Tefillah Tips - Elokay Neshama

The prayer we recite in the morning after saying Asher Yatzar is called Elokay Neshama.

Elokay Neshama expresses our appreciation to G-d for restoring life to us every morning.

Implicit in this prayer is the untainted purity of the human spirit and soul. It reads, "My G-d, the Neshama (soul) that you have granted me is pure. You created it, willed it specifically into me, and one day you will retrieve it and guard over it until the messianic era at which time you will return it to me once again."

The words you have just read need to be focused on attentively. Every believing Jew understands that beneath the exterior of our physical cloak lies a spirit/soul. It is worth investing energy digesting the fact that while our bodies get sick and tired after time and use, our souls remain G-dly, eternal, and unscathed.

When we truly swallow this concept it allows us to view ourselves and all of mankind in a different light. Every human on this planet has been implanted with a soul whether he or she knows it or not. There is unblemished kedushah/ holiness amidst every person. We have to remember this fact on the subway, in midtown, and at the Kiddush when we tend to ignore our fellow soul holders whisking by them as we dart towards our destination.

The prayer continues- "Kol Zman Shehaneshama- all the while that this Neshama is inside of me I appreciate it." The key to all happiness and serenity is gratitude. The reason we tend to enjoy vacations (sometimes) more than day to day existence is because we live for every moment when on vacation. We know we only have ten days to appreciate the Bahamas- so we live it to the fullest.

This tefilla reminds us that life is like a trip to the Bahamas. The psalmist remarks in psalm 90, "The days of our years are seventy years, and, if with strength, eighty years."

When one is 18 years old, seventy seem pretty old. Once you hit thirty-five you realize you're halfway there. How much of the Bahamas have you toured yet anyway?

I believe that these two messages A) The spiritual greatness contained in every human being and B) appreciating the G-dly gifts we enjoy every waking moment is an excellent recipe towards a more fulfilling existence.