Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Guest Post: Davening is Tough

So we all know davening is a tough discipline.

But one of the many nuggets of motivation that I find super validating is found in the davening itself.  It is a small line that we utter several times a day. 

Just before we begin the Amida we say 6 words.  Often these words are said without focus on what their meaning is.

The words are "Ado-ai siftai tiftach u'fi yagid t'helaticha". 

אֲדֹנָי שְׂפָתַי תִּפְתָּח וּפִי יַגִּיד תְּהִלָּתֶךָ

I like to roughly translate them as, "G-d, help! Open my mouth so that I can do this prayer stuff."

To me, these words seem to validate the reality that even the tefillot themselves acknowledge that it is tough to pray.  And so, we pray that G-d will help us through the act of prayer!  And then we dive into the Amida, hoping, with G'd's help, our prayer experience is meaning infused.

WILD, huh?!

When we say these words,  G-d seems to become not only the one we direct our tefila TOWARD, but also, G-d becomes an ACTIVE PARTNER in the act of davening itself.

Don't know about you, but I think that's cool.

Rachel Goldberg was born and raised in Chicago and now lives with her family in Israel. Rachel's teaching experience includes Judaic Studies at the Oakland Hebrew Day School, the Endangered Spirits program, she has lectured for Hebrew University's Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, WUJS, and recently wrote and published an awesome curriculum on Jewish Identity for Birthright groups. She is one of the finest Jewish role models and informal educators that I have met.

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