The Siyum HaShas at MetLife Stadium, celebrated on 4 Teves, January 1, by almost 100,000 people sitting in the cold for hours, was a great inspiration in so many ways. In this segment, we will attempt to share only a small measure of that inspiration, as it applies to our daily tefilos.
For me personally, perhaps the most inspiring part, amongst so many inspiring aspects, was the tefilah of Maariv, led by HaRav Eliezer Ginsburg shlita. I had the merit to meet him once or twice many years ago, and what we heard at the Siyum when he davened reflects who he is.
To hear every word belted out with sincere heart and mind, and all his energy and ability, is beyond description in words. To know that it is possible for a human being to daven like that is an inspiration beyond words. And to be able to be part of a crowd of tens of thousands of people who, in unison, with all our might, responded “Amein, Y’hei...” to his passionate recitation of Kaddish, is an awesome experience I look forward to with great anticipation at each successive siyum. Perhaps, we can learn to work on infusing our tefilos with more passion, heart, and emotion.
Rabbi Yissocher Frand spoke about not letting “perfect” get in the way of “good.” For most people, our tefilos are very far from perfect. But that does not mean that we should give up and not make daily efforts to improve. One of the most significant lessons we can integrate into ourselves is from those who dedicate themselves to learn a daf a day for 2,711 consecutive days. They do so, day in and day out, through dedication and perseverance. The lesson is that we can accomplish major life achievements even when we may initially feel that “there is no way I can do this for 2,711 days straight, so why bother starting.”
Applying this to tefilah, we may feel “there is no way my tefilah will ever resemble anything close to ‘perfect,’ so why bother trying.” But for those of us who have been working weekly – even daily – on our tefilos, we know how much we have benefited from the consistent growth, week by week, one segment at a time.
One suggestion to consider is adding a daily learning session on Siddur, of even two to three minutes daily. The rewards will be astounding and eternal. Make it your “Daf or Paragraph a Day.” We daven well over 1,000 tefilos annually. Tefilah is an eis ratzon, a time of Divine favor. Dedication and perseverance will enable us to achieve the purposes of tefilah, which are also the purposes of life.
There are so many resources that it is not possible to list them all. The key is to choose a resource that “speaks” to you personally. Each one is different and offers a different perspective in its focus. Please consider asking someone who knows you well and who is capable of guiding you in deciding which sefer or other resource to use. Here is a brief list of three alternatives, from which many have enjoyed and benefited tremendously:
- Praise My Soul (English) or Tefilas Avigdor (Hebrew) by HaRav Avigdor Miller. Please note that his original writing was the English version (Praise My Soul).
- Rav Schwab on Prayer by HaRav Shimon Schwab
- Siddur Snippets (audio) by Rav Efrem Goldberg. These are daily recordings available by joining his WhatsApp group.
Not all people can learn the Daf HaYomi daily for 2,711 days straight, though there were amazing stories of people who never thought they could but did. They spoke about how it changed their lives. Dedication and perseverance for Torah can do that. The same is true for tefilah. Whereas the majority of us who read these words cannot devote an hour or more a day to learn the Daf, the vast majority of us can devote two to three minutes a day every day to enhance our daily communication and relationship with Hashem. This is our chance to show Hashem our devotion, perseverance, and desire to come closer to Him through our tefilos, which, the Gemara states, stands in the most exalted part of the Universe.
To access Audio, Video, and Archives of previous Tefilah segments, please visit www.WeeklyTefilahFocus.com.
You can direct any questions or comments to Eliezer Szrolovits at 917-551-0150.