The most important declaration in Judaism is, of course, ShmaYisrael, God is all-powerful, infinite and eternal, God is One – the totality of Existence, the highest form of Consciousness.
The purpose of prayer is to reach for your higher Self, to become the person you always wanted to be. We can remind ourselves with a few words:
“Purify my Heart so that I can serve You in Truth” (in Hebrew, Taher libanu l’ovdecha b’emet)
But, what does this mean?
“Purify my heart” means to remove all impurities – addictions, selfishness, arrogance, greed, jealousy, indifference, unconcern, being unaware, baseless hatred (sinat hinam), vanity, self-pity, self-indulgence, dishonesty, etc .It is the beginning of self-realization.
“To ServeYou” means to fulfill the promise and the purpose of my existence with total dedication and commitment to You, God; to bring Kedusha (holiness, awareness of One God) into the world.
“In Truth” means total and absolute Awareness of the Oneness of God. Torah-Judaism is the infrastructure of Truth.
I love you (to someone whom you love); I love You (God) and God loves me. This is meaningful faith.
This can be said to anyone in this world and loved ones who have died.
Harofeh lishvureh lev (in Hebrew); The Healer (God) heals the broken-hearted is the response to depression, tragedies, and disappointments
Modai Ani (in Hebrew); Thank you (God) for everything that You have given me – everything. It’s the beginning of daily Jewish prayer. And, You have given me a soul which connects me to You.
Don’t forget to thank others who have helped you and have taught you. Helping others is doing God’s work.
Na’aseh v’nishma (in Hebrew); Doing God’s will and hearing what He wants. This means opposing nihilism, narcissism and negativity.
Me. I am holy because I was created by God. But, why was I created? To do God’s Will! To serve God! Practice self-respect and respect for others. We are all created in the ‘image of God.’ Build I-Thou relationships. Practice compassion (rachamim) and kindness (hesed). Make your life meaningful.
Failure to understand these basics of our connection to God distorts the true meaning of faith and can render religion stale, insignificant and self-serving -- a form of idolatry.
As Rabbi Shneur Zalaman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad hassidic movement, said: “God, I do not want your Garden of Eden, or your Paradise. I want only You!”
Moshe Dann is a PhD historian, writer and journalist.