Page:Annotated Edition of the Authorised Daily Prayer Book.djvu/35

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xv
The Morning Benedictions.

runs: "The All-Merciful demands the heart" (Sanhedrin 106 b), and Prayer is described as "the heart's service" (Taanith 2 a). "Make not thy prayer a fixed matter of routine," is another caution (Aboth, ii. 13). Devotion is also termed in Rabbinic Hebrew Cavvanah (כַּוָּנָה). "Devotion," says Dr M. Friedlander (Jewish Encyclopedia, iv. 549), "is the state of religious consecration. It is the most essential element in worship; so that a divine service without it is like a body without a soul. To such as pray to God without the spirit of fervent devotion, the stern sentence is applicable: With their mouth and their lips they honour me, but their heart they removed far from me (Isaiah xxix. 13). Devotion is the entire dedication of the worshipper to the service of God, the banishment of all other thoughts from the mind and heart, so that the whole inner life centres in the one idea of God's greatness and goodness (Berachoth 29b, 33a; Maimonides, H. Tephillah, iv. 16). Every fulfilment of a divine commandment requires devotion or consecration of mind and heart to the sacred work to be done (מִצְוֹת צְרִכוֺת כַּוָּנָה, Berachoth 13)." Hence the ancient benedictions used before fulfilling commandments, and the more recent introductory formulæ before putting on the tallith and phylacteries, or on entering the tabernacle (see notes on P.B. pages 14, 15, 232).

The study of the Law is equal to them all (וְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה כְּנֶגֶד כֻּלָּם). The "Law," which term includes the whole religious teaching and literature of Judaism, is the source and sanction of all virtues. The study of the Law leads to the knowledge and practice of the will of God and to the higher life of righteous thought and deed.

Page 5. The soul which thou gavest me is pure (אֱלֹהַי נְשָׁמָה). This passage, which gains appropriateness when said in the early morning when the soul seems to return to the body as one awakes, occurs with very slight verbal differences in the Talmud (Berachoth 60a). The concluding phrase in some ancient versions is "Blessed art Thou O Lord who quickenest the dead" (מְחַיֵי הַמֵּתִים). Both forms agree, however, in asserting Resurrection as