Kabbalah Kronicles 28 – A Local Call to God
Thursday, October 13, 2011 By stuv
Kabbalah Kronicles 28 – A Local Call to God
Uncle Zally / Zalman Velvel
Before I travel to Israel, I ask friends back in the States, “Would you like me to say a special prayer for you while I’m in the Holy Land?”
Then I add, “Over there, it’s only a local call to God … elsewhere, long distance charges apply.”
The joke always gets a smile.
You would think that once I’m there, I would be praying in the temple of my hilltop community, and at the Great Temple, in Jerusalem. At both places, people pray three times each day, services known as Shacharit, Minchah, and Ma-ariv. It is preferred to pray with at least ten men, a minyon.
But I don’t do this.
I don’t pray inside, or with groups of people. I like being outside, and alone with God. I don’t want to be told what to say, or when to say it. I want the love to flow freely between us, whenever and wherever we feel it.
Thus I feel like a misfit. I wonder, “What is wrong with me?”
Some Atheists pray more than I do.
However, there are many here on this hilltop that really enjoy praying. I had to find out why.
So I went to a Holy man, my friend Yossie, who doubles as a tour guide. Yossie prays three times each day, in a temple, surrounded by a minyon. This is what he told me:
“Zalman, when I first sat in temple, I used to feel that my tuchus was on fire. I couldn’t wait to get out.”
He waited until I stopped laughing. I had a picture of the man on the left in my mind.
“Then, after a while, I looked around at my neighbors, and I thought, I don’t need anything special right now, but there was one man, Moshe, who had health problems – his heart was bad. So I prayed to God to help strengthen Moshe’s heart. Then over in the back, on the right, was Daniel. He lost his job, and he needed money. I prayed to God to help Daniel find parnessa, a livelihood, so that his family should eat.”
Yossie stopped, looked around at his beautiful view of the valley, and then continued.
“It was enough for me to pray for others … I did not really enjoy praying yet … but I tolerated it … and my tuchus cooled down.”
Once again, he waited for me to stop laughing.
“Until there came a time when I, Yossie, needed something. My wife … Aviva … we were eating in a restaurant in Jerusalem and a bone from the fish got caught in her throat … I rushed her to the hospital … the doctors removed the bone with no problem … but then a terrible infection set it … medicines were not working … the infection was traveling up to her brain … the doctors told me it did not look good … I was going to lose her.”
Yossie stopped and gathered himself.
“I said, ‘No! I am not going to lose her! I started reading Psalms by myself … Aviva did not get better … I went to the little temple inside the hospital and prayed … still Aviva did not improve … I went down to the Great Temple and threw myself down on my knees … I begged God with all my heart and soul to heal my wife … I could not imagine the empty life I would have without her … I called the hospital … still no change in Aviva … I went around to all the holy men I knew in Jerusalem … I banged on their doors … I woke them up … I begged them to pray for Aviva … to pleaded with God for a blessing that my wife should recover …”
He took a deep breath.
“Then, slowly, she got better … and I knew that it was not only my prayers that healed my wife, but also the prayers of others … From that day on, I enjoyed praying with others.”
He looked over at me.
“The men I pray with here have become my brothers. It’s like we are in the army together. We all have problems, because life is a struggle and brings us challenges, and sometimes these problems are bigger than we are. That is when we need the prayers of others. And I’ll tell you something else, Zalman?”
“I learned that He is not just my God … I used to think, ‘The relationship I have with God is very special, just between Him and me.’ And Zalman?”
“If you can manage to be little more humble, you will see … while He is your God … and your relationship is very special … He is also my God … and my relationship with Him is also very special … my relationship does not take away from your relationship with Him … God is big enough to love us all … as much as we need. And Zalman?”
“Go ahead, Yussie.”
“We are not just mumbling words and daydreaming. God really does answer prayers. My Aviva is alive today because of prayers. And Zalman?”
“Yes already, Yussie!”
“My tuchus is no longer on fire … the fire is now in my heart.”
So for the rest of the time I am in Israel, I’m going to join my people in our most powerful place, our house of worship. I want to learn how to share my God … and believe in the power of prayer.
I’ll let you know how it works out.
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