Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Chayei Sarah

Pursue the Moment

By Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig

Immediately prior to his meeting Rivka (Rebecca), "Yitzchak (Isaac) went out to converse in the field toward evening." (Beraishis/Genesis 24:63) Rashi notes that this conversing is a reference to prayer. The Talmud (Brachos 26b) explains that the morning, afternoon, and evening prayers that we recite daily were instituted by Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov; that Yitzchak instituted the afternoon prayers is derived from this occurrence. Maharsha (1) notes that the Talmud teaches elsewhere (Yuma 28b) that Avraham prayed three times daily, as we do today. Thus, he concludes that when the Talmud stated that Yitzchak "instituted" the afternoon prayers it does not mean that he originated them; rather, he was the most zealous regarding them since the afternoon prayers correspond to his attributes. The Talmud is thereby directing us: through understanding the attributes of Yitzchak we can develop a greater appreciation of the uniqueness of the afternoon prayers and how they are supposed to impact our daily lives.

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (2) explains that Yitzchak faced a challenge in life, which in some ways was more difficult than the challenges his father faced. Avraham discovered G-d through his own industry. His Divine service, flowing forth from this epiphany, was inevitably genuine. Yitzchak, however, from his youth was instructed how to properly approach G-d. His challenge was to transform the good habits he acquired in his childhood, mere external actions mimicking his righteous parents, and elevating them to sincere devotion, service of the Divine infused with his unique spirit and soul.

Afternoon is often the most difficult time to pray - the morning service can be recited before we get involved in our hectic, complicated lives and the evening prayers can wait until we are finished with our daily activities. Further frustrating the meaningfulness of the service is the reality that the weekday afternoon prayers are repetitions of those we already said in the morning. But the afternoon prayers compel us to break from our routine and remember that G-d is caring for us, attending to us, genuinely with us throughout the day. We do this by repeating words recited earlier in the day: we do not have to be the first to perform an act for it to be special; it is as special as the dedication, spirituality and meaning with which we infuse it. Indeed, even our day filled with mundane activities has great spiritual potential. Holiness can be found in everything we do. Our challenge is to be like Yitzchak: to pursue the moments of undeveloped potential and turn those activities into true acts of Divine service.

Have a Good Shabbos!

(1) acronym for Moreinu Harav [our teacher, the Rabbi] Shlomo Eidels of Ostroh, Poland; 1555-1632; Rosh Yeshiva/Dean and Rabbi in a number of leading communities of Poland; author of monumental commentaries on the Babylonian Talmud

(2) 1891-1954; in Michtav Me'Eliyahu, his collected writings and discourses; from England and, later, B'nai Brak, he was one of the outstanding personalities and thinkers of the Mussar movement


Text Copyright 2005 by Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig and Torah.org.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of The Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies 5007 West Keefe Avenue Milwaukee, Wisconsin 414-447-7999


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

The Meaning of Noach
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Leisure Time
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Never Underestimate the Power of Prayer
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

> A Place To Be
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5775

Saved From a Rainy Day
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Make it a Habit
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Rainmaker
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Taking the Initiative
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

In His Generation
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

People In Stone Houses Should Not Cast Bricks
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

The Din of the Din
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775

Building Towers - For What?
- 5774

ArtScroll

Did The Animals Come Or Did Noach Have To Bring Them?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

G-d's Message for All Humanity
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Hashem's Promise
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Improving Our Own World
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information