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Daily Verse: Exodus 14:10-11

Monday 8 Shevat 5783 (30.01.23)

Praying and Complaning?

נֹסֵ֣עַ אַחֲרֵיהֶ֗ם וַיִּֽירְאוּ֙ מְאֹ֔ד וַיִּצְעֲק֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אֶל־יְהֹוָֽה׃

"Pharaoh drew himself nearer, to the frontlines, as he had promised. The Israelites raised their eyes and caught sight of the Egyptians advancing at their rear in exemplary military discipline, showing they all shared the same vehement hatred for the Israelites.They also raised their eyes and caught sight of the angelic Prince of Egypt coming to the Egyptians' aid. When they saw both of these, they became very frightened. They knew G-d had promised to bring them safely into the Land of Israel, so there was nothing to fear, but the Israelites did what their forefathers had always done, even when there was no objective danger: they cried out to G-d."

וַיֹּאמְרוּ֮ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה֒ הֲֽמִבְּלִ֤י אֵין־קְבָרִים֙ בְּמִצְרַ֔יִם לְקַחְתָּ֖נוּ לָמ֣וּת בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר מַה־זֹּאת֙ עָשִׂ֣יתָ לָּ֔נוּ לְהוֹצִיאָ֖נוּ מִמִּצְרָֽיִם׃

"But the heat of the danger soon made them speak insolently despite their trust in G-d. They said to Moses, "Was it for want of graves in Egypt that you brought us to die in the desert? What is this that you have done to us, taking us out of Egypt?"

Praying out of Habit

Praying when you are afraid to the Only One who can help you is exactly what a person should do. Because we can be very tough and say and even believe that HaShem always helps us, yet we can find ourselves in situations that frighten us. We can show the greatest trust in HaShem precisely to pray to Him in that emotion of fear. This is exactly what the people did when they saw the huge Egyptian army coming towards them.

However right away and the next verse they are grumbling at Moses, which seems to contradict the first verse. The Maharal explains that the people did indeed pray to HaShem when they were afraid, but they did so because they had been taught to do so, but they were words said out of habit and lacked a certain depth.

Noahide Siddur - Prayerbook

Prayer is service of G-d coming from one's soul. Through prayer to G-d, a person connects his speech, his request for his needs, and his heartfelt pleas to the Almighty, blessed be He. Because every Noahide shoud "serve Him with all your heart." (Deutr. 11:13)

Unlike Jews, Noahides have not set liturgy which they are obligated to follow. Rather, each individual can pray in his own words, in a language that he understands. It is proper to inlcude recitation of excerpts from the Book of Psalms, that were composed with holy inspiration and encomposs all the essential needs and righteous spirituael emotions that peopel have.

The advantage of "free" prayer is that it is less likely to become a rut or a habit, with your own words it is sometimes easier to have a deeper engagement.

However the disadvantage of own words is that sometimes it is easily forgotten, can lack depth and sometimes a person just misses the words he would like to use.

Learn and practice to speak with HaShem

When you learn to pray at fixed times (preferably in a fixed place) with a certain fixed form - then in your need you will pray to HaShem much faster - because you are used to speaking to Him. Just as the Jewish people immediately in their fear prayed to HaShem.


It is good for each individual to find the right balance which works best for them. For some that may be total free prayer, for others using a Siddur, for others a combination of both. However you pray, the important thing is that you pray. Not only in your distress, but also in your joy.

Sources: Kehut Chumash Beshelach, Prayer out of Habit by rabbi Y. Gefen , Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, p. 85


Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the website. She contributes for the admin of the website in English and Dutch. She teaches Hebrew to beginners and intermediate students at the Academy.

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1 comentario

Edwin Hissink
Edwin Hissink
30 ene 2023

Wonderful put, Angelique. I use this prayer book for quite sometime now. And as e-book thus always with me.

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