Saturday, February 1, 2020

:כ"ט Something New

מַאי ״קֶבַע״?... רַבָּה וְרַב יוֹסֵף דְאָמְרִי תַּרְוַיְיהוּ: כֹּל שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְחַדֵּשׁ בָּהּ דָּבָר
רש"י ד"ה לחדש בה דבר. בבקשתו והיינו לשון קבע כיום כן אתמול כן מחר:
So what exactly constitutes חידוש דבר? I have seen a modern translation explain this as any addition to the standard text. According to that definition, however, if someone inserts his own personal prayer - the same one each time - it will still constitute חידוש. This does not seem to jive with רש"י's approach. If your תפילה today is the same as it was yesterday and the day before, that would appear to fit רש"י's definition of קבע.

I have an interesting distinction to offer on this topic. Let us contrast two different types of personal prayers. Suppose someone has a test coming up next week and he inserts a prayer asking for success on that test. If he once again prays for success on that test in a subsequent תפילה, it can certainly be suggested that nothing has changed and there is nothing new from the previous prayer to this one.

However, suppose you are inserting a prayer for a present need such as someone who is sick and needs a רפואה שלמה. You want that prayer to be answered immediately. If you prayed for it in the morning, and now it is the afternoon and the subject of the prayer is still in need, that is essentially a new need. Even if the words of the extra prayer are exactly the same, I suggest that the mere fact that this need is ongoing should be enough of a "newness" to satisfy the definition of חידוש דבר.

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