Jerusalem, Israel

It’s my birthday.
I arise super early.
Take the light rail on Yafo Street
Destination: The Kotel.
I walk through the Old City.
The air cool, the cobblestones ancient, the stones authentic.
Ahhh ... I’m lovin’ it.

At the top of the stairs.
I scan the area below.
Viewing the whole scene
I am overcome with emotion ....
I see the Wall;
The Kotel.

I slowly make my way down.
Walk deliberately on the plaza. Taking in the surroundings ...
Coming closer to the Kotel.
My breathing gets shallow.
The air feels differently; still nice and cool, but the energy.
It’s feeling holy.
Approaching the Wall. The “light” too bright for me to move any closer.
I am so close to G‑d. I am in awe!

I open my siddur. And I pray. Three steps back. Three steps forward. The Amida prayer. Facing His Glory.
I then recite Psalms. More and more. It’s easy to pray here. It’s easy to focus here. Here where G‑d’s presence is so tangible.
My mind does not wander. How can it!? I’m right in front of the King! Almost literally.

By now the sun is high and strong. Time for me to go.

I back away from the Kotel, as is the custom. The energy of His Presence fading (only a teensy-weensy bit) with each step I take backwards.

This lofty Divine experience, I take it all the way back home with me to Los Angeles. A birthday gift to myself.

Prayer is a mitzvah, a commandment. G‑d has commanded us to pray to Him and to Him alone.

We pray to G‑d in times of distress; to help us. In times of comfort, to thank Him. And we must turn to Him any time that He continues to show us His kindness and grant us our daily needs.

Prayer is likened to a ladder; it stands on earth and reaches to heaven. It connects the heaven and the earth, human being with G‑d.

Our daily prayers strengthen our connection and trust in G‑d.

I pray daily. However, my praying with proper concentration was lacking.

I had trouble staying focused. My mind would wander—from what to cook for dinner to my shopping list, to how should I respond to a friend in need and do I really need to visit my aunt. From when will I tackle that overstuffed closet to hey, I haven’t heard from my sister in awhile; I wonder how she’s doing, and on and on. My thoughts took me anywhere and everywhere except to the words of the prayers. The trouble was, I was forgetting before Whom I stand.

But not anymore.

Post-Kotel experience, I can concentrate while praying. I can stay on task.

Los Angeles, California

It’s not my birthday.
And I do not rise early.
The children leave for school.
I walk to my porch.
It’s fairly quiet outside.
The air nice and cool.
I meditate;
I tap into my sublime experience at the Kotel. I’m feeling the energy there.
The divinity. The holiness.
G‑d is not only there. He is very much with me right here on my porch, too.
For He is everywhere.
I open my siddur, and I pray.
Three steps back. Three steps forward. The Amida prayer.
I am facing the King. Right here in Los Angeles!
It’s easy to concentrate. My mind does not wander.
How can other thoughts enter my mind!? After all, I’m standing in His Presence.