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Section:  Avodah   Category: Shmoneh Esrei
Part 1 The Shmoneh Esrei - Only A Closed Mouth Needs To Be Opened
This is a short, practical version of Ya'aros Devash 1:1 which Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe zt"l condensed in Alei Shur pg.123. The original contains all kinds of fascinating mystical insights. The interested reader is referred to Ya'aros Devash 1:1, starting about half-way through.

It is incumbent on us to know the proper way to pray to Hashem. And the main prayer is the Shmoneh Esrei.  Now is not the time to elaborate on the kavanas (intents) with which every tiny detail contains secrets of the torah and of the holy chariot, combinations of holy names from all of the upper worlds to open gates and to affect and elevate on high to the guardian. We'll talk about the simple meaning of each blessing, what one should put to heart while saying each one. This is something within every man's reach.

Hashem Sefasai Tiftach - Hashem Open My Lips

When saying Hashem Sefasai Tiftach, one should realize in his heart that HaKadosh Baruch Hu put lips on a person as guardians for the mouth and the tongue in order that one should not speak idle chatter and that these gates should be closed to prevent entering and leaving. Similar to a man who puts a guard to protect a treasure house. And is there a greater treasure house than one's tongue whereby life and death depend on it?! (as in the verse "Life and death is in the power of the tongue" - Mishlei 18:21) And the lips are the guardians, and should not be opened at all because "I've never found anything better for the body than silence" (pirkei avos) They are the closed gates and should not be opened except for the will of Hashem, to open them for (learning) His torah and for other things He desires.  

If so, who is the man with some minimal understanding who would not understand heart that to pray and to thank Hashem, I need to first pray that He opens my lips! How could I open my mouth all day with idle chatter, improper words, frivolities, lies, putting down others, slander, gossip, knifing others with words! Oy vavoy, what will such a person answer. What will the ministering angels say? They will mock him saying "this foolish person asks Hashem to open his lips and the whole day they are like an open wall. These are twisted lips and a deceitful tongue."  Therefore he should put to heart that his lips should not be open except for meaningful things. Then, it would be well said to ask "Hashem open my lips" and they would truly be (shaarei tzedek), gates of righteousness to pass through them to give thanks to Hashem. (a reference to the verse in Hallel: "Pischu li shaarei tzedek avo vam...")

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