Tefillah Tuesday: Personal Prayer in the Public Space

Good prayer is an interior experience, meditatively sinking into heart, mind, and soul. All religions prize this inwardness, through various traditions of hermitage and retreat. In Judaism, one word for spirituality is פנימיות, or “interiority.” A term for meditation is התבודדות, or “aloneness.” So why don’t Jews pray alone? Why do we prize gathering in… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: The Physical Graffiti of Tefillin

Heschel famously summed up the difference between the spiritual life of modern, Westernized Jews and their pre-modern (whenever and wherever they lived) forebears: “To Kabbalah and Hasidism the primary problem was how to pray; to the modern movements, the primary problem was what to say.” [Quest for God, 83]. In Heschel’s view, we shouldn’t worry… Read more »

Mark Paul