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Bereishit 25:21 tells us that Yitzchak prayed for Rivka because she was barren and God accepted his prayer. They were married for 20 years before she had the twins. I am assuming that they didn't know on day one of their marriage that she was barren. When did they figure out that prayer was called for and when did he make this prayer?

I understand that Yitzchak is credited with beginning the mincha prayer, so did he pray for Rivka daily as part of that? Or was this a one-time plea that God heard? If it was a one-time plea, did Yitzchak wait almost 20 years to make it or did he make it earlier but God delayed in responding? I am curious about when Yitzchak decided that prayer was called for and, after that, what he did and for how long before God responded.

Rashi describes his prayer but doesn't talk about the timing or frequency:

opposite his wife: This one (Isaac) was standing in this corner and praying, and that one (Rebecca) was standing in that corner and praying.

Finally, if this was part of his daily prayer, then does this Rashi indicate that Rivka, too, prayed daily?

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"I am assuming that they didn't know on day one of their marriage that she was barren. When did they figure out that prayer was called for and when did he make this prayer?" This is not an answer, because I don't know, but conceivably they prayed for the ability to have kids from the time they wed. I know I did (in B'rich sh'meh for example). –  msh210 Dec 22 '13 at 4:32
    
@msh210 good point that he might have started general prayers early. The text tells us that he prayed "because she was barren", so if he did do what you suggest then it sounds like there still came a point where it shifted from a general prayer to a more direct one. Of course, it's possible I'm reading too much into it, too. –  Monica Cellio Dec 22 '13 at 4:41
    
Ah, yes, I'd forgotten the verse says the prayer was "because she was barren". –  msh210 Dec 22 '13 at 5:11
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Tosefos in Yevamos 64a points out that according to one medrash Rivka was 3 when she was married, and therefore was incapable of having children for 10 years. On top of that, it takes 10 years to establish that a woman is barren (see the gemara there). According to that, it is possible that Yitzchak only started davening after 20 years. (Tos. points out this is not the opinion of the Gemara there.)

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