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40 Days Prayer

A mystical Jewish tradition says that a person who goes to the Holy Site for 40 consecutive days to pray for one thing, will be granted that thing. The origin of this idea -- praying 40 consecutive days -- is Moses, who spent 40 days on Mount Sinai, asking forgiveness for the Jewish people for the sin of the Golden Calf.

Going to Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron for forty consecutive days to pray for any specific need, and the special power this has to bring salvation to the petitioner, is an accepted custom in all circles of the Jewish Community, and an old Jewish tradition.

The custom is widespread and deeply rooted amongst the great Sages and the pious of the latter generations, who attached great reverence to the practice, even in situations where all other means of salvation had failed.

Indeed, many wondrous stories have been handed down as to the miracles wrought by forty days of praye, whether in relation to cures from illness, childless couples being blessed with children, finding one’s ‘basherter’, as well as various other salvations.

The Unique Quality of the Number Forty

The special characteristics of the number forty as being propitious, amongst other things, for the answering of prayers, has a holy and exalted source. This idea appears many times in the Torah and in other books of the Bible, in early books of Rabbinic thought and interpretation, as well as Hasidut.

The propitious character of forty days of consecutive prayer is first reflected in the heavenly declarations which are uttered forty days before the formation of a human embryo; and again later, when Moshe was called to ascend Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights. Similarly, we find the days of judgment and mercy which begin on the 1st of Ellul and end on the Day of Atonement also add up to forty.

Even if there be no one among us who understands what the real significance of the number forty is, we can, nevertheless, be sure that there is a lofty hidden significance to the number and particularly in relation to its capacity to help our prayers be heard. The practice of continuing to recite our prayers for forty consecutive days has a great and wondrous capability to open the Gates of Heaven and reach the very throne of Hashem’s glory, thus engendering blessing upon the entire world.

Establishing by Way of a Representative

Reb Shlomke Zviller, revealed another important secret to us; that the power of the segula is in no way diminished if the prayers are performed by a representative, rather than directly by the person himself. This concept is a well proven fact, which has been attested to time and again by people who experienced it.

In our times, when one catastrophe befalls us after another, why should we not follow in the footsteps of our fathers and Sages to carry out this holy practice? - Yet not everyone can merit fulfilling this themselves.

Just as was always the case in earlier times, there must be people who will carry out this holy mission on behalf of others. As it was stated in the famous teaching of the Chatam Sofer on the verse: “And they (the Angels) receive permission from one another, and say: ‘Holy..etc’” – that a person’s representative carries the same authority as his own – even in matters of speech.

Our generation has merited that for a nominal fee it is possible to appoint a representative who will go to do one’s bidding with dedication and responsibility for forty consecutive days. May the salvation not take long in coming, with Hashem’s help, amein.

Tzidkat Rashbi is offering to be your messenger for 40 days of prayer at Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron.

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