3 Shvat 5781 / Saturday, January 16, 2021 | Torah Reading: Va'era
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HomeFoundations of JudaismHitbodedut (Personal Prayer)Don't Give Up!
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Don't Give Up!    

Don't Give Up!

The first thing we should pray for is to attain the emuna that are prayers are heard, desired and effective. This is how to obtain anything we desire...


If you're having trouble in implementing Rebbe Nachman's advice, don't feel bad. Rebbe Natan writes that even though we can find a lot of good advice in the books of Rabbenu osb"m, which are filled with advice on how to come close to Hashem, blessed be His name, even so, in general it’s hard for a person to fulfill the advice itself. Therefore, the main thing is only prayer. No matter how the words come out, just pour your heart out to Hashem and beg that He bring you out of darkness and into light; keep going until you get answered. Certainly, in the end, Hashem will answer you and bring you close to Him without any doubt whatsoever, just be strong and hold on.

Our sages said that prayer needs strengthening. So, if your prayers weren’t accepted, go back and continue until the prayers are answered. Don't lose hope!


We’ve explained this many times. However we need to redouble our efforts to internalize this and remember it every single day, because there are so many types of weakness and enumerable confusions on this matter, more so than even the mouth has the power to convey or the heart to imagine. Therefore we need to go over this thousands of times in order to strengthen ourselves to keep going and stand our ground, to pray and supplicate constantly (no matter how these prayers come out) before Hashem, blessed be His name, so that He brings us close to His service.


“Raise our hearts with our palms [in prayer] to G-d in Heaven. Because Hashem will not abandon His nation and He will not leave His portion. The kindness of Hashem does not end, His mercy never ends”. This concludes the enlightening and heart strengthening words of Rabbenu and Rebbe Natan on the subject of laboring in prayer.


So, even if, to our distress, we find that there is a great concealment of Hashem, concealment within concealment. Rebbe Nachman told us in his stories that there is a great storm wind in the world that confuses the whole world and everyone chases each other in confusion. Only the group who followed the Master of Prayer went after the truth and only they can bring about the rectification of the world, because there is no way other than prayer.


So, even though we’ve already spoken about this many times, still, we are obligated to do our best and never to give up. If a person doesn’t invest an hour of hitbodedut (personal prayer) every day, he won’t be able to implement what he learns or to realize any of his desires. In hitbodedut, a person must do real cheshbon hanefesh (self-assessment) and tell Hashem everything he did, and see how much he is lacking. How did he wake up in the morning? How did he pray? Did he eat and sleep to fulfill his bodily desires? What can you do? Break down? Give up hope? Get upset with yourself? No! Pray more! Start pleading and keep on pleading. Ask Hashem every day, “Bring me close to serving You in prayer and yearning, give me the merit to guard my eyes, give me the merit to sleep with holiness while longing only for You in my sleep. Ask Him to eat with good intentions. Ask for everything good and for every good trait. There is no other way.


A person that doesn’t have prayer will surely fall in the end, because he won’t see real progress and in the end all of his desires and yearnings will cause him to fall. We need to know what to do with our good desires - to translate them into prayers and supplications, and to pray and strengthen ourselves, and add more and more prayer.


This is the only hope for this world. There’s no point in looking at the clock, there is nowhere to go. Praying for one hour is the minimum of the minimum. Hitbodedut is the time that you make true progress, so why are you in a hurry to finish? Lengthen your prayers on every detail, and pick one thing to pray on at length, over and over. The first thing to pray for is that you should have emuna in the power of prayer and in hitbodedut, that you should truly believe that through prayer and hitbodedut you can escape all of your bad, and believe that everything lacking in life is just the result of lack of prayer.


Once you perform genuine self-assessment and increase your prayers on everything, then you’ll start to see real progress.


Moses knew that the way to achieve anything is only through prayer. After all of the knowledge and ideas he acquired, he realized that without prayer a person doesn’t have anything, because Hashem wants the heart, and the labor of the heart is prayer. Moses wanted this path to be traveled by every person, to truly come close to Hashem. This is the path through which the Jewish people will build the Beit HaMikdash – our Holy Temple, the "House of Prayer", and through which we will bring Moshiach who will teach the Jewish people how to talk to the Creator of the world, and through which we will be redeemed with mercy, speedily and in our days, amen.

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