Twice a day, when the Jew addresses his Maker, the highly choreographed movements of the prayer service pause for a moment, allowing for something older and rawer to raise its head—or, more precisely to lower it. This pause and the way the Talmud chooses to explain it tell us something significant about the power of speech and prayer. It also tells us something about how Jewish law itself operates and how the relationships between the individual and the community, on the one hand, and the individual and the Almighty on the other, operate in relation to the letter of the law.
The Significance of Supplication
An ancient rabbinic dispute pitted eminent scholars against one another. The Taḥanun prayer is rooted in that story of public shame and private distress.