7 Shvat 5781 / Wednesday, January 20, 2021 | Torah Reading: Bo
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Fight Back With Personal Prayer    

Fight Back With Personal Prayer

The Palestinians go to the UN this week (2011) to declare their statehood, while millions threaten to storm our borders. Will this wake-up call spark the explosion?


Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody

Those of you who know me are well aware that I’m not an alarmist. For years, when others have been making doomsday projections, all I’ve cared about is helping people get closer to Hashem. A wasted life is a life without having developed one’s own intimate personal connection to our beloved Father in Heaven who loves each one of us. The fact that He loves us so much is exactly why He’s now going to such lengths to wake us up.
This week, millions of Arabs are expected to “peacefully” march on our borders. Although I always pray for peace – for that’s my name – we cannot sit back as observers. Our activism is manifest in prayer and teshuva. Despite the fact that earlier this week, I said that the harsh decree of imminent conflict has been delayed, that doesn't mean that we can put down our guard or our spiritual weapons. The delay is to enable more people  to have the opportunity to do teshuva and to save themselves and their families. But who knows how long the gates of teshuva will remain open.

But meanwhile, few are doing teshuva. Rather than waking up, our people have fallen captive to the most sadistic and vicious enemy of all – the Yetzer Hara, the Evil Inclination.
The Evil Inclination has never been more powerful, more dangerous, and more sophisticated since the dawn of creation. The Evil Inclination – like chocolate-covered poison – gives his victim a fatal false sense of enjoyment and then destroys the victim’s soul by severing him from Hashem, Heaven forbid. And people continue to extend their necks willingly toward the Evil Inclination’s sword, begging to be slaughtered. Hashem wants to stop this spiritual holocaust, but successive previous wakeup calls have gone unheeded. After the recent earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and terror attacks, people have again fallen into a “business as usual” spiritual slumber.
Now – this week – the Palestinians are going to the UN to declare their statehood, while millions threaten to storm our borders. This wake-up call is likely to be the spark that ignites the explosion…
Will people listen? I doubt it. Facebook and the porn sites continue to be stronger than ever. Why talk about the filth on the internet? One cannot open one’s eyes on the street nowadays. No generation since Adam and Eve has ever been so desensitized to flagrant breaches of basic decency. Rebbe Nachman says that eyes trigger the lust for fornication. So, with the streets looking like they do – even in so-called “religious neighborhoods – if a young man who is supposed to be learning Torah fails to close his eyes, then there’s no way he can guard himself from becoming spiritually contaminated. The brain of such a young man is hardly a worthy receptacle for the light of Torah.
The Jewish people are no longer on the threshold of the 50th Gate of Impurity, they are at the rock bottom of the 50th level of impurity. Any lower is spiritual oblivion, Heaven forbid.
So what do we do?
Fight back!
Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says that a Jew’s main weapon is prayer. If a person doesn’t spend an hour a day in personal prayer, he has no prayer. No prayer means no connection to Hashem. The Gemara in tractate Succa says that the Evil Inclination is so mighty that a person cannot prevail over it without Hashem’s help. Conclusion – no personal prayer means that a person is without Hashem; without Hashem, a person falls victim to the Evil Inclination.
The Evil Inclination loves such “observant” Jews who think they can do fine without personal prayer. The Evil Inclination loves frum Jews who are fast asleep in spiritual slumber; it’s so easy to destroy them.
In the old days, a person would be challenged by a strong temptatation maybe once a week. Today, temptations bombard a person every moment of the day. Without an hour a day of personal prayer, there’s no way on earth to defeat the Evil Inclination. Without an hour a day of personal prayer, a person has no means to withstand the Evil Inclination.
Don’t get me wrong. The Jewish People are wonderful – Hashem loves them more than we can imagine. But, we are letting ourselves be slaughtered, and Hashem wants to prevent that. The destruction of souls is ever so more tragic than the destruction of a body, which is sorely temporary anyway. But, the Evil Inclination is powerful, and we must grab the weapon to defeat it. That weapon is Hashem’s help, and we get that from personal prayer. Learn how to speak to Hashem, stand up and fight for your soul. G-d willing, we shall prevail, amen! 

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