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The Ladder

The Ladder

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The Ladder

It took me a while to settle on using the ladder/prayer imagery for this week. I kept on fighting it because… well, honestly, I’m not very good at praying. But eventually time ran out and the ladder was the best shot I had. So I decided to animate what I think my struggle with prayer is.

The siddur is a pretty big book, considering how much of it we’re expected to recite every single day. It can be daunting, and thus, I’m often tempted to do the best I can, but basically just do a running jump straight to the top of the ladder. But since prayer is a process through which we move closer and closer to G‑d, just Jumping to the top won’t do any good. We have to start at the beginning, look at the world around us and see how the entirety of creation praises the Creator. And slowly we move forward, step by step, rung by rung, and at each step taking the time to experience G‑d on a more personal level.

Wow, It actually sounds beautiful to me just writing about it, but for some reason I’m still heavily relating to the stick man. But hey, learning to appreciate the process can also be a process, right? Btw -- perhaps those of you who have an easier/more meaningful time with prayer can give me some pointers.

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Leah November 16, 2015

Kavannah I just like the idea that the letters are holy and they form holy words and they even form G-d's Names and I can "send" those holy letters upward...up...up...up....they go up and carry with them all the gratitude and all the concerns and needs - whatever you need them to carry up. So that even if my kavannah isn't perfect or if I don't understand all the prayers or have just the right kavannah, I can still know that I am connecting and it is meaningful. Also because I am saying it aloud and this is an action, not a silent meditation. I don't know if that is at all helpful to anyone, but it is just my take on the subject. :) Reply

chana sudak london,england June 29, 2014

really enjoyed it Reply

Anonymous usa January 28, 2014

that's amazing!
and the sound effects really add well to it. Reply

Yifat Israel August 18, 2013

prayer is difficult It's so true that sometimes it is hard to pray - to take the siddur and start reciting the same words.. for me it's much easier to talk to G-d everyday telling him how I love him so much. This is my prayer and I'm sure it counts! Reply

anonymous Pittsburgh, PA via old.chabad.org January 21, 2013

Awesome how you can be so creative with stick figures. Reply

Lyone Columbus, OH April 25, 2012

Not only Prayer This seems like an illustration of human growth in general. In prayer, sure, but also in learning to acquire any new skill, in becoming an educated person, etc., we all have to go step by step before we can get "to the top" and get the amazing "free stuff" of good feelings and maturity that accomplishment brings. From my perspective, all learning is spiritual growth in some way, and it all means that you can't get to the second step before going through the first step first. Reply

Victoria Nairobi, Kenya October 14, 2010

Victoria Hi David, I never did see a more accurate depiction of my prayer life its an image I will not soon forget and hopefully will stop acting out :-) God bless you. Reply

Marlene via jewishtrivalley.com November 27, 2009

Why pray... The endless amount of choices or directions to go in as we live our life can lead us to success OR failure: Meaning the results we want to achieve or avoid. There is no other way to be sure of having the results in our life turn out for the best. Prayer is the only sure way. Every other way, by simply using our thoughts, is risky business! Everything can go either way, as a gamble. Who wants to gamble their life away? Prayer is the sure way to have the outcome necessary for your sucess of your dream. So be careful of what you pray for and have faith that you will have it! Remember along the way to be gratful for what you already have. Reply

steve "shlomo" brody roslyn harbor, ny November 27, 2009

You & He Every story we read from adam to noah from noah to abraham from abraham to moshe...its all the same story ... no different than yours, than ours, starts w/modei ani and then we visit the day...step by step ...the now is the only reality we have in this world...thank you, your animation was PERFECT! Shabbat Shalom! Reply

Anonymous Saskatoon, Canada November 27, 2009

rush for the top Dovid, you have no idea how incredibly comforting it is for me to know that I'm not the only person that struggles like this with prayer. The cartoon depicts me perfectly, and I saw immediately that i too had been making a foolish rush for the top without remembering the importance of carefully establishing a footing on each rung. Another thing- in ladder safety practice we are told to always maintain 3 points of contact on the ladder, and to keep ourself centered as we climb.... i wonder if this adds a few more ideas into the mix? Reply

Reuven Hertzliya, Israel November 27, 2009

Connection Once i was on Shabat without a prayer book away from home. So what i did was to have an Hitbodedut with G-d for 60 of the 90 minutes that the prayer takes me to do (Hitbodedut is when u just sit by yourself and speak aloud to G-d as if you really see Him in the room). That allowed me to obtain an enormous sense of Divine Presence and of connection with Him.
When I pray, i try to remind myself of that experience and to feel the same intensity of connection - while I'm using the prayer book. Reply

Pam Hamburg, NY November 3, 2009

Prayer and praying? Wow, I was thinking of this more biologically. Sometimes I get too caught up in the words (and sometimes the pronunciation) and forget the point of prayer, to send a message up to G-d, or through to G-d. So I have started praying by just feeling and using that as a communication point to converse with G-d. But, I am a girl. Through research, I have come to the conclusion, alongside those at Chabad, that for whatever reason, girls have an easier time at prayer than boys. I guess we are more inward and spiritual, and prayer is a very introverted thing. Blessings are a different story, though, being the opposite of prayer. :) Maybe you would start with getting inside yourself a little more? I don't know! It was a great animation, though. Profound. I really liked your explanation! :) Reply

Ednah-Sarah San Antonio, TX January 19, 2009

Favorite Topics Prayer has always been one of my favorite topics for thought and action too. I love this little vignette AND each comment has added something to my appreciation of what it means. Thanks one and all, and what could be better than 'free awesome stuff' except, maybe: 'awesome free stuff'' ;) Just the thought of it makes me want to daven Mincha!!! Reply

annonymous December 6, 2008

climbing While there are so mnay obvious and connections between prayer and rising to loftier heights, sometimes i think we spend too much time caught up in metaphores. Perhaps we place to much emphasis on prayer being above us - attainable only through a process that contains, by its very nature, the risk of falling.
The place we are going is always before us and the Holy One of Blessing is always with us. . . so, we can remove the pressure of rising to what seems to be unattainable by placing that metaphorical ladder flat on the ground - focusing our next steps not on the ACT of rising (and possibly falling) but rather, on making each choice and action like another word of prayer. The sought height will be attained through acts, and prayer will be more powerful, as it will eminate not from the desire to attain it, but from within, as the connection would have been earned. Reply

Shternie Esther LA, CA, USE via chabadpalisades.com December 4, 2008

The steps Great message!

There is a reason why there are steps on the ladder. Prayer is easy and more meaningful when you go step by step. Reply

James West Monroe, LA December 4, 2008

The Ladder I don't feel adequate when praying to the
L-rd, So reading your comment on The Ladder was a help to me Reply

Anonymous December 3, 2008

perhaps... Perhaps one obstacle in prayer is where one actually views it as a ladder in order to get somewhere; that in my view is an error. (Though in actuality it is of course a ladder, it should not be viewed that way at the time of prayer.)

Each word of prayer should be regarded by itself [-by the person praying], as indeed each word and letter and stage of prayer is infinite; do not have in mind that you 'have' to get anywhere; be in front of G-d with each word, whether it be korbonos or shemona esreh.

I believe it is brought down about one of the Chasiddic masters, when asked what intentions and 'yichudim' he has in mind when praying, he answered:
I have in mind when I say Blessed, G-d is in front of me,
'You' - G-d is in front of me,
'Lord - G-d is in front of me,
etc

Hope this may be of help and thank you for the lovely stick figure vignettes. Reply

Anonymous USA December 2, 2008

a thankful teacher I wanted to prepare a word for my students before prayer tomorrow ( Dec. 2 ). So I looked on haYom Yom the daily reading on Chabad.org. how appropriate, but how to illlustrate???? While thinking, I clicked to see this weeks "Stickfigures" - this vignette will certainly be added to the lesson!!! Thanks for help @ 2 a.m. Reply

Daniel NY, USA December 2, 2008

Nothing at top of ladder You always get something from praying since you fulfill the mitzvah of "avodah sh'balev" i.e. prayer. So you get a mitzvah, but you may not see the object of your prayer manifest.

You could have made the top of the ladder off of the screen to let us imagine what the "free awesome stuff" would be.

LOL "Free Awesome Stuff" Reply

Dovid Taub chicago, IL December 1, 2008

Re: Nothing on the top of the ladder When I was figuring out how to illustrate this, I was wondering whether I should put something there on top of the ladder, but then I had a problem: if there is just something sitting on top of the ladder, then why do you need to climb the ladder to get it—jumping up should work. So then I thought that maybe there should be something on each rung of the ladder, and the free awesome stuff at the top is just the accumulation of what you get along the way. But that's not it either, and besides, then it would be obvious that he should go rung by rung.

So, what I imagine it must be is that there is something awesome at the top of the ladder, but it can only be truly perceived and appreciated if you've gone trough the process of climbing. And since none of us have climbed that particular cartoon ladder, we can't perceive what the culmination of that process may be. Reply

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