Aleph Beta Quarantined - NEWEST episode | Aleph Beta

Tefillah: How Can I Pray Right Now? Like This?

Aleph Beta Quarantined - NEWEST episode

Rabbi David Fohrman

Rabbi David Fohrman

Founder and Lead Scholar

What Chanah Teaches Us About How To Pray
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Coronavirus is affecting our prayers. It’s affecting where we pray and with whom. Many of us are used to experiencing prayer as something communal, something we do in shul or synagogue. Now we do it alone, in our homes. It’s also affecting the urgency of our prayers. Our thoughts and hearts are full of concern for those who are sick, those caring for the sick, and those who may get ill. Many people who are used to including one or two names of sick people in their prayers are now including lists full of names. Still others are finding it hard to pray right now at all. How do we find the words to reach out to God in the midst of all this suffering and confusion? In this episode, Imu speaks to prayer “expert” Rabbi Ami Silver about how to rethink prayer in the age of coronavirus.

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Imu: Hello and welcome back to another episode of Aleph Beta Quarantined. I am your host, Imu Shalev. Today I wanted to invite a special guest, a friend, coworker, and content creator here at Aleph Beta, Rabbi Ami Silver. Ami, thanks for joining us. 

Ami: Hey, Imu, it's great to be here with you.

Imu: Ami's one of the most thoughtful people that I know. He is very wise, he is very brilliant, and I am grateful to have worked with him for the past year or more, actually, on a lot of courses here at Aleph Beta concerning prayer. Is that right, Ami?

Ami: Yeah, been a good year plus, on and off.

Imu: We worked on some courses on brachos [blessings], on tefillah [prayer] in general, and most recently Ami Silver is working together with Rabbi Fohrman on an expansive piece on shemoneh esrei [a central Jewish liturgical prayer], which I can tell you from some peeks behind the scene is really, really, incredible and mind-blowing. Now, I wanted to invite Ami to chat with me about prayer during this really difficult time. There's a lot of things I want to talk to him about. I think prayer during the age of coronavirus has really, really changed for us. Many of us are used to experiencing prayer as something communal, something that we do in shul, in synagogue — for some of our listeners, in church — and right now, for obvious reasons, we can't experience prayer that way. 

Prayer also may feel more urgent. For many of us, we're praying for sick people that we know, or that friends of friends know. I know that for many people who are used to praying for one or two people who might be sick in their lives, they now have lists, entire lists full of people that they're praying for. And for others, prayer is very difficult to do right now. People have their own challenges There are challenges to praying at home, alone; the formulaic aspects of some of the prayers, or maybe have issues where they're struggling, where they have resentment. So I really thought that Ami would be the best person to talk to, and with that, Ami, welcome — what do you want to chat about today?

Ami: Thanks, Imu. So, I'm gonna dive right in and just respond to some of the things you mentioned, because as you've been speaking about our sort of regular experience of prayer, of, you know, we go to the synagogue, we go to the church, we have our communities, we have our institutions and our structures, those offer us a degree of, kind of, comfort and normalcy. And at the very same time, you mentioned some people struggling with the kind of formulaic nature of prayer. And part of what was striking me as you were talking is that something that, I think, many people in this day and age struggle with in prayer and general — and this is before coronavirus — is that this normalcy, this kind of comfort that we live in, in a regular, day-to-day basis, it makes it kind of hard to feel the urgency of prayer. It makes it hard to feel how desperately I depend on a force infinitely greater than myself for the greatest and most basic things in my world. 

And in a sense, our religious and communal structures, well, I'm not trying to downplay their importance and deep, deep value that I cherish — I mean, just for listeners, you know, I've served as a communal rabbi for a number of years, like, this is something I do and believe in, and, you know, ally with — and at the very same time, the comfort that we live with might also have to do with some of our challenges with prayer. And now, as our structures are being completely broken down, as we cannot participate in our structured lives, professionally, religiously, communally, and as our sense of safety that we tend to live with in the 21st century is kind of being challenged — so that discomfort that we're encountering, in my mind, is actually a shift that might be an invitation to re-encounter prayer in a perhaps maybe slightly painful or more uncomfortable way. Maybe in a way that we're not used to, that we'll have to kind of stretch new muscles with. But maybe in a way that, if I can use this word, more prayerful. And maybe a little more authentic.

Imu: So you're saying that to some extent this crisis, it sort of shakes the moss off the existing institutions that we may have gotten a little too used to, the institutions that are there to facilitate prayer, the prayer books, the codified prayer, the fact that we go to shul every week, all that stuff is stuff that we may have relied on for a little too long, and currently this crisis sort of renews our relationship to prayer in some way? You wanna tell me a little bit more about that?

Ami: Yeah, sure. Here's what I think is a helpful framing. There's actually a debate in Jewish law, in halacha, of whether or not there's a biblical command to pray. Because for all those Bible scholars out there, you may have noticed that it never says in the Five Books of Moses, "thou shalt pray to Me every day," much less three times a day with this many people in the room, et cetera.

Imu: Just to cut you off, it's funny that you actually say it that way, because wouldn't it have been awkward if God had said "thou shalt pray to Me!"? 

Ami: Right! That's what you're about! Okay! Yeah, and I think you're actually touching on some of the intricacies here. Because, so, on the one hand, we have a command, a mitzvah, to pray, it's rabbinically codified, there are those who say that it's biblically commanded in some way to serve God with your heart. And there are others who say, you know what? The Torah itself, you know, the direct word of God, doesn't say to us, "you have to pray." It's actually a given. It's kind of wired into creation, and it's a gift that's given within the creation that we have this intuitive sense of turning to God, and that God here in a natural, organic way, is here to listen, is here to be in a relationship with us. That's, in a sense, the heart of prayer in the most kind of granular courses. 

Imu: That's wild, that's a really interesting formulation. Prayer is a gift.

Ami: It's a gift. 

Imu: It's not a command. The being from which we all emanate, our creator, is gonna listen if we want to talk to Him.

Ami: And is here. Is here to be with us, and we're here to be with our creator. Now, there is agreement across the board, though, that there's a biblical command to cry out, in a sense of thunder the heavens, in a time of need, in a time of desperation. The Torah talks about times of crisis of war, later sources talk about times of famine, times of drought, and times of plague, of illness. And that's an agreed-upon time when there's a mitzvah to pray. Where, you know, you could say, okay, so — go back to the question, are you commanding me to do this — in a sense, it's so self-evident, I think, at a time of crisis, that people naturally are calling out. And part of why this is on my mind is, you know, to go back to the sort of discomfort and a sense of anxieties that we're all facing right now. It actually puts us into that place of, we're shaken up. We're shaken up. And prayer is actually an outlet and a way to express those anxieties and communicate them. 

So here, already, I'm gonna take us one step further, okay? Because I mentioned prayer as being sort of a, let's say an axis of relationship, kind of, the dialogue between me and my creator, between me and the one who's in charge of all, whose hand my life is in. So in a sense, when I'm facing these anxieties, and the natural place that that puts me is to feel afraid, alone, isolated — here we're even choosing to isolate ourselves in extreme degree — these all add to our sense of discomfort and kind of loss of a sense of belonging in life and in this world as we're used to. 

So from this very place of sensed, kind of, aloneness, and maybe confusion, we can actually use that as a basis to communicate with God and actually foster a relationship that can cut across or even kind of envelop our anxieties. Our anxieties aren't necessarily gonna disappear, but we can speak those anxieties to the one who is still holding us here, to the one who is with us in this breath as God was with us in that breath when we were at our shul and prayer services as we're used to. Like, in a sense, God doesn't live in the synagogue right now. And God never only lives in the synagogue. But we are encountering God in a more profound and more immediate way right now, which I think is, yes, it's disruptive to the prayer life that we may have been used to, but it's also maybe even closer to the core of life of prayer and a prayerful kind of relationship with God.

Imu: So, Ami, I'm reminded every time I talk to you of what a thoughtful and conscious person you are, and how artfully and poetic you are describing sort of a new encounter with God during a difficult time. I want to ground this conversation, or perhaps ask this question from a place of someone who hears everything you're saying and isn't relating to it. 

And I'll say why, right? I think that for many of us, let's talk about me for a second — we unconsciously go through our day, and, like, yeah, normally on a Saturday morning, I wake up and I'm gonna go to shul. And yeah, on a regular weekday, I'll open, you know, my siddur [prayer book] and mumble what I'm supposed to mumble. And now that things have changed, right, I'm unconsciously snapping into a new routine, right? So doing a little more of that mumbling, staying in my pajamas quite a lot longer on a shabbos [sabbath] morning, not saying everything I'm supposed to say. 

And what strikes me when you speak is how conscious you are of the old routine, how you've consciously decoupled, right, from that old routine, and then taken the conscious opportunity to say what this means to me in a new routine. So, for those of us who are less conscious, right, how might you guide us through this shift, this change, to get us to, you know, some of our own personal realizations, to take some of the opportunities to reinvigorate our connections to God, our connections to prayer?

Ami: I'm glad you're asking that question, Imu. You know, if I could just return what you said, I'm always reminded when I talk to you of how helpful it is to have your kind of grounding voice of, like, okay, now bring it down to me. You know? Maybe with my feet on the ground. You know, I could share something that is, for me, a pretty consistent practice of entering prayer, you know, before this situation and during, maybe moreso, and isn't something I made up, but is actually built into our tradition, that has to do with, kind of, what I would call clearing the space before we just kind of jump in. 

The mishnah, the rabbinic teaching, says that the early chasidim, those kind of extra-pious practitioners and devotees of prayer, would take an hour before they prayed l'chaven libam l'makom, to turn their hearts towards the makom, the place. An hour of silence before prayer to be focused on the place. Now that word, the place, is in our tradition, in a sense, a codeword or nickname for God. You know, we've explored this in some of our videos, Rabbi Fohrman's mentioned this before, God is called "the place of the world," mikomo shel olam.

Imu: Ironically, Rabbi Fohrman explains it in one of his courses dealing with prayer, in tefilat Chana [Chana's prayer], is actually, like, one of the first places.

Ami: You know, it's not a simple statement, but the sort of meditation in that is God is not, you know, some figure that I might find at some point within my environment, but actually the realization of God as a place, in the sense that God is the placeholder of all that exists. All that exists is within this kind of much larger divine reality. And that as a created being, as a creature in God's reality, I don't try to find how God can fit into my world; I allow myself to kind of realize that here I am in God's world. Now, to ground that in a very simple way, Imu, you know, the actual kind of halachic, practical application of that is that when you show up to pray, you sit in place for a few moments. Just clear your mind a little bit. 

And maybe more colloquial translation of the makom, of this name of God — presence, to turn my heart to presence, to turn my attention to what is present here, to this presence that I'm now in. And, you know, that's actually codified Jewish law. I'm not the kind of rabbi, you know, who likes to tell people what to do, or what the laws are. That's not — you know, you're a lawyer by trade, Imu, I'm not. But the actual guide, the practical guideline is, before you pray, don't just jump in. Get present. And let your attention just sort of settle into presence. 

Now, if I could do that, I can clear my thoughts and my thinking about, like, what I need to do, what I don't want to do, what I'm distracted by, by I'm blah blah blah, it can go on and on and on, how tired I am, how much I have to do on my to-do list later, what do I have to do even now to get through the tefillah — don't even think about the tefillah! Don't think about anything! Let your mind just become conscious of what's here right now. Ground yourself in this moment. And the rabbis are teaching us, before you do that, your prayer doesn't have a space to really kind of enter in. Your prayer doesn't have a kind of container for it. Because you're just kind of caught in your mind running, and the words that you pray are just gonna be another part of that, more likely than not.

Imu: Yeah, I love what you just said, that on like, three levels — that on one level, there's ritual, and so what you're saying is, okay, Imu, you're telling me that you're unconscious? Well, you know, an important part of prayer is, include a speed bump in your preparation for prayer and stop and actually exit unconscious living, become conscious, and do this ritual of sitting and being present. 

On another level, I loved what that did for me, the paradigm shift of sheyichaven libam l'makom — that's very powerful, because I think the way many of us treat prayer, or maybe even treat God, is that God is a being in my universe to whom I need to pray. Yeah, He's really powerful, sure, He's my creator, but, you know, I exist in my universe, that car over there exists, and this desk exists, and God exists. 

But the paradigm that says, no, if you experience God as separate, if you experience Him as other, you don't quite get it, right? L'chavem et libam l'makom — it's such a poetic phrase. "Makom," right, means that He's your place, and so, right, we all exist within God, everything exists within God, and that itself is just earth-shattering when you realize that, I mean, literally earth-shattering. Because the only way you could possibly ignore God or feel uncomfortable praying is if you mistakenly live in a world where you've othered God or you even consider yourself as separate, you say I exist separately, and sure, I need to pray to that powerful being, as opposed to, I need to realign — and this is that word, l'chaven, which is the source of the word "kavanah," which we interpret as "intentional," actually, in Hebrew, is the word for aligning yourself or a direction, like a kivun, right? It's sort of, that word "makom," right? You need to — there's a makom, there's place. And if you're out of place, you need to realign, you actually need to snap into place. You need to understand that who you are emanates from place.

Ami: "Reorienting" is also a word coming to mind.

Imu: Yeah, reorient. In that sense, actually, what clicked for me when you were talking — tefillah is a gift. Meaning that if you're struggling and if it's difficult for you to pray, that might even be the whole point in the preparation, at least, where you're out of alignment, and part of the reflection is to realign yourself with the source of it all, with the place of it all. 

Then there was that third level, which, I think, sort of comes with your beautiful explanation, which is a reimagining or a renewal for what a poor experience of prayer might look like. So what I sort of felt like you did was you gave permission to not have a rote experience of prayer. Right? You actually are not meant to focus on the outcome of, do I need to say all these things, or did I get them all said and done, right? There's something to what you're saying, which I'd love for you to say more about, about prayer really is. Right? If you're coming into prayer with a goal, need to say this and that and that and this, and you do it this way, and if I don't, I don't get the check mark, right, it feels like you're giving me some sort of level of permission to not engage in prayer that way, but to do something much more authentic. Can you say more about what that is?

Ami: So, if I want to kind of go back to these instructions from the mishnah and kind of go from there, and take my cue from there — so it sounds like if the frame of prayer is being present with God and then kind of communicating or somehow being in relationship in presence, so, prayer then would be the sort of expression or process of me expressing myself to God in presence. 

If this all sounds kind of abstract, I want to make this a little more kind of concrete for people. Think about a conversation where you're talking to somebody, but neither of you is really listening that much. We know what those conversations are like, we have them all the time. And think about a conversation where you're speaking with somebody and you're both really attentive to one another. You're both really listening. To the extent that when you're talking to me, I'm not formulating in my mind the answers I'm gonna say to you and everything — I'm just listening. I'm just taking you in and taking in your words. And I'm here like a caring, listening presence. And then when I speak, I'm speaking from an authentic place of feeling, of care, of whatever it is that's in my heart in this moment, and I know that you're really listening to what's in my heart. That's what I would call the kind of dialogue or conversation that has depth and authenticity and presence to it. 

Now, what if we could take that model of communication and apply it, or at least put it on our radar as an ambition when we pray? Like, can I attempt to say some words really from my heart? Can I speak and express myself in a way that I'm present to my cares and feelings and needs right now? And at least just for the moment, tell myself that somebody's really here who cares and is listening. It could be that for some, it's necessary to get through all of these words, all the different parts of prayer, and that's something that they deeply value, and that actually holds a very important structure for them — gezunterheyt, you know, keep up your way of praying, but perhaps find the moments in those words where the words can really come from your heart. When your heart can be expressing itself through those words, or even, we have in our prayer spaces for you to add your own words. 

And if your practice is not so bound to saying all of the different parts of tefillah, there are within the boundaries of halacha plenty of places where there's the things that are necessary to say and the things that are less necessary to say. And you might want to take some more time, really kind of just dwelling with the parts of prayer that feel like, these are the words I really need to be saying right now. These are the words that I maybe need to sing right now. Maybe this phrase, I just need to repeat it. And maybe I just need to say it and then sit quietly before I go on. Yeah, these are all kind of within the structures of formally structured tefillah, where there's an opportunity to kind of go a little deeper. 

Imu: Ami, I think you answered that beautifully. I'm hearing from you, you know, from the very beginning of this conversation and throughout, even now, you walk this elegant tightrope. On the one hand I'm hearing you sort of say that the real essence of prayer seems to be purely consciously being with your creator. Right? God is the source of all being, and if you can mirror that being or be your authentic self with God, that in itself is prayer, right? It sounds like you'd almost say you don't have to open your mouth, you don't have to utter a word, l'chaven et libcha, if you can align your heart to the makom, to God, that is a sort of prayer. 

And then I hear you sort of also, almost like it's a continuum, for those of us who can't be at that level, how do we reinvigorate the structures of prayer, the laws around prayer, to make sure that we're using those not as some sort of ossifying tool, something that has obscured our way of connecting to God, but as jumping-off points, as a way of actually, of achieving that sort of being? So for those of us who need to say more, how can we make sure that we have kavanah in both senses of the word? How can we have intention, and how can we be aligned when we say what we need to say? And even an encouragement from you to maybe say a little bit less, to focus on a sort of being? And now it clicks for me, a little bit more, as to why you see this time period as sort of an opportunity to revolutionize, revitalize our own prayers and our relationship with God. Does that sound right?

Ami: Yeah, I mean, I want to say a few more things about this, because I also, I don't want this to be something that feels like it's for the spiritually elite, or like, you know, Jedi-warriors of prayer. I want this to, I wanted us to be able to talk about this in a way that says shave l'chol nefesh, in a way that's equally accessible to all, because I believe that it is. So I'll say a few things in response here. One, just to kind of support what we've been saying until now: the hebrew word l'hitpalel, the verb is a reflexive verb. This is the word "to pray" in Hebrew. It's a reflexive verb, which, by the way, by definition means it's something that you are doing to or within yourself. I am l'hitpalel to God. Tefillah, prayer, in our tradition, is something that I am engaging with internally and through that communicating towards God. 

I'll kind of leave that for people to sort of chew over, because, you know, there's many definitions of what that word might mean, tefillah, the root, palel — I'll let people do their own research and thinking about that. But just to kind of take that term, here is something that I am engaging in internally and in that way communicating with God. Because again, like you said, kind of, God is not somewhere out there. Tefillah is bringing me somewhere in here with God, wherever it is that I am in this moment. 

But the other thing I want to say is, if I were to kind of describe what we've been talking about in, like, one sentence, my understanding of tefillah is that it's meant to bring us into the present in a deeply felt and caring and communicative way. Now, for some people, the entryway might be some kind of taking time for silence, for being mindful internally, for, you know, some kind of preparatory steps. But I also really believe that if I'm simply allowing myself to feel and express the deep need that I have in this moment, even my crisis that's here, I can just give some space for that to be here, and I can just speak that, pray that, cry that, feel that. 

So, I'm here when I'm doing that. I am fully present. I'm not distracted by other things, I'm not, kind of, like, dispersed all over the place. This is my current reality. So, you know, what is my current reality? Can I express my current reality to God and, in a sense, bring myself to be here with God in what is here? 

I want to give one more example of this, and it's particularly relevant, I think, to what we're dealing with collectively and for some people individually or within their own families and circles, and that's to do with prayer for sickness. Surprisingly or not surprisingly enough, the very first time we find the word "l'hitpalel" in the Torah, to pray, to daven, is in the story of Avraham and Sarah visiting King Avimelech of G'rar. And this king — this is in Genesis chapter 20 for those who want to look — Avraham says that Sarah's his sister, Avimelech takes her, and God appears to Avimelech in a dream, and basically says I'm gonna kill you over this woman — the midrash expands it and says Avimelech and his whole kingdom, they all get plagued, they're all ill, and basically God says to Avimelech, turn to this guy Avraham — he'll pray for you, and you will live. And give his wife back, return her to her husband, don't keep her in your palace anymore. So it's actually very striking to me, that our first encounter with this word "l'hitpalel" —

Imu: Prayer for an enemy!

Ami: It's a prayer for an enemy. Interesting, is Avimelech an enemy there? He's a threat of sorts. But even moreso, Avraham is praying for somebody else to be healed. He will pray for you and you will live. And if he doesn't pray for you, you're not. The first prayer is somebody praying for someone else's wellness and healing and protection. Interesting. I want to take that one step further, which is to say that the rabbis say that the divine presence is hovering above the head of the person who is ill. The shechina l'malah shechatav she'hacholeh. And they even give an example, that when you go to visit a sick person, you should wrap yourself in your prayer shawl, in your tallis, you should be in a state of prayer. 

Now, if we just kind of take that example and kind of bring it home: when somebody is sick, someone on the sickbed, or even someone we know is sick that's not in our presence, we feel so tangibly the sense of dependency on God in this moment. It's as if, like, you see the chart of their heart rate going up and down, and we know that that line is completely something that is sustained by God with every breath. And we experience our own dependency on God. This is another example of a time of crisis being something that very naturally evokes in us a deep turn towards prayer. So in a sense, the immediacy is there. If prayer is here to bring me into a kind of immediate encounter with my creator, this is the way that i encounter God with immediacy, so the prayers for health and healing are a very direct way that we experience that. And it's, I'd say here, for me, the kind of concern that we're carrying for ourselves and one another these days, whether I'm praying in an obvious way, whether I'm simply kind of carrying that care and those people in my mind and heart, it's like we're in a sense, in this kind of prayerful state, much more often than we are usually. 

And for me it's, again, it's an opportunity to just sort of recognize those moments of care and compassion for the people, and let myself really invite whatever I think of God in this moment, invite it in here. Relate to it, whether you have words to say to it, whether you just have a heart to kind of feel towards it, right — if God is here, God is with us in our insides just as listening with our words — invite those moments of care and thoughtfulness, and really hope for other people, invite God into that moment. It's like, we don't need to go to the shul right now. Our world is being transformed into a shul, because we're walking around, people are sick, people are in need of heeling, and people are full of prayer. And these are elements, I think, that offer us a different kind of prayer than we're used to, but a kind of prayer that I think can help us just feel a little less, maybe, alone. And let that care to be a bridge between me and other people, and even a bridge between our world and God in these moments.

Imu: Beautifully said. So much of what you said is making me really think of two things that I think are connected. One is, again and again, I'm reminded of our course that we did, it was a Rosh Hashanah course, but it was on tefilat Chana — we'll link to that in our show notes, but it's this course on the template upon which chazal, our sages, build prayer. It's the most unlikely of characters, this woman who the prophet and judge of the generation, Eli, mistakes for drunken rambling. And that's because all she's doing is she's pouring her heart out to God. And that's what I think of while you're talking, is sort of the essence of prayer is authenticity, is not an outcome, is not a particular thing that you have to say — it's sort of the richness of the presence of what you're feeling at the moment, and being willing to share that with God or align yourself with hamakom. It's really worthwhile to check out. 

The other thing that came to my mind as you were speaking is sort of, if we take, you know, Ami's ideas, which he has grounded in Torah and chazal, as an invitation, it really can change you the whole day. Because all these moments where you experience something, you know, a bit of suffering, whether it's, you hear about someone who's sick, or you might be sick, or you know someone who's sick, or whether something's uncomfortable at home, the kids are running around, or a financial loss, right — all those are moments where you're being jarred out of routine, and they're moments for empathy for someone else's suffering, or authenticity in your own suffering, and those moments can all be transmuted or sanctified as long as you're willing to experience them as some sort of prayer. 

What came to mind really most clearly for me when you were talking is sort of this opportunity to build a web of care with our people, with, you know, the Jewish people, with the world at large. We're connected to one another because we care about one another. And if you choose to experience the suffering or these moments of care as a way to create this, you know, web of care, that feels like a much more productive, prayerful, unifying force than experiencing it as, you know, various crises that rock your boat. And I keep being reminded of what you said, of l'chaven al hamakom, because if you are tethered to the place, you can't get rocked. So, yeah —

Ami: Because there you are.

Imu: Because there you are, right? You know, Ami, I have to admit, that before we sat down, I was kind of dreading this conversation. I don’t know what it was, but I feel like I had some sort of blockage around prayer. I guess unconsciously I was struggling with a lot of the issues you brought up. So I figured I’d go into this as the interviewer, and let Ami, the tefillah expert, kind of guide us. But as you spoke, I really felt a lot lighter. You helped me realize that I was struggling with things I didn’t even know I was actually struggling with. Why I might be having a hard time stopping my daily activity to sit in prayer, the idea of God being something external to me, instead of being the very source of our being, and how prayer can be nothing other than a realignment. I found that really inspiring and really impactful. So, this really meant a lot to me, and I hope it mattered to other people as well.

Ami: I'll just — I'm not an expert here. I think the point of what I'm trying to communicate here is that when it comes to prayer and reaching out to God, there are no experts, and we're all experts. I think the framings that I was trying to bring out here today, my hope, my prayer, what I'm trying to really communicate to our listeners, to you, to myself, is just the reminder of, like, hey, I am God's creature, God is my creator, we have a chance for communication and a live wire here, and that's kind of the place to continue to turn to, and continue to start from.

Imu: Beautiful, Ami. Thank you.

Ami: Thanks, Imu. This was great.

Imu: And thank you, to all of you listening. If you want to see that Chana course that Ami and I were talking about, or one of the many other videos about prayer on our site, check out During this time, we have opened up Aleph Beta and made our membership level entirely free, so check out hundreds or videos there. But I would also add that we can only do this, we can only take the risk of becoming completely free, because of those of you who are generous enough to become members of Aleph Beta. If you enjoy this podcast, if you find value in what we do, and you are not yet a member, we would be grateful and deeply moved if you could support us by becoming a member. Honestly so many other nonprofits are challenged right now, and we’re so grateful to have your support. For Aleph Beta, we’re not kept alive by major granting organizations or big donors, it’s actually thousands of individual donors who are making small contributions every month to keep us alive. So, it really means a lot. Check us out at, thank you.

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