by Mrs. Chana Krasny
Third in a series. Excerpts from the transcript appear below the audio player
When we daven, we are not reading magical words written by the chachamim, and that these particular magical words can be said, with or without feeling, and by doing so we will have dispensed with our duty and discharged our obligation to Hashem for prayer throughout the day.
In our busy schedules of today, it’s a big michshol, a stumbling block, for a person to feel that way. We have so many different obligations in our lifestyles today, and jump so quickly from one thing to another, we’re lucky if we even have the time to fit in Shacharis. If we do manage it, we feel such a sense of accomplishment, we say to ourselves, I davened Shacharis, so that’s it. I’m done.
That’s one of the primary ways that the yetzer hara today eliminates a person’s power in tefillah. We should be aware that tefillah is not a mitzvah that you “discharge.”
Rabbi Miller says [Man of Tefillah, E-091], that tefillah indicates a state of existence, a frame of mind, and a way of always being in contact with Hashem.
So tefillah is really a mehalech; it’s a template for relating to the Ribono shel Olom, and that being the case, we need to learn the tools necessary to develop our kavana that will make us grow more quickly from the experience of tefillah. Viewing tefillah as an obligation to be discharged and forgotten separates us from the ability to grow, which is a terrible missed opportunity...
I davened Shacharis, so that’s it. I’m done.
If you did not believe that the Ribono shel Olom existed, you would never open your mouth to pray because you would consider it a waste of time. It’s only because we believe Hashem is Alive and Well and Listening, that we can open ourselves up to Him in the hopes that He will listen to us and empathize with us. He will look upon our situation and take everything into account: the gratitude that we wish to relate to Him, and the fact that we attribute significance to Him as being the One Who is the Source of all bracha, and all difficulties come directly from Hashem.
That is what brings a person to pray, and the tefillos give us the words by which to make these thoughts and feelings a reality in our own minds that should become part of us. It’s not something that we’re born with, because everything in the world is simply a mask to Hakadosh Boruch Hu.
Even though everything and everyone is a shaliach of Hashem’s Will, we will still look at, for example, a pay check and believe it came from the bank. We will try to convince ourselves that we earned our money from our jobs, and because we had a part in the creation of it, it’s very easy to forget that Hakadosh Boruch Hu was the One Who created checks, He created the trees, He created the person, He created the job, He created the opportunity for us to be able to go to our jobs. He created all of our skills; He’s behind every single step that brought that paycheck into being.
So tefillah is a way to unveil this true understanding and reveal Hakadosh Boruch Hu’s Presence in the world. If we’re not talking to Him throughout the day, we’re not going to remember that He is the One in control, because the mind, by nature, will inevitably forget this truth...