied you fruit of the womb?”


      The Ibn Ezra explains the words: “Can I take the place of God?” in this way:

      It is possible that Jacob prayed on behalf of Rachel but the time for the listening  of his prayer on her behalf had not yet arrived. 

      ויתכן שהתפלל ולא הגיע עת שמוע תפלתו (Ibn Ezra)

      This raises questions for me about how prayer works.

      My Questions:

      What does this mean לא הגיע עת שמוע תפלתו?

      He  does not say his tefillah was rejected.  It just is that he time of listening to his tefillah did not yet arrive.

      • Does this indicate that every tefillah has what he refers to as עת שמוע ?
      • So it is not a matter of whether a tefillah is heard or not, but there is a judgment of the עת שמוע assigned to each prayer?
      • What makes the עת שמוע expedited or delayed?
      • Why does “time’ enter the equation, if Hashem is timeless?
      • Are there certain tefillos that go through a system and some don’t?
      • Is there a line of tefillos , or an order of turns for hearing a tefillah? If so, why would that apply to Hashem?
      • Is there a connection between this concept of לא הגיע עת שמוע תפלתו to Yaakovs reaction to Rachel?
      • Did Yaakov know that לא הגיע עת שמוע תפלתו and therefore responded this way ?
      • Is the status of לא הגיע עת שמוע תפלתו related to a persons deficiency that needs to be addressed?
      • What can a person do to have this changed?
      • Was this issue of children in fact Yaakov’s responsibility, and related to לא הגיע עת שמוע תפלתו?
      • Is the status of לא הגיע עת שמוע תפלתו, somehow like a person not yet pregnant and Rochel understood this to be something that was required of him?



      וַתֵּ֣רֶא רָחֵ֗ל כִּ֣י לֹ֤א יָֽלְדָה֙ לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב וַתְּקַנֵּ֥א רָחֵ֖ל בַּאֲחֹתָ֑הּ וַתֹּ֤אמֶר אֶֽל־יַעֲקֹב֙ הָֽבָה־לִּ֣י בָנִ֔ים וְאִם־אַ֖יִן מֵתָ֥ה אָנֹֽכִי׃

      [2] Bereishis, 30:1

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