Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Defining Concentration

Shabbos – Frozen Hearts

The Kotzker Rebbe was once walking with his brother-in-law, Rav Yitzchak Meir, the Chiddushei Harim. They saw a frozen lake, upon which the non-Jews had carved a cross into the ice.

The Kotzker asked his brother-in-law Rav Yitzchak Meir, “What do you see?”

The Chiddushei Harim responded, “A cross.”

The Kotzker replied, “I will tell you what I see. Water is symbolic of purity. When it freezes, all of its potential for good disappears, and it attracts the greatest impurities known to mankind.”

The Kotzker meant to imply that when one’s service of Hashem is filled with fire, he is empowered to draw himself close to his Creator. Divine service that lacks warmth is a likely target for all of the impurity in the world (Emes V’Emunah p. 127).

With his classic acuity, the Kotzker warns us of the dangers of frozen Divine service. Tefillos that are filled with warmth have the power to pierce the heavens and ward off any impurity. However, if our prayers are cold as ice, then we are susceptible to all of the impurities that surround us today.

The Rambam relates to a person whose mind is elsewhere during prayer, and articulates this succinctly. “If someone thinks about business during prayer it is as if he did not pray at all, and he is the subject of the Navi's lament [Yirmiyah 12,2], ‘They are close to me in their mouths, but far from me in their hearts’” (Moreh Nevuchim).

In the Yad Hachazakah he rules, “Any tefillah that a person recites without intention is not a tefillah” (Hilchos Tefillah 4,15). The Rambam is impressing upon us the fundamental role of intention in one's prayers. Let us try and understand what intention entails and how to ignite our tefillos.


Text Copyright © 2012 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON PESACH AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

The Fifth Son
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Father-on-Loan
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

Lag B'Omer & The Big Picture
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Great Shabat
- 5773

Growth Period
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

In Lamb
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

ArtScroll

Cyclical Celebrations
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5762

Last Days of Pesach
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Sipur Yetzias Mitzrayim: Once Upon a Time…
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Exit Strategy
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

Providing for the Needy
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

A Focus of Our Attention
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

> Sefiras HaOmer and Rabbi Akiva
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

The Sound of Silence
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

The Questioning Defense
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5764

Tarnished Treasures of Pesach
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759



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