Prayer as a Way of Being

Beyond services and synagogue, the challenge of living a prayerful life

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The challenge of prayer is even harder than we think. It is not only to pray three times a day in a minyan [prayer quorum], it is to be prayerful at every moment of the day. To know before Whom you stand, and to act and react to the world in a holy way.

"If prayer is pure and untainted, surely that holy breath that rises from your lips will join with the breath of heaven that is always flow­ing into you from above. Thus our masters have taught the verse: 'Every breath shall praise God': with every single breath that you breathe, God is praised. As the breath leaves you, it ascends to God, and then it returns to you from above. Thus that part of God which is within you is reunited with its source." (From the Hasidic work Keter Shem Tov, as adapted in Your Word Is Fire, by Arthur Green and Barry Holtz).

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Rabbi Michael Strassfeld

Michael Strassfeld is the rabbi of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, a Reconstructionist synagogue in Manhattan, co-author of The First Jewish Catalog, The Second Jewish Catalog, A Night of Questions: A Passover Haggadah, and author of The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary.