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Jewish Prayer

Where Do I Begin?
Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis

"Where do I begin? Where do I find God? How do I begin to pray?

Begin with yourself. As Abraham began with the command lech lecha -- Go into yourself.

Why with yourself? Because in Judaism the self is regarded as the unique and indispensable link to God.
Jewish thinking is rooted in the deepest and most revolutionary verse in the Bible, one that resonates throughout Jewish thought and is based on the 27th verse in the second chapter of Genesis . It is according to the sage Ben Azzai the most comprehensive principle in the Torah and the fountainhead of morality. "And God created the human being in His image, in the image of God created He him. Male and female created He them."

Listen to the wisdom - older than Enlightenment, older than humanism.

There is a tselem, an image of God, implanted in you.

The image of God is found nowhere in the universe except in the human self in whom God breathes "Nishmath chayim" - the divine breath of Life. In you is a "neshamah", a soul whose origin is God. In real prayer I am confronted by the image of divinity that mirrors my inner soul."

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Tue, July 23 2024 17 Tammuz 5784