(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org

Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 12:30:24 -0500
From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel)
Subject: Re: Repetition of Magein Avot

A brief answer to Rabbi Shisler who in Bais Medrash, Vol 1 Number 60 asks
why we say Magen avoth. I cite a shiur I heard from the Rav, Rabbi Joseph
B. Soloveitchick.

1) The Rav asked what it meant to e.g. say that "G-d prays"

2) The Rav answered that there is a commandment to IMITATE G-D. Thus the
statements G-d does action X and Action X is a moral norm are equivalent.
In other words, you can tell someone that action X is moral and should be
done by saying "G-d does X." Hence we find statements that G-d buries the
dead and makes marriages etc.

3) The Statement "G-d Prays" means that Prayer is a moral norm. The Rav
translated this as a "Commandment between Man and man". The Rav then asked
why Prayer is classifed as a commandment between man and man.

4) The Rav answered that when we pray we pray in a community and e.g. we
pray for the welfare of our fellow jew. If e.g. a jew walked into shule
late and we didn't stay for him then it looks hypocritical to both pray for
the welfare of our fellow man and to leave this person stranded which might
endanger him.

5) Since the original purpose of Magen Avoth was to delay people going home
so they could stay for late comers it follows that by saying it today we
symbolically affirm the "between man and man" nature of prayer.

I hope this satisfies Rabbi Shisler. I also believe that even if it is safe
to walk home in Great Britain there are still places like certain sections
of NY where it is very important not to let older people walk home alone

Russell Jay Hendel;Phd ASA
RHendel @ mcs drexel edu