Ki Savo – Crown Jewels: Prayer

Does anyone really know the impact of one’s prayers? Hashem listens to everyone and weighs each person’s sincerity, and every prayer is answered, in some form or another. The Baal HaTurim gives us a glimpse into one aspect of the impact of prayer.

In this week’s Torah portion of Ki Savo, it is written:  “And Hashem has selected you on this day to be His treasured people, as He spoke to you, and so that you shall observe all His mitzvos. And to make you supreme, above all the nations that He made, as praise, a name, and glory, and so that you will be a holy people to Hashem, your G-D as He spoke” (Devarim 26:18, 19).

The Baal HaTurim says that “as praise, a name and glory” means that when the Jews laud and give praises to Hashem, it is His glory. Indeed, this is what we say in Megilla 15b: ‘in the future Hashem will be a crown on the head of each righteous person,’ meaning the same crown that they crown Hashem with, their prayers will be returned to them. But one who speaks idle chatter in shul will have his body surrounded by thorns. (Click here for Hebrew text.)
Our prayers, the praises we sing to Hashem everyday and at any time, are “crown jewels” on Hashem’s “Head.”  It follows, then, that the more kavana, enthusiasm, and excitement we put into praising Hashem, the shinier and more eloquent our eventual crown will be.

In the gemara in Megilla it says that only righteous people will be crowned with this crown made from their prayers in the World to Come, because they humbled themselves. As an extension, it would make sense to add that part of the quality of the crown is from whom it is being given. The more righteous the person is, the more it adds to the beauty of the crown.

However, it seems from the Baal HaTurim, that anyone is able to crown Hashem with his or her praises, but that not everyone gets that crown back in the future, since everyone is not a tzadik, righteous. One might ask: why it is fair? As long as a person gives acclaim to Hashem, what difference does it make about his or her status? So what if I am not so righteous, and I make mistakes, and am haughty most of the time; I still praised Hashem! So why don’t I get back the crown I made, at the right time, just like the righteous?

Obviously, that is the wrong approach. We should praise Hashem with all our energy and might whenever we can, and we should also have the attitude throughout life that we have the potential and ability to be righteous. We can then strive to get there and G-D willing in the future we will all be deserving of being bestowed with the precious crowns we adorned Hashem with through our prayers.