I'm walking back from the bus stop with my baby and my neighbor.
"He wants me to open his bag of cookies...isn't that cute?"
"I would have no clue what he was talking about!" she says.
And I'm reminded about something I heard a while back about tefillah and the way we daven.
When a little baby or toddler who is just learning how to talk starts to communicate in his own language, only his own parents can truly understand the things he is saying. He is not using real words yet, just a combination of sounds...but every sound has real meaning...to him. And his mother and father know exactly what he means to say with each sound that comes out of his mouth.
But a stranger wouldn't understand at all.
When we daven, there are times when we mumble the words, don't pronounce them correctly...and just rush through our tefillos. We can't always say the words the way they were meant to be said, with the proper pronunciation and concentration.
After all, we are human beings.
But Hashem is our Father. And He understands the thoughts and feelings behind the words we say. He understand what we really mean to say, even if sometimes we're talking in baby talk.
He knows we really want to praise Him. He knows that we really mean to ask him for health, parnassah, refuos and yeshuos. He knows that when we go through shemona esrei and we don't really think about the meaning of every single word, we really do want to. We want to do it right.
But sometimes we stumble.
Sometimes we mumble.
Sometimes we don't think into the meaning of the things we are saying and asking for.
And He understands our baby talk.
But...does that mean we should stay that way? Just because He understands, should we talk like little kids?
Of course not.
Let's grow up.
Let's work on our concentration.
On our pronunciation.
On saying our brachos and tefillos the way they were meant to be said.
Because even though Hashem understands that we mean a lot more than "baruchata...borei minaymezonos..." or "selachlanu...mechalanu", we might as well put in the effort and talk big...like adults...like a professional businessman. Like someone who knows his stuff.
Hashem is always listening. He understands our innermost thoughts and feelings...even when we can't express them in words.
But when it's time to daven, when it's time to say our brachos, when it's time to bench, to ask Hashem for things we need and thank Him for the things He gives us, let's try to do it right.
Enough with the baby talk. It's cute...but at some point we need to grow up.
I open the bag of cookies for my baby and he spills most of it on the floor. But I understand. He's just a baby. He asks for things and he can't even enjoy all of it. But I'm his mother...and so I give.
Hashem knows us so much better. He knows what is good for us, what we need...and what we want...and when the time is right for us to get it. He is our Father...and He gives us...so much good.
May you be able to express yourself properly with the words of your tefillos and brachos...and mature in your tefillos from baby talk to big-girl talk!