PRAYING WITH UNDERSTANDING
by RAYMOND J. RAMRAJKAR
Foreword: by Sammy Benjamin
Many times we
wonder why we pray. What are the reasons behind some most common prayers such
as reciting the Shema
I believe if we can understand why we do what we do, then we will do it with more conviction and be able to educate others in such matters. It gives us better satisfaction to know the real reasons and the historical facts that eventually leads us to a higher spiritual level.
Many times I see that people follow the rules blindly because they are told so or they read so or just because it was passed down from generation to generation. The down side of this is that we end up following the rules verbatim and miss the underlying meaning of the mitzvah we wish to offer.
This has led me on a journey to seek knowledge about every day Jewish customs that I have been following for my entire life because my parents and Jewish community told me so. Some of the most common items on this list are :
1. Why do we wear the Yamukah (Kippah, Skull Cap)?
2. Why are women expected to cover their hair?
3. Why do men and women sit separately in an orthodox synagogue?
4. Why cant we turn electrical appliances on and off on Shabbath?
5. Why do we celebrate Shabbath?
6. Why is it important to keep Kosher and what do its restrictions mean?
While we do know these are basic practices that every Jew is expected to follow, there is more misconceptions and ever lesser understanding about these laws in the minds of general Jewish folks.