Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

13 Teves 5759, December 22, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
How You Slice It - or - `Davendik'
by L.M.W.

The Satmer Rebbe told one of his chassidim, "In past times, women were davendik." Now they are too busy. Even davening can be busy work or a pressure to make a time slot. Davendik means that on small baby steps you ask for help. On big ones, too. In formal prayer, too, but also when you're prayerful, full of inspiration, hopeful or defeated. To ask for that blessing, for strength and even for chen - to find favor, charm, grace in the eyes of others.

I heard that one last night. A teacher, with forty-three years experience behind a desk, spoke for a round table full of her students' mothers. "A veteran great-grandmother gave me this tip for success with my students. She claimed that the generations are getting rougher and her great- grandchildren are not made of the same fiber as her children and even grandchildren. You need extra siyata dishmaya to reach and teach, as never before. Before I leave home, I stand by the mezuza and ask that Hashem grant me chen in the eyes of my students, just like the grace/favor of Queen Esther in the eyes of the king."

Another example of davendik is a mother of a large brood preparing school sandwiches and asking that each child's real needs be met that day, and day by day, slice by slice, sandwich by sandwich - and that the filling be sweet. A slice of life. So many situations must be addressed in private moments, heart-to-Hashem talks, outpourings, unburdenings. Rebbetzin Freifeld put it this way: "Hegyon libi lefonecha - Accept the thoughts of my heart, the unspoken but poignantly felt requests of my heart."

Value those great moments of unexepected inspiration and intimacy with your thoughts and prayers, that marvelous uplifting of the soul to cloud-height. But do continue with formal prayer. Of course. Because if you look at the text of everyday prayers, even short blessings, you will realize that our Sages compressed everything into those short few words. Asher Yotzar is the finest tuning of the most incredible organism, the human body, starting from conception. And at birth, at this momentous time, apertures must close and apertures must open for the child to begin living in the outside world, and to continue to do so for the next 120 years! Each and every one of our bodily functions in mega-miraculous color. Certainly a function-blessing to imbue with intent and gratitude.

Grace after meals, the lifeline for life and livelihood. Every blessing, one by one, and all together. One reason that prayer is considered avoda shebalev is that it takes more effort and concentration than a spontaneous request. It is not limited to exalted moments, on a plane, in a hospital waiting room, by a vehicle's short stop in the nick of time etc. We are asked to concentrate and live the moment alert, each moment, with shivisi Hashem, in partnership with Hashem's outstretched hand, and not in a maze or fog. Aware and all there.

Who could create a better system or ask for a better quality of life?


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