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It's An Embarrassment!

It's An Embarrassment!
Steer clear of slander. Don't respond to arguments. Life is beautiful – spend your time and energy serving Hashem and praying with intent, and don't be embarrassed...

by Rabbi Shalom Arush

Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody

What a beautiful life! Thank You, Hashem – You are so good!

Yesterday, I met Rabbi Yitzchak Grossman shlit'a from Migdal Haemek. He told me about his father's will and testament to his children. Rabbi Grossman told me the following story of his father's message to him and his brothers and sisters:

He said, "Rabbi Shalom, since you work in outreach, I'll share this story with you, which my father osb"m told over: in Jerusalem, there were two Torah students who learned together. They decided that whoever died first would come to the friend and tell him what's happening in the upper world. One died, and it took him 4 years to reveal himself to his friend in a dream. He recounted his Heavenly Court Case and it was serious, exacting in every letter of the law. He looked inside the dossier of his merits that the defending-attorney angel had in front of him and couldn't find any prayers in it. The man said, 'I prayed for 70 years - where are all my prayers?'

The Defense angel said, 'What can I do? Your prayers lacked intent..."

Rabbi Grossman's last will and testament to his children – all of whom are loyal servants of Hashem – was, "Pray properly – with kavanna, with intent."

We must get stronger, especially in prayer. Everybody needs a goal in life. If you have a goal in life, you do not have time for anything else. Our yeshiva is peace and love – we don't have time to involve ourselves in feuds and arguments. I don't yet know the Gemara by heart – I don't have time for anything else.

When people ask our opinions of things, we don't respond. If we have any time, we devote it to raising our children and helping our wives. Steer clear of slander. Don't respond to arguments. Life is beautiful – spend your time and energy serving Hashem and praying with intent.

Allow me remind you of a few useful points that no one should ever forget:

It's an embarrassment to the King when His son goes around in rags;

It's an embarrassment when the greatest Scholar in the world has an illiterate son;

It's an embarrassment when the world's greatest Matchmaker has a child who can't find a soulmate.

It's an embarrassment when the world's Head Fertility Specialist has a daughter who is still childless.

It's an embarrassment when the King's children don't uphold the King's laws.

We begin our prayers by saying, "Hashem, open my mouth and I shall say your praise" – proper prayer is praise for the King.

What is considered a blessing that is said with intent? Let me give you an example from the Amida prayer, word by word with the initial words alone:

Baruch - You are blessed, Hashem, and everything You do is blessed.

Ata - It's You, Hashem, Who I'm turning to in my prayers. I'm not only talking to You, I'm clinging to You;

Hashem - You are utter mercy and compassion; Your Name is mercy and compassion.

Elokenu - You are our G-d; everything comes from You and Your power, I am nothing without You.

Melech Ha'Olam - You alone are King of the World.

Elokei Avraham – G-d of Abraham! I wish I had a son like Abraham!

Elokei Yitzchak – G-d of Isaac! Isaac was not only on the altar, he imagined every moment that he was slaughtered in sanctification of Hashem's Name.

Elokei Yaacov – G-d of Jacob; imagine, and be honest with yourself, how you would feel if people wanted to murder you like they did Jacob. Would you cling to Hashem like Jacob did?

Then we say a list of Hashem's characteristics, which all describe Him. We can't know Hashem, but we can know His characteristics.

When we say lemaa'an shmo, for the sake of His Name, that's our purpose on earth – to use every faculty we have to praise Hashem's Name. Then when we add the word b'ahava, in love, we should imagine that we are prepared to give our lives in sanctification of Hashem's Name every moment of the day.

That's what real prayer – prayer with intent – looks like. This is the prayer that ascends and is accepted on high.

Last week, I was in Beersheba Prison. Yesterday, I was in Sharon Prison. The rabbi of the prison wing said that there's a group of inmates that had terrible marital difficulties and they decided to learn the Garden of Peace – it changed their lives.

While I was visiting the life-imprisonment wing. I asked those inmates if they wanted to leave their jail right now. “Of course,” they said. I explained to them that a body behind bars is not a jail. An imprisoned soul is the worst jail. Give someone the Garden of Emuna and you'll let them out of their own jail. One emuna CD can save a life, literally. There is no reward in Heaven like the reward for spreading emuna. If it's difficult for you, you can still be our full partner and we'll distribute emuna books and CDs for you – in prisons, in the IDF, and anywhere we can in order to strengthen people and bring them to happier and more fulfilling lives. Donate to Emuna Outreach now.

Rabbi Shalom Arush
Rabbi Shalom Arush is an Israeli Breslov rabbi and founder of the Chut Shel Chessed Institutions. He spreads the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov among Sephardic and Ashkenazic baalei teshuva around the world through his books and speaking appearances. Rabbi Arush is considered one of today's leading Hasidic spiritual guides, inspiring hundreds of thousands through his books, audio CDs and online presence.


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