Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The meaning of ATA (You)

18th of Shebat, 5770

When saying the Amida, ideally, we should delve into the meaning of every word. This mental exercise is called “Kavana” (consciousness ) which is required at the time of prayer and is mandatory in the first Berakha of the Amida. Last week, we illustrated the process of Kavana with the word Barukh. Let’s see now the second word of the Amida: “ATTA”, which means “You”.

We refer to the Almighty, at the beginning of the Berakhot in the second person of the singular, inviting ourselves to gain consciousness of been directly in front of His presence.

The realization That HaShem, God Almighty, is present “now” and “here”, virtually in front of us, is what daily feeds our Emuna (the Hebrew for faith). Because in Judaism, faith does not consist only in the believe that God exists but mainly in the feeling/consciousness of His Presence.

Realizing God’s presence is a moral matter as well: every time we utter ATTA we should feel that we are, in a sense, in front of a “mirror” we can’t deceive. The Almighty knows not only our actions but also our intentions and thoughts. ATTA, therefore should ultimately impact our behavior. Realizing that we live under His sight, we should act in a way that deserves to be watched by Him.