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Section:  Avodah   Category: Innocent Observations
I'll Start Davening When I Retire
As a working man I always dream about the day that life will throw me a break and I will be able to return to learning on a more serious and consistent basis.  Surely I am not alone.  Hopefully either one day we will become financially sufficient to just walk away, or at least when we retire (if there is such a thing by then) we can enjoy our golden years.  This is the dream of all Bnei Torah, each one on their own level.  

But what can we do for the time being when there is a family to support with many needs and we live in a very expensive world?  The pressure of earning what we spend is enormous.  It doesn't leave us time to really commit ourselves the way we'd like too.  And when we have a few moments, we are so worn out from life and rusty from learning, that our reflexes are just not fast enough.  The opportunity disappears as we are still mustering up the energy to seize the moment, and we lament another opportunity that slipped away.

Each and every one of us believe the above to be true.  But here is a question that I asked myself challenging the above premise, that I cannot answer.  The world is built on three things, Torah, Avodah, and Gemilas Chasadim.  Regarding Torah we have already discussed our limitations.  As for Chesed, by and large we all more or less get our fill whether in the home or outside, either one on one or through some wonderful organizations. 

But what about Tefila?  There aren't many excuses.  We all commit to davening in shul and invest the requisite amount of time, three times day.  Why don't we take advantage of that?  Why do I spend my time rushing though Shmoneh Esrei without kavana and then impatiently wait for the chazan to start his arduous Chazaras HaShatz?  What is my excuse for that?  I am anyway standing in shul armed with my siddur with nowhere to go.  Moreover as a working and family man there is plenty of help that I need from above.  Why dream about how to solve my problems when I just need to realize that I have come to right address, only I don't even notice?

Without minimizing Limud HaTorah which is Kneged Kulam, today it may be easier in a certain sense for us to draw Yiras Shamayim from Tefila, since the art of Torah Lishma is on the decline.  Tefila is an obvious connection to Hashem and when we place all our problems, hopes, and dreams at his doorstep, it certainly fosters a realization as to who the boss is and how the world works.  It helps us build a relationship with Hashem which improve all facets of our life.

So what am I waiting for to start davening like a mentch?  There are no limitation and no good excuses.  Fortunately and unfortunately I don't think retirement or winning the lotto is the answer for this one.  This one is purely up to us right here and now.  And to echo the sentiments of Reb Yisroel Salanter, if we do start to daven properly, we will probably find more time for quality Torah learning.
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