Chazal tell us, “A person should not embark on tefillah from sadness, laziness, conversation, frivolity or idle chatter; rather, he should enter prayer from the joy of a mitzvah” (Berachos 31a). Rashi explains that before Shacharis the vehicle to bring one to joy is reciting verses of encouragement like those that describe Yetzias Mitrayim; Minchah is preceded by Ashrei; and Maariv follows the eighteen verses that are commonly said in chutz l’aretz before Maariv (Rashi).
Rashi implies that the way to attain a joyful state in the morning is through the tefillah that is said directly before Shemoneh Esrei. However, Tosfos attribute the Pesukei D’zimra that we recite before Shacharis with evoking that happiness. How can we reconcile these two opinions?
In truth, these two ideas are not contradictory. During Pesukei D’zimra we mention many different types of praises of Hashem. This propels us into the right mind frame for the general tefillah.
Even after we have achieved the necessary state of mind for tefillah, we still need to approach prayer with the confidence that Hashem wants to hear the prayers of the Jewish people and desires to answer them as well. For this reason we say the verses of encouragement – tanchumim of Ezras – right before Shemoneh Esrei, which instills in us the assurance that the same way Hashem took us out of the slavery of Mitzrayim, He can eliminate any problems we might be facing and indeed bring us to complete salvation (Aruch Hashulchan 93,6).
Text Copyright © 2013 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org