• Rabbi Ariel Tal

Tefilla as a Personal Growth Tool

Tefilla is an ideal personal growth tool. Classically, Tefilla is depicted as a connection between Man and God. However, let’s examine the use of Tefilla as a self-mantra exercise for coaching, and its effect on changing and improving one’s thought process, achieving one’s goals and a tool for creating a positive state of mind.

In the line of life coaching I teach, the focus of the work is on creating positive self-mantras in three basic steps. The first step is to identify the goal and the obstacles that stand in front of that person to achieve their goal. Those obstacles are usually an extreme and unbalanced thought process that is inhibiting the person from moving forward in one or many areas in their life.

The second stage is creating a strategy for overcoming those obstacles by incorporating a series of self-mantras. The mantras only begin to work after many repetitions throughout the day, for a significant period of time. How can we use this personal-growth model for students in formal or informal Tefilla settings? In order to answer the question, let’s take a step back and identify two main obstacles to Tefilla student engagement.

The first is a language barrier and the second a lack of connection to the Tefilla itself. The language barrier exists for all students, even for fluent Hebrew speakers. When a student, who may be unmotivated coming into the Tefilla session, is confronted with the language barrier, that becomes a significant obstacle to creating positive Tefilla engagement. The connection to the Tefilla itself is a complex subject. In general, many Educators are aware of the challenge to engage students in Tefilla, and finding the right formula for Tefilla engagement requires creative thinking, and making the Tefilla experience relevant and translatable to real life situations.

The Model – Tefilla as a Personal Growth and Coaching Tool

The word “Lehitpalel” in Hebrew is a fascinating verb. The “Binyan” or the verb template has both an active and passive quality. “Lehitpalel” means to judge or assess oneself. Tefilla is for man, not for God. God does not “need” our Tefilla since he is omnipotent. If Tefilla is for man, then how can we use it for our personal growth and development? If we look at Tefilla as a designed set of self-mantras, we can begin to untap the tremendous potential in Tefilla as a structured method of reconnecting to our spiritual core, our value systems and even as a useful method for creating positive self-mantras. As a professionally tra