Saturday, March 8, 2008

Davening for Others

The other day my friend and I were chatting online and she received an email. The email was on saying Tehillim on Purim for shidduchim, because Purim is such a holy day. One of the concepts was to help fight the shidduch crisis through prayer. The concept, was to assign everyone a parruk of tehillim for each name they submit, and in this way, the entire sefer tehillim will be said (hopefully) several times throughout Purim for those in need of a shidduch.

My friend told me about this email, sent it to me, and suggested that we submit each other's names, instead of our own. The idea behind this was that if you daven for someone else who is in the same situation you are in (in this case single, or "in shidduchim) you are more likely to get a positive response from Hashem.

I'm sure I've heard of that before and just didn't really think about it, but I'm wondering on whether or not it really holds any truth to it. Does it really matter who I'm davening for if its obvious I want the shidduch for myself? I don't mean this selfishly, I happen to love this friend dearly, and I would love to see her get married (hopefully after more than just 3 dates), but I'm really curious as to this "daven for each other" business.

If I'm on a mission to daven for my friend everyday so that she finds a shidduch, and she simultaneously davens for me everyday, is it really because we're davening for each other that is supposedly "working" or is it that we're actually davening (saying tehillim) everyday. I mean, I know myself, if I were to set out and say tehillim every single day for myself, I would probably lazy out, and be like "oh, so-and-so just told me about her really cute neighbor, and I'm tired, why not skip a day?" but if I were davening for my friend, I'd feel guilty skipping a day, and be MORE likely to stick to the "everyday" thing. Infact, I have such a guilty conscience, that unless something literally prevents me from saying the tehillim I would make sure to say it.

So, my question is, is there some sort of Torah, Chazel, Rashi .. behind this "davening for each other works better" or is it just because you're actually finally davening, and strongly commited out of guilt?


Jessica said...

I don't know if there's any source for it and I tried writing out the way I understand it, but it made no sense. lol.

Anonymous said...

I suspect this is from Bava Kama 92a: one who prays for another who has the same problem instead of for himself, his prayer is answered first.

YomTova said...

But then there's the one that says praying for yourself is the way to go, like Chana and the Imahos were barren so THEY should daven.

Yehudi Hilchati said...

A bigger question is, why is there such a dire need to daven for shidduchim when you are 20 years old? Wouldn't it be more appropriate for your friend to suggest that the two of you daven for single 35-year old women rather than for each other?

frumcollegegirl said...

"I suspect this is from Bava Kama 92a: one who prays for another who has the same problem instead of for himself, his prayer is answered first"

this came from avraham who davened for avimelech/paroh (i forgot which one) and he was answered. but he probably wasn't thinking "let me daven for someone else, and then my tefilot will be answered"

David said...

One can almost imagine God when He figures it out-- "Wow! X davened for Y, and Y davened for X! Now, I'm trapped and I have to do what they say! Didn't see that coming!"

Frum Punk said...

Does seem a wee bit like it shouldn't work if you're trying for that effect, doesn't it?

frumskeptic said...

geekosaur: thanx for the source.

yomtova: good point. Thanx

yehudi: well... I wouldnt say "dire" but there no reason NOT to daven. But I do not know any 35 yr old single women...but I daven for my 31 yr old uncle, and my 35 yr old male cousin all the time.

frum college girl: "but he probably wasn't thinking "let me daven for someone else, and then my tefilot will be answered"

I agree with that. Its like what DAVID said "Wow! X davened for Y, and Y davened for X! Now, I'm trapped and I have to do what they say! Didn't see that coming!"


Yehudi Hilchati said...


An even stronger argument against your friend davening for a shidduch for you or for you davening for yourself, beyond your age, is your uncertainlty about where you are with respect to being frum. Even if you stay Orthodox, this blog shows that you are going through a hashkafic metamorphasis and you don't know where you'll end up. Therfore it would be a bad idea for you to get married until you live a little more and at least partly figure out who you want to be. I hope you aren't shidduch dating. To date for tachlis now isn't fair to yourself or to the guy. Trust me - you won't feel at all old at 25 unless the you let the frum community make you think you are. Graduate college, move away from Brooklyn, make more friends who are modern or not Orthodox, and see where you are in a couple of years.

Moshe said...

I think this works better because it includes both of you doing chessed. Just as it's Hashem's way to do chessed, when you're saying tehillim for each other, you're doing chessed. The idea is that when Hashem sees you doing chessed and putting someone else first, you get an answer sooner too. As far as you know and he knows why you really doing it, you can say that about everything else too.

frumskeptic said...

Yehudi: I'm not skeptical in the sense that I do not want to be orthodox anymore. I like the orthodox lifestyle. I practically live for shabbos. Infact, I think the LESS I allow myself to do on shabbos, the more I appreciate the day as a true "day of rest" even if alot of the stuff I'm keeping (for shabbos particularly) is not actual halacha.

Next thing, I like authenticity and I like having a sense of community. Frum people are just messed up, and ignore mans natural curiousity and they happen to blindly accept alot of BS. They just do things for no reason at all. But thats not what bothers me. What bothers me is that they FORCE what THEY do unto others.

If i belive the earth revolves around the sun contrary to what the Gemara says, and to what the story of Yehoshua implies, that shouldnt bother other people. Neither should it bother me that they ignore "evidence" and belive the sun revolves the earth. And, like I said, that doesnt bother me. What bothers me, is their closemindedness to other ideas, and their terribly judgmental attitudes. So therefore, its not that I may choose to remain orthodox, I PLAN on continuing to be orthodox. My plan is to find someone, or atleast a community, that isn't so full of lemmings. Maybe that will be a lifelong quest...hopefully not. But generally, I just want someone who is "learned" in something other than just Gemara, so that whatever "hashkafic" level they're on, they atleast KNOW why they're on it! And, logically, those people would be skeptical to unnecessary rabbinic bans, and general wackoness in the community. Theres so much more to it, but I dont have time to adequetly answer why I consider myself a "skeptic"

Moshe said...

In that case, I think you may like our shul.

Yehudi Hilchati said...


I think it's wonderful that you plan to stay Observant. I too, live for Shabbat.

But by your own admission in your reply above, you're not sure where you'll end up within the Observant jewsish community. If you're tired of the narishkeit of the more centrist & yeshivish communities (including those in Flatbush who think they're MO) then you want to give yoursel some time to find a place within the observant community where you feel comfortable before you get married. I'm using "observant" rather than "orthodox" because there are many wonderful people in places like the Upper West Side, who are shomer shabbat & mitzvot but who go to shuls that don't neccesarily identify as "orhodox" despite having seperate seating and a mechitza. You might like those communities, which are generally full of sincere people who pay attention to the genuine parts of halacha and ignore the social add-ons that are not real Judaism. You might just meet a like-mided guy in one of those communities. Do you have any friends at Columbia? Spend a shabbat there and daven at Ramat Orah. Or spend a shabbat with friends on the Upper West Side and daven at Darkhei Noam. Or spend shabbatot at other campuses where they have more MO minyanim (emphasis on the modern). Marriage has a freezing effect on your ability to find a community that suits you. Don't go there if you're not ready to settle down in the community you're already in at the stage you're at.