Thursday, December 18, 2008

Prayer is very hard

I don’t know if you’ve ever observed it, but some people have a natural “feel” for Avodas HaTefillah (“The service of prayer”). They are very rare, but they exist. They have an intense, personal, passionate relationship with Hashem, and when they davven you can see how they gei ois, they lose themselves. Just as someone with a high IQ has an innately superior ability to grasp Torah, so do these fortunate, sensitive souls possess an extra aptitude for Avodas HaTefillah.

They have a head start, but for the average person relating to Hashem doesn’t come naturally at all. If anything, for the rest of us Avodas HaTefillah is the most difficult part of serving Hashem. It’s really, really hard. Obviously, it’s easy to rattle off the words. But to davven properly, with a true feeling that one is standing before Hashem and pouring one’s heart out to Him, with some real sense of Who He is, requires intense effort. It requires lengthy study and then Hisbonenus (meditation) that leads to an expression of love and fear of Hashem during davenen. Even merely concentrating on the meaning of all the words is very hard. It thus makes a lot of sense that davenen is said to correspond to the attribute of Gevurah, strictness (see here). Because it’s grueling. That’s why it’s, well, generally not popular. Thus, those who excel at davenen are, and probably always were, fewer than those who excelled in Torah study or acts of kindness.

But let’s ignore statistics, ignore what’s hard and neglected, and ignore the superior level of others. Let’s seek a true, genuine relationship with Hashem, our Creator, Who chose us and blessed us and revealed His awesome greatness to us in the sublime teachings of Chassidus, especially Chassidus Chabad. When this is forefront in our minds, all other considerations vanish. We will want to get to know G–d in a personal way, and then we will want to davven. And if we try hard, success is guaranteed.

6 comments:

chanie said...

So, do these souls get this gift in pairs, or does one half get it without the other?

Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver said...

No, I haven't ever observed that the spouse is on a similar level.

chanie said...

That's a shame. Why doesn't it affect the other half?

Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver said...

One spouse could affect the other positively with his or her special natural gift, but it is by no means necessary that his or her spouse will share it.

chanie said...

That depends on what you mean by 'necessary'. That lav davka will it be, true. But it is necessary for avoda.

Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver said...

It is necessary for avodah to share one's spouse's gift?