SECTION 120 It is Desirable that [the Request] Retzeh be made in Every Shemoneh Esreh. (1-2)

קכ שֶׁרָאוּי לוֹמַר רְצֵה בְּכָל תְּפִלָּה וּבוֹ ב' סְעִיפִים:

1 The request beginning Retzeh should be recited in every Shemoneh Esreh, in contrast to the custom of those who, in the Afternoon and Evening Services, begin [the first of the last three blessings] with the words ve’ishei Yisrael usfilasam (“and the fire-offerings of Israel and their prayers”). There is no [adequate] reason for this custom.


א אוֹמְרִים "רְצֵה" בְּכָל הַתְּפִלּוֹת,א וְלֹא כְּאוֹתָן שֶׁנּוֹהֲגִיםב לְהַתְחִיל בְּמִנְחָה וּבְעַרְבִית "וְאִשֵּׁי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּתְפִלָּתָם כו'", שֶׁאֵין טַעַם לְמִנְהָגָם:

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2 The term ve’ishei Yisrael (“the fire-offerings of Israel”) alludes to the souls of the tzad­dikim1 that are offered by the archangel Michael on the sublime altar.2 (On the earthly plane, this term alludes to the sacrifices offered by the righteous: they surrender their souls to the Holy One, blessed be He, with every word that emerges from their mouths — and “mouth” is a [Kabbalistic] metaphor for “altar.”) (Their abounding love of G‑d derives from Above through the agency of Michael, the angel of the attribute of lovingkindness.)

It is prayer of this nature that is called “[Divine] service within the heart.”3 [Since spiritual] sacrifices of this kind4 are offered with fiery rapture, they are called “the fire-offerings of Israel.” The [following] phrase “and their prayer”5 refers to the body of prayer, the actual words recited.

ב "וְאִשֵּׁי יִשְׂרָאֵל" הֵן נִשְׁמוֹת הַצַּדִּיקִיםג,1 שֶׁמַּקְרִיב מִיכָאֵל שַׂר הַגָּדוֹל עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ שֶׁל מַעְלָה2 (וּלְמַטָּה – הֵן הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת שֶׁמַּקְרִיבִים הַצַּדִּיקִים וּמוֹסְרִים נַפְשׁוֹתֵיהֶם לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל כָּל דִּבּוּר וְדִבּוּר הַיּוֹצֵא מִפִּיהֶם הַמְכֻנֶּה בְּשֵׁם "מִזְבֵּחַ") (בְּאַהֲבָה רַבָּה הַבָּאָה אֲלֵיהֶם מִלְמַעְלָה עַל יְדֵי מִיכָאֵל שַׂר הַחֶסֶדד), וְזוֹ הִיא תְּפִלָּה הַנִּקְרָא "עֲבוֹדָה שֶׁבַּלֵּב".3 וְהַקָּרְבָּנוֹת אֵלּוּ4 שֶׁהֵן בְּאֵשׁ הַהִתְלַהֲבוּת – נִקְרָאוֹת "אִשֵּׁי יִשְׂרָאֵל", "וּתְפִלָּתָם"5 – הִיא גּוּף הַתְּפִלָּה שֶׁהֵן תֵּבוֹתֶיהָ: