Ooo – my first Torah Tuesdays post since the move! I’m excited about this.
Way back when, in the single-me days (okay, it really wasn’t that long ago), I was pretty great at davening twice a day. So great, in fact, that when I heard mommies of little kids comment on how they hadn’t davened from a siddur in ages, I would think to myself,
“Wow, that will never be me.”
Fast forward to, well, now, and I’m both laughing and cringing at my naiveté (not to mention my judgment, but, hey, it’s so easy to have strong opinions based on zero experience. . . ). Let’s just say that the status quo for my davening is more along the lines of “in my own words” than “in the words of the sages.” While I know that it’s totally acceptable to daven outside of the pages of the prayerbook, I really miss it.
I like connecting to words written by great men, words that I know are helping connect me to really essential concepts of Judaism, and words that remind me of what I can strive to be.
There’s the first bracha, which reminds me that whatever is happening, it’s coming from Hashem, and how about the fourth bracha, which reminds me that I should ask for the ability to use my common sense and intuition. Then there’s the bracha which asks for our eyes to be able to witness the return to Zion with compassion, and, one of my personal favorites, the bracha for peace, reminding me that we were given a love of kindness, righteousness, blessing, compassion, life and peace.
That’s good stuff.
I find it really grounding to connect through these words and to have these concepts brought to the forefront of my mind.
Somewhere in the last two-and-a-half years, though, davening from a siddur fell right off my priority list. While I’ve become somewhat complacent about it, I have had more than a few twinges of remorse.
True, I have two little ones who need me, and are sometimes quite insistent about having my Full Attention. Taking care of my kids is a totally valid reason to not pick up the siddur, and I’m cool with that.
However, in the interest of intellectual honestsy, it’s not always “taking care of the kids” which is keeping me from davening. There’s that first coffee of the day (’cause I do need it). And popping on the computer to check Facebook (something really important could be happening!!!!!). Or that load of laundry, or those toys which could be picked up, or a shopping list which needs to be made. . . you get the picture.
In the midst of all the hubbub of my life, one thought which keeps popping up is that I want my kids to see me davening. From a siddur. Why? I know that kids emulate what they see, and I want them to see me having a relationship with Hashem.
In my mind, that’s what I want. In reality, however, I’ve been far from that role model.
In the gemara, it says that when you change your place, you change your mazel. So I figured that since I’m in a new place, I have a new davening mazel. With a big bli neder, I’m trying to make it more of a priority to daven from a siddur in the morning.
That’s right. I’m going for it.
So far, I’ve been able to squeeze in a Shacharis while the boys have been entertaining each other, or eating breakfast, or while the baby is napping and the toddler is somewhat occupied.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing (for instance, there was the time when my toddler started asking me for something when I was only on the third bracha. He’s pretty persistant, so it was a refrain throughout most of the davening), and my kavanna definitely needs some work, but overall, it’s been very encouraging. B”H.
What’s the point of this long and somewhat rambling post? Basically, if there are areas in your life where you feel like you would like to improve, but through circumstance (and perhaps entropy), you feel like you’re in a rut, you can still improve. It might be as simple as re-prioritizing, or you may need to give yourself more of an incentive (like a reward chart – gold stars!!). Whichever it may be, if I can daven from a siddur, anything is possible.
image from Wikipedia