Friday, September 18, 2009

Praying To G-D and Shana Tova To All

I hope everyone has a meaningful and useful Rosh Hashana. All too often we just pray without real meaning behind our words. If there is a day to actually contemplate and understand what you are saying, it is Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. All too often we let these days just glide by and do not utilize them in the proper way. When a person is wrapped up in the world around them, be it in business, a profession, or even school they often forget about the important things in life. I, for one, feel like this years Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur will be hard to make meaningful because my concentration will be elsewhere, worrying about tests. Hopefully, I and everyone else will be able to overcome our worldly worries, if even for a moment, and be able to really connect to G-D. Not just connect to Him, but have a real meaningful experience. I want to be able to feel, emotionally, G-D as my king. It is so difficult, especially this day and age to really envision G-D and connect to Him.

In the time of the giving of the Torah man was flooded with spirituality, so much so that Idol worship was a problem. This day and age, we have the exact opposite problem, no one believes in anything they can not see or feel. I think that living in this era presents a very real problem for prayer. If I can not imagine G-D in my head, then how can I connect to Him, how can I make Him relatable to me? I think this is a very big challenge.

I am always jealous of people that I see praying with so much intent and heart. I don't understand how they can make it as if G-D is truly in front of them. Maybe they are all trying, but not really succeeding, or perhaps they are succeeding. When I was in Shaalvim, I used to try my hardest to imagine G-D right in front of me and connect to Him spiritually. I was really into the Maharal, Ramchal, Zohar and I read all types of Chassidus. In the end of the day, these books did not help me relate to G-D. I think the Maharal helped me to understand Judaism better, but nothing helped me with my relationship to G-D. However, more recently I got into the Ralbag and Rambam, I think that these great Talmidei Chachamim have helped me relate to G-D on a level that I was never able to reach before. When I am davening now, I try to realize that I can't imagine G-D, it is impossible because, according to the Rambam, G-D is indescribable. This has really helped me, because now I focus on myself when I pray. I try to think about my place in this world. Also, I think about the beauty of the world and how amazing the creator of the world and Universe must be. That is how I relate to G-D now and I think it is more meaningful, to me.

I believe that the reason I am on this world is to live my life according to the Torah. G-D put us on the Earth to live our lives, but those lives must be according to certain rules and customs. With this in mind, I pray to G-D to help me make the decisions that are best for me and will help me live a prosperous life. So with this view, that G-D wants me to live a life in the physical world (having a family, helping others and therefore getting a job to support my family and to make me able to help others), I pray. My prayers are focused towards G-D in the sense of realizing my place in this world and I ask for assistance in leading a moral and meaningful existence. I hope I, and everyone else, will be able to relate to G-D through the most meaningful way possible and that we can ignore our earthly duties for a moment and focus on our connection to G-D.


Anonymous said...

i think the challenge of trying to have kavannah while being concerned w/worldy matters can be used to benefit tefillah. i heard once that if you're thinking about something else while davening then THAT should be the thing to daven for. i'm not saying focus all your energy on davening for a good grade, but if that's what on your mind you shouldn't limit yourself to requests for a purposeful life. Gd runs every part of our lives, big and small and i think acknowledging that and asking Him for assistance even in mundane matters could be a way of connection.
Derech Hashem (Ramchal) was very influential to me in developing my connection to Gd...dare i recommend it.
...Also regarding relationship w/Gd, I've found that if one davens not just during organized tefilah but also during the day while going through the day, it helps connect. Like before (during) a test, while speaking to others (davening to say the right thing, make a kiddush Hashem, etc). If you have an ongoing dialogue, I think that when it comes to standing before Him during shemoneh esray, it's easier to visualize and connect to Him.

..great post!

E-Man said...

I understand where you are coming from. However, this is a very mystical approach, which is fine for one to use. I just do not gain much, with regards to relationship and feeling, from it.

I enjoy being able to focus on my place in the world and realizing how that can humble me and connect me to G-D. I don't think it is possible, for me, to connect to G-D through thinking of G-D. I just find it impossible.

One might be able to visualize G-D, but the approach I use is more what is my place in the world and indirectly I can relate to G-D through what He expects from me.

You understand what I am saying?