Kitzur Tefilat Amecha #10

[adapted for middle-schoolers by Rabbi Shmuel Jablon from Rav Aviner's three-volume commentary on the siddur "Tefilat Amecha"]

In Birchot Ha-Shachar we bless Hashem who "Gives strength to Israel." Notice that this is the first time in these blessing that we talk about Klal Yisrael, not just human needs. Klal Yisrael has special strength for which we must be grateful. Sometimes this is physical. Other times it is spiritual, for example, when we fight against the Yetzer Ha-Ra. We need this strength as individuals, and to help give this strength to the rest of Klal Yisrael.

Aseret Yemei Teshvah
Amida -1
From Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur, we add in the first blessing: “Remember us for life, King who delights in life, and write us in the Book of Life, for your sake Living G-d.” Hashem wants life, loves life, and is the Living G-d. He has given us the Torah of Life, which is meant to give us a truly meaningful life. During the Aseret Yemei Teshuva we ask to increase life. We ask Hashem to remember us for life.
This first three blessings of the Amida are all to give praise to Hashem. Only then do we ask Him for things. So what is this addition doing in the first blessing? Why ask for life here? It is because we are not asking for life for our own sake. We ask for it for Hashem’s sake. We want to live to make Hashem’s Name holy. Therefore, it goes in a blessing where we praise him.

Amida- 2
From Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur, instead of saying "Ha-El Ha-Kadosh" (The Holy G-d) in the third blessing of the Shemoneh Esrei we say "Ha-Melech Ha-Kadosh" (The Holy King). Why? During the year, Hashem waits patiently for us. He watches us slip and waits for us to do Teshuvah. And then Rosh Hashanah comes. He emphasizes that he is "Ha-Melech." He sits in judgment, closely following every individual on earth. The time of waiting patiently is over. Hashem expects us to act now. He expects us to do Teshuvah to become better people - better in the way we treat Him and better in the way we treat others. And we all know that there is always room to improve.