Living Our Tefillot

Ever wondered what Tefillah is really about? Not prayer.

This week’s parsha brings us the intended definition for communicating with G-d.

It’s not about convincing G-d to change His mind.

It’s not about inflicting emotional pain as a means of changing His mind.

Tefillah is meant to connect us to our most beloved dreams and aspirations. The ones we are too afraid to admit, to even whisper. Because those deeply meaningful dreams, they seem impossible when we don’t know how they’ll ever be possible.

Yet when we allow ourselves to dream those dreams, we step outside the realm of human capability and that which we never could have imagined becomes reality, with G-d’s help.

Here’s what Rabbi David Aaron, Dean of Yeshivat Orayta (definitely worth visiting if you have the chance) explains how in this week’s parsha, Jacob demonstrates what tefillah really means:

(watch until 15:53 to get the gist).

In a sentence, what we call prayer is impossible without connecting to our most cherished dreams. That can be scary at times – downright petrifying – but where would we be without dreamers?

Whenever we rejoice at a meal – be it Shabbat, a holiday, a wedding – we sing a song of ascents, and remember that when G-d returns the returnees of Zion, we were like dreamers.

It’s scary to be a dreamer. Much more so than a realist. But perhaps, we can use more dreams for Klal Yisrael and what we can be and achieve. Perhaps we can dream together, and merit to see more than we could have ever imagined possible for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren.


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