Found this online: quote : As the Rav puts it, Avodah Shebalev is a constant requirement (Kiyum Hamitzvah) where Tefilah is one of many ways (Ma’aseh Hamitzvah) of actualizing it.

I thought that Tefilah was Avodah Shebalev, but from this quote I understand that Tefilah is a form of Avodah Shebalev. That Tefilah is one way of actualizing Avodah Shebalev. So what are the other ways mentioned by the Rav (and other commentators)?

  • 1
    check out the "Duties of the Heart" by Rabeinu Bachye
    – ray
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 19:37

1 Answer 1


It seems likely that the intent was Rambam's Sefer HaMitsvot (Asseh #5). (If I recall, the Rav would often quote it):

שצונו לעבדו יתעלה וכבר נכפל צווי זה פעמים, אמר (משפטים כג כה) ועבדתם את י"י אלהיכם ואמר (ראה יג ה) ואותו תעבודו ואמר (ואתחנן ו יג) ואותו תעבוד ואמר (ס"פ עקב) ולעבדו. ואעפ"י שזה הצווי הוא גם כן מן הציוויים הכוללים כמו שביארנו בשרש הרביעי הנה יש בו יחוד שהוא צוה בתפילה. ולשון ספרי ולעבדו זו תפילה. ואמרו גם כן ולעבדו זה תלמוד. ובמשנתו של רבי אליעזר בנו שלרבי יוסי הגלילי (פרש' יב עמ' רכח) אמרו מנין לעיקר תפילה בתוך המצות מהכא את י"י אלהיך תירא ואותו תעבוד. ואמרו עבדהו בתורתו עבדהו במקדשו. כלומר ללכת שם להתפלל בו ונגדו

That is, the commandment is a general one; to worship God (which would have been off topic as too broad), but it is interpreted as referring especially to prayer. It is also applied to talmud Torah.

Indeed, this is stated in Reshimot Shiurim of the Rav to Berakhot 11b:

ונראה ליישב עפ"י המתבאר מדברי הרמב"ם בספר המצות (מ"ע ה') וז"ל...עכ"ל. ומבואר מדבריו דתורה ותפלה תרוויהו הויין קיום של מצות "ועבדתם את ה' אלוקיכם" דמהוים קיום מצות עבודה שבלב.

  • This is not a critical text of the SHM. Hopefully I will confirm it with R. Qafih's translation.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 0:43
  • Altough I do like your answer, it's one about how prayer plays a part in serving HaShem, but it isn't refering to avodah shebalev specifically, altough it does come close. I'm looking forward to your confirmation. P.s.: In the Mishnah of Rabbi Eliezer, the son of Rabbi Yosi HaG'lili, the Sages said, "What is the biblical source to include prayer among the mitzvos? From the verse, 'You shall fear G‑d, your L‑rd, and you shall serve Him.' " Why is it from the verse to fear or have awe for HaShem?
    – Levi
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 6:22
  • I cannot for the life of me fathom why anyone would downvote a quote from the Rav that answers a question about a quote from the Rav!
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 13:53
  • @Levi The Rav is referring to Avodah sheb'lev; see the last words of the quote. The Rav is simply explaining Rambam who writes that the mitsvah of avodah sheb'lev is synonymous with other verses about serving God.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 13:58

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