Thursday, April 12, 2007

Internal consistency

In recent years, the thought has come to me that, if I ever became observant (by either Orthodox or Conservative definition), it would be because of this: ". . . vaasitem et kol mitzvotai, vi'h'yitem k'doshim l'elokeichem, and you will do all My commandments, and you will be holy to your G-d."

The words found in our siddur (prayer book), whether quoted from the various books of the Torah (Bible, and by extension, later rabbinic literature) or written expressly for prayer, have the power to influence our thought patterns and/or behavior, if we let them, if we pay attention to what we're saying.

There's a reason why, since Rosh Chodesh Adar, I've been making an effort to pray three times a day plus the Bedtime Sh'ma, even on Sundays (so much for my only day to sleep late ):). Again, it's the siddur. How can I say, ". . . erev v'voker b'chol yom tamid, paamayim b'ahavah, Sh'ma omrim, evening and morning, every day always, twice, with love, they say the Sh'ma" unless I actually say it every evening and every morning? "Ashreinu sheh-anachnu mashkimim u'maaravim, erev vavoker, v'omrim paamayim b'chol yom, 'Sh'ma . . .' Happy are we that we arrive early and stay late, evening and morning, and say, twice every day, 'Sh'ma.'" I'd been feeling more and more like a hypocrite--I prefer to do what I say that I'm doing.


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