Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Smooth Prayer of Rabbi Chanina Ben Dosa

    A tefilla story from the Talmud (Talmud Bavli, Masechet Berachot, 34):

Once upon a time, the son of Rabbi Gamliel fell ill. He sent two sages to Rabbi Chanina Ben Dosa to pray that his son might recover from his illness. As soon as Chanina beheld the two men, he quickly ran up to the loft of his house and began praying that the fever might disappear. And as soon as he finished he came down to them and said: “Go, the fever has left him.” They said to him, “who told you?”

Rabbi Chanina replied, “I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I have it as a tradition from my father’s father that if a prayer run smoothly (fluently), then it is a sign that it has been heard. My prayer just now went smoothly without any problem, therefore, I am sure that it has been heard.”

They noted down the time when he had told them that the patient was better, and when they returned to Rabbi Gamliel, they told him the exact time when the turn for the better had set in and showed him the note which they had taken. Rabbi Gamliel swore by Hashem that this was the very time when the fever left the boy and he asked for a drink.


How to train people to have a smooth/fluent tefilla?  This is the topic for tomorrow's blog.

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