Cracking open the secrets of prayer

tefillahCracking open the secrets of prayer

Prayer is for our sake.

Whether it is directed outward to the “Sovereign of the Universe” or inward to the Divine within, whether an song of amazement to the Creator of All Life or to

Prayer books, siddurim, were compiled to provide guidelines for when and how to communicate with God, but it is within our hearts to complete the action. Great emphasis is placed upon learning Prayer is a personal moment between a person and the Source of All.

We turn to God with prayer in good times and in bad. Its prayer that gives us hope when we feel all else is lost. It’s prayer that can put a smile back on our face. Prayer too, is as simple as looking up to the sky and acknowledging that God exists.

It is helpful for us to recognize our dependence on God for our needs. Life itself is a gift from God. Even when something bad befalls us, we should try to come to the realization that there are blessings in disguise and make the most of the situation. It is our daily prayers that strengthen our belief in God.

Prayer is man’s way of communicating directly with God. Jacob’s ladder gives us more insight as to how the connection works. In Jacob’s dream he saw a ladder with angels going up and down it (Genesis 28:12). The ladder which stood on the earth reached up to the heaven. We, man, are down on the earth and the ladder, our prayer, connects us up to God in heaven.

How can I crack open the secrets of prayer?

Begin with a prayer for a prayer

Adonai, sifatai tiftach u’fi yagid tehilatecha


Open my lips to speak heartfelt praise

Ani tefilati– I become my own prayer of forgiveness

Wanting at first to return to the woods

Discovering that solitude must be complimented by community

Seeking not to return to the past

But to honor the path within myself, learning

B’chol d’rachecha da’ei hu.

to experience the LIFE FORCE wherever I go

I cry out


Min ha-meitzar karati Ya Anani b’merchav Ya

My entire being is in the narrowest confines

The LIFE FORCE shows me an escape route

I have no fear.

I can deal with any person, any challenge.

Mindful of the blessings received

Embracing the challenge

Awash in hope

L’olam Kivinu lach

I will forever place my hope in the SOURCE OF HOPE

Leading with my heart

Walking in life itself

I strive to become my prayer.

When no words of prayer come

We connect ourselves to those around us, saying,

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In that moment, we bind ourselves with bonds of love

to the souls of all the righteous of our generation.

Though we long to speak to you in the sacred language,

Our words flow only through our native tongue.

These prayers are truly ours.

My repentant heart fills with regret

I ask for forgiveness

When I cannot sense Your presence, I cry out.

When my words are blocked and my mouth will not open,

I prepare myself – just in case the words will come

Though I feel distant from You,

I continue to yearn for connection, forgiveness and acceptance. (c)2016

 Gemar chatima tova and Tzom kal**,

Nina J. Mizrahi, Community Rabbi

**If you are unable to fast, please see the prayer on my blog for those who cannot fast


Get us to safety

be-prepared   Shabbat Shuvah 5777

We are getting better

At executing complex evacuation plans

During weather crises

Mom, 87, got to a shelter around 1:30am this morning

Amazed, I was able to reach her by cell phone

Felt relieved to hear she is settling in,

Knowing she was not alone.

Called Dad – didn’t get through the first time

Thought the cell phone service was already out,

But was comforted to hear his voice when I tried later.

He was getting ready to join all the residents of his assisted care community

In the main building.

Mom, Dad and many others will be safe.

Hopefully others have evacuated themselves and will be safe.

In this moment we know that nothing matters more

Than saving a life.

Got me thinking

That sometimes it is easier to

Get people to physical safety

Than to emotional or spiritual safety.

There isn’t a plan executed by the spiritual armed forces

For those who need help

And for those who must choose to help themselves

They may even believe there is nowhere to go

This breaks my heart – and should break yours as well

The storm of disruptive change is upon us

We have inadequate, or in some cases non-existing, evacuation plans

People are suffering; souls searching

Avinu Malkeinu, forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement

For having only partial evacuation strategies

For failing to prepare adequately for the anticipated and the unexpected

And for not grasping the depth of what is at stake –

Avinu Malkeinu, forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement.

Help us turn inward to recover connection with Center of DIVINE LOVE.

Help us turn outward to our family and friends in reconciliation and peace.

Then we will be ready to listen

Reveal to us a plan for reclaiming community as a central part of our lives

Help us trust this plan

Guide us as we conceive of a sacred evacuation plan

Through which we save ourselves

And get to safety those at risk of being lost to us

Open our eyes with vision, our hearts with courage and our hands with perseverance

Return us to the path of community

Even if what we build is markedly different from what once was,

New life will be breathed into our days together.

And hope restored.


Rabbi Nina J. Mizrahi, Community Rabbi ©2016