3 Shvat 5781 / Saturday, January 16, 2021 | Torah Reading: Va'era
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A Prayer - Insurance Policy    

A Prayer - Insurance Policy

Wouldn't it be nice if we could purchase "prayer insurance", and make sure that our prayers, especially during the High Holy Days, will be answered?


Wouldn't it be nice if we could purchase "prayer insurance", and make sure that our prayers, especially during Yom Kippur, will be answered? Here's the good news – there is…


First of all, don't merely "pray" by mumbling the prescribed prayers. Think about them and say them with intent, as if they're your own words. Learn the meaning of the prayers, and if you don't understand Hebrew, don't be ashamed to pray from the translation. Hashem is fluent in English, and every other language too…


In addition to the prescribed prayers, get used to speaking with Hashem, conversationally, in personal prayer. That is so vital because emuna is synonymous to speaking with Hashem. If you don’t speak – you don't believe! One must speak with Hashem freely like he speaks with a best friend. Therefore, when you stand in front of Hashem, don't be stingy with words. Speech is your main connection to Hashem.


The more you speak about emuna, the more you'll have emuna. But even if you find yourself tongue-tied during personal prayer, unable to speak a word, try and say one sentence of emuna, like, "Hashem, let me feel that You are with me." Even if this is all you can say, repeat it over and over, for eventually Hashem will open your mouth and your heart. When a person tells Hashem daily about what transpired in his life during the last 24 hours, he fully rectifies that day. And, if he does that every day of his life, his entire life will be rectified and there will be no stern judgments against him.


This is what Hashem told Moses: "Who gives a mouth to a person?" (Exodus 4:11). The mouth is what makes you a person. A person must use his mouth while travelling along the road of life, which Rebbe Nachman calls a very narrow bridge. But, when he uses his mouth for wholesome, truthful speech with Hashem, he crosses that narrow bridge with no fear. Hashem is the ultimate matchmaker, physician, minister of the treasury, realtor, builder, educator and psychologist. To solve all our problems, all we must do is speak to Him.


If you lack emuna, tell Hashem simply, "Father in Heaven, please give me emuna." Even a person devoid of emuna can say to Hashem with simple candor, "I want to believe in You; I want to get to know You." The Creator will have mercy on him and give him emuna.


Let's return to the subject of prayer insurance – getting our prayers accepted:


The Zohar says that Hashem doesn't listen to the prayers of a person who speaks with an evil tongue. When I saw that segment of Zohar, Hashem illuminated my heart to understand that this is measure for measure. We bless Hashem and say, "Blessed are You, Hashem, Who listens to prayer." I always asked myself why our sages who codified our liturgy used the term "listens" to our prayers rather than "accepts" our prayers. The reason is that if Hashem listens to it, then the prayer is already accepted. Everything is dependent on His listening to it. If a person speaks evil speech, he shows that he doesn't believe that Hashem is listening, otherwise he wouldn't go against the Torah in speaking bad about others. If he believed that Hashem was listening, he wouldn't speak evil speech in the first place. Therefore, Hashem says, "You think I don't hear your evil speech? If that's the case, I won't hear your prayers either."

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