Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tefillah-Our Essence

A friend of mine emailed the following thought that was passed on to her. Someone heard at a shuir from Rav Tzvi Meyer Zilberstein’s sister.

כי האדם עץ השדה, man-אדם is compared to a tree. The three letters which make up the  word adam are aleph, daled and mem. If we take the inner hidden letters of the word אדם , not the actual letters of אדם  but the remaining hidden letters of those three letters
אלף – the lamed and peh from the word aleph
דלת – the lamed and the taf  from the word daled
מם –  the second mem from the word mem
we are left with the word – מתפלל.
Tefilla is the pnimiyus of Adam, it is our sap and Tefilla has to come from our p'nim and be an avodah shebalev. The more Tefilla is drawn from the depth of our heart, the more powerful it is.
Deep inside the neshama of אדם- he longs to come close to Hashem, and the way to do that is through Tefilla.

What a beautiful thought. 

R' Shimshon Pincus expounds on this throughout his sefer, She'arim B'Tefillah (which has been translated into English, Gates of Prayer). 

Hashem implanted within the nature of the world that when someone is suffering, they call out for help so they will be protected them from harm. If someone screams out for help when they are in trouble, it will arouse the mercy of those close to them and they will rush to their aid.

If you take this on a bit of a deeper level, you can understand something more profound. Any time someone screams, it is really a call-out of tefillah. When someone lacks something, when they are in pain, they call out for help. And their call is really directed to the only One who can help them. 

Even when someone is alone and there is no one around to help, if they feel they are in danger, they will let out a yell. Imagine someone climbing a ladder and it starts to wobble. There is no one around, no one to call out to. But, they will still let out a piercing scream. To Whom is this scream directed? It is a scream that's very source is that of connection, of yearning, of wishing and hoping they will stay safe-even if there is no one at the foot of the ladder to keep it steady. They are calling out to the only One who has the power to keep them safe.

The essence of each person, the inner core, is one of connection. 

Hashem created each of us with many things that are lacking. Although we are very blessed and we have been given so much good, we are lacking in different ways and we feel it daily. Parking spots (especially in this weather!), the need to arrive somewhere on time, safe driving, success at school or work, health for minor and major illnesses, success in our day-to-day lives, we always need something from Hashem. 

Does a day ever go by where you felt that every single thing went right and you didn't need anything from Hashem? 

There's a reason why Hashem made it this way. There is a purpose. 

Since a person knows that Hashem is the only One who can help him, He will naturally direct his call to the Source, the One who has the Power to help him, to save him, to get him out of any predicament. 

Sometimes we need more energy, sometimes we need more strength, sometimes we need things to just go right. We all need some sort of salvation. And Hashem is the One who can bring it about.

When things are hard, when things are going wrong, dig into your soul, into your essence. You were created with an ability and a desire to connect. It is in you. It is part of your makeup. Hashem made you this way so that you will be able to achieve d'veikus, a true, close bond with Him. A connection that can become so strong, if you only tap into your inner self and utilize your moments of need to talk to the One who can help.

May you be able to use the times of need to connect to Hashem and may you be able to get closer to Him on even deeper levels than you've already reached. May you be able to use the good times as an opportunity to open your heart and talk to Hashem, by thanking Him for the blessings you have and may you not need the tough times to get you to draw closer to Him.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Purim Katan

Purim Katan is tonight, Thursday night and tomorrow, Friday.

The Dvar Torah below, emailed to me by a friend of mine, is from Rav Avraham Schorr Shlita regarding the power of tefillah on Purim Katan.

He quoted a Chidushei Harim that explained a reason for the mitzvah of "chayav inush lbisumei bepuryah", the mitzvah of drinking on Purim.

He told a story that happened in the times of the Bal Shem Tov. There was a terrible decree against the Jews, everybody prayed and did various mitzvos but nothing changed and the decree was still in place. Finally, the Bal Shem Tov instructed one of his followers to go to a distant town and find a certain drunkard and bring him back to the Bal Shem Tov. The messenger was advised not to allow the drunkard to drink so that he would be sober when he was brought to the Bal Shem Tov. When the drunkard was brought to the Bal Shem Tov, he asked the drunkard for a bracha that the decree be abolished, he gave a bracha and immediately the decree was annulled.

The Bal Shem Tov explained to his close followers that this person had done an unbelievable mitzvah of saving a girl; the mitzvah of Pidyon Shevuyim and in shamayim they were so moved that it was decreed that whatever this person would ask for would be granted immediately. Suddenly in shamayim there was a big debate, how can a simple person be given such unbelievable power of blessing? Maybe he will use it for the wrong things! So they decreed that he would be a drunkard all the time so he would not even realize this power that was given to him.

"The Chidushei Harim explained that on Purim there is a law that "kol haposhet yad nosnin". Anyone who asks, you have to give. This is true also regarding praying, when we daven to Hashem he has to answer our requests. So to counter this unbelievable power of prayer, the chachomim made the law of drinking on Purim so that we don't use the day for praying for the wrong things. The Chidushei Harim continues that if somebody feels that he wants to be smarter then the chachomim and he won't drink and will sit and daven all day long, he is wrong for not listening to the chachomim." (I am not getting into the issue of drinking vs. not drinking on Purim over here. I am just repeating the dvar torah the way it was sent to me. :))

There is a mishna in megillah that says "ein bain adar rishon l'adar shenie ele krias megillah umatonas levyonim bilvad"; there is no difference between the first adar and the second adar only that you can not do your obligation of reading megillah and presents for the poor.
The power of prayer remains exactly the same; however, by the first adar the rabbis did not make an obligation to drink.

So here we have a day that has the tremendous power of prayer and the chachomim did not counter it with an obligation to drink.

Let us use this Friday to daven to Hashem for all the right things, klal yisroel is living through difficult times and there are many things to daven for...we should be all be zoche to see moshiach bmihera byomeinu.

Today is a powerful day. May you use it well and may Hashem answer your tefillos.