On Yom Kippur, I davened with real kavannah. I said Tehillim, I begged Hashem for forgiveness, and I wept. My actions weren’t devoid of love for my Creator, but they were motivated by fear. It is fear, fear for my future, which made me beg and plead for the year ahead, and it was fear which led me to afflict myself. The experience was very real, very authentic. It was powerful and painful and now, many hours after Yom Kippur finished, it feels somewhat otherwordly, as if it happened years ago, or never really happened. I feel as if my words reached Hashem.
But what about on Shabbos, when I daven for hours in the morning, thanking Hashem, expressing my gratitude, and asking for His help? On those mornings, I do it out of love. I look around me, at the wonders of the world He created, at the beauty of the day of rest, and I feel such love and awe in my heart that I can’t help but pray to him and offer thanksgiving. Is this any less valid? Is this any less important?
In my mind at least, no. It’s a different kind of devotion. But it’s equally powerful, equally real, and much more beautiful. Don’t get me wrong; fear of Hashem is very essential and very important and is represented by a Shabbos, as well, namely Shabbos Shuvah. It was fear of Hashem, and the attribute of gevurah (severity) which motivated Avrohom to perform the Akeidah (binding of Yitzchak). It was fear of Hashem which ended (some) of the Israelite’s numerous rebellions. And for lots of people, it’s this same fear which leads us to perform His mitzvot.
But I love Hashem, with all my heart. And that’s why I think He’s listening to the prayers I offer when it’s not the Day of Atonement.