4 Tamuz 5781 / Monday, June 14, 2021 | Torah Reading: Chukat
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The Prayer Campaign

Repeated prayer expresses and develops emuna by internalizing the reality that we depend solely on Hashem. This emuna creates a vessel for salvation…


In the book In Forest Fields, Rabbi Shalom Arush cites Rebbe Natan who writes that whenever he sees a deficiency, he sees a deficiency in prayer. Rabbi Arush says understanding this is the secret to a good life. He introduces us to the concept of a spiritual price tag. The greater the request, the more prayer is required.


Repeated prayer expresses and develops emuna by internalizing the reality that we depend solely on Hashem. This emuna creates a vessel for salvation and invokes Divine compassion.


Rabbi Arush cites Rabbi Chanina in Gemara Brachos, page 32, that anyone who prays extensively will ultimately have his prayers answered. This is a spiritual law that’s in our favor, so why not take advantage of it?


Moses prayed 515 prayers and then Hashem asked him not to continue. He did not want to have to override His own spiritual law. If Moses had prayed more, according to His law Hashem would have had to allow him to enter the Land of Israel.


Additionally, Rabbi Arush explains that Moses set a precedent when he fell down before Hashem for 40 days and 40 nights and prayed for the Jewish people. The Torah states directly afterwards, that Hashem hearkened to him.


Rebbe Nachman writes that we must strengthen our belief in ourselves, namely that we have the power to accomplish everything through our prayers. This will give us the power, patience and perseverance to pray until our prayers are answered and we see personal salvation with our own two eyes.


Rabbi Arush gives two main ploys to increase our patience in prayer and our ability to pray at length. First, we should remind ourselves of the situations when our prayers were answered. This provides critical encouragement to continue and persevere. Second, we should ask Hashem to help us pray whatever length is necessary to achieve our goal.


Rabbi Arush gives us a short prayer that could be extremely beneficial as a preface to personal prayer: “Hashem, I don't know how much prayer is necessary to have my request fulfilled. Please enable me to pray at whatever length is required to obtain my needed salvation. Help me persevere with emuna and never be discouraged until my prayers are answered.”


In the book Gates of Prayer, Rabbi Shimshon Pincus writes that Isaiah the prophet warned his evil generation. Hashem said “Even if you will offer a lot of prayer, I will not hear it.” Our Sages comment: from here we learn that someone who offers a lot of prayer is normally answered.


Rabbi Pincus says that if we keep insistently urging Him in prayer without pause, even if we are not worthy by virtue of our deeds, our prayers will be answered. Hashem will fulfill our wishes nonetheless, as long as it is not to our detriment. He says we should tirelessly wage a prayer campaign.


Rabbi Pincus warns us to be careful not to issue any criticism or complaints in our prayers. We have no claims on Hashem. Everything is for the best. Moreover, it may be that what we are praying for is not good for us.


He acknowledges that this is a hard test when someone pleads for a certain thing, offering faithful and fervent prayer again and again and it seems to our physical eyes that everything came to naught. There are two points here. First is to have no thoughts against the Master and secondly, don't stop praying!


It's important to remember that no prayer is ever wasted. Even if we do not see the results with our own eyes, the benefits may come later. Either we, our descendants or other worthy people will benefit from our heartfelt prayers.


Finally, to ensure the effectiveness of our prayers we must not only eschew crying and complaining. We must also fill our prayers with thanks. The majority of our prayer should be comprised of thanksgiving even when we are requesting something.


Rabbi Arush says that we should thank Hashem for everything that's happened up until now. First, we spend most of our prayer thanking Hashem for the revealed good as well as our present pain and tribulations. Only then should we ask for His help going forward. We should also pledge that whatever happens we’re going to continue to thank Him with all our heart.


May we remember that Hashem controls everything, that He is always with us and that He is compassionate. This will enable us to be patient, persevere and really believe in the awesome power of prayer.

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