9 Tamuz 5781 / Saturday, June 19, 2021 | Torah Reading: Chukat
 
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Secret of the Good Life    

Secret of the Good Life



Once we strive to serve Hashem as loyal servants, we see how easily our needs are fulfilled. Therefore, we should pray for everything, material or spiritual, big or small...

 



Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody

 
In Forest Fields, Part 8
 
Lofty perfection
 
Many of our sages and spiritual leaders - Chassidic, Sephardi, and Lithuanian - write about the concept of personal prayer. The Chazon Ish writes, “How wonderful it is when a person can tell his worries to his Creator as one speaks to a best friend. The Holy One blessed be He calls such a person His gratifying child.”
 
Rabbi Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld of blessed memory, one of the previous century’s great spiritual leaders in Jerusalem, would say: “When a person accustoms himself to talking to Hashem always, he reaches the highest level of lofty perfection that he could possibly attain.”
 
The Chofetz Chaim of blessed memory would spend at least an hour or more every day in personal prayer and asking for the full redemption of our people.
 
Personal prayer insures that we will successfully fulfill our intended mission in life with success.
 
 
Secret of the Good Life
 
Rebbe Natan of Breslev said, “Wherever I see deficiency, I see a lack of prayer.” Within this statement is the secret of the good life.
 
If a person prays every day of his life for each of his needs – both material and spiritual – he’ll certainly attain all those needs. People that fail to pray on the grounds that they have no time are like the dirty and disheveled prince that sleeps on the park bench. When a pitying bystander recognizes the prince, and asks him why he’s walking around hungry and in rags, and why he doesn’t ask his father the king for a hot meal, a bath, and a room in the palace, the slovenly prince answers, “I don’t have time to…”
 
One who realizes the power of prayer will pray for all his needs, spiritual and material. On a higher spiritual level, he realizes that once he prays for spirituality, his material needs will be fulfilled automatically. For example, a benevolent king understands that his servants won’t be efficient if they lack the basics of food, shelter, and clothing. Once our orientation is to serve Hashem the King as loyal servants, we see how easily our needs are fulfilled as well. Therefore, we should pray for every little detail of spirituality and take nothing for granted. We should ask Hashem to help us pray with intent, to help us learn Torah, and to successfully observe all the mitzvoth with joy. We should constantly ask Hashem to help us strengthen our emuna and to properly do teshuva. Leaving no stones unturned, we should beg Hashem to give us the right words of personal prayer every day, until we no longer have deficiencies.
 
Seek Hashem always
 
It’s so important to devote a portion of one’s daily personal prayer session to asking Hashem for emuna, as follows:
 
“Please Hashem, give me full and complete emuna. Help me believe that there’s no such thing as “bad” in the world, for everything is in Your hands and everything You do is for the very best. Help me believe that You love me and that You derive gratification from me.”
 
“Instill in me the complete emuna that there is no one but You. In other words, help me internalize the knowledge that no one can help me or harm me against Your will. Help me realize that anyone who brings troubles in my life is only a stick in Your loving hands to bring me closer to You. Let me fully realize that it’s not my boss, my wife, or my mother-in-law that’s upsetting me, but only a hint from You to arouse me to prayer and to teshuva.”
 
“Give me the emuna that everything is in Your hands, Hashem. Don’t let me make the mistake of thinking that my talents and abilities are the cause of my successes. Help me invest my primary efforts in prayer. Let me believe that my deficiencies all stem from a deficiency of prayer…”
 
My prayer
 
Personal prayers are the necessary complement to the thrice-daily prescribed prayers. Personal prayers touch on all the intimate personal points that prescribed prayers don’t. For that reason, the great tzaddikim throughout the generations invested extensive time and effort into personal prayer in addition to the prescribed prayers that they said slowly and soulfully, word for word. If the great tzaddikim devoted so much to correcting their “deficiencies” with personal prayer, then we with all we need to correct should certainly devote all we can to personal prayer.
 
Rabbi Yisrael Meir of Radin, the “Chofetz Chaim” of saintly and blessed memory, writes (Likutei Amarim 10:47):
 
“… If we would have prayed and spilled our hearts out to Hashem, our requests would have been fulfilled. Therefore, let one not be content with the thrice-daily prescribed Shemona-Esrei prayer, but throughout the day, let him pour out his prayers and supplications between himself and his Creator from his own home and from the bottom of his heart.
 
To be continued.




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