18 Nissan 5779 / Tuesday, April 23, 2019 | Torah Reading: Acharei Mot
 
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HomeSpirituality and FaithSpiritual GrowthSleeping Life Away
 
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Sleeping Life Away    

Sleeping Life Away



A young married man had a very difficult problem with getting up in the morning. It made no difference what he did and how many alarm clocks he put near his bed…

 



Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody

 
In Forest Fields, Part 46
 
Approaching any challenge with emuna and remembering that everything in life comes from Hashem for the very best and for the purpose of bringing a person closer to Hashem, enables one to pray properly. With emuna, a person’s problem becomes a stimulus that inspires long and heartfelt prayer. He doesn’t allow the evil inclination to weaken his resolve or confuse him.
 
One with no challenges sleeps his life away. Nothing awakens him to the authentic Divine service of repentance, spiritual introspection, and lengthy prayer. A tribulation that causes pain or requires work triggers Divine service.
 
No one wants to suffer. But, when problems befall a person such as a delay in finding a soul mate or in having children, illness, debts, and so forth, one should address himself to the Infinite G-d, Who is all goodness. He should perceive that all the Creator's intentions are only for his ultimate benefit—to awaken him to repentance or to cleanse him of wrongdoing. When he focuses upon the Infinite G-d, that is, upon His intentions, he will no longer experience any suffering whatsoever. On the contrary, he will be filled with joy from the great benefit he derives from these very sufferings. He’ll begin to express heartfelt gratitude. These very problems represent a golden opportunity to pray with great devotion and to come much closer to Hashem.
 
Suffering should not reduce a person to pettiness and sadness, G-d forbid, but rather evoke in him the realization that all Hashem's actions are for the good. Tribulations awaken him to pray more and to repent. In this way, by means of his problems, he gets closer to Hashem.
 
 
Waking Up
 
Anyone experiencing a problem of any sort should give abundant thanks for that very problem. Then, he can pray to Hashem about the problem, doing his best to decipher the Creator's message to him. If he fails to accept his situation with emuna, his prayer won’t be received. Prayers of faith reach their destination.
 
Once, a young married man told me that he had a very difficult problem with getting up in the morning. It made no difference what he did and how many alarm clocks he put near his bed, or how much his wife tried to shake him awake. Nothing helped - he remained sound asleep and woke up only in the afternoon hours. Then, he’d begin the day on the wrong foot, unable to accomplish anything. Clearly, his inability to rise in the morning brought on many related difficulties.
 
Obviously, his wife couldn’t stand seeing her husband snoring away throughout the morning. When she left for work, he’d roll over and continue sleeping. She already had threatened to leave him if this continued. He didn’t know what to do. How could he rejoice in this dreadful situation? From every direction, he caught insults. He violated Jewish law in a number of ways, particularly by not praying in time. His wife could no longer endure this situation. How could he thank Hashem for this problem? Would it not be complete irresponsibility on his part to rejoice in such a difficulty?
 
I answered him: “If you use this problem as a lever to initiate heartfelt, extensive prayers, and you invest each day at least a half hour in asking Hashem to help you with this problem of your inability to rise in the morning, then there is no irresponsibility. I promise that if you do so, you will suffer no anguish from the late rising. Your wife will also not be upset. You won’t incur any stern judgments regarding the transgressed religious laws.
 
“Rejoice in that you are fulfilling your role. Hashem doesn’t hold grievances against His creatures. Prayer is the only solution to your problem. What else can you do? Persecute yourself? Sink into depression? Will that solve your problem?
 
“On the contrary, as long as you do not rejoice with your problem, you won’t be able to solve it! The first thing you must do is to rejoice that Hashem has granted you the gift of this problem. It’s a prime stimulus to inspire your prayer and repentance. Nothing is better than this. Only afterwards should you devote yourself to lengthy prayers regarding the particulars of this problem.
 
“Then, you’ll surely find the solution to your difficulty. You’ll attain wonderful gifts and come closer to Hashem. Even during the time during which you have not yet solved the problem, it will cause you no grief.”
 
This helps us understand what Rebbe Nachman wrote (Likutei Moharan I:10), that through dancing and clapping, we can sweeten all the stern judgments. The explanation given there shows that according to mystical tradition and Kabbalah, a Jew's every movement affects the higher worlds. When a Jew dances and claps his hands, marvelous metaphysical tikkunim are achieved. One attains emuna, atheism is rendered null and void, and the Divine spirit is brought closer. In addition, when a Jew dances and claps his hands, he does so only to sing and thank Hashem. His expression of thanks and singing mitigates all stern judgments, as explained above.
 
We can now understand the words of our Sages, of blessed memory: "If someone utters Amen yehei shemei rabbah mevorach with all his might, he merits that even a seventy-year-long decree is torn up for him." The response of Amen yehei shemei rabbah mevorach in the Kaddish prayer is a marvelous expression of gratitude and praise to Hashem. Through this response, all stern judgments are sweetened.
 
Jewish law accordingly requires that when the members of the congregation are reciting the Modim prayer, one is obligated to bow down together with them, even if he is not up to that section of the prayers. Similarly, when the members of the congregation recite the Aleinu Lishabe’ach prayer, every person present must say it together with them, even if he had already concluded his prayers and is only passing by. Rabbinical authorities teach that if he does not do so, the ministering angels are liable to say accusingly: "Look at that man! When the congregation praises Hashem, he does not join in with them!"
 
The expression of thanks to Hashem is the ultimate goal, beyond all other goals. Creation was created for the ultimate purpose that man will recognize his Creator and thank Him. This is explained in the works of the Ramban (Al HaTorah, Parashat Bo). Thus, a man who expresses thanks to Hashem fulfills his ultimate goal and the goal of all Creation. Hashem performs miracles and wonders in his behalf, and he merits phenominal redemptions.
 
To be continued.




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