Continued from last week here:
Likutey Moharan I:24 – Week 4
Shortly after starting to feel progress waking up happy and grateful for a new day, I got sick. Instead of waking up as I had been, I woke up feeling like I had a head full of rocks and a sinuses that were all backed up. Nevertheless, I summoned any enthusiasm I could muster, said Modeh Ani and then headed downstairs for hisbodedus.
Compounded with this head cold, one Shabbos I had a very distressing dream dealing with something I had been worried about with my oldest child (a pre-teen). The dream seemed so real, and it played out exactly as I had feared. Pre-occupied with these thoughts in hisbodedus the next morning, I had really difficulty saying thank you to Hashem for all of the blessings. Then, I suddenly remembered something Reb Noson had written in a letter (Alim L’Terufah #249):
“Summon your inner strength very much and always be joyful, especially during prayer! Prayer requires extra fortification. So every time you stand up to pray put everything that has happened until that time completely out of your mind. Just trust in God’s great kindness, as is written, ‘I trust in Your kindness; my heart will rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to God, for He has treated me kindly’ (Tehillim 13:6). Then you will pray in joy and happiness.”
This verse from Tehillim was the answer!
It taught me that if I found myself worried about something, it was a clear indication that I was not placing proper trust in Hashem. The Rebbe even wrote (Sefer HaMiddos, Bitachon A:9),
“Trust in Hashem saves one from worry.”
I then began to understand why the Rebbe had quoted the verse “For you will go out with joy.” (Yeshaya 55:12) in the Torah I was focused on. It is only once a person make a mental effort to put aside worry and begin trusting in Hashem can he attain happiness.
With all of this thought in mind, I tried to reframe how I spoke to Hashem. Instead of rushing through the Amidah in order to unload my troubles during Shema Koleinu section when I could insert my personal requests, I attempted a new technique in davening; forgoing this opportunity to use Shema Koleinu for my “me list”. I then began to pay more attention to the other words in the siddur and let them speak on my behalf. In the siddur I could find words to address all of the things I was concerned about in my life. The more I proceeded in this manner, the more I began to really start connecting my heart to the words I was saying during davening.
I tried to do the same with the Tehillim I said during the day and also began to feel an increased connection. However, I realized that any of the distance I continued to feel was due primarily to the fact that I was trying to connect with Hashem using third-person language. Perhaps this is also what the Rebbe experienced as a child. Shivchei HaRan #10 relates the following detail:
“He also had the practice of chanting only the verses in Tehillim speaking of prayer and the cry to Hashem. He would go through the entire Sefer Tehillim in one stretch, saying only these verses and leaving out the rest.”
Taking this lead, I also followed suit. While my schedule would not allow my enough time to go through the entire Sefer Tehillim in one stretch, I did what I could. (As the saying goes, “A little is also good!”). The first day I tried this, I felt like a million bucks and things really felt like they were beginning to fall into place. But would this be a short-lived success as SO many things I have tried in the past, or was I really onto something?
It is too early to know now, so I will let you know more next week.