Please!! Please!! Please!!... 515 Times!
Our wise Sages pointed out that Moshe prayed 515 times to HaShem. Take the first word of the Parsha, VaEschanan – ואתחנן . Add up the letters (6+1+400+8+50+50) and what do you get? 515!
Now, add the letters of the Hebrew word for “prayer,” Tefilah – תפלה (400+80+30+5), and what do you get? You guessed it… 515! That’s right… No less than 515 prayers!
Now, what do you think Moshe’s prayers sounded like? Did he repeat the same exact prayer 515 times? Moshe was more creative than that and managed to come up with new prayers each time he prayed.
Our wise Sages shared with us some behind-the-scenes of Moshe’s prayers:
- “HaShem! That is Your name of mercy and compassion!
Elokim! This is Your name of strength and strictness.
Please, please, even if I am not deserving, let your compassionate HaShem win over the strictness of Elokim!”
- “HaShem! Elokim! If You want to follow the strict letter of the law, let it be that way. The Torah says that a boss must always pay his workers on time. (Look back in Parshas Mishpatim, under the title “Pay Up,” for a Shazak Scenario.) Now, after faithfully leading Your people 40 years in the desert, it surely is time that I get “paid.” But I don’t want money – I am just asking to enter the Land!”
- “HaShem! Elokim! It was I who lead the war against Sichon and Og and we succeeded in conquering those lands – those are the nations at the border outside Eretz Yisrael. Have mercy, HaShem. Please let me finish the job that I started!”
- “HaShem! Elokim! You are merciful and all powerful! Remember how You swore to destroy the entire nation after the Sin of the Golden Calf, yet You didn’t? You reversed your decree then, for hundreds of thousands of people. Surely you can do the same for me, just one person!”
- And one more passionate plea, which flows from the very end of last week’s Parsha, Parshas Devarim, when Moshe hands over the leadership to Yehoshua.
“HaShem! Elokim! After hitting the rock, You decreed that I shall not lead Bnei Yisrael into the land, and I accepted that. I even handed over the leadership to my worthy student, Yehoshua. Now, have mercy and let me enter the land, not as a leader, but as a private citizen!”
- In the words of Rashi, “VaEschanan is related to the word Chinum, meaning “for free,” – although Tzadikim, righteous people, base their prayer-requests to be answered on the merit of their good deeds, still they request from HaShem nothing more than a “free gift.”
So, there you have it… 6 out of 515 forms of prayers… That leaves 509 prayers.