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Cut To The Chase

Thoughts and Prayers from Jerusalem

Shalom from Jerusalem!

If a person's lips made tnuva for him, he will be told that his prayer was accepted, as it says in Isaiah 57, 19: The Creator of the Niv of the lips [says] Peace, Peace unto the one who is far and the one who is near, says God, and I shall heal him.

Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 5, 4

The words Tnuva and Niv are related, as each include the root NV. In modern Hebrew, "Niv" is a phrase or aphorism, while Tnuva means produce, usually agricultural (the Israeli national farming cooperating is named Tnuva for this reason). But what is the connection between these concepts, how are they connected to the verse in Isaiah, and what is the connection between all three and acceptance of prayer?

The standard explanation of this aphorism is that if your prayer flows freely from your lips, this is a sign that your prayers are accepted. This could sound discouraging for the beginner, and downright strange for the veteran who breezes through the words hardly noticing them! Is this fair?

The word "Niv" also refers to the cuspid (canine) teeth. What does this have to do with all we have said?

In fact, this "toothy" reference might hold the key to all these questions. The main attribute of the cuspid is that it cuts its owner's food from the larger portion. Agricultural produce is only realized once it is cut from the earth. And if a saying isn't "sharp as a knife," it's probably not worth the trouble.

In Isaiah 57:19, God promises that He will heal (meaning forgive the sins of) both those who are far from Him and those who are close to him. One might think that these two types of people are separate, with a canyon between them like the gap between two lips, but God reminds us that we are all His children, equally deserving of His love and grace.

So the tnuva of a person praying can refer to both the operation of extracting the words from a beginner's mouth, and the ease of those prayers coming out of a pro's. What matters is not the physical effort of speech, but the effect that those words have on the prayer's heart.

Today, focus on a word of your prayer like a sharp razor, and experience God's attentiveness to your sincerity.


Today's Prayer: Collected Verses Uva Letzion

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Thoughts about Prayer from Jerusalem

Prayer is the foundation of the relationship between God and His children, and its primary vehicle. Sages of old have created a wealth of wisdom based on the Bible, giving people in all generations the opportunity to contemplate on these thoughts to help them focus in their relationships with the One Above.

Select a Thought below, or subscribe to our newsletter, Thoughts and Prayers from Jerusalem, to get them in your inbox!

God's Temple and the Patriarchs | God's Love is a Two Way Street | Set A Space For Prayer | Set A Time For Prayer | Follow God's Lead - Pray | Be A Hero - Pray Regularly | Be A Good Neighbor - Pray | God Loves Communal Prayer | Pray From Center Stage, Not From The Sidelines | Pray with Friends and Family | Pray to the Heights from the Depths | Pray For Your Friend | Pray First! | Compassion and Prayer | Parents and Prayer | Pray for an Enjoyable Livelihood | Recognize God's Blessing in Everything | Make Room for Goodness | Do Right for the Right Reasons | Pray For Light and Happiness | Overcoming Human Nature | Humility Leads The Way | Ask God for Help with Proper Speech | Prayer Without Intent Is Better Than Not Praying At All | Pray With Your All | Pray With Intent, And Your Prayer Will Carry You | Pray About Problems, And Trust In The Future | Pray for a Successful Journey | Focus on the What, the How, and Especially the Where of Prayer | Stand Up For Your [Prayer] Rights | Pray With Intent | Quantity Time Leads to Quality Prayer | Find Favor in the Eyes of God and Man (Proverbs 3) | Happiness is Serious Business | Learn from the Experts | Hear Your Own Prayer, and God Will Too | Praise The Lord and Pass The Adoration | Prayer, a Rite for all Seasons | The Holy Temple is Our Heart's Desire | If At First You Don't Succeed, Pray, Pray Again | Take Your Time, And The Answer Will Follow | Be Strong and of Good Courage (Joshua 1) | The Long And The Short Of It | Pray For Your Neighbor As Yourself | No Runs, No Hits, No Errors | What's Done Is Done | Have the Time of your Life | We Were As Dreamers (Psalms 126) | Clear Your Thoughts and Empty Your Hands | You're Going To Reap What You Pray | Focus On The Positive | Clarify Your Intent-ions | Pray From The Heart | Pray Long, Pray Hard, Pray Sure | Lead The Way in Prayer | Jerusalem and Prayer, The Dynamic Duo | Group Prayer - You'll Never Walk Alone | A Time and A Place for Everything | Tear Down the Walls and Open the Gates | Look Around You, Look and Listen | Cut To The Chase | Prayer and Good Deeds, Like a Hand in a Glove | Prayer and Torah, the Two Way Street |

If you are inspired by these thoughts, we encourage you to join like-minded people of faith worldwide as members of the Holy City Prayer Society. Join today!


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