The Jewish Mid-day Break

Watch: Smack in middle of a bustling, busy day, while we are knee-deep in our duties, we take a break.  For a brief intermission, the soul takes center stage. This gesture is meaningful. So much so, that it can effect miracles.

There are never enough hours in the day to accomplish the tasks that cry for our attention. In the midst of the never-ending emails, errands, and appointments, we are given an opportunity to mirror the dedication that the Jewish people had as they stood at the foot of Mount Sinai. 

For six days, the Jewish people prepared themselves for the giving of the Torah. These preparatory days were ordinary weekdays. They were not holidays or Shabbos. 

Still, the Jewish people found a way to set aside their personal matters and even during these weekdays, they focused on spiritual preparations. 

Every afternoon, we can relive this devotion.

We start off our morning with Shacharis, before we start the daily grind.We end off the day with Maariv, once our work is complete and our check lists are ticked off. 

But the afternoon Mincha prayer is unique.

Smack in middle of a bustling, preoccupied day, while we are knee-deep in our duties, we carve out time for prayer. For a brief intermission, the soul takes center stage. This gesture is meaningful. Even more so, it can effect miracles. 

The Navi recounts how Eliyahu Hanavi challenged the false prophets of the Baal deity to a faceoff on Har Carmel. Eliyahu and the false prophets each constructed an altar. The spectators waited for a miraculous Divine fire to descend onto one of the altars, which would prove its validity. The idolaters called out to their powerless god. They tried all of the schemes they could think of, but to no avail. 

Then it was Eliyahu’s turn. The hour was late afternoon, just in time for mincha. Eliyahu offered a prayer to Hashem, beseeching that through this miracle, the Jewish people would fully return to the One true G-d. His prayer was answered. A fire descended from Heaven and consumed his offering. The Jewish people recognized the emptiness of idolatry and parted from their false path. 

Mincha conveys the power of spiritual moments in the midst of a typical day. Shavuos is approaching. Carve out some time to prepare yourself. Schedule an intermission and lean in to the messages of the holiday. Take a break. A spiritual break. 

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