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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu> Date: Mon, 5 Jul 1999 18:37:12 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Coming Late to Shul Etan Diamond in Volume 28 Number 93 asked about the many prayers for latecomers. I actually was priveleged to hear a Shiur from the Rav, Rabbi Dr Joseph B Soloveitchick(The Rav that year was teaching AYN YAAKOV). The Rav laid down the fundamental principle that ANYTHING SAID ABOUT GOD is an assertion that THIS THING IS A MORAL NORM. For example if the Bible says that God BURIED Moses (Dt 34) then we learn that Burying the dead is a moral norm. Indeed, this is so, because there is a Biblical commandment to imitate God. So if a Rabbi wanted to indicate that something is a moral norm then they would have the option of a) saying it is a moral norm or b) saying that God does it. Having explained this principle the Rav cited several otherwise strange Agaddahs: "God wears Tefillin", "God prays" etc. Based on the above principle the Rav concluded that wearing Tefillin and praying are moral norms. There is a novelty here: BESIDES the religious dimension (God-man) of praying and wearing tefillin there is ALSO a MORAL dimension (man-man). Prayer and Tefillin have interpersonal values inherent in them. The Rav applied this to the VAYECHULU prayers on Friday night: These prayers were instituted because some people came late on Friday nights to shule and if the others left on time and these people left late then there lives might be endangered (From walking home alone in a bad neighborhood on Friday night). Thus the prayers have an element of caring for ones fellow man. Since we conclude all prayers with a prayer for peace (Sim Shalom) it follows that a person who prayed for peace and left early (leaving late comers behind) was being hypocritical and demonstrating that he didn't really believe in what he was praying. Hence his prayer would be unacceptable. Many other comments were made during the year. I hope this sheds insight on the complex nature of prayer Russell Jay Hendel; rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu; Moderator Rashi Is Simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi