I had an opportunity to learn with a wonderful young man by the name of Mordechai yesterday. We went over some passages from the Shulchan Aruch/Mishna Brura on prayer. It’s written that all our thoughts should be focused on G-d while we pray. Prayer should be a special time in one’s day dedicated solely to our relationship with Hashem. We should try to get rid of all foreign thoughts, espcially thoughts dealing with worldly matters.

Mordechai related to me how meditation may be used towards strengthening one’s ability to focus on G-d during prayer. He stressed that it shouldn’t be the other way: we shouldn’t pray to be able to meditate better, but rather, use meditation as a means of improving the quality of our prayer. We should beseach Hashem to grant us all our prayers whether we’re asking for seemingly trivial things or matters of life and death.

I’ve often felt that prayer has provided me a time to reflect on the day and on my plans for the future. In fact, the Shulchan Aruch teaches that we should stop praying when foreign thoughts infiltrate our minds.

Jews have prayed for their daily needs, trusting in G-d to provide for them for as long as we’ve existed. Our forefathers did it. Our kings and prophets did it and today, we continuing praying. Perhaps, it’s the longest-standing tradition in the annals of humankind.

Today, I’m going to pray for Jewish blood to be avenged. Yesterday’s suicide bombing in Burakas, Bulgaria cannot go unnoticed. Like the Munich Olympics massacre of ’76, it will be ignored by the world, but at least we can do something about it.

I’m not calling for us to take matters into our own hands, but for the Israeli government and the IDF to clamp down on terrorists wherever they may be. The army should conduct pre-emptive strikes in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza and the Mossad should not feel restrained to hit terrorist targets abroad. We’re in the middle of a war being waged against us on all fronts whether it be in the press, amongst our civilians or on foreign soil. We must be first to strike lest we’re forced to strike after a terrorist act has already taken place, G-d forbid. We must make our enemies realize that Jewish blood is not cheap; that terrorism will not be taken for granted.

May the lives of the pure and righteous victims of the Burgas terror attack be avenged. May we use our power to pray for good!