A Perfect Prayer for a Friend (The Agadah of the Talmud, Brachot 28B)

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Rabbi Nachunya ben Hakana would utter a prayer before he began to study Torah: May it be Your will that I do not err in my studies, and my friends rejoice in me. And may my friends not err in their studies, and I rejoice in them.

The intent of his prayer was, “May my friends truly be happy for me when they see that I do not err in my studies.” And conversely he prayed, “May I truly rejoice when I see that my colleagues do not err in their studies.

How beautiful are the sentiments expressed in this prayer! It is human nature to feel a sense of satisfaction when other people make a mistake. Whereas, the students of the holy Torah pray that our friends should succeed in their learning and we should rejoice in their success.

The virtue of rejoicing in others is one of the attributes through which the Torah is acquired, i.e., “to bring happiness to others.” What greater happiness can we give to our friends than to be happy for them in their Torah studies?

The prayer of  Rabbi Nachunya ben Hakana is said today before Torah study. May HaShem answer our prayers so that we rejoice for each other’s success in Torah learning (based on the commentary of the M’harsha).

Today: Pray for your friend to succeed in his Torah learning and rejoice in his attainments.

Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and the Salant Foundation

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