While studying in Europe, Rav Elya Lopian was part of an exclusive mussar group. Each day his group met for the purpose of scrutinizing each other’s actions. Some of the members of this group later became great Torah personalities.
One day Rav Lopian told the group that he could no longer participate in their exclusive meetings. The group members were surprised, for Rav Elya was one of the most righteous and dedicated members. What had prompted this change?
Tearfully, Rav Elya confessed his transgression to them. Once, during Maariv, he thought about whether they would have potatoes for supper. After such a complete disgrace of tefillah, he no longer felt worthy to be part of this mussar group.
Unfortunately, what was a one-time exception for Rav Elya Lopian is commonplace for some of us. It is much easier for us to focus on what we will have for dinner than on our tefillah, and we are satisfied when we are able to achieve a minimum level of concentration during tefillah.
Text Copyright © 2014 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org