Letting go

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So how was my Tisha Bav? you ask. Well, not great. Aside from the natural gloominess of the day coupled with fasting, I was suffering from something else too: My own mind games.

I guess I felt some pressure to feel bad and cry about the state of our exiled people, how we miss our Temple and our communal and individual suffering, which I do admit stems from the shechina’s absence in our life. But I didn’t cry. I had a hard time connecting to the pain of any of those things. I hosted a meaningful get-together in my home where we read Eicha and hauntingly hushed songs about Jerusalem. I got up the next morning and went to hear my dear friend Rabbi Shlomo Katz of Efrat elucidate the Kinnos very beautifully. I mean, it seemed that I had all the right ingredients to awaken my sleepy soul, but in-a-sense that just mounted the pressure. “What’s wrong with me?” I was thinking. Can’t I cry, for God’s sake? Am I serious about my Judaism or not?

I started talking to Hashem and I remembered Rebbe Nachman’s timeless advice to be a תם, a simpleton. In Tinyana 44, the Rebbe says that we should “stay far away from the sophisticated ideas that we entertain, even in our avodas Hashem. Like those times when we over-think and over-analyze if we fulfilled our obligations correctly. That type of sophistication is just disconcerting, illusionary nonsense that trips us up in our avoda [and brings us farther from our goal]. Those scrutinizing thoughts lead us to sadness”.

It’s so important to step back and recognize when our thoughts are wreaking havoc on our equilibrium. They’re just silly thoughts; here now and gone later. Serving Hashem with תמימות, simplicity, empowers us to let go of those heavy, pressure-packed, hogwash thoughts and just follow our healthy state of mind in pursuit of our ambitions.

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The sweet moments count

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I was sitting alone in the field earlier today when the sweetest thing happened. In  finishing a private conversation with Hashem, I said the following: “Ribbono Shel Olam, (Master of the World), I don’t know if this was a good session or not, but I want You to know that the main reason I come out here all the time is because I love You and I want this relationship. I hope You feel the same way about me and that these sessions are making a difference in our relationship”. As I’m about to get up, all of a sudden, a red, heart-shaped helium balloon rushes into the field and starts flying up over the trees behind me. I tried to snap a picture of it, but I couldn’t get out my phone in time. (The above pic is just a symbolic memory). I sat back down elated, with a grin from ear to ear.

In Torah 2Rebbe Nachman says that Joseph merited the right of the firstborn because he embodies a certain aspect of prayer. The Rebbe never explained the connection between prayer and the firstborn. In Nachalos 4, Reb Nosson says that just like the first born legally inherits a double portion from his father, so too there is a double aspect of prayer, first praising Hashem and then asking Him for our needs.

But then Reb Nosson adds something special. He says the reason why the firstborn gets a double portion is since they were the first, in a certain sense, they enabled the parents to give birth to more children. The first is the hardest and once the parents get over that hump and have their first child, any future children owe the oldest child a debt of gratitude for ‘breaking the ice’. So too it is, says Reb Nosson, with prayer. When a person recognizes for the first time that his prayers are being answered, it enables him the next time to pray again with more enthusiasm and belief in his prayers. We all have had our prayers openly answered in the past, and those moments of clarity help us develop our prayers over time. That little red balloon was no small thing. It’s reason for me to go back out next time believing – even more – that my prayers truly make a difference.

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Manning up

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At least twice in my life I got super-inspired spiritually and strengthened my Avodas Hashem with intense focus. The first time was in my junior year of high school. I attended a modern-orthodox yeshiva and was feeling extremely unfulfilled. By the grace of God things turned around very quickly for me and I found myself in a Beis Medrash yeshiva, where I became enthralled with learning the Talmud day and night. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I went from lax mitzvah observance to strong mitzvah observance in a matter of a few weeks. A second time was more recently. My learning and prayers felt forced and one-dimensional. The void was consuming me. Again, Hashem led me to Uman for Rosh Hashana. After that experience in 2016, I felt totally reborn and passionately re-dedicated myself to my mitzvah observance.

The common denominator of those two stages in my life is that both times the enlightenment surfaced after reeling from a severe lack.

Having sort-of an extreme personality, I often experience acute highs and lows. In fact, some people who know me define me that way. “Davy’s being Davy again. What’s he up to now?”

After coming back from that first Rosh Hashana experience I was so intrigued, and determined to uncover what Breslov is all about. I hit the books full-force and jetted forward from that moment, connecting my mind and soul to the Rebbe’s, for (at least) a year without flinching. It was one of the greatest years of my life. But as Newton said, what goes up must come down. So I eventually came back down. But something about my descent changed. The low wasn’t that low. I also noticed that, while feeling low, I didn’t have a strong desire to shake things up, like I’ve done in the past. I was much more comfortable feeling low than ever before. It didn’t phase me as much, and eventually I got another burst of inspiration that helped me glide forward. This pattern repeated itself.

It’s likely that I’m simply more mature than I was in the past, and not willing to turn my life upside down from a mood slump. But I think it’s more than that. To tell you the truth, I think it’s because I consistently do hisbodedus. I take time every day to talk to Hashem in my own personal words. I like to think of it as manning-up. Every day, no matter what, I come clean, express myself and ask Hashem for help. I always have to show my face and I always talk real. Of course, just like anything else, some sessions are better than others but I’ve never had a day where I didn’t say at least a few real words. Maybe you’re the type of guy who can experience this relationship within the organized daily prayers at synagogue? Unfortunately for me, I can’t relate to Hashem in my own unique way often enough within that structure. (In fact, I find the structured prayers somewhat more fulfilling now that I pray outside of communal prayers, because the pressure of connecting creatively is off. If I can connect that day, then great, but if not, I understand that it’s service, similar to the service in the Temple. There are technicals and obligations I meet – many times happily – in the organized prayer, but it’s a different type of prayer entirely).

Consistent personal prayer is an equalizer. I’m always noticing new benefits to this practice. But one thing that I’m experiencing recently is the equilibrium that it brings. You can’t lose your sense of balance the same way when you have to show your face and explain yourself everyday. It kind of always brings you back to reality.

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Love needs no words

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Sometimes I go out to pray in the fields and I can’t find the words. Anybody who practices personal prayer will have experienced this phenomenon. You might have a lot on your mind or you might even be at ease, but there are no words. Even if you try to talk, after sometime you’ll realize that you’re just rambling but you’re not expressing your true feelings because right now you just can’t. There are no words.

So what do you do? Are you really praying at all?

Sit there quietly. Listen. Breath. Just bringing yourself to that place and experiencing that quiet is such a deep prayer. And don’t think that it’s an inferior prayer, oh no! It might be a superior prayer. It’s a prayer that can’t be bound to words. Even if you think it’s laziness that’s holding you back, I wouldn’t be so sure about that. You’ve been sluggish before and you were able to speak your mind. It’s deeper than that. It’s a quiet prayer. We don’t always have the answers. Let your eyes pray, let your breath pray. By coming out and sitting quietly with Hashem, it’s asserting that you want to be there. It’s affirming that you believe in Hashem and that you believe in Divine Providence. You might be busy all day surrounded by people wherever you go, but now you’re alone with Him. There are no people here. Now you’re part of Him. You might not know how to add to that experience with words but that’s ok. Words are for next time. But for now you’re professing His oneness by just being with Him. If you’re lucky enough to be out in nature, you might feel it more acutely, sitting quietly, maybe watching the butterflies chase each other up in a swirl. But even if you’re standing in Amida or lying in bed with the lights out, you could pray in silence. Now you’re experiencing the relationship, a love so real that there are no words.

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לעילוי נשמת הרב הקדוש מרופשיץ ר’ נפתלי צבי ב״ה מנחם מנדל הורוויץ זצ״ל

Simply satisfied

 

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Forrest Gump was right. Life is full of surprises. But the surprises aren’t always as conspicuous as they were in the movie. You might wake up in the morning and feel like the life was sucked out of you. For many people a grumpy morning can lead to a few bad days. For some, it might be the onset of depression. Recently I’ve been feeling very grouchy. This slump was building and I just couldn’t kick it. Because I do hisbodedus often, I had enough self-awareness to know that something was bugging me, but I was too engulfed in my own negative thinking and all the introspection wasn’t helping me. I’ve been trying to figure out what’s making me so irritable, but even with all the alone time I couldn’t crack the code. Thankfully I had the wherewithal to pray for help, and then help came in an unexpected way.

A few days ago I thought of re-reading one of Rebbe Nachman’s great stories called The Sophisticate and the Simpleton. I finally picked it up again today. If you havent read this tale yet, I recommend you do. (Click here).  It’s actually one of the Rebbe’s only stories that can also be understood straightforwardly. In short, the story tells of two childhood friends. One of them was very simple, limited in his education and abilities, while his friend, an intellectual and philosopher, was always looking to improve his situation with more education and training. The simpleton never feels he’s lacking and is always joyous, but his counterpart is perpetually miserable from his insatiable desire to increase his status. As it turns out the simpleton (like Forrest Gump) becomes very successful while the sophisticate, once a wealthy and distinguished craftsmen, loses everything in his quest to prove his shrewdness.

In reading about the simpleton’s innocence, I started to let go of my stubbornness to be the best. In thinking of his plainness, I was more forgiving of myself. I started to allow myself the space to be imperfect, easing the constant demands I place upon myself. When I read about the unfortunate sophisticate, I identified with his unrelenting drive to succeed and improve his situation, but I understood the endlessness and emptiness that more worldliness and overthinking brings with it.

I think what struck me the deepest was the following contrast: When the simpleton, a shoemaker by trade, would finish making a shoe, it was usually crooked. But he derived so much enjoyment from it that he would praise his handiwork saying, “My wife, what a beautiful, wonderful shoe this is”. Sometimes she would answer him asking, if it’s really so great, then why do other shoemakers get three coins for a shoe and you only get a coin and a half? He would answer her, “Why should I care about that? That’s his work and this is my work. Why must we speak about others”? From this we see the tremendous self-confidence of the simpleton. He believed in himself. He was totally unconcerned if other people did a better job than him. It’s precisely this belief in himself that keeps him from sophistication. He is satisfied with the way he sees things, regardless of what his colleagues achieve. The sophisticate, on the other hand, was exactly the opposite. After he became an accomplished physician, craftsman and philosopher, he decided to marry. “But he said to himself, ‘If I marry a woman here, who will know what I have accomplished? I must return home. Then they will see…[that] I left as a young lad, and now I have attained such greatness'”. Even though he had become so great, he still needed other people’s approval. In this line the Rebbe exposes the sophisticate’s deep insecurity. We’re left to assume that, to a large extent, his motivation for success was his lack of faith in himself.

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Rebbe Nachman encouraged his followers to serve Hashem with utter simplicity. In Pesach 9, Reb Nosson develops this theme and says that if a person becomes depressed because others are better than him, that isn’t humility but arrogance. He feels that it’s beneath his dignity to serve Hashem when he is so far from Him, while others are so near. Instead, we must emulate our patriarch Abraham, of whom it is written “Abraham was one” (Ezekiel 33). The Rebbe explains this to mean that he acted as if there was no one else in the world. Reb Nosson relates this concept to the counting of the Omer. The verse says, “וספרתם לכם, you must count for yourself”. No one can count for you. The Omer represents the spiritual progress that our people made when going from Egyptian slavery to the revelation at Sinai. Every person needs to make his own count, without paying any attention to his neighbor’s progress.

Nobody likes to admit that they compare themselves to others, because when we think about it, it’s a pretty shallow thing to do. But besides the comparisons we make, we over-complicate everything. We often are our own worst enemies with how we demand nothing less than perfection from ourselves. If nothing else, this type of perfectionism cheats us out of the joy in performing mitzvos. Just like the simpleton had joy from his triangular-looking shoe, we need to know that if Hashem has even some pleasure from our imperfect work, then it’s better than any treasure and worth a life time of devotion.

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Don’t be fooled

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“Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Chananya said: In my entire life I was only outsmarted by a woman, a young boy and a young girl. [The Talmud tells all three stories. Let’s get right to the story with the young boy.] One time I was walking and I saw a young boy by the intersection. I said to him, ‘Which way should I take to the city’? He said to me, ‘This way is short but long and that way is long but short‘. I went on the short but long path. When I got to the city, I found it to be surrounded by gardens and orchards. I turned around, went back and said to him, ‘My son, didn’t you tell me this was the short path’? He said to me, ‘Didn’t I tell you it was a long path?’ I kissed him on his head and said, ‘Fortunate are the Jews, who have wisdom in their old ones and in their young ones'”. (Eruvin 53b)

When the Baal Hatanya wrote his sefer to teach Jews the way to serve Hashem properly, he wrote in the title page that he is teaching the long but short path.

What does it mean to take the long but short path and why is that better than the short but long path?

There are no quick-fixes in life. Ask any professional athlete how they became successful and they will tell you it was due to their hard work. To us it might seem easy, because we only see them perform that one time in the spotlight, but they practiced that exact scenario countless times before. They were ready to execute because of all the hard work they put in before that moment.

The same is true in our relationship with Hashem. There is a short path, using drugs and alcohol, to make you feel high. It works fast. In a short moment you might feel very connected to Hashem. It’s like all the doors opened for you and everything is clear now. You might like even talking about spiritual matters, singing and dancing in that state. It makes you feel alive. But it doesn’t get you into the city. It takes you right to the gate, but then the high wears off and you’re left stuck in an overgrown orchard. There’s heavy mud, thickets, and long vines in your way. To pass through the plantation will take you a very long time. But then there’s the long path that is short. It’s long because you need to put the work in. There aren’t any shortcuts on this path. It takes dedication. It doesn’t always feel good. You don’t always feel connected and alive. But you trust that you’re on the path and eventually you make it right into the city, way before the guy on the short-long path.

I think Rebbe Nachman taught us the long but short path with the advice of Hisbodedus. He said to talk to Hashem every day (for an hour) in our own words. It’s hard work. Sometimes you can’t get out to a nice spot. Sometimes you have a busy day and you’re very tired, late at night, when you get the chance. Sometimes you feel like you have nothing to say. It doesn’t matter. It’s a long path. It doesn’t always feel good. It doesn’t always flow. Sometimes you feel like your pulling teeth. You might leave the session questioning, “Was that a waste of time”? This is the long path. We’re not trying to get high here. We’re trying to build a relationship. Relationships have highs and lows and are fostered by dedication and faithfulness. It’s ok if it doesn’t feel good every time. We need to keep going at it.

I sometimes think that this blog is really no different than all those videos that get sent around social media with ‘one minute of inspiration’. Those nice vortlich are the short but long path. We get chizuk (encouragement) from them, but it wears off quickly. I hope following this blog is somehow different. I’m not only looking to share words of encouragement, but rather to encourage personal growth through hard work.

Pushing ourselves to talk to Hashem daily is a long path, but in the end it’s really the short path.

Here I am

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Been running around all morning. Got up early, had my coffee, mikva, daven, carpool, errands etc. The whole time I know I’m gonna end up there. It’s on my mind. I don’t feel settled until I get there. Depending on the day and my state of consciousness, I might even have a hard time fully engaging in anything else until I reach that spot.

Hisbodedus! It’s my outlet. It’s my hobby. I just need it for my health. I need to unload. I need to share with Him. Life is too hard to handle alone. There are so many things going on in our daily lives that need to be worked out. And then sometimes, I need to stop and think about my long term goals too. Talking to Hashem in my own words is my most important daily devotion. I’m very grateful that I take the time to do it and now that I do, I can’t imagine life without it.

Those of us who keep Shabbos know very well how important it is to us. We couldn’t imagine going week after week without it. No rest? When would we process? When would we stop and think? How could we possibly function if we had to answer the phone and check our messages 24/7? It would be a nightmare. I feel the same way with hisbodedus. It’s not enough for me to have Shabbos once a week. I need some time every day to shut it all off. I need to process my thoughts and grab hold of my life.

Maybe you know what I’m talking about, but I recently noticed that many times when I get to my spot and sit down, after all the running around like a zombie, I take this long deep breath and say, “Ok, here I am. Here I am”!

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לעילוי נשמת ר’ דוד בן ר’ שלמה צבי בידרמן מלעלוב זי”ע

Moshiach now!

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The pain is too great! The suffering is too long! Who can say they’re not deteriorating from stress or despair? So many of us need a miracle, whether we’re floundering financially or we have illness close to home. Many marriages have been falling apart and yet too many singles are waiting, for what seems like eternity, to meet their precious soulmate. Then there’s the global threats that constantly linger and flare up. It’s truly heartbreaking. “When, O’ when, will this galus end”?

Listen to Jeremiah the Prophet:

(31:21) “עַד־מָתַי֙ תִּתְחַמָּקִ֔ין הַבַּ֖ת הַשּֽׁוֹבֵבָ֑ה כִּֽי־בָרָ֨א יְהֹוָ֚ה חֲדָשָׁה֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ נְקֵבָ֖ה תְּס֥וֹבֵֽב גָּֽבֶר”

“Come out of hiding, you naughty girl! Hashem created something new on earth. Now the woman will chase the man”.

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Rashi explains that the verse is referring to Teshuva, coming back to Hashem. We’re embarrassed to come back home because of our disgusting ways. So what does Hashem do to aid us in the times before Moshiach? And why now, all of a sudden, should we be willing to come back to him? Because now the woman will pursue the man to marry her, whereas it always used to be the man pursuing the woman.

What does it mean that the woman will chase the man? And how does that enable us to overcome our humiliation and return to Hashem?

In Rosh Chodesh 5, Reb Nosson describes how we often see people feeling stuck in their lives. Even though they wanna make a change, they’re just so brokenhearted that they fall into despair. They try to break out, but then they fall again deeper, with one more bridge burned on the way.  They’re just too embarrassed, and sometimes too angry or depressed, to make a change. They believe beyond the shadow of a doubt that there’s no use in fighting it. This is their life sentence.  This happens with addicts and it also happens when people feel stuck in a marriage or in a bad job. The ‘other side‘ overwhelms them and they slowly give up.

But then ‘Hashem creates something new on earth’. This is the Rebbe’s advice of turning your Torah into prayer. With this prayer, there’s no more shame in the sins that led us astray. Because with this type of prayer, no matter what situation we find ourselves in, we can be confident in our prayers. Because we’re begging Hashem to pull us out of the lion’s jaws. Imagine, the other day, we went on an anger rampage. The next morning we’re learning some Torah about how anger is like worshipping idols. That makes us feel ashamed. So we crawl up into a hole and discount the power of our prayers. But turning Torah into prayer says, “Hashem! I’m a wild animal! Help me! I’m enraged. I’m so out of control that I’m compared to an idolator. I don’t want to be an idolator. I only want to worship You. Help me escape this place of constriction”! Or what about someone who got fired from another job and he honestly can’t pick his head up anymore? He might hear a line from Rebbe Nachman that “with simple trust in God, one makes himself into a receptacle for Hashem’s bounty of financial security” (Torah 76). That teaching could make him cynical. “Oh Please! I trusted and trusted and nothing happened. There’s no point in me praying anymore. Hashem is just punishing me for something”. But by turning Torah into prayer, he might say, “I don’t know how to trust you! You spank me left and right! It’s been so long since I had a dollar to spend. How can I trust you? How? I’m so far from trusting you! I actually think you must hate me!”

Reb Nosson says these prayers make the soul of Moshiach sprout. These are the highest prayers. We might think they’re so pathetic, because as sinners and non-believers, we feel so pathetic. But it’s not true. Hashem doesn’t expect us to be perfect; far from it. He wants us to call out to him when we’re not perfect. This is what King David started. His Psalms are all about turning Torah into prayer. There are five books of Psalms, just like there are five books of the Torah. The essence of Psalms is David begging Hashem to help him do Teshuva and uphold the Torah sincerely.

Turning Torah into prayer is the woman chasing the man. Before, the woman, hinted to in prayer, is embarrassed to come back to Hashem. The Man, hinted to as the Torah, makes her feel ashamed, like she is unworthy of praying because of her inability to uphold the Torah. But then Hashem creates something new, (the Rebbe said of himself, “there was never a novelty in the world as new as me”), and it’s no longer shameful to pray in our hideous state. Now we take the Torah itself and turn it into prayer. So the woman – the prayer – is the perfection of the Torah. It’s a necessity of Torah. The Torah – the man – now needs the woman, so she isn’t bashful to pursue him.

Please Hashem! We’re so ashamed to knock on your door. We can’t walk in a straight line anymore! Everything is falling apart. Our lives are upside down and we have no confidence left. We don’t believe that you’re bringing Moshiach. We don’t really believe in anything. We do and do, for whatever reasons we do, but we don’t believe that we’re doing anything worthy at all. The only thing we know for sure is that our constant sins are creating more and more barriers between us! We wanna give up already! We’re so ashamed from the holy Torah. It makes us feel unworthy and lowly. It sends shivers down our spines, as our souls weep from isolation. Please, in your endless mercy, create something new in our hearts! Give us the gall to call out to you in the name of the Torah, that we want to keep, deep deep inside. Help us find you in this dark place. Help us find the words to admit how we’re so far from where we want to be, and express our desire to change. We want Moshiach! We want some sense of purpose. Help us overcome our despair. Help us believe in ourselves and in your boundless compassion. It’s taking way too long! Make it end. Make it end!

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Praying to learn and learning to pray

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Do you ever feel like you’re just learning and learning without it affecting you? I find it frustrating when I spend time studying Torah and come away feeling tired and relieved to close the book.

I was once at a Purim seudah where someone was examining proofs about whether there is prophecy outside the land of Israel or not. I wanted to say to him, “Brother, who the hell cares? Find your personal Amalek and kill it!”

I heard Rabbi Yehoshua Gerzi coin this problem as mistakenly “seeing the Torah as information, when it should be seen as a Torah of transformation”.

Look how Rebbe Nachman addresses the solution:

“It’s good to turn your learning into prayers. If you learn or hear something from a great tzaddik, then make it into a prayer. Ask Hashem, in supplication, about every detail of the teaching. ‘[Hashem], when will I merit to reach this level? I feel so far from this teaching. Please help me practice the ideas that I learned about.’ (Tinyana 25)

As Reb Nosson expounds upon (Rosh Chodesh 5) kabbalistically and practically, this type of prayer is ‘the essential upholding of the Torah’. It’s the perfection of the Torah.

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Without much coercion, everyone is enamored with the intellectual stimulation of the Torah. Thank God, there are also many who are steadfast in their observance of the Torah’s laws. But sadly, not enough of us open our hearts in prayer and beg the Master of the World to help us preserve the Torah’s teachings.

The Rebbe said that the only way that any of the tzaddikim ever reached their high spiritual levels was with this type of prayer (Tinyana 100). It’s nothing less than essential.

“Hashem, please help me process my learning, so that when I leave the study hall I’m still thinking about Your teachings. Open my eyes so when I interact with the world I’m cognizant of Your teachings and act on them. Help me clarify more and more what lessons I should be gleaning from Your holy words. But most importantly, help me never ever stop praying to achieve the highest levels of Your teachings. Help me pray endlessly, time and again, in my own words, so that Your magnificent Torah is embodied in me. I want it badly! Don’t pay attention to my wasted opportunities. In my deepest, truest place, I want nothing but You! I don’t want to study Torah to have more information. I want to study it to become the best me. Assist me in overcoming my laziness. Encourage me to set aside time to talk to You about it. Guide me to practice it and aid me to uphold it. Amen!”

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Open your heart

 

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Our hearts are yearning! We want to be loved and respected. We want to feel good and worthy. We want to contribute and be recognized. But something is missing. There is a void in many of our hearts that seems to gnaw at us. It rears it’s head unannounced and says, “I want more! Is this it? Is this why I’m here?” So many of us know exactly how to deafen that inner voice. Some of us shut off our racing minds by inundating ourselves with television or some other social media. Others scour the fridge for the right ‘comfort food’ to stuff away those emotions. Still too many others numb the emptiness by drinking, gambling or doing drugs.

But the heart aches! It’s thirsting for real connection. It’s pining for relationships with our partners, friends and with the infinite. That longing is very real. We need to stop hiding and address it.

But how do we address it? How do we deal with the trauma of our past? How can we face ourselves and have a future?

Personal prayer! More and more prayer!

King David sings, “That which is elevated, is denigrated by man (Psalms 12:9)”. The Talmud (Rashi to Brachos 6b) says David is referring to prayer, which “stands at the summit of the universe, yet is treated without respect”. Rebbe Nachman says (Tinyana 1) that personal prayer is in exile. In order to redeem prayer from its exile, we need to be wholehearted. We need to access our entire heart by instilling the fear of God in our lives. That awe allows us to sincerely access our hearts, which have been busying us with thousands of facebook posts and hundreds of daydreams, as we stare at our new clothes in the dressing-room mirror. With an open heart we can develop tools of prophecy. In Torah 138 the Rebbe taught that even though there’s ‘officially’ no prophecy left in the world, a clean heart is so in tune with creation, that it’s nearly prophetic. The heart is so deep. Unfortunately many of us are afraid to let it feel. Maybe we had some ugly episodes in the past that have convinced us that our emotions are best kept under lock and key? But how long will this go on? Can we deny it forever? How long will we numb ourselves? It’s time to allow our hearts to feel and heal.

This happens when we really pray! Not how we learned to pray as kids, and not how we see others praying in synagogue, but how only our hearts know how to pray. It’s very uncomfortable at first; almost awkward. Many times it just doesn’t go, but undoubtably it’s the most special expression that we have. It’s us, who we really are. It’s our greatest tool of health. It’s the best remedy for all of our challenges. Not only will we find our true selves but we will be shocked at how amazing we can be.

Try it. In your own words. A few minutes here and there. Every so often a longer session when necessary. Only you know how much you need. Sometimes when you’re taking that second or third helping of dessert, or you’re scrolling down the youtube screen for the next video, maybe you just need to shut your eyes and whisper? Maybe you need to walk outside, take a deep breath and mumble? Only you can know what you need. But I know you need it.

OTB-no-words