Throughout Torah literature, you will find this 3-part balance reflected.In the Rosh Hashana Machzor (prayer book), a central prayer declares: Teshuva literally means "return" ― to return to the purity within yourself.Mitzvot are the embodiment of the soul harnessing the power of physicality and the body.Prayer, as discussed above, is the process of focusing one's will directly on ultimate goals ― e.g. The world was designed such that the greatest good is to give to others and to be other-centered.Judaism does not believe in a remote deity or Celestial Watchmaker Who created the universe and walked away. At its highest level, tzedakah requires us to "understand" another human being: Who is he? It is the means by which we learn what the world is about, and what our obligations are. The Temple service was the ultimate act of harnessing the physical, and converting it to serve the spiritual ― an open and concrete demonstration of the physical world's subordination to our will.We believe in an engaged God Who is the source of all goodness and blessing in the world. Mitzvot are physical actions imbued with spiritual significance.The purpose of prayer is not to mumble incoherently, nor is it to request favors from a Celestial Busboy. " And every evening we reflect: "How did I succeed today? The word tzedakah is often translated as "charity." It is anything but. We are required to look at other human beings, try to understand what they are lacking, and endeavor to help them. In our Mishnah, Shimon Ha Tzaddik declares that the world stands on three things: Torah, service [of God], and acts of human kindness. An all-powerful, perfect being has no lack for us to fill, and by definition has no need of our obeisance. Clearly, service of God is for our benefit, not His.
Prayer helps us connect to God by helping us focus on Who He is, what we need, and the gratitude we should feel for all He has already given us. " In the afternoon, we stop and ask: "How am I doing today?
Human beings interact with the world on three levels: thought, speech and action. In our quest to perfect ourselves, we need to also lift others and lift our relationship with God.
Each of these three is the key to the three basic relationships: You act on yourself through thought or will. Success and balance in all three is required to truly grow in this world.
Teshuva is the ultimate act of self-recognition, and the primary tool in self-perfection. It requires you to identify your obligations, understand your actions, recognize the consequences of your choices, and resolve to exercise your will over your future actions. The Amidah is the standard, central prayer of every Jewish prayer service.
The word Tefillah, or prayer, derives from the Hebrew word "to focus." We focus on what is truly significant and important. It is structured to include three sections: A set of opening paragraphs where we recognize before whom you stand, a set of closing remarks where we express gratitude, and a central section targeted at the special needs or purpose of the day.
For just as a chair or table needs three legs to stand, so too does our world ― both the micro-world of ourselves, and the macro-world of community and nations.