I remember listening once to an old recording of two comedians doing their act in Yiddish, or in mame loshon as they would have called it. There is a special flavor imparted to jokes in Yiddish, and it was rendered even funnier by the affection and good spirit with which the two of them kidded around about Yidden and yiddishkeit.

Clearly the two of them had been quite traditional at one stage and were still steeped in the rhythms of Judaism. One of the lines that stuck in my mind was when one of them explained his perspective on the benefits of now being frei - a non-religious Jew: Az ich vehk zich uf in der fri, bin ich shoin an opgedaventer- which I would loosely translate as, “When I wake up in the morning, I'm already done with my davening (prayers) for the day.”

IA Jew is expected to pray every day struggled over that translation because there are just so many underlying assumptions built into the statement. A Jew is expected to pray every day. We daven Shacharit in the morning, shortly after waking, and on those days when you wake up late, or become distracted before praying, there is almost a physical sense of unease or incompleteness.

Don't get me wrong, no one forces you to daven; it's just that after getting into the habit, praying becomes an integral part of your life and you feel uneasy until you've fulfilled your obligations.

In fact, I have a friend who, only partially jokingly, "When I put tefillin on first thing in the morning, that's it for the day. But when I don't get around to it till late in the day, in some ways I'm almost more spiritual, because I spend the whole day thinking and worrying about tefillin and G‑d."

There is some small measure of truth to my friend's assertion. If you pray out of a sense of obligation, with no other desire than to get it over with, then davening can quickly degenerate into a chore But, if you pray because you want to engage with G‑d, then even once a day is not nearly enough.

Prayer is a mitzvah that helps us maintain a relationship with G‑d and, as any therapist will tell you, it's the small acts, done consistently, that guarantee the success of a relationship. Just as a husband may feel deeply in love with his wife, but it's important to regularly tell her directly how much she means to him, so too it is crucial that humans regularly engage with our Creator.

However if you really want to rack up the relationship points, try touching-base in the middle of the day. Far more effective than just wishing each other a good day as you rush out of the house in the morning, is the midday call from work. When you take the time to step back from your daily responsibilities, just to call to say, "I love you," then you're really demonstrating your priorities.

Try touching-base in the middle of the day

We read in the Torah, “And Isaac went forth to pray in the field towards evening,” (Genesis 24:63) a reference to Minchah, the afternoon prayer. The sages point out that davening Minchah is the proof of one's relationship with G‑d. Unlike morning and evening, when one's time is relatively unencumbered, taking a break from our daily tasks, just to touch base with G‑d, demonstrates our true priorities in life.

Try it for yourself. Whatever you're doing right now; stop and do two things. First, reach for a siddur or close your eyes and touch base with G‑d and then pick up the phone and tell someone that you love them. You'll be a better person for the trouble, G‑d will respond with blessing and you'll make someone very happy, as you show them how much you care.