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ויצעקו בני ישראל אל ד'

And Bnei Yisrael cried out to Hashem. (14:10)

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Rashi cites Yalkut Shimoni who comments: Tafsu umnos Avosam, “They adopted the craft of their Forefathers.” The Avos HaKedoshim, holy Patriarchs, conversed with Hashem through the medium of prayer. Apparently, what was good for the Avos was good for their offspring. Horav Nosson Wachtfogel, zl, derives a powerful lesson from the Yalkut. A craft is one’s trade,his vocation, the medium by which he earns a living. Prayer is our trade, our umnos. One who has a profession must be serious about it, or his work will be for naught. Someone who has studied a trade, mastered a course, and received a degree attesting to his ability will do everything to ensure that he is successful in his chosen vocation. He will rise early, be on time, maintain his commitments. In short – he will not play around. After all, this is his umnos.

Should our davening be any different? It is our umnos. Without proper davening, we will receive nothing. To skip parts of the tefillah, cut corners, come late, leave early, is no way to run a business – unless one seeks to ensure bankruptcy. Imagine someone who has a business and shows up whenever he is in the mood, treats his customers in accordance with how well he slept the previous night; stands outside schmoozing with his friends, ignoring what is taking place in the store. This is certainly not the way to guarantee a successful business venture. Should davening be any different? It is our business venture with Hashem. How can we hope for a positive response if we are outside discussing the latest gossip? How can we entreat Hashem for His favor if we do not even bother to wait around in shul for an answer? If tefillah is our umnos, we had better do it properly, or risk foreclosure.