The One Who Answers

Rabbi Aviva Richman

When We Don't Pray

There is something about the “Mi She-Anah” prayer of Selihot that has bothered me in recent years.  I used to think of this part of Selihot as a relatively straightforward list poem.  The structure seemed elementary and kind of boring—May the One who answered X person in Y place also answer us.   In my mind, I conflated all of the specific examples as circumstances where a person prayed to be saved and God answered the prayer through an act of intervention and salvation.  It felt both literarily redundant and theologically simplistic.