You have to daven. We have to pray. But why? Why do we have to daven? We’re taught because it’s Jewish law. Why do we learn it this way? Why do we find it so difficult to pray to God? Shouldn’t a Jew want to daven; to pray; to talk to God, the Creator of the universe; to thank Him for our lives, our health, our food, our families; to ask Him for His help?
Prayer is an encounter with God, where we feel His closeness and greatness. We are intimate with Him, we are in His company and we are certain of His sympathy; we even call Him in our prayers, Father, as in our Avinu Malkeinu. Prayer is a gift that allows lowly mortal man the ability to communicate with the Creator of the universe who is unknowable, incomprehensible and infinite.
If I were to ask you, what do you call yourself? Some of you might say you are a religious Jew, or you might say you are an Orthodox Jew, or you are Shomer Shabbos; but how many of you would answer you are an eved Hashem, a servant of God? How many of us think about God daily, outside of shul, outside of prayer?
On one hand, God is absolutely transcendental, remote, awesome, far away from man and impossible to reach. On the other hand, however, we see God as being imminent—ultimately near, and available to all who call upon Him.
Rabbi Pinchas said in the name of Rabbi Yehudah Bar Simon: God appears far, but no one is closer than Him. He is high above His universe, but a person can enter a synagogue, stand near the pulpit, and pray in a whisper—and God hears his prayer.
By Martin Polack
Martin Polack is a business analyst.