Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

To Be Alone In Divine Service

Here is a classic vort from the Rebbe, shlit"a:

When Hashem told Moshe to ascend Har Sinai, He added this stipulation: איש לא יעלה עמך וגם איש אל ירא בכל ההר ההוא. No man shall ascend with you and also no man shall be seen on the entire mountain.
The repetitiveness of the pasuk is obvious.

More often than not, when we are engaged in avdoas Hashem such as davening or learning, we are all too busy worrying about what other people are thinking.

"How am I shukeling?"

"Am I davening too loud?"

"I better not look up out of the sefer, so-and-so is watching."
When one wants to ascend the mountain of Hashem, he must totally remover all others' presence from his consciousness.This is what Hashem was telling Moshe Rabeinu when he told him to ascend Har Sinai and "no man shall ascend with you." It is just you and Hashem.

But there is something subtler and deeper that requires our attention. Inevitably, even if we succeed and are not preoccupied with what other people think, we distract ourselves by constantly checking up on our own avodah. Not in relation to me and the next guy, but my Divine service qua my Divine service. How am I doing in relation to my obligation and abilities? In the moment of avodah, in middle of davening, is not the time to be making cheshbon hanefesh. We get too caught up in this form of self-judgment at the wrong time. How can we expect to lose ourselves in the moments of avodaha and be focused on serving the Almighty when we are busy watching ourselves under the microscope?

So the pasuk is not redundant. Hashem told Moshe: Not only do I want no other man to go up with you, but when you are there on the mountain of Hashem, do not bring yourself either. Let no man be seen at all.

1 comment:

jpittleman said...

that's really really awesome. extremely practical. very excited to work on that.

I guess it's obvious that sometimes two opposite things can be true at the same time, so the following isn't really a question: but as i was reading the first half of the vort it was making me think: i think the opposite could also be true, that a person is alone in their own little world their avodah, oblivious to those around them, in a negative way.

For example, i believe there is story, maybe of the Alter Rebbe, that he heard his grandson crying and so he went to pick him up and hold him. In the morning, the Rebbes son saw his father holding the baby. When the son explained that he had been immersed in learning the whole night, the Rebbe responded that if he didn't hear the cries of the baby, he wasn't really learning Torah.

Also, the whole Torah of Avraham Avinu, experiencing the highest avoda/revelation, and then making sure that he saw those around him in need and "asking Hashem to hold on" while he ran after them (obviously really running after Hashem).

Another small example, last week, there was a guy davening Mariv right behind me in such a loud and intense whisper, and like repeating words over and over, alot of kavanah, but it was so distracting that I couldn't daven. I chose to wait until he had finished himself, before proceeding on with Shmoneh Esrei. You know, i just really don't want to be a shusher. Who knows if in Shamayim they'd be happy that i stopped him from davening so well (ie' the story of Moishele the vaser treger putting lechem hapanim in the aron kodesh in tsfas). I wasn't having kavanah anyway.

Gut Purim!