Don’t have time to daven in the morning? Here’s how tefillah can save time…not take time
A funny thing happened when I (almost) sat down to write this post. Because my usual davening slot got filled with sandwich-making, cucumber-peeling, and a trip to my son’s cheder down the block on this hectic erev Purim morning, I was desperate to sit down and get my thoughts out before more stuff on the to-do list get in the way—thoughts about how I get to daven every day, that is.
It’s good I caught myself in time. Otherwise, by virtue of my humility, this post would never make it onto Between Carpools. It was the words of the esteemed Rebbetzin Leah Kolodetsky, the daughter of Rebbetzin Batsheva Kanievsky, a”h, that had me stop in my tracks and walk right out to the swing on my porch, my favorite davening spot. When I met with the Rebbetzin almost two years ago for an interview, the last question I asked her ended up having the greatest impact on me. Of course, I was inspired by her detailed description of her parents’ home. I was awed by the respect for Torah and the people she was raised with. But her last message to the women of klal Yisrael resonated most with me. Here it is, dear sister.
Rebbetzin Leah asked me to let women know, in the name of her father, Rav Chaim Kanievski shlit”a, that tefilla—from a siddur— should be an integral part of their days. It’s our way of connecting to Hashem in a real way before we get back to the technicalities of life. “What about busy women, like mothers of young children?” I asked, thinking of my hectic life and those of my equally time-challenged friends and peers. Of course, we all try to daven, but with endless to-do lists and little people taking up so much of our time and space, “fitting it in” to the schedule doesn’t always work.
“Tell them not to worry,” the Rebbetzin reassured me. “The time they spend on tefilla won’t make their schedule any more tight. Instead, my father promises, they will have to spend less time on things like therapy sessions with their kids or long waits at the doctor’s office. Even an elevator wait can be shortened. And if they wake up earlier to daven shacharis, their sleep will be a better sleep. They’ll be just as well-rested without that last half hour.”
Since the day of that interview, I’ve rarely missed a shacharis or mincha. Not because I’m a tzadeikes. It’s just the sensible thing to do. Getting to spend quality time—just me and Hashem—at the expense of no one and nothing. What more can I ask for? It’s an almost selfish deed! And let me tell you this—as a writer, I’ve had my fair share of writer’s block. Whenever it happens, I have this eerie thought in my mind: “Did I quicken up my tefilla to be sitting here now?”
So whether it’s Purim or erev Pesach, or any day of the year, here’s the Rebbetzin’s message to you. Head for your siddur (before the Tehillim or Perek Shira, she added) and give yourself the incredible gift of connection. The Purim traffic may give way just for your car!