Friday, July 07, 2006

Tefilla/Martyrdom


Talmid asked me last Friday to write something on Tefilla..so here it is.

Shemonah Esrei to me is an emotional roller coaster when I’m clicking on all cylinders.
It’s always a struggle to plug into that connection between man and God and man and himself.

These days we don’t get many opportunities Thank God to be martyrs to throw ourselves on the pyres in the greatest act of submission.

Shemonah Esrei I find to be an extraordinarily difficult act of martyrdom.

The beginning forges the connection..
Avos introduces my credentials as a son of our forefathers and Israel.
Gevuros instills in me the awesome power of God and his rehabilitating power.
Kedusha helps me plug into a holiness even though by definition it’s so removed from me.

Then my needs and wants come pouring out..
Wisdom..
Teshuvah..
Personal redemption
Recovery and avoidance of all illness
Sustenance..
The needs of the community..
Protect our righteous
Rebuild Jerusalem
The climax of these requests is Shma Koleinu..where one is encouraged to talk to God in his/her own language. In English..talk to God one on one all that weighs on my heart and deepest needs.
Just when my heart is intensely pouring out to Him my needs..

I bow down and say

Modim anachanu loch...
I martyr to him my wants and acknowledge how clueless I am to what I really need.
Al chayeinu hamesurim b’yadecha...our lives that are given into your hands...I submit fully to your Master Plan...
Give me a part..and let me appreciate it..

If all these emotions click (which doesn’t happen often enough) then I relax...and say
Sim Shalom...I reach a state of peace of mind..that can only come from a moment of Martyrdom..of submission to something infinitely greater.

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22 Comments:

Blogger Limey2001 said...

i thought hashem sefasi tiftach meant 10,9,8,7,6.....blast off into space and land oseh shalom.....welcome home!!

July 07, 2006 11:22 AM  
Blogger It's All Good Now said...

I have always felt that Shmoneh Esrey is the quintessential prayer, that if I had to choose only 1 prayer, Shmoneh Esrey would be it. You have so eloquently and forcefully captured my feelings, and I thank you for that.

July 07, 2006 11:32 AM  
Blogger the only way i know said...

Thank you for the beauty -
i find davening so hard lately...
i think i will find it more peaceful now.... i'm not the only one struggling.....and the way you portrayed it was stunning

July 07, 2006 11:35 AM  
Blogger the only way i know said...

limey
very funny.....
:)

July 07, 2006 11:35 AM  
Blogger kasamba said...

May all your emotions always click and may Hashem listen to your Tefillos!

July 07, 2006 1:07 PM  
Blogger Lvnsm27 said...

wow, beautifully expressed.

And Amen to what kasamba said.

July 07, 2006 1:36 PM  
Blogger Open Up! said...

i find it also very difficult to have kavanah on the words expressed in shemonah esray...by the time i really get into it the tefilla is over...i guess that's why tefilla is considered avodah

July 07, 2006 1:49 PM  
Blogger Open Up! said...

btw i like your post...beautifully written as always :)

July 07, 2006 1:49 PM  
Blogger A Frum Idealist said...

I probably say the pasuk of "Hashem Sfasai Tiftach" 9,999 out of 10,000 times without giving it much thought. However, I can recall two specific times in my life, where I opened my mouth and no words came out. I was beside myself. Those moments when I needed to say the tefilla more than any other and I couldn't. I remember mustering up every bit of strength and through tears said the pasuk, acknowledging what we normally take for granted. Without Hashem's help, we don't even have the power of speech. How ironic, I asked Hashem to open my lips and return my speech to me so that I could praise him even in those times. That's what it's really all about. I don't think I ever had tefillos like those times. I have often tried to re-capture those moments and perhaps come close, but still fall short...

July 07, 2006 2:10 PM  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

What a beautiful post you write here, and such a moving experience.

I like the picture too.

July 08, 2006 3:35 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

limey...
Thats what happens when it doesnt click...
:-)

itsallgood...
I guess thats whay its the highlight of the prayer service...
Youre very welcome..

theonlyway...
You gotta try...
I always say..its worth it to struggle thru 90% of shemonah esreis for the 10% that flow..

Kasamba...
Amein!

lvnsm..
Thanks

Open...
Thats exactly why its called avodah..cuz its all in the heart..and itsd not easy to control emotions..
Thanks..

AFI..
wow..what prompted those two times?
and event?..or was it just random?

barbara...
Thank you..

July 08, 2006 10:39 PM  
Blogger anonym00kie said...

you describe it so nicely.. its crazy how it takes so little time and effort to pray a good shmonei esrei, and yet we just end up rushing through it most of the time.

July 09, 2006 12:27 AM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Beautiful description thanks.

July 09, 2006 1:45 AM  
Blogger the only way i know said...

wow - what an important way to look at it!!

July 09, 2006 4:47 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

anonym00kie...
actually the Noam Elimelech says the Shemonah Esrei is the main battle field of the world of thought...

SocialW....
any time...

theonly..
yup

July 09, 2006 1:04 PM  
Blogger FrumGirl said...

I never thought of it as martyrdom, it always was just a way for me to get closer to hashem...!

July 09, 2006 1:18 PM  
Blogger student said...

i wish i could summon up even half of what you described...
fabulously powerful, and especially potent at times like this.
wholehearted amen to kasamba..
thank you

July 10, 2006 4:41 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

FG
well martyrdom is the ultimate connection..especially when u get to live afterward..

student..
Thanks

July 10, 2006 10:43 AM  
Blogger Eshet Chayil said...

Beautifully written.

July 10, 2006 1:11 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Eshet..
Thanks...and mazel tov again

July 10, 2006 3:39 PM  
Blogger Talmid said...

Thank you David, for complying with my request. It is really appreciated. (I have just seen the post, hence my late response). Your words give Chizuk, but perhaps not in the way you imagine. This is what I felt.

It is not just me
I am not alone
Thinking, wondering,
Trying, struggling

It is not just me
Fighting
To understand Hashem
To love Hashem

It is not just me
That knows I should
That feels I should
But not always could

There are Jews out there
Who are just like me, maybe
Not Tzadikim
Not Gedolim
But working hard
Thinking, wondering,
Trying, struggling

So much to learn
From them
So great to hear
From them
Their deepest thoughts

July 10, 2006 5:50 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Talmid...
Thanks.
I am definitely one of the strugglers..
But the beauty is in the struggle..
It is the struggle itself.

July 11, 2006 11:19 AM  

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