sensitive dependence on initial conditions

We know that everything follows the seal. This principle is something Chazal quotes in reference to berachot, blessing. It is a much broader concept though, that the end defines the beginning. We see this in the phrase their beginning is embedded in their end and their end is embedded in their beginning. (from Sefer Yetzirah) We see that not only does the end influence the beginnings, but also the opposite is true, the beginning influences the outcome--something far more intuitive.

The depth of this is truly unbelievable. The hard-core mekubalim who pray with all of the kawanoth of the Rashash and the Ariz"l, take a long time to pray, but you see that all of their focus is on the beginnings. (They also take extra time on the endings, but it's not the same.) For the first passuk of Shema, the first beracha of the Amidah, they take inordinate time. Once they finish the kawanoth in the beginning, they pray the rest of the tefillah more or less at the speed that you or I would. In the rare instances that I've been able to pray with them, I find this investment at the beginning fuels the rest of your prayers. It's akin to the folk knowledge that if you "get out of the right side of the bed" so to speak then your whole day goes well.

Two days ago, on Eloki Netzur - the very beginning of the beginning of the daily prayers, I noticed that it fits perfectly to the Carlebach tune for Kabalath Shabbath. It was so uplifting that my whole tefillah went by so quickly my lips could barely keep up.

It pays to slow down and start on the right foot--then your prayers flow strong and straight.


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