64 posts categorized "Prayer and Meditation"

The Iron Elephant

Iron Elephant

Here's a Lazer fable for you:

A group of mighty Watusi hunters were walking home to their village at the end of the day's hunt. They reached a narrow clearing, but there path was blocked by a big truck. The chief said to his ten fellow tribesman, "Come, let's push this iron elephant out of our way." They pushed and pushed, but the truck barely budged.

Suddenly, a European-looking man in a safari suit emerged from the jungle. He saw the Watusis trying to push his truck out of their way, and offered in perfect Watusi dialect, "Excuse me, gentleman; I'll be happy to move the truck out of your way. In fact, it will be my privilege to give you a lift back to your village."

The chief and his tribesman were flabbergasted. Not only did they refuse to believe that the frail-looking European could succeed in moving an iron elephant on his own, but to carry them back to their village, all eleven of them? He must be deranged, they thought.

The European produced a key chain from his pocket, and waved it before the the chief's nose. "With the aid of this modest key, I shall move the truck and carry you home!"

"Labumba!", said the Watusis to each other, spinning their forefingers around their foreheads, indicating that the stranger was a fool.

The European unlocked the door to the truck, climbed aboard, put the key in the ignition, turned the switch, stepped on the gas, and VARROOOOOMM! Scared out of their wits from the roar of the 425-horsepower Detroit engine, the Watusis scattered in eleven different directions, mostly up. Now, watching from the treetops, they saw the iron elephant cruise merrily away, with no one even pushing...

To this day, the watusi chief is still scratching his head: "How could a little key move an iron elephant, when eleven mighty Watusis could not?"

**********

Most of us aren't much smarter than the Watusis. We think that we can accomplish something only by physical means. Oftentimes we push for something and knock our brains out, yet we achieve minor results, that is, if we don't do damage to ourselves first. It takes tons of explosives to penetrate a reinforced enemy bunker, but if you have a key, you can peacefully walk right in the front door. Oh yes, we all have a general belief that there's a G-d in heaven who runs the show, but few of us really believe in the power of prayer - that Hashem really listens to us. Otherwise, we'd be putting a lot more effort into sincere prayer and spirituality.

Prayer is the tiny little ignition key that can move the iron elephant where the mighty hunters could not.

With all the problems left over from 5776, and staring us in the face from the outset of 5777, it's about time we learned to pray. The Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is the best time to start. By the way, it's hard to push a stubborn elephant...

May you and yours be signed in the Book of Life for a wonderful New Year 5777, amen!

 


Daily Centering

Time for Yourself
Here's something I picked up from a health-and-fitness coach's manual (the bold-letter emphases are mine):

"The very first way to combat stress is to have your clients begin the exercise of taking 10 minutes each day - to simply sit and center themselves with their thoughts. They can find a quiet room somewhere and as they do, they should simply clear their mind or let their thoughts take place and then release them. This is a form of meditation and it can do wonders for helping to restore central nervous system balance, reducing ongoing stress and helping them feel that much better on a day to day basis. If they can’t do this for 10 minutes – 5 minutes will suffice. Any amount of time done daily or as close to daily a possible will have a very positive influence on their stress levels."

I don't know how many other health-and-fitness coaches follow the teachings of Rebbe Nachman, but the author of the above manual is right on the money. If 10 minutes daily ("5 minutes will suffice") does so much good for a person's nervous system, stress levels and overall good feeling, then imagine what 60 minutes a day of secluded personal prayer accomplishes! This is quality time, alone with Hashem, where you collect your thoughts, clarify issues and simply recharge body and soul. I like to do my daily sessions while walking, especially somewhere secluded and beautiful where heart and soul open wide up. It's the key to self-composure, happiness and sanity. Try it - you'll love it.

 


Prayer for Rebuilding the Holy Temple

Here is the prayer that Rav Shalom Arush composed for us all to  say tonight at 9 PM (Israel, 2 PM NYC) when we all recite the Shema together:

B"H

Prayer for the Rebuilding of our Holy Temple and for Accepting the Yoke of Heaven

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is One:

(whisper) Blessed is the Name of His glorious kingdom for all eternity.

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

The Lord, He is God: (repeat 7 times)

The Lord reigns. The Lord has reigned. The Lord will reign forever: (repeat twice)

Save us, we beseech You, O Lord! (repeat twice)

Forever, O Lord, Your word stands firm in the heavens. (repeat 13 times)

Master of the World, our merciful Father, please have mercy on the Jewish People and on the entire world. Reign over us, You, Hashem and no other, with mercy and compassion. Reveal the glory of Your kingdom upon us. God and God of our fathers, reign over the entire world in Your glory and may Your splendor be over the entire earth, appear in Your majestic power over all the inhabitants of the globe, Your land. May every action know that You acted upon it and may every creation know that You created it, and may anyone with a soul in his nostrils say Hashem the God of Israel is King, and He reigns over everything.

Master of the World, speedily rebuild Your city Jerusalem, and may the throne of Your servant David be speedily established within it, for King David our righteous Messiah shall reign over us in great mercy, with no wars, no terrorist acts and no suffering.

Master of the World, on the Tenth of Teveth, when the Heavenly Court decrees on the building of the Holy Temple, we ask all the tzaddikim – from our forefather Abraham to the tzadikim of today – to all stand in prayer together with us so that the Heavenly Court shall decree that the Holy Temple should be built this year right away, and may we merit that the Holy Temple should be built, for it is the house of prayer of all nations, speedily this month, during the month of Teveth, amen, may it be Your will.

(Singing) And so we put our hope in You, Hashem our God, to see forthright the majesty of Your power, to wipe idolatry of the earth and to utterly sever false gods, to rectify the world in the Kingdom of God and all of living flesh shall call Your name, all the wicked of the earth shall turn to You, every inhabitant of the globe shall recognize and know, the every knee shall bow to You, every tongue shall swear, before You Hashem our God, they will bow and fall prostrate and give honor to Your Name, and all will accept the yoke of Your Kingship (repeat 4 times) and You shall soon reign over them forever. For the monarchy is Yours, and You will rule gloriously forever. As it is written in the Torah: Hashem will rule forever. And it is said: And Hashem shall be King over all the earth and on that day, Hashem will be One and His Name One.


Sky Full of Transmitters

Heavenly Transmitters
People have a weird notion that if their prayers are not answered right away, then either Hashem doesn't hear them or the prayers are ignored, Heaven forbid. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not a single syllable goes to waste. Imagine that there's a sky full of transmitters that record every word you say and broadcast them to the Heavenly Throne. But, more thasn you can possibly fathom in your mind, Hashem hears everything, everywhere - He personally and with no static. Just as you don't jump everytime your seven-year-old asks for something, Hashem doesn't necessarily grant our requests on the spot. Remember - Rebbe Natan of Breslev says that wherever you see deficiency, you'll find insufficient prayer.

Everything we ask for is like an item in a store with a price tag. Our prayers are the currency we use to purchase Divine abundance, both material and spiritual. So, if your request has not yet been fulfilled, it means that you haven't yet paid the whole price. Don't be discouraged - keep praying and you'll see big salvations. I guarantee you that Hashem not only is listening to you, but He loves to listen to you. 


When the Words Don't Come

Sometimes, you go out to the field - yearning to speak to Hashem - but the words don't come. On one such occasion, when I was all choked up, I took my little shepherd's flute and began to play. Hashem in His infinite mercy gave me the gift of the following melody, which unclogged the heart, released the tears, and enabled the words to flow forth. I call this melody, "Whispering Soul" - with all the noise in the world, we need daily time to be alone with Hashem and to listen to the faint but sublime message of our soul, which yearns to be heard. 

Overseas, it's holiday season and the roads are jammed; whatever you do, drive carefully. Don't forget to say The Traveler's Prayer (Tefilat_haderech) when you begin your journey, whether by car, bus, train, boat or plane. Don't ever think that you're alone, because Hashem is right there with you. He cares so very much about you, and so do we.


Chanuka Hallel with Rav Shalom Arush

Weekday Chanuka prayers at the Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva in Jerusalem are 3 hours long; Hallel itself takes an entire hour and a half. It's a joyous prayer with musical accompaniment and dancing, where we thank and praise Hashem profusely. Here's what Hallel looks like (this past Thursday morning) with Chut Shel Chessed's Rosh Yeshiva and my beloved rabbi and teacher Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a. Happy Chanuka!