Reply To: Davening is a burden?

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I heard this from R’ Benzion Kermaier –

Many people think that tefilla is a Cosmic Coke Machine. When you are thirsty, you go to it, press the nice little button, the coke rolls down, and you’re outa there. That is not at all what tefilla is supposed to be about. In the Bais Hamikdash, Bnei Yisrael’s avoda was through the korbanos. But seriously, why was that so special? Burning animals is so holy that it cleans us of all our sins??

No! The thing is, the whole experience of bringing the korban would actually change the person. Coming all the way to the Holy Bais Hamikdash, entering into this place that’s brimming over with kedusha, and the whole overwhelming experience of bringing himself to give Hashem a present, and hearing all the Leviim’s amazing and moving music [the Leviim’s shira raised the people to such a high level of closeness to Hashem. That music brought them to full teshuva through it’s insane perfectioin and ability to shoot straight to the heart]. Watching the huge pillar of fire shoot down from shamayim and actually accept his korban – if you just picture it, it must have been a beyond-this-world experience.

And this experience changed the person. When a person would leave the Bais Hamikdash after having given a korban, he’s leaving different. He’s experienced such a close connection to Hashem that this will give Him the strength and desire to be a better person from now on.

And THIS is what our davening is supposed to be like. Tefilla is not a cosmic coke machine. [Of course, it is through tefilla that we are able to ask Hashem all of our bakashos, but if you look at the actual text of davening, not too much of it is actually bakashos!] If we really pay attention to the words of davening, it should be able to bring us closer to Hashem. It should make us into bigger people! Because once you experienced your tefilla – once you experienced praising Hashem for all He does in so many beautiful and eloquent words, and thanked Him from the bottom of your heart because you do understand that it all comes from Him – you are a bigger person. And that’s the point. Of course some days you’ll have less kavana than others, and other days you won’t have kavana at all. But slowly slowly if once in a while you do daven with kavana – its power to change you is amazing.