Mizmor Shir Chanukat Habayit 3: Great Beginnings
Psalm 30: Part Three:
Q: I remember learning that even though we may not be worthy, the process of prayer is what transforms us into a worthy person. Here it seems as though all the intentions are there at the beginning and while we may be so immersed in the process, it may at the same time drive us out of it.
A: When it says that when you begin a mitzvah and you get the credit, even if you don’t finish it, it means that our intentions create a reality of success, a certain element of success, even if we do not actually succeed. You can never walk out from prayer in which you intended to do well and say, “I really blew this one,” because you didn’t. All you have to do in order not to ‘blow it,’ is to say before you start, “I really hope this prayer goes well.” In that, you’ve already succeeded in doing something.
If you say, “I’m going to think a little before starting my prayer,” or suffering a little bit like dragging yourself out of bed five minutes before you normally do, then the Prayer becomes yours. Although you may not have had the proper kavana, or, intention, at the end, the fact that you worked on it and wanted it to go well means that you accomplished something important. It’s not as much as if you worked on yourself the entire Prayer, but if I know that the moment I open my siddur, that I cannot possibly fail, it is an entirely different story.
So many of us open up our siddur and say, “Gosh, it’s been at least two months since I had a really good davening!” You get frustrated the moment you turn to the first page because you know how hard it is to maintain such a level. Perhaps today’s Prayer wasn’t as good as it could have been overall, but the fact is that because you wanted it to be good from the start, it was good. You can never feel intimidated or frustrated when you begin to daven. This is the whole point of this psalm, and is emphasized in the last verse.