web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


On Davening (Part I)


Dear Rabbi Horowitz:

My 12-year-old daughter is, B”H, a well-rounded, hardworking Bais Yaakov girl. She takes her schoolwork seriously and has a nice circle of friends.

Recently, I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend. On Shabbos and Sunday morning, when she does not have school, she has begun to sleep in unusually late and often does not daven Shacharis. Even when she wakes up with enough time to daven, she seems to be procrastinating and looking for excuses to avoid having time to daven. This is particularly disturbing to me as her mother, due to the fact that I’ve always made a great effort to daven every day – despite the challenges it entails.

How do I get my daughter to appreciate the chashivus and beauty of tefillah without making her feel that yiddishkeit is a burden?

Yocheved

* * *

Dear Rabbi Horowitz:

My eight-year-old son comes to shul with me Shabbos mornings. I enjoy walking to shul with him, and we both like spending the time together. However, he quickly gets bored after about 15 minutes of davening. What can I do to motivate him to daven better?

My wife keeps telling me to “lighten up” with him, and not subject him to such a long davening in shul. I keep telling her that I went to shul when I was his age.

We would appreciate your hadrachah (guidance) with this issue.

Nachum

Rabbi Horowitz Responds

Yocheved, Nachum:

I guess that an effective method for addressing your questions would be to analyze the factors and conditions that are conducive to creating the environment for sincere tefillah – in adults! If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that it is my strong feeling that many of the issues that we deal with in raising children are, in fact, issues that we as adults are struggling with.

Once we have a better understanding of these factors and conditions, it will be easier to reflect on your child’s unique situation as it pertains to his/her davening. You will then be in a better position to develop an action plan to help with that process.

I would suggest that among the many possible prerequisites for inspired tefillah, four important ones would be:

1) A rudimentary understanding of the Hebrew text of the davening and, preferably, an appreciation for the context and deeper meaning in these tefillos.

2) A feeling of vulnerability or a void/need in our lives that we hope tefillos will fill.

3) A feeling of connection to Hashem, and the faith that our tefillos are answered.

4) In the case of children, age-appropriate settings and expectations for tefillos are in order.

A careful reading of these factors will reveal that if any of these are lacking, it is entirely possible that the result will be rote, uninspired tefillos or, worse yet, a complete lack of participation in tefillah. Please permit me to expand on each of these items – with some suggestions for remediation in areas that may be lacking.

Understanding Our Tefillos

When parents would solicit Reb Yaakov Kaminetsky, zt”l, for advice on how to inspire their children to daven properly, he was known to ask them if their children understood what they were reading. When you think about it, it is a rather logical question. After all, imagine if we were asked to recite Latin poetry (lehavdil) with emotion and passion – while not understanding what we were reading!

If you find that your child is lacking an understanding of the basic tefillos (and perhaps this is an area where you are also in need of assistance), perhaps consider exploring the meaning of davening during your Shabbos meals. You may also think about approaching the rav or president of your shul to discuss the possibility of introducing shiurim on tefillah in your shul.

Another way to go would be to purchase some of the superb English-translation siddurim – including the recently released “trans-linear” ones. They are powerful tools in our efforts to increase appreciation for our tefillos. And please do not get hung up about what “others” or your children will think about your need for assistance in gaining a better understanding of davening at this stage in your life. It is a wonderful and powerful statement that you take davening seriously when you invest time, money and effort in personal and spiritual growth. Our children watch us very carefully, and they will be picking up an invaluable chinuch lesson from you when they see that you are willing to face your shortcomings and have the courage to self-assess and shteig (grow spiritually) – even years or decades after you left yeshiva or Bais Yaakov.

For younger children, there is a series of sequential workbooks on tefillah, by Rabbi Mayer Bernbaum, that introduces children to birchas hashachar (the morning blessings), shema and shemoneh esrei. They are, in all likelihood, available at your local Judaica bookstore, from Rabbi Bernbaum (973-778-8536), through the Torah Umesorah Publication office (718-259-1223) or via e-mail at mail@tupublications.com.

In the next column, we will explore other significant tefillah components and practical tips for engaging your children in meaningful davening.

© 2007 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved.

About the Author: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel's Project Y.E.S.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “On Davening (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

The musical production was beautifully performed by the middle school students.

South-Florida-logo

Greige offered a post of her own. She said, “I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel.” She contends that she was photobombed.

South-Florida-logo

This year, 40 couples were helped. The organization needs the support of the extended Jewish community so that it can continue in its important work.

In the introduction to the first volume, R. Katz discusses the Torah ideal, arguing that the Torah’s laws are intended to craft the perfect man and are not to be regarded as ends unto themselves.

A highlight of the evening was the video produced by the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center on the legendary Agudah askan Reb Elimelech (Mike) Tress, a true Jewish hero.

Until recently his films were largely forgotten, but with their release last year on DVD by Re:Voir Video in Paris they are once again available.

Though the CCAR supported the Jewish right to emigrate to Eretz Yisrael, it strenuously objected to defining Palestine as the Jewish homeland.

“Well, you are also part of this class! If someone drills a hole in the boat, the boat will ultimately sink, and even the innocent ones will perish as well. The whole class must be punished!”

Nouril concluded he had no choice: He had to become more observant.

I find his mother to be a difficult person and my nature is to stay away from people like that.

Here are some recipes to make your Chag La’Illanot a festive one.

Does standing under the chuppah signal the end of our dream of romance and beautiful sunsets?

We aren’t at a platform; we are underground, just sitting there.

More Articles from Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
jewish psyciatrist

Those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public regarding the accusations against Nehemia Weberman. This case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of the victim, a courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did.

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

In part the altered lives victims of abuse and molestation live are a result of the abuse itself. But it is in part also because of the unfortunate negative reaction to the victims by their own community.

These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.

All responsible leaders in our community have roundly condemned the recent violence in Beit Shemesh and Meah Shearim.

A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?”

Baby Boomers would ask, “When President Kennedy was shot?” Thirtysomethings would respond, “When the space shuttle exploded?” Today’s teenagers would reply, “On 9/11?”

One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.

Dear Rabbi Horowitz:

We were taken aback when our 18-year-old son just called us from Eretz Yisrael (we live in Europe) and told us that he was coming home and wants to immediately go to work. He said that he is wasting his time in yeshiva, and just can’t take it anymore. He said that he will “run away from home” if we don’t allow him to go to work.

Digital images of the profoundly disturbing computer-smashing ceremony conducted by Rabbi Aaron Feinhandler have been viewed by countless thousands of Jews worldwide over the past few weeks.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/on-davening-part-i/2007/06/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: