Maturing in my Solitary Splendor and growth of my soul isn't always obvious. But today I noticed something as I spent hours searching through 20 pages of listings on Amazon for various editions of siddurs, or Jewish prayer books.
How many other people are looking through all the Amazon listings and beginning to wonder, as I am, "Look at all the different authors and unique versions of the daily Jewish prayer book, each with its own agenda. I wonder which siddur is best for me to use now?"
Jews, and those exploring Judaism without a family or congregational bias toward a certain level of observance or religious tradition may find the process of selecting a siddur for personal use very confusing. I am certainly finding it confusing right now, but my intrepid search continues.
As Seth Godin posted today, "The only way to learn from experience is to have different experiences... to eagerly engage with with the possible."
Two of my siddurs are pictured above. Both are Avodat Israel siddurs, the left one published in 1960 and the right one in 1969. I bought them many years ago and do not use them regularly because the text is very small print.
I read through the comments on various Amazon listings today and saw people saying, "I collect siddurs," and then giving their opinion on the particular siddur listed. It struck me that my goal is not to be a collector of siddurs, although it's a wonderful hobby. I want my relationship with a siddur to be more like my truck or my garden spade, tools for my daily life.
These thoughts are giving me a signal of some new maturity in my relationship with God. Wanting to be free of the writers' and translator's agendas shows me something important - my Jewish heart longs for the personal connection with God in traditional prayers. I want a siddur to help me do that each day, even more than it connects me to centuries of Jewish tradition and modern political perspectives.