25 Adar 5781 / Tuesday, March 09, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayakhel - Pekudei
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Don’t Run Through the Treasure House!    

Don’t Run Through the Treasure House!

Imagine running through the King’s treasure house without slowing down to grab even one gem… that’s what most of us do, three times a day!


One time the Baal Shem Tov and his students came to a synagogue and he told them: “This synagogue is completely filled with prayer! His students were impressed because they thought that this was something very good. But the  Baal  Shem  Tov  immediately  corrected their mistake: Why are you impressed? I mean that all the prayers of many years that were in the synagogue have remained below and not risen at all. They did not have the power to rise, because they lacked deep feeling. 
Rabbi Shalom Arush explains that the time when the congregation prays together, is a time especially suited for Heaven to accept prayers. However, that is only when the congregation is actually praying - not when the public is reading. Therefore, the time of prayer in the synagogue is a time to arouse ourselves to put our heart into the prayers, so that we can build vessels to receive the abundance that is sent at that time. 
The prayers in the prayerbook are filled with wonderful requests for the revelation of Hashem's sovereignty, the rectification of the world, the salvation of Israel and the salvation of the entire universe. However, the life force and soul of these prayers depends solely on the intention and longing of the person reciting them. As an example, when we say Kaddish and say “May His name be magnified and sanctified, if we do not think about and desire what we are asking for, what good can our empty words possibly accomplish? 
You must think in your mind and internalize in your heart that you truly want G-d’s name to be made great in the world, for the sovereignty of Hashem to be revealed, and  for  everyone  in the world to recognize, praise and glorify Him. 
If it’s Going to Be - It’s Up to Me! 

Perhaps you are like me and often get discouraged by the lack of quality and consistency  in  your prayers. Rabbi Arush provides some advice and encouragement especially for us!  


He says that congregational prayer is a team effort, and each participant has a unique and irreplaceable role. Therefore, you must be alert and focus on your prayer with all your might, because perhaps it will be your intentions and your yearnings that will raise the prayers of the entire congregation. Do not say in your heart: “Am I really capable of raising the prayers of the entire congregation? I barely managed to recite a single blessing with deep feeling! Do not say that! Instead, recite whatever prayer you can with deep feeling.  

During the prayer service every person in the congregation is inspired by deep intentions and feelings at one point or another. The combination of all the prayers recited with intention creates a complete prayer. 

In Sichon Haran 75, Rebbe Nachman says that it isn't possible for a person to pray the entire prayer service with the proper deep feeling. Rather, every individual can only recite a part of the prayers with deep feeling. Thus, every individual is inspired and can pray a part of the prayer with deep feeling on his level. Therefore a person should not feel downhearted when he sees that although he was about to pray some part of the prayer with deep intention, suddenly his mind wandered, and now he cannot pray properly anymore no matter how hard he tries. This is how things have to be. The advice is to try to recite the rest of the prayers with absolute simplicity, just saying the words with their simple meaning. 
Rabbi Arush says that it is very worthwhile to bolster your prayers as much as you can, because perhaps this current prayer can raise your prayers that fell to the floor over the days and years when they were entirely disconnected from the Holy One Blessed Be He.  


When a person prays with proper devotion, he will rectify all his previous prayers with this prayer that he is now praying properly. 
Preparation: An Indispensable Key to Successful Prayer 

It is known that all holy matters require preparation. What is the preparation for prayer? Preparation is a person's intention, yearnings, and thoughts of what he wants to achieve with Hashem’s help. Therefore, we must pray before the formal prayer that we will be able to recite the prayers properly. 
You should energize yourself with songs and praises with as much intent and deep feeling as you can, because that is the preparation for the Shemoneh Esrei which is the principal part of prayer. 


Take Your Time 

Rabbi Arush urges us to try at least once a day to pray the Shemoneh Esrei at length.  Once  a day, we must put in the time to repeat the words over and over again with deeper and deeper feeling. Subsequently, when he recites the prayers more briefly because he has no time, an impression remains from his lengthy prayer. Therefore, even his short prayer is qualitatively different, filled with feeling and yearning. However, if throughout his entire life, a person prays quickly and briefly, then there is nothing to illuminate him, and his prayers lack vitality. 
A Dynamic and Vital Experience 

When we feel pleasure doing the work of the will, our prayer assumes an entirely new character. It becomes the heart of the day. It is no longer a frustrating time that we want to end, as if prayer is a punishment, Heaven forbid. On the contrary, we free the true yearning  of our soul to cling to its Creator. This is the only time that is truly ours, a time  when we can truly be who we are and express