Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pray to G-d. Don't be ashamed to do the right thing!

When a Jew performs the mitzvot and is not embarrassed by his Judaism, he then has the ability to even change the actions of a non-Jew.

There was once a wealthy Jew who would every so often take a vacation on his yacht. On one such journey he kept asking his non-Jewish captain which direction was East. The captain answered him, then asked him in surprise: 'You are not a captain nor a sailor who is involved in sailing this yacht, so why are you so interested to know which direction east is?"

The Jew answered: "Three times a day I pray to the Master of the world, in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening, there is a special prayer, called the shmonei esrei, and we are commanded to say this prayer facing in the direction of the city of Jerusalem, which is in the East.
So when i am home", continued explaining the Jew, "I know which side is East, but on the boast which is constantly moving I dont know which direction we're in."

The non-Jewish captain was impressed. He said, "If a rich and successful man like you can stop everything three times a day in order to pray to the Creator then i too should every day pray to Him".

Some time later when the Captain met this Jew again, he told him that ever since they talked about Prayer, he talked to his friends and family about the necessity of thinking about the creator and praying to Him.

The captain ended by saying, 
"If all the people in the world would think about the Creator and pray to Him, the world would be a much better place than it is today."


How we slept at night determines a lot of how we perform the next day.

That's one good reason to get into the "Bedtime Shema" routine, which can be found in your prayerbook.
Let go of the maddening thoughts of the day.  Let the highlights of your day flash through your mind. Look for the sparks of beauty you came to this world to find. Discard the mess-ups.

You want those mess-ups to be forgotten. The best way to accomplish that is by forgetting the mess-ups of others that affected you. As Rava, the Talmudic sage, would say, "Those who ignore the impulse to get even, all their sins are ignored in the heavenly record."
That's why we preface the Bedtime Shema with a short paragraph declaring our forgiveness for all who may have slighted us.

When we say the Shema Yisrael, we declare that behind all that happened today there is only One G-d. If we say it with intense mental focus, it cleanses the soul.

We should ponder on G-d's kindness that allows us to start each day anew.  And move our soul closer to G-d and further from that which ties us down.

The Rebbe Rashab said that the reciting of Sh'ma before retiring at night is, in miniature form, like the Confession before death. But then one leaves the marketplace permanently. With the Bedside Sh'ma every night, however, one is still in the middle of the "market" and we can still accomplish.

We finish the bedtime prayers with the Hamapil blessing, requesting a peaceful night, entrusting our soul in G-d's faithful hands and praising Him for that which we witnessed today, that His glory illuminates the entire world.

Having difficulty falling asleep? Try saying, thinking or visualizing the words of Shema.