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    The prayer of the poor – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why does Avinu Malkenu say that we have no good deeds?

    A. The truth is that we have both good and bad deeds on our record, but Avinu Malkenu emphasises the bad ones.

    The problem, as Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev pointed out, is that we ask God for so many boons that we find ourselves too poor to pay for them. What a moment of truth!

    The Zohar says there are three kinds of prayer, the prayer of Moses, the prayer of David and the prayer of the poor. Moses’ prayer is more intellectual, David’s more poetic and the poor person’s more heartfelt.

    On Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur we are like the poor person who sadly admits that they have too little with which to pay for the blessings they request from God.

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