“Prayer is not a list of requests. It is an introspective process, a clarifying, refining process of discovering what one is, what he should be, and how to achieve the transformation. Indeed, the commandment to pray is expressed by the Torah as a service of the heart, not of the mouth (Talmud, Tractate Taanis 2a)…. Prayer is uniquely a human function, because it blends man’s intelligence and imagination with his ability to put concepts into words. The faculty of intelligent speech, more than any other, sets man apart from animals.”
Excerpted from Rabbi Nasson Scherman, “Prayer: A Timeless Need,” The Complete Artscroll Siddur (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Mesorah Publications, 1990; orig. 1984).
- to turn away from sin, pagan ways, and/or worldliness, and
- to simultaneously turn to/toward HaShem and His ways.
This involves not just remorse over a committed sin, but also a commitment to never return to it, opting for Torah living instead.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin teaches that the root of the Hebrew word for faith (emunah) is a picture of the glue-making process: taking an animal (aleph) hide and soaking it in water (mem) to make a glue (nun = peg), so faith, like glue-making, involves a sacrifice — the sacrifice of whatever in us is pagan.
What does that look like? In Temple-less Judaism, it is constructed on the “Three Ts” — teshuvah (repentance), tefillah (prayer), and tzedeqah (righteousness, i.e. ministry to others). Judaism would agree with Ya’aqov (James) in his “faith without works is dead” teaching. These three Ts are the fruit that genuine faith produces.