Reaching for the Gold
As we transition to a new Tefilah on which to focus, we would like to revisit the purpose of Tefilah (and ALL mitzvos), and one specific word in our text which appears VERY often in the siddur. If we can train ourselves to think about this word when we say it, we will have come so much closer to reaching our goal in this world.
The purpose of all mitzvos, including Tefilah, is “ובו תדבק”, to cleave to Hashem in all situations. Harav Eliyahu Dessler ז"ל, in his classic work Michtav Mei’Eliyahu, explains the chazal (יבמות סד.) which relates that all of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs were initially unable to bear children because Hashem has a powerful desire for the prayers of the righteous. They all merited children after extensive, devout prayer.
Rabbi Dessler points out that our great Avos and Imahos were powerfully close to Hashem without this additional “push to prayer”. The Midrash calls our ancestors the “chariot” that transported the reality of Hashem to the world!
However, says Rabbi Dessler, becoming even one step closer to Hashem by davening with more fervor was worth decades of suffering! Becoming closer to Hashem was a greater gift than the children they received.
On a continuous basis, explains the Michtav Mei’Eliyahu, we can become closer to Hashem in a permanent way by having more concentration when saying the word “אלקינו”. This word indicates that Hashem is more than a human sovereign who can execute his laws. Hashem is our G-d, and a G-d makes no mistake. And so, his laws are perfect. Therefore, I, Your devoted son, His prince, will abandon my personal desires when they don’t match Your’s. And even if I am challenged by a sudden, unexpected flashflood of evil temptation, I will pass the test, because I am internally committed to what I know is TRUTH: the Torah, Hashem’s rule book.
Now, says Rabbi Dessler ז"ל, that I am aware of the implications of my saying “אלקינו”, it becomes somewhat more difficult for me to quickly join the words, “אלקינו ואלקי אבותינו אלקי אברהם...יצחק... יעקב”, in one breath. If only I would be one thousandth as committed as my ancestors were to Hashem. If only I would not get lost in my ocean of personal desires and ulterior motives.
Keeping our goal of ובו תצדק in mind and seriously contemplating אלקינו, will help us climb the golden stairs to come close to our אבות – אברהם יצחק ויעקב!