If you ever wondered about the mysterious ways of prayers you must have thought about the times when you did not see immediate answers to your own prayers. Why is this happening? What needs to be done so that your prayers would be answered? Do you have ant control over God’s harkening to your prayers besides being pure hearted, humble and innocent before Him?
The Hebrew Bible has the answer in the form of this beautiful expression: ‘et ra•tzon.’ This is a particular moment when God is believed to have the greatest openness and compassion to you. If you have children, you know that you love them all the time, but you also know those moments when all your love folds into a compassionate wave of joyous tenderness towards your child. At a moment like this even the moon won’t be beyond your reach, if you feel that this it what your innocent offspring truly wants. This is your et ra•tzon.
‘Et’ means time, and ‘ratzon’ means willingness or desire.
This is the moment Isaiah prays for when he asks for the salvation of Israel. Of course, the English translation loses some of the glow that this expression has in Hebrew, but the precious moment, ‘et ra•tzon’ is sought or:
‘Thus says the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you; and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, to restore the land, and to assign desolate inheritances to their owners.’
‘et ra•tzon’ is also mentioned in Psalms:
‘But as for me, let my prayer be to you, O Lord, in an acceptable time; O God, in the greatness of your loving kindness answer me, in the truth of your salvation.’
Because of the importance of et ra•tzon, this Psalm verse became a part of ‘Ma Tovu’ a major Jewish prayer recited and sang upon entering the synagogue.