10 Kislev 5781 / Thursday, November 26, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
 
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HomeFoundations of JudaismHitbodedut (Personal Prayer)Dr. Emuna: Just DO IT
 
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Dr. Emuna: Just DO IT    

Dr. Emuna: Just DO IT



Break the “glass ceiling” the Evil Inclination has created for you and let go of your expectations...

 



An old friend and I were writing back and forth recently, when she admitted to me: “I still can’t do one hour [of hitbodedut, personal prayer]!” (As a side note, she and her husband are Breslev for more than 15 years, and I met her on a women’s trip to Uman...) 

 

 

This is an extremely common issue, and Rabbi Arush teaches some practical advice on how to overcome it. As Rabbi Arush explains over and over again, real healing only comes with emuna, and emuna means prayer – and especially hitbodedut, personal prayer, which is the true epitome of prayer from the heart. 

 

The first thing to know is: You CAN do 1 hour, you absolutely can! Rabbi Arush says that this is the absolute minimum, and Hashem doesn’t ask of someone what they can’t do. If this is the minimum for everyone, then that means that everyone can do it – and you can too. But if you’ve convinced yourself that you can’t, then you can’t… 

 

 

Part of the reason why doing one full hour feels so overwhelming, is our expectations of what we are supposed to do. The Evil Inclination has convinced many people that if they don’t talk easily, and explain their problems, and be practically a professional orator, then personal prayer just isn’t worth it. 

 

 

Let go of your expectations. Maybe you won’t talk during all of it, or even any of it. That’s OK. Rabbi Arush himself testifies that he did not say one word in personal prayer for months when he began. He urges: Just go to the meeting with the King! 

 

 

You can also just repeat over and over: “Ribbono shel Olam, Ribbono shel Olam... Master of the World, King of the World, God...” You can also just repeat over and over what you need: “God, give me emuna, God I want emuna, God please help me strengthen my emuna, whatever happens, let me stay strong in my emuna...” Don’t underestimate the power of simple prayer, simple words, and even saying nothing at all! 

 

 

When you lose your focus – so whenever you catch yourself, just keep goingDon’t listen to the Evil Inclination that tells you to give up because you just dazed off, or dozed off, or started thinking about whatever. 

 

 

Also, remember that usually if you are having trouble talking, it’s because the heart is heavy with sadness. Open up to God about what is weighing on you. Ask Hashem for emuna, and thank Hashem the entire time, and you’ll be amazed at how you’ll start feeling happier… and start talking. 

 

 

The most important thing is: JUST DO IT! Whatever you say or don’t say, however much you open up or don’t, JUST DO IT! Break the “glass ceiling” the Evil Inclination has created that you can’t talk that long, can’t focus that long, whatever… Some days you will truly pour out your heart, while other days will be quieter, but the key is to come to the meeting.  

 

 

Whatever you succeed in praying or saying is almost secondary. The important thing is setting aside the time to take a giant step forward in knowing Hashem, letting Hashem into your life, and as a result, creating a true connection with GodThis is the true purpose of your life here on earth! It cannot be that Hashem created you unable to fulfill your purpose! 

 

 

The reason why setting aside the time is the most important part, is that in doing this, you prove your desire, your ratzon. You concretely prove to Hashem: I want to get closer to You, God! I want to fulfill my purpose in life! I want to taste the sweetness of Paradise on earth! 

 

 

Along these lines, you should also spend time in your personal prayer every day – to pray to Hashem to do hitbodedutThe words Rabbi Arush uses are: Zakeni laasot shaa hitbodedut shalem karaui – “Hashem, give me the merit to do a complete hour of personal prayer properly.” At the beginning of every personal prayer session, tell Hashem that you want to talk to Him. Ask Him to give you the words and open your heart… and at the end, thank Hashem for your hitbodedut that day, and ask Hashem to help you do an hour tomorrow. 

 

 

If you’re still struggling to get started, start by telling Hashem the truth of what you feel: “Hashem, I want to do one hour right now. Hashem, I want to talk to you. I am not convinced that I can really do this. I don’t know how to do this. Please help me, please give me the words, please help me to not give up, please help me to finish this hour.” Just keep going along these lines until you see that you’re already talking for a long time, and suddenly you’re talking about other things in your life you want to discuss with Hashem. Ask Hashem for help and tell Him where you are holding – and He will certainly help you! 

 

 

Stay tuned next week for Part 2 – Simple, practical advice on how to make the most of your hour, without getting overwhelmed... 

 

 

Dedicated in memory of Rachel bat Yisrael a"h (Gabriella Smith)

****

 

Rachel Avrahami grew up in Los Angeles, CA, USA in a far off valley where she was one of only a handful of Jews in a public high school of thousands. She found Hashem in the urban jungle of university. Rachel was privileged to read one of the first copies of The Garden of Emuna in English, and the rest, as they say, is history. She made Aliyah and immediately began working at Breslev Israel. 


Rachel is now the Editor of Breslev Israel's English website. She welcomes questions and comments to her email: rachel.avrahami@breslev.co.il.

 





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