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Daily Reading of the Ketoret To Bring The End To A Plague

Towards the end of our daily prayer service, we recite "Kaveh," which includes the "Ein K'Elokeinu" prayer as well as "Pitum Ha'ketoret," which discusses the incense offering that was brought in the Beit Ha'mikdash.

The Abudarham (commentary to the Siddur by Rabbi David Abudarham, Spain, 14th century) offered a pneumonic to help remember the sequence of verses in "Ein K'Elokeinu": "Amen-Baruch-Ata." The letters of "Amen" (Alef, Mem, Nun) represent the first three verses: "Ain K'Elokeinu," "Mi K'Elokeinu" and "Nodeh L'Elokeinu," which are followed by "Baruch Elokeinu" and "Ata Hu Elokeinu." Thus, the pneumonic "Amen-Baruch-Ata" is a convenient method of remembering this prayer.

Rabbi Chayim Palachi (in siman 17:16-18) elaborates on the importance and value of reciting "Pitum Ha'ketoret" (listen to audio for precise citation). He writes that this recitation has the power to ensure that one's prayer will ascends directly to the Almighty unharmed by the Mekatregim (prosecuting angels). And in earlier generations, communities would read "Pitum Ha'ketoret" when a plague struck, as this recitation has the capacity to bring an end to even the deadliest plagues. Rabbi Palachi emphasizes the importance of reciting this section slowly and from a Siddur; a person who recites "Pitum Ha'ketoret" rapidly forfeits the immense spiritual benefits of this prayer. In addition, he cites from the work "Me'il Tzedaka" that one should try to obtain a piece of parchment with the "Pitum Ha'ketoret" written on it in the script of a Sefer Torah. Reading this section from such a parchment has the power to earn a person wealth and to guarantee a consistent and comfortable livelihood. Finally, the Zohar comments that if we were truly aware of the greatness of the Ketoret, we would put a crown over each and every word of this section, in order to demonstrate the immense value of its recitation.

Summary: One must ensure to read the "Pitum Ha'ketoret" section slowly and from a Siddur; one who reads it quickly and carelessly forfeits its immense benefits. Preferably, one should obtain a special parchment with this section written on it in the script of the Sefer Torah and read the "Pitum Ha'ketoret" from this parchment every day.

 


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