Thursday, September 15, 2005

Describing It

I was writing an email to my friend yesterday night and I realized something. All the pieces that I write, all the descriptions I give about the things I am going through are so dry compared to the real thing. I asked myself, how can I describe the indescribable? Today, we had a shiur with the Rav Shlomo Aviner which dealt with prayers and I got a small answer.

Rav Aviner explained how when we pray, we are really letting our souls express themselves. He said that our souls pray all day long and ask us to pray. Some people don't let their souls pray and you can see that sometimes these people end up exploring the whole world to find the truth. However, for people who do pray, this is an opportunity to let our souls express what they are keeping in all day. However, in our generations, since the destruction of the beit hamikdash, we are not at a high enough level to connect deeply to our souls. So, the rabbis instituted a pre-made prayer which is exactly what our souls want to say. The tehillim are another example of words coming out of our souls. If someone prays without using these words, his prayer will mostly be surrounding physical needs: he wants a new bicycle, a new car. These are the things we know how to express. When someone uses the prayer from our rabbis, we are letting our souls flow out.

I find it is similar to what I am experiencing trying to write some words down. This year in Israel is a physical, emotional and spiritual roller coaster. The physical facts I can describe. Even my emotions I can describe. What I cannot find the words for is the spiritual journey I am going through. I guess in some way I am telling you that Israel is much better than the words I am writing down, and that you are only getting half the picture because the other half cannot be written down, at least not by people in our generation since we are less connected to our souls.

Another similarity between prayer and the year in yeshiva is that when we pray, what we are doing is letting our souls tell our bodies all the important principles we need to remember. After praying, we need to be a different person, stronger in all these important principles. The whole point of prayer is to become better, a different person. This, by the way, can explain why prayer can save us from a bad decree. Since, after we pray, we will not be the same people, the decree doesn't apply to us anymore. The year in yeshiva is also a year of growth. We learn torah but we don't just learn it, we live it, apply it to our lives. We learn how to not only BE Jewish, but LIVE Jewish lives. At the end of the year, everyone will be a different person.

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