A Mouthful of Blessings

April 2, 2024

Imagine yourself standing in front of a vast banquet table, laden with every imaginable delicacy. The aromas tantalize your senses, and your mouth waters with anticipation. You know that you are free to partake of any dish that catches your eye and indulge in the feast spread before you. All you need to do is ask and the food will be placed on your plate, ready for your enjoyment.

This scenario vividly captures the essence of Psalms 81:11:

Rashi, the esteemed medieval commentator, explains that the phrase “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it” signifies the act of requesting from God whatever one’s heart desires. If we make requests of God He promises to fulfill them, standing ready to satisfy the desires of those who turn to Him in prayer.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz further explains this idea, emphasizing that the words “open your mouth wide” are meant to convey readiness on the part of God. “If only you would open your mouth wide in prayer,” he suggests, “you would receive what you ask for.”

Just as a generous host eagerly anticipates the requests of their guests, so too does God eagerly await the prayers and petitions of His children. If only we would open our mouths, God would fill them with our requests.

Further elaborating on this idea, Rabbi Noah Weinberg cites an analogy from Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, known as the Chofetz Chaim. Drawing a parallel between seeking donations and approaching God in prayer, the Chofetz Chaim highlights the importance of considering God’s greatness when making requests.

When seeking donations, one adjusts their request according to the wealth of the donor. If you’re speaking to a newspaper vendor, asking for $500 would be absurd, but asking for a penny would be insulting. Similarly, when we approach God in prayer, we must consider His greatness. Since God is capable of granting any request, we must not hesitate to ask, for holding back would be an insult.

Approaching God in prayer requires us to remember His infinite love and generosity. Just as a loving parent delights in fulfilling the requests of their children, so too does God delight in granting the prayers of His people. As Rabbi Weinberg astutely observes, God wants to give us everything; all we need to do is ask.

In Jewish tradition, prayers encompass a wide range of requests, from material needs to spiritual aspirations. By including every aspect of life in our prayers, we acknowledge God’s sovereignty over all areas of our existence and express our dependence on Him for sustenance and guidance.

Psalms 81:11 serves as a reminder of God’s willingness to provide for His children. By opening our mouths in prayer, we open ourselves to the abundant blessings that God eagerly waits to bestow upon us. God will provide according to His wisdom, our job is simply to ask.

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Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

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