This prayer is usually recited after entering the synagogue.
“God, please cause the words of your Torah to be sweet, in our mouths, and mouths of your nation the Jewish people.
May all of us, ourselves, our children, and the children of the entire Jewish people, know your name and study your Torah with sincerity.
Blessed are you God, who has taught the Torah to the people of Israel.”
(The Hebrew, in transliteration, goes like this:
"V'ha-arev na Adonai eloheinu et divrei torat'cha b'finu uv'fi am'cha beit yisra-eil, v'nihyeh anachnu v'tze-etza-einu v'tze-etza-ei am'cha beit yisra-eil kulanu yod'ei sh'mecha v'lom'dei toratecha lishmah. Baruch atah Adonai, hamlameid torah l'amo yisra-eil.")
Commentary: We thank God for all of the physical blessings bestowed upon us, but forget spiritual blessings. As spiritual beings in the image of God, we need to nourish our souls, and we thank God for giving us the guidance of the Torah.
We also pray that our spiritual life have a sweet taste. Religion doesn’t have to be bitter!
People forget that prayer is about talking to God. You can actually pray without a prayer. This minute is a time to talk to God about anything that may be of interest or concern.
You may want to pick a different request than last week.
א וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ, וְכָל-צְבָאָם. ב וַיְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה; וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, מִכָּל-מְלַאכְתּוֹ
אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה. ג וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת-יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתוֹ: כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל-מְלַאכְתּוֹ, אֲשֶׁר-בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂוֹת
1. And the heaven and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it He rested from all His work which God in creating had made.
Some points to ponder:
A. What is blessed about the Sabbath, and what is sanctified about it?
B. Why must an omnipotent God create in six days, with a seventh “rest” day?
Hint: The ability for life to perpetuate itself, for organisms to live independently after being created is a remarkable blessing. And to stop everything in order to contemplate the divine blessing that exists in everything is a truly sacred act.
Put a quarter away in a plastic bag. In 3 months we will collect it and pick a charity.
A Mezuzah is placed on the doorpost of the front door. (it’s also placed in the other rooms, but let’s start with the front door!). In it is a parchment inscribed with the passage of Deuteronomy 11:13-21 (The Shema prayer). In it , we express our faith in God, and our loyalty to the Torah.
You can usually obtain a mezuzah at a local Judaica store. I find it easy to afix the mezuzah case with double sided tape.
For details on placing a new mezuzah, check here:
If you already have a mezuzah, follow the following custom:
Place your hand on the Mezuzah as you leave the house, and ask God to watch over you during the day. (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 285:2).
The beauty of the mezuzah is it turns a house into a home. A house is just a building; but when you show that this building is filled with a sense of purpose and values, then this house is now a home, a place for a family to grow and thrive spiritually.