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Thought for the Day: Praise vs Request

Batei k'nessios (places designated specifically for prayer) used to be outside of town and in relatively deserted fields.  I have no idea why, but that's the facts, ma'am.  We have a few remnants of that historical fact in our ma'ariv davening.  The basic idea it that we don't want to leave someone alone there at night, so there are extra paragraphs that we say but that could be skipped by a latecomer to catch up and/or not be delayed.  One of these is known as "mei'ein sheva" -- the essence of the Friday night shmone esrei in shortened form.  If someone were late getting to shul Friday night (I know, unheard of, right?), then he could catch up while everyone else is saying that quasi chazaras ha'shatz.  (Maybe it would be more accurate to say they can catch up while he says the mei-ein sheva...)  Nowadays are shuls are in town and we don't worry so much about someone being alone, so now everyone says it.

Mei-ein sheva has another function, however, that is relevant even today.  Namely, if someone has not davened ma'ariv on Friday night, then (b'di'avad, of course) a person can fulfill his obligation to daven ma'ariv with mei'ein sheva.  On that point, R' Akiva Eiger makes an interesting diyuk: Mei-ein sheva does not contain the phrase "mashiv ha'ru'ach u'morid ha'geshem", therefore it must be that if one forgets "mashiv ha'ru'ach u'morid ha'geshem" during the winter on Friday night he does not have to repeat shmone esrei.  That is only on Friday night and only b'di'avad; but it seems to be a diyuk that is brought l'halacha.

I started thinking:  Why should Friday night be different than all other nights?  On all other nights, if one forgets "mashiv ha'ru'ach u'morid ha'geshem" he must repeat sh'mone esrei.  On Friday night, though, he need not repeat.

Perhaps we can say as follows.  "mashiv ha'ru'ach u'morid ha'geshem" is not a request for rain as is "v'sein tal u'matar", instead it is praise for HaKadosh Baruch Hu.  In the second paragraph of sh'ma, though, it says that when we observe the mitzvos faithfully, then it will rain "in its time".  Chazal say that mean either at night or at least on Friday nights, since everyone is inside then.  That means that according to everyone it will rain Friday nights when we faithfully observe the mitzvos.  It comes out, therefore, that raining on Friday night is not so much a praise for HaKadosh Baruch Hu as it is a praise for us.  That being the case, it could be that Chazal did not require us to repeat since we are then patting ourselves on the back as much as praising the Creator.


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