Three Modes of Tefillah

From Avodah v24 n215, submitted by R’ Moshe Y. Gluck:

R’ Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz explained the Zohar that says that there are three types of Tefillos: Tefillah L’Ani [the prayer of the poor] is the Tefillah that comes from the depths of the heart, with tears and beseeching, like a pauper begging. This prayer is most accepted before Hashem.

Tefillah L’Moshe is with deep thought, and Hisbodedus [self seclusion] about Hashem and Yichudo [His Unity], until one reaches the level of knowing that Ein Od M’lvado [there is nothing but Him]. Tefillah L’Dovid – who was the N’im Zemiros Yisroel [composer of the pleasant songs of Israel]- is to request closeness to Hashem, Tzamah Nafshi L’elokim [my soul is thirsty for G-d]… When one experiences such a feeling, he wants to and is capable of singing with the whole world in the praise of Hashem. (See Perek Shirah.)

Perhaps all three modes were captured by R’ Eliezer Azikri in the opening line of Yedid Nefesh:

Yedid Nefesh, the Beloved of the soul, was the subject of David haMelekh’s thirst. Closeness to His beloved.

Av haRachaman, the merciful Father, reaches out to His child. The pauper appeal to his Father, begging for His loving help.

Moshe pleas meshockh avdekha el Retzonekha, draw Your servant toward Your Will. The quest is for comprehension of that Will. Hashem calls him “Moshe avdi — Moses my servant” (Bamidbar 12:7), but we don’t want to put too much of a fine point on that, since He also speaks of “David avdi” (Tehillim 89:21), and we find in Hallel David writes “I am your eved, the son of your maidservant” (ibid 116:16). But it is Moshe’s prayer in particular that is one of comprehending Hashem’s will. As in his encounter after the Golden Calf:

וַיֹּאמַר: הַרְאֵנִי נָא, אֶת-כְּבֹדֶךָ.

And [Moshe] said: ‘Show me, please, Your glory.’

וַיֹּאמֶר, אֲנִי אַעֲבִיר כָּל-טוּבִי עַל-פָּנֶיךָ, וְקָרָאתִי בְשֵׁם ה’, לְפָנֶיךָ; וְחַנֹּתִי אֶת-אֲשֶׁר אָחֹן, וְרִחַמְתִּי אֶת-אֲשֶׁר אֲרַחֵם.

And [Hashem] said: ‘I will make all My Goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Hashem before you; I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will be merciful to whom I will show mercy.’

– Shemos 33:17-19

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