Is there a word in our language that means so much, but is more challenging than prayer?
On deeper reflection we well know that there are many kinds of prayer – there are the prayers we offer when we hear good news, there are the prayers when we hear bad news, there are the prayers when we see beauty and are touched by the awe of things. There are also services with prayers; these are organized - not impromptu - but formal, set words and forms for the community. These moments are moments of worship, tradition, and community. Here we mentioned just a few different kinds of prayer, all different, and yet the same.
The English word, “pray” is might be a imprecise translation for the original Hebrew word that means prayer – L'hitpallel. We believe that the word originates from the Hebrew word for ‘judge or inspect’. By this connection we find that prayer is a method to guide us inwards, and at the same time to direct us to look outwards. Pray is a means that we judge what we are versus what we should be. With that in mind, there is also an interesting connection to found with the Yiddish word for prayer, Dahven. Suspicions are that the word Dahven comes from the Latin word dovana, which means “to give, to offer, the root of the word donation….”.
Which tells us that when we pray we look in and out, but also give something of ourselves to God.
~ Rabbi Aron Flanzraich