Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The purpose of prayer

On Thursday 12 July, the Mayanot Women’s Program was treated to a guest lecture by Rabbi Moshe Yusgur on ‘Prayer and Its Relevance’. The topic was a dense one, leading to many interesting tangents and discussions within the lecture, although Rabbi Yusgur was always able to bring the class back to the original question.
Why do we pray, and how do we know that G-d wants us to pray? G-d is unknowable, so how is it that we know He wants us to pray? Rabbi Yusgur stated that G-d is revealed to us in several key ways – through nature, and through the Torah. Within the Torah, there are 10 expressions relating to the word ‘prayer.’ We pray because G-d wants us to do so, because it is our way of becoming closer to our Creator and connecting with G-d
Our job is to pray – to ask G-d for things, to request things and express gratitude – in this way, by remembering G-d and acknowledging G-d, we are serving him. It is a way to be aware of the world we live in, to appreciate and improve it, and in that way become close to Godliness.
It was a great privilege to hear Rabbi Yusgur on the subject. He took the time to answer each and every one of the many questions posted to him with good grace and patience. We explored every avenue and problem associated with notion of prayer, from why we should do it, to how often and in which format. His talk expertly married the intellectual problematic of prayer with the spiritual impulse to prayer. It was certainly a stimulating, challenging and interesting afternoon for our students.