I saw somewhere that Chovos HaLevavos writes, "The purpose of tefillah is not to change Hashem's mind but rather to change ourselves. It is to bring us to the realization that our fate is completely dependent on His will and that we can only survive through His mercy. The very act of tefillah elevates, exalts and transforms us, so that we're no longer the same people we were before."

Does anyone know where the Chovos HaLevavos says this?

1 Answer 1


there is no such quote in the chovos halevavos. the following I believe is the closest. perhaps your quote is an interpretation of it part 8 ch.3

You should know, my brother, that our aim in prayer is only the longing of the soul to G-d, its submitting before Him, exalting its Creator, praising and thanking to His Name, and casting all of its needs on Him.

And since it is difficult for the mind to remember all of this, it was necessary for our sages to arrange a written order of the matters which most men need, which demonstrate to them their great need for G-d and their need to submit to Him on account of of them. These are the matters of prayer which were ordered and arranged, so that the person can greet his Creator, and not be ashamed in approaching Him, and to see in the prayer matters which bring it humility and submission before G-d.

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    By the way, both R SR Hirsch and R' JB Soloveitchik explain the hitpa'el, ie something done to oneself, construction of "lehitpalel" (to pray; or perhaps more literally: to make oneself into a plea) is due to this idea. Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 22:50

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