Religion & Beliefs

If you’ve got time for YOUTUBE…

When I think of the phrase "say your prayers" I picture a little child, kneeling angelically by their bed.  When I think of the phrase, "Jewish prayer" I think of old men chanting Hebrew too fast for me to follow … Read More

By / November 14, 2006

When I think of the phrase "say your prayers" I picture a little child, kneeling angelically by their bed. 

When I think of the phrase, "Jewish prayer" I think of old men chanting Hebrew too fast for me to follow in the book (even the transliteration!)

But prayer is meditation. Prayer is a way of calming down. Prayer is a way of stepping back from your insane life and chilling out.  It's like singing, running, taking a bath. It's a break from the world. A chance to go inside, or outside yourself, depending on how you see it.

Back when I was living in Iowa, I sometimes went to the afternoon service at a Catholic Church, located halfway between the class I taught, and the diner where I worked in the evenings.  Not because I believed in those particular prayers, but because the sound of hymns and prayers was such a clear-cut break from one kind of work… and another.  Like a stiff drink or a short nap.

So when I saw this page over at AISH, it struck me as useful.  This sentence seemed expecially interesting:

Mincha is usually a 10-to-15-minute prayer service, but for much of the Jewish world, it has become almost a forgotten prayer service. It is not the length of Mincha that has caused this, but rather its inconvenience in coming in the middle of a busy working afternoon. But in that fact alone lies perhaps its major importance and necessity.

I think this is true, and while I'm not likely to start chanting Mincha everyday, the idea of trying it on for size intrigues me.  Hmmmm…..

Whether or not the Hebrew prayers (or their translations) are especially meaningful for you is not really the point.  Think of it as a broader kind of prayer.  Think of language as a way of zoning out.  You can meditate ON the prayers, or you can meditate THROUGH the prayers.

Connect to something, or disconnect…