Pray #blogelul

In an envelope marked:
God addressed me a letter.
In an envelope marked:
I have given my answer.

Mishkan T’filah, p. 165.

Prayer is the easiest thing to do and it is the most difficult thing to do. Many assume that because I am a rabbi prayer is extremely easy for me. This is simply not true. Yes, I do know a lot of information about the history of the prayerbook, the creation of liturgy and why prayers are placed in a particular order and we say certain prayers at certain times. However, prayer is still no easy.

What makes it easier is that I know the words of the prayer book. When I am at services I know what to do. However, those spontaneous prayers that come from the deepest place within are sometimes hard to articulate with words. Because it is hard does not mean one should shy away from it. It is just hard.

I’ve heard that many find Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur difficult because of the theologies presented in the liturgy. Guess what? I do, too! However, because I attend services at lots of other times during the year I know that there are many other views of God/Divine than those presented on the High Holidays.

And sometimes (confession forthcoming) clergy need to make decisions about what prayers in which language so it is okay to look through the machzor (prayer book for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) on your own. That’s right. I’m giving us all permission to read ahead or read something different, as long as we aren’t distracting (don’t read something aloud while everyone in the congregation is reading quietly or read something different aloud while the person next to you is praying following the instructions from the clergy) other people.

Prayer is hard. It can be less hard if you practice.


About rabbisteinman

I am a rabbi living in North America. I was ordained from HUC-JIR. This is my blog.
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