How can one learn to appreciate the great ideas that the Rav says are in the Siddur?
How can one appreciate the Siddur? Look, you can only appreciate something that you know. Take my book, “Praise My Soul”, and every day try to be mispallel at least one line according to what’s written there. Now, if you find something better – that’s also good. You’ll find better too – but I’m just saying my own.
You cannot appreciate the Siddur unless you know what the Siddur is saying. And people don’t know what the Siddur is saying. Every line is another gem – another important thought that we must live with. Even the word “Ha’shem” What does the word “Ha’shem” mean? Of course, I’m not going to say that I know – but we do know at least some of what Hashem means. And you have to study the word “Ha’shem.” First of all, Ha’shem means the One who has existence. We don’t have existence – we only imagine that we have existence. The Rambam says that. Ha’shem Elokim Emes – only He has the true existence. But our existence is an imaginary existence.
Another meaning of the word “Ha’shem” is that He causes existence. “Ki Hu amar va’yehi.” He causes everything to be. The world is full of kindliness and Hashem is the mekor ha’chesed. The world is full of wisdom and kindliness and since Hashem is the mi’haveh – the one who caused and causes it all to be – then Hashem is the mekor of all wisdom and kindliness.
There’s much more to explain about the words I just told you but I’m only saying the roshei perakim – the chapter headings. And so, once you start learning what Hashem means, the next time you say it, you’ll really think about Hashem. You’ll have no time to finish davening because you’ll be stuck on Hashem all the way in the beginning. And that’s how you should daven, by the way. You should be stuck on the first word and have no time to finish.
The people who finish are in a big hurry and they’re missing out on all the accomplishments of life because in davening lies a very big achievement. But you have to study davening in order to succeed at davening. Study “Praise My Soul” and you’ll see what davening is.
But those who are busy trying to just get through davening are missing out on one of the greatest accomplishments of life.