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Statement for Tefilot Israel’s Response to COVID-19

UPDATE AS OF JUNE 22, 2020:

Thank G-d, Israel has seen tremendous improvement throughout the country regarding the status of COVID-19 in recent weeks. As the national lockdown is gradually eased, our Torah scholars are greatly looking forward to once again praying on your behalf at the holiest place on earth – the Western Wall. 

We will continue to recite prayers relevant to the pandemic, such as the Pitum HaKetoret, following all safety protocols that have been put in place in order to return to pray at the most sacred site in Judaism. For 40 consecutive days, righteous and devoted prayer agents will visit the Western Wall to pray with you and your loved ones in mind by submitting this form.

Don’t forget, you can also send a personal letter to the Western Wall by submitting your message here, for a one-time opportunity free of charge! Our Torah agents will deliver it straight to the ancient crevices of the Kotel, where millions of notes like yours have been placed by people around the world for years. 

Disclaimer: If there is any unanticipated change regarding lockdown restrictions in Israel, we will ensure that the health and safety of our Torah scholars remains the utmost priority. We will immediately let you know that your 40 day prayer package at the Western Wall has been temporarily paused until we get governmental and medical clearance to return there to pray. If you registered for an entire year of prayer, our Torah scholars will continue to pray for you from the safety of their homes until they are allowed to return to the Western Wall, ensuring that they pray on your behalf for 365 consecutive days regardless of any change in circumstances due to COVID-19. 

In these difficult and unprecedented times, Tefilot Israel has decided to temporarily discontinue any services that require our Torah scholars to travel. We are wholly committed to providing them with the income they and their families rely on in a 100% safe and healthy way. While the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made it impossible to pray at Israel’s holiest sites, we are fortunate that G-d ultimately hears our prayers from wherever they come from. Now more than ever it is important to storm the heavens with prayers for an immediate redemption from this horrible virus and a swift recovery for everyone affected by it.

That is why we are offering everyone, no matter your background, a rare opportunity for righteous scholars in Israel to pray for your health in the midst of this pandemic. Our prayer agents are individuals who have dedicated their entire lives to the in-depth study of Torah, oftentimes having to sacrifice many things in order to humbly pursue such a religiously devout lifestyle. Their deep commitment to G-d is a testament to their great character. That is why we believe that their prayers are powerfully reinforced by their own merit and good deeds.

The proceeds for each prayer request go directly to supporting our Torah scholars and their families – and each prayer goes directly to G-d! For $36, our Torah scholars will pray on your behalf on a daily basis for 40 consecutive days, reciting specific prayers for COVID-19 that have been endorsed by the world’s greatest Jewish leaders. The number 36, which is equivalent to 18 doubled, was intentionally chosen to symbolize the Hebrew word for “life”. Chai, which means life, consists of the two letters Chet and Yud that together amount to the numerical equivalence of 18. It is customary in Jewish communities to give money amounting to multiples of 18 for that exact reason. As such, we thought it would be appropriate to choose a number that represents life in such a profound way. With so many lives currently at risk, it is beautiful to designate that word as the central theme and means of support for our prayers aimed to protect and save them.

We want to clarify that while praying to G-d has the potential to affect things in powerful and miraculous ways, it is still crucial to follow all health guidelines and protocols put in place by medical professionals. There is a relevant parable that goes as follows:

A man is stranded in a flood and is at risk of drowning. A rowboat comes to him and the man in it shouts if he needs help, to which the stranded man responds that he does not because he is waiting for G-d to save him. Next, a motorboat approaches and a crew member repeats the question from before, only to hear the man respond with the exact same answer he had given previously. This kept happening until eventually the rapid waters became too great and he drowned. In heaven, the man finally asks what happened. “I don’t understand, G-d. I had faith in You and You let me drown. Why didn’t you save me from the flood?” G-d responds, “I sent you a rowboat, a motorboat, and on and on… what more did you expect?!” 

So too, it is important for us all to do our part in saving one another by using the resources and knowledge that we have already been endowed with to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further and doing more damage. We will continue to pray to G-d to save us, but we must simultaneously take hold of the “rescue methods” He has already sent. From social distancing, scrupulous hygiene, quarantining, and more, we must realize that we are not really as stranded in all this as we may seem. 

Read more here about the unequivocal power of prayer during this global outbreak, and sign up now for a Torah scholar to pray on YOUR behalf starting tomorrow!

May our efforts be successful and may G-d answer all our prayers soon.