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Standing in Silence


Thank you for joining us for Lesson Five, “Standing in Silence.”

We learned that during the Amidah, when we stand directly before G‑d, our souls are overcome and enter a state of complete surrender to G‑d. Our ancestors would feel this way when they would stand before a king. To help us experience this surrender in our conscious minds, our sages ordained that we conduct ourselves during the Amidah as if we were standing before a king. We don’t raise our voices; we stand upright, and we bow.

We learned that the Amidah is comprised of three sections: praises, requests, and gratitude. The middle section includes prayers for mundane things such as wealth, etc. On the surface, it feels as if we want these things for ourselves. But on the deepest level, these desires are driven by our soul’s yearning for tools to serve G‑d. Hence, these requests belong in the Amidah—our personal encounter with G‑d.

We compared the Modeh Ani to the Modim and discovered that they are different. The Modeh Ani is an acknowledgement that we have yet to reach an understanding of G‑d. The Modim states that we have studied G‑d and determined that He is unknowable.

Finally, we examined the difference between the morning and afternoon prayers. Although achieving success with the morning prayers can be a lifelong challenge, prayer is nevertheless the purview of every Jew. In its deepest sense, prayer is about tearing away from the mundane to think about G‑d. This is the theme of the afternoon prayer, which takes place in the middle of our hectic daily schedule.

I look forward to greeting you next week for Lesson Six, when we will explore the nature of congregational prayer.

Rabbi Yitzchok Kahan

 

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