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Yoma 52b - tefillah ketzarah

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1 Yoma 52b - tefillah ketzarah on Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:08 am

It says in the mishnah Yoma 52b that the Cohen Gadol would say a "short prayer" in the "beis hachitzon", the heichal. Both things seem quite remarkable to me.
The gemara explains why the prayer was short - so as not to panic those waiting outside, who would be afraid that he died. But this is presumably the most powerful prayer of the year, with the ability to save and improve the lives of thousands. It is very important not to frighten people, but I would have thought that the importance of the prayer would override that. According to the gemara, there was one cohen gadol who agreed with me! But that is not the halacha.

Second, why was the prayer said in the heichal, not in the kodesh kodoshim? It takes the same time either way, and wouldn't it be much more powerful and effective in the kodesh kodoshim? Seems like he didn't say anything at all in the kodesh kodoshim, in the greatest meeting with Hashem ever.
Interestingly, there is a gemara in Brachos 7a, when Hashem initiated the conversation with a cohen gadol in the kodesh kodoshim, and asked him to pray for him, k'v'yachol. It records the prayer said, much lengthier and (I would have thought) much loftier than the one normally said in the heichal.

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2 Re: Yoma 52b - tefillah ketzarah on Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:10 am

Interestingly, the Yerushalmi (perek 5, halacha 2) records that Shimon Hatzadik was the Cohen Gadol who said the long prayer. I would think that conflicts with the Tosefta, where they criticized him and quoted our mishnah (!) to show that it isn't allowed.

According to the Yerushalmi, maybe one can say that Shimon Hatzadik represents the transition (as he was in so many other things) between the first Beis Hamikdash where fear that the Cohen Gadol would die hadn't yet been heard of, and the second Beis Hamikdash when things just wouldn't work as well.

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