This weekend at the Hidabroot convention in Stamford, Connecticut Rabbi Krohn gave a shiur on Shabbos about how to improve our prayer. He told several powerful stories and showed us where in our Shemona Esrai and daily davening we are empowered to remain connected in the manner that the stories model. One of the most powerful segments refers back to the Al Tira paragraph that is right after Aleinu, when we are concluding our tefillos. The remark about this paragraph that made such an impression upon me is that in that paragraph, Hashem tells us “ I created you and I shall bear you, I shall endure and rescue.”
Every day we are to remind ourselves that our survival is dependent upon Hashem and no other.
Before we say the Shema, we say “…teach us, Our Father the merciful Father, Who acts mercifully have mercy upon us, instill in our hearts to understand and elucidate, to listen, learn, teach, afeguard, erform, and fulfill all the word of Your Torah’s teaching with love. Enlighten our eyes in Your Torah, attach our hearts to Your commandments nd unify our heart to love and fear Your Name, and may we not feel inner shame for all eternity. Because we have trusted in Your great and awesome holy Name, may we exult and rejoice in Your Salvatio. Bring us in peacefulness from the four corners of the earth and lead u with upright pride to our land. For You effect salvations O Hashem. You have chosen us from among every people and tongue. And You have brought us close to Your great Name forever in truth to offer praiseful thanks to You, and to proclaim Your Oneness with love….”
Awe and love – we are here to recognize that He is all that exists and that He gives us the opportunity to tell Him we are willing to serve Him and reconstitute the divine consciousness that is fallen and concealed by the physical world.
We need emunah to move our consciousness from the apparent self to this primal reality. We have more and more trust in the process as we see that our hearts grow in Simcha as we unify His Name in this service.
It is not for us to use our logical and analytical minds to solve the chaos and despair we see. It is up to us to use our hearts to love Hashem and infuse the darkness we feel with the truth that it is all Hashem giving us an opportunity to stir love for Him back into the basic elements that conceal Him.
Our effort to do so is our eternal identity. We take this temporary lifetime and, by serving Him, make repairs to this world so He can be revealed and create an eternal identity of bliss for having remembered to do so over the natural draws of power, honor, wealth, and more.
He alone determines on Rosh Hashana our material existence, health, wealth, and more.
May we understand deeply what our identity truly is and what our lifetime is truly for, and may we lovingly embrace serving Him now, in Elul, with the intention that we desire so much that He be revealed in this material world that in every moment of darkness we see only opportunity to pour out love of Hashem to dispel what appears to be darkness, melting the falsehoods, the shells, and making it possible for His Middos to shine through our speech and deeds.