Kenneth Cohen

Praise Before Requests

Even though Moshe Rabbeinu’s request to enter Eretz Yisrael was refused, we learn a great deal about making requests.

Moshe taught the importance of praising before asking. He praised Hashem by saying how awesome was His greatness, and the strength of His outstretched hand. For there is nothing in existence that is capable of His great acts.

Only after such praise was given, was it acceptable to ask for something personal. This is also the format of our Shmone Esrei prayer. We begin with three blessings of praise, before making our thirteen blessings of requests. We follow this up with three blessings of thanksgiving.

Aside from this being the appropriate manner of seeking Hashem’s favor, this should be our practice in our interpersonal relationships.

We should take care to give sincere praise before asking for a favor. We should certainly remember to do this in our interaction with our spouse. We should learn to regularly give praise, and show appreciation for even trivial things our spouse does for us. Requests should be preceded by a compliment. This teaches us not to take our friends and loved ones for granted.

This lesson was taught to us by Moshe Rabbeinu, and it is a good practice to always give praise before making requests.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at