From Yitzchak Buxbaum's Jewish Spiritual Practices

The following is an excerpt from Y. Buxbaum's Jewish Spiritual Practices pg. 50 in a section entitled Alternat Your Practices According to the Baal Shem Tov we will regularly experience periods of expanded and constricted consciousness (gadlut and katnut). R. Tzadok Hacohen is quoted "It is impossible for a person to remain on one level of d'vekut (cleaving to G-d)" Another aspect of alternating spiritual practices is to be aware of what your spiritual level is at any particular time and to adjust your divine service appropriately. Choose a practice, then, that fits your mood and spiritual level. End of excerpt. It is built into Judaism that we have various holy days throughout the year. Of course, Shabbat is one of the holiest days of the year and it happens every week, but Yom Kippur happens only once a year. One of the prayers on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is that we raise our voice and say "Teshuvah, Tefillah and Tzedaka Break a Decree." This is loosely translated as Repentance, Prayer, and Charity, but it encompasses practices that can really require a person's efforts to work and grow. There are times like Yom Kippur when we can concentrate ourselves extra hard, and the sages have suggested these areas of growth. Repentance is defined by Maimonides as having the elements of admitting, remorse, and changing, and sometimes requires going through some suffering. In Prayer it is important to point out that the soul of prayer is kavanah, intent, focus. Charity is further than just giving money, the word tzedakah comes from the word righteous, tzedek. Volumes are available on these three words, teshuvah, tefillah and tzedaka, and there is much work to be done on Yom Kippur. For every person there is a unique and special service that can hopefully result in great change for the good. Happy New Year!


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