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Working toward Spirituality

Working toward Spirituality

Every Erev Shabbat in the Beit Hakeneset, as we are about to welcome Shabbat, I notice a number of fellow Jews who seem extremely tired from the labors of the past week. This is especially evident when Shabbat comes in late. It looks like these people would like nothing more than a cozy bed and a soft pillow. My heart is filled with pity for these people who work so hard to earn a livelihood, and I hope and pray that Shabbat should fill them with renewed energies to continue their good work the next week.

There was one Jew, who, without fail, dozed off during prayer services every Shabbat eve. I understood that he was exhausted then, but he also slept through the prayers on Shabbat morning and even at Minchah time.

I decided that I had to teach him that prayer was not a time for catnaps, and that it was inappropriate to sleep in the synagogue. To this end, I took pains to visit his office. Many workers were employed there, all sitting before computers. This man was extremely busy, running from one worker to the next.

When he noticed my entrance, he stopped in his tracks. “Rabbi David! What an honor to host you in my workplace! How are you?”

“Do you have any idea why I came to pay you a visit?” I asked. He answered in the negative.

I slapped him jovially on the shoulder and said, “I came to take you to learn Torah.”

“Now? Learn Torah?” The man was stunned. “Rabbi David,” he tried to excuse himself, “I am terribly busy now. I have no time for Torah study. There is a time to work and a time to learn. There is a time to eat and a time to sleep.”

“Did you manage to pray this morning?” I ventured.

“Certainly,” he answered, his pride apparent. “I laid tefillin and recited the Shema.”

I was happy to hear that at least he adhered to the barest minimum of tefillah. I repeatedly praised him for this and left the place with a sense of camaraderie between us.

The next Shabbat, I again noticed him dozing off. I shook him awake, and asked, “Would you like to go to work now?”

“To work?” he asked. “Now is Shabbat, when one must pray in the Beit Hakeneset.”

I immediately jumped into his words. “Let your ears hear what your mouth says! You are physically in the Beit Hakeneset, but if you sleep, you may as well be at work. When I visited you at your workplace and offered you to come and study Torah, you replied that there is a time for everything as it was the time to work just then. Now, when it is time to pray, I find you asleep. It seems that you have no time for Hashem. When, then, do you carve a window of time for Avodat Hashem? Not in the office and not in the synagogue?”

This is nothing but the machinations of the Yetzer Hara. At first, he designates times for Torah study and all matters spiritual, and “free” times, when one is “off duty” from one’s moral obligations. But then, when the time comes to serve Hashem, the Yetzer Hara disturbs him in that area. Either he casts him under a spell of tiredness or he disturbs him with a phone call, an important meeting, inappropriate thoughts, etc.

Our mission is to overcome this wily character and reject his persuasive arguments. Every moment of a Jew’s life must be sanctified for Hashem’s sake, in thought, in word, and in deed. When this is the case, then even the times allotted for work and physical pursuits are considered consecrated for Hashem and His Torah.

 

 

Working toward Spirituality

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michté pourirm rabbi david

Please see below some of the videos showing the wonderful festivities.

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Activity of the Rav

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Actualités du Rav

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Actualités du Rav

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Actualités du Rav

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