Jewish Thought

The Power of a Whisper

Though G-d appears far beyond our reach, beyond this world and beyond all galaxies, in the highest heavenly realm lies G-d’s Throne of Glory; how far away G-d seems from us! But in truth there is none as close to us as He is. How close? Close enough to hear us whisper. (Based on Yerushalmi, Berachos 9:1)

A Plea for Mercy

Through the awesome power of prayer, a person draws close to G-d, awakening Divine Mercy. G-d descends from the highest heavens to listen to the prayers and cries of even the simplest among us, as the verse teaches: “G-d is close to all who call to Him… (Tehillim 145:18).”

One who fears G-d receives even more protection, as the verse continues, “He will do the will of those who fear Him; He will hear their cry and save them (Tehillim 145:19).” An even greater level of protection is when G-d answers a prayer before it is uttered, as the Torah states: “Even before they call out to Me, I will answer… (Yeshayah 65:24).”

G-d acts like a mighty king who protects and cares for his people. When they call out to Him, He bends the boundaries of protocol in order to accommodate them. Our prayers have the power to change even the harshest of decrees. One who neglects to approach G-d and ask for mercy, however, may find himself being judged according to the strict letter of the law.

A Private Audience

It is hard, often impossible to approach a mortal king. Only the privileged and well connected can gain admittance to the palace and have his request heard personally. Instead, the vast majority of people send letters of request via the bureaucracy of established law, and via various social services established to help the people; most requests never even reach the king but are dealt with by underlings.

Yet, all who turn to G-d, the King of Kings, in prayer are heard by Him alone. David HaMelech thus proclaimed, “G-d [alone] has heard my plea; [G-d alone] will accept my prayer (Tehillim 6:10, as explained in Shochar Tov).” And although G-d hears countless prayers at the same time, it is as if each person receives a private audience when he stands in silent prayer.

The words of the Shemoneh Esrei, spoken in a mere whisper, further indicate the close personal connection one experiences, speaking directly to G-d as one friend to another.

From the Book “The Power of a Whisper”


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