Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])
During these Ten Days of Teshuvah, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we need to concentrate well during the Amidah prayer in order not to get confused. Instead of "the holy God" we say "the holy King," and there are also special requests for life, mercy, blessing, and peace -- for us and for the entire nation of Israel.
It's not only the content of our prayers that changes but also the pace with which we pray since, due to these changes, we have to stop now and then to make sure we don't omit the proper words. In short, we need to be more mindful of the One to whom we pray and of what we are asking from Him.
We do not change the basic structure or order of the nineteen benedictions of the Amidah; we merely insert refreshing alterations and additions during these ten days.
Perhaps, after all, this is the real purpose of the Ten Days of Teshuvah: not to make a transformation or a revolution, but rather to pay closer attention to what we already know. To continue with our regular routine, but from a fresh perspective so as to make subtle, yet significant, changes in our lives.
Someone remarked to me that just as we make changes in our daily prayers, perhaps we need to change our perspective on reality: to see a mischievous child as holy, to regard a lost soul as deserving of compassion, and to judge someone estranged from God -- who is still one of our people -- as worthy of a long and prosperous life.
May we merit to be blessed with changes that benefit ourselves and all of Israel. Shabbat shalom.