I Just Called to Say I Love You: Why Orthodox Jews Pray Every Day
One afternoon, about six years ago, when I called my husband at work, his secretary informed me that he hadn’t arrived that day. My heart pounded as my fingers instinctively dialed the numbers to his cell phone. When it went straight to voicemail, I was certain my worst nightmare had come true.
An hour, and many morbid thoughts later, my husband called me like nothing was wrong. Apparently he’d slipped into the office without his secretary seeing him and had been in a meeting all morning.
The worrying I did that day was some of the most justified worrying I have ever done. Much of the rest of it has bordered on insane. (A couple months ago I was convinced that my husband had died three times in a single day – three times before 11:15AM to be exact.)
My mother’s a worrier too. It’s why she calls at least once a day, every day. We don’t always have the most in depth conversation, but she checks in with my two sisters and me each day to find out a) How are you? b) How’s [insert son-in-law’s name]? c) How are the kids? She checks in like this before Shabbos and after Shabbos. Even when she travels abroad, she finds a phone nearly everyday just to get in those three basic questions.
Despite the fact that I’ve been out of her house for over a decade, my mother and I remain very close – almost like I never left, actually – and I believe a large part of this is due to the fact that we’re constantly speaking. Not every conversation is the most meaningful, but our regular talks ensure that we are always up to date with the goings-on in each other’s lives.
So when my 5 year old daughter recently asked why we have to daven (pray) every single day, I knew exactly what to tell her. “Can you imagine going a day without speaking to Mommy?” I asked. “We talk to Hashem all the time so we can be as close as you and I are.”
The most basic goal of Judaism is to establish a connection with the Almighty. One of the ways we achieve this closeness is by regularly “being in touch.” And just like with my mother’s and my conversations, not every single tefilah (prayer) is an earth-shattering experience. Sometimes prayer can even feel a bit humdrum.
But checking in regularly keeps God on our minds, and keeps the lines of communication open. So during those times when we really need help from Above, making the “call” comes easily and effortlessly. (And it never goes to voicemail.)