Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Finding Your Prayer Voice

So I hope that you had a prayerful Rosh Hashana and did not solely measure your davening experience on the time that your service concluded.

One of the big themes that I personally thought about was centered around the shofar and the word "קול" or "voice".  Voice and shofar are often linked in the verses cited in the musaf section and it is pretty obvious to think of voice within the entire concept of prayer.  Even the big there elements that are advised by the liturgy to remove the potential evil decree, "Teshuva, Tefilla, u'Tzedaka - Repentance, Prayer, and Charity", need a voice to enable them.  The Rambam writes that one who repents but has not verbally confessed the sin has done teshuva.   Tefilla is simply a verbal expression of one's inner most desires, whether we move our lips to our silent prayer or sing and scream aloud with the chazan.  Finally, tzedaka - giving charity gives voice to those who are needy and helps balance the burdens within a society.

I think that for parents and educators, our goal is to allow our children to discover their own voice within our value system.  Not to just mimic lessons learned in school or opinions overheard at the dinner table, I want my students to feel an authentic call to daven and know what they need to bring to this moment.  This is a mature goal and I think that a synagogue is a perfect crucible for it.

My diagnosis on why so many young people prefer to hang around outside the shul, on the playground or in the 'groups' is because they do not feel this authentic call to prayer, with or without the traditional liturgy.  It is my prayer for the upcoming year that I can share more resources and successful practices on how to engages this population.  Here's to a great year!

No comments:

Post a Comment