Monday, February 1, 2010

Preparing ourselves to stand in front of God

Today is the 27th day of Shebat , 5771

The Amida or Shemona-Esre --also known in our community as lachash-- is the most important prayer. It is said every day, three times a day, morning, afternoon, and evening.

When we pray the Amida we are talking directly to God.

There is nothing more meaningful in life that communicating with our Creator.

We should not start praying the Amida unprepared or unfocused. The Amida requires 'Kobed Rosh', a serious effort of concentration.

'Amida' means 'standing'.

In preparation for the Amida we must visualize and internalize that we are standing in front of the King of Kings.

In the Jewish protocol a servant stands in front of his King, firmed, with his feet together and bowing down his head a little, in signal of submission.

Strictly speaking, Amida means: "Standing at Your service/waiting for Your command". For this very reason, many Sephardic Jews would recite the Amida by heart, with their eyes closed, with their hands together on the middle of the chest, the right hand holding the left closed fist.

If you don't know the Amida by heart, you should obviously read it normally from the Siddur.

The Amida should be 'said', articulating the words. Articulation -among other things- facilitates a better concentration.

The Amida is said 'quietly' (that is the meaning of the word lachash) so low no one else could hear your words, and loud enough you could hear your own whispering.

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Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024