The Limits of Prayer
1. One who sees a place where miracles have been done for Israel, says, "Blessed
be He Who did miracles for our ancestors in this place." [Upon seeing] a place
from where idolatry has been uprooted, one says "Blessed . . . Who uprooted
idolatry from our land".
The Mishnah then moves from history to nature:
2. [Upon witnessing] shooting stars, earthquakes, thunderclaps, storms and lightning,
one says, "Blessed ... Whose strength and might fill the world." On seeing mountains,
hills, seas, rivers, and deserts, one says, "Blessed ... Who created the world" ... For rain
and good tidings, one says, "Blessed ... Who is good and bestows good." For bad tidings,
one says, "Blessed be the true Judge."
It is here, oddly, that the Mishnah introduces the new category of vain prayer:
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