Being Present (31a-31b)

Today’s daf includes the following:

– the dangers of excessive joy (oy!)

– the proper attitude of reverence for prayer

– the proper manner of taking leave of a friend

– directing one’s heart to heaven

– Hannah’s prayer and the way she prayed

There is so much to say ….

I will focus on two thoughts.

Regarding the proper attitude for prayer: the text says that one ought not to be “excessively cheerful”, or sorrowful, or “amidst the mental turmoil of having just judged a lawsuit”, or “amidst idle chatter”, etc. Some of these states are emotional states and sometimes (just sometimes) emotions are like weather – they simply come and go, without any particular meaning or at least without an important or useful referent. I’m thinking then that rather  than wait for the emotion to pass in order to have the “right” attitude for prayer, one could just start praying, thereby creating that very attitude. Enough said.

About taking leave from one’s friend: My husband Neil drops me off at the train station every morning. Our leave taking is a precious moment. Whatever conversation may have preceded that moment, we gather ourselves at the moment of “leave-taking” to be fully present to each other to wish each other a good day until we meet again.

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