It states in the Talmud, “Rabbi Pinchas ben Hama gave the following exposition, ‘Whosoever has a sick person in his house should go to a tzaddik (righteous person) who will invoke [heavenly] mercy for him’” (Talmud Baba Batra 116a).

Why should a person seek out someone else to pray for them? With three formal prayer services a day and an open invitation for informal, individual prayer, isn’t a person capable of praying for oneself? The answer is yes, people should pray for themselves, but it never hurts to have a little extra help.

There are many reasons a person might call upon a tzaddik  to say a special prayer: illness, help with livelihood, assistance with having children, assistance with raising children, etc. Sometimes a person will go to a tzaddik and just ask for a blessing, leaving it open-ended, asking for general well-being and success in life.

While every person can, and should, speak to God on their own, a particularly righteous person may have a special ability to connect with the spiritual. It is interesting to note that there can even be a difference between two righteous people. The commentators note that while both Isaac and Rebecca prayed for children, God responded specifically to Isaac’s prayers “Because the prayer of a righteous person who is the child of a righteous person is not like the prayer of a righteous person who is the child of a wicked person” (Talmud Yebamot 64a).

Whether one is in a position to request prayers from a righteous individual or not, one should not hesitate to ask others to pray for them.

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