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Is praying at a gravesite like idolatry?

  

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Rabbi Yosef L: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...what's on your mind

GraveMatter: Why do we pray at a Tzadeks gravesite, or at Rachels gravesite?

Rabbi Yosef L: it is an old custom to pray at a Tzaddiks gravesite

GraveMatter: We are supposed to pray directly to Hashem. Isn't praying at a gravesite a step or two away from idol worship?

Rabbi Yosef L: no, we are not praying TO the Tzadik; we are praying to Hashem, but we are asking the Tzadik's soul to interced on our behalf, sort of like a defense attorney. We know the judge is the one doing the sentencing, but the attorney can hopefully put our case in better words

GraveMatter: Are one's prayers said at a gravesite heard better, or is it just a different path?

Rabbi Yosef L: who would present your case better, you or an accomplished attorney?

GraveMatter: To use the Attorney example, sometimes the passion and heart-felt thoughts of an individual can be more convincing than the greatest Attorney.

Rabbi Yosef L: we rarely see people not use an attorney

GraveMatter: This is true. I thank you for guidance in this matter.

Rabbi Yosef L: did I indeed answer ypur question

Rabbi Yosef L: you can say no

GraveMatter: Actually, you did. If I didn't think you answered my question, I would have no hesitation to say so.

Rabbi Yosef L: thanks, over a chat it is sometimes hard to tell

GraveMatter: Yes. The internet created a level of separation.

Rabbi Yosef L: yes it did

Rabbi Yosef L: but that is sometimes an advantage as people are not embarassed to ask questions

Rabbi Yosef L: they would otherwise never ask face to face

GraveMatter: That is true.

GraveMatter: The fact that I can get a question like this answered at 12:17 AM (I am in the NY area) is terrific and greatly appreciated.

Rabbi Yosef L: thanks

Rabbi Yosef L: come any time

Rabbi Yosef L: we are here 24/6

Rabbi Yosef L: even Moses rested on Shabbat

GraveMatter: Yes. Thank you for your answer, and a nice chat.

Rabbi Yosef L: thanks

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Prayer
Mitzvot » Prohibitions
Mitzvot » Prayer » About
Mitzvot » Prayer » Laws and Customs

Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Moses
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
Hashem
"The Name." Out of respect, we do not explicitly mention G-d's name, unless in the course of prayer. Instead, "Hashem" is substituted.
Tzadik
(fem. Tzidkanit; pl. Tzadikim). A saint, or righteous person.