One of the biggest contemporary challenges is the fast pace of modern day society. Some of us are so busy rushing from one appointment to another that we hardly have a moment to breathe. Life just zooms by, without giving us a chance to think about where we are going.
The Mesilas Yesharim reveals that this practice is a result of the evil inclination influencing us not to think about life. As long as we do not take the time to introspect about our behavior, there is little chance that we will change it. We will just continue with our old habits, without even realizing the urgency for change in our practices.
The Hebrew word for prayer, “l’hispalel,” literally to judge oneself, implies that there is an element of introspection in prayer. In truth, during each blessing of Shemoneh Esrei that we recite, we are scrutinizing ourselves to determine whether we really believe that Hashem is the only controlling force over each aspect of our lives.
The challenge facing us today regarding the fulfillment of this halachah is that we are so busy, literally without a moment to spare. It is worthwhile to bear in mind that after the original chassidim recited three tefillos of three hours each, there seemingly was not much time to do anything else. However, since they were extremely righteous, they were able to attend to everything else they needed to do in the short amount of time that was left in the day (Berachos 32b).
In all likelihood, most of us will not be able to find an hour before, during and after tefillos. Yet taking a short time to sit in the place where we will later pray, and stopping during and after tefillah, is certainly within our grasp. By following this halachah, we will rise above the fast pace of life and will witness a radical change in our prayers.
Text Copyright © 2013 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org