This segment is being written during a particularly challenging time for klal Yisrael. Because of the outbreak of the coronavirus, our lives have been affected in almost every area – spiritually, socially, financially, and emotionally, to name just a few. One of the most disconcerting impacts has been that almost all of us at this point are not able to daven with a minyan. Instead, we have been forced to daven at home individually. This is something that I don’t think any man who has been davening all his life in shul with a minyan ever dreamed could happen.
We must understand that this situation is coming from Hashem. That understanding must result in greater efforts to strengthen our connection to Him by intensifying our tefilah, Torah, and chesed. This segment of Tefilah Focus will begin a mini-series of focusing on strengthening our bitachon through tefilah.
Bitachon, absolute trust and reliance on Hashem, is one of our most powerful tools in times like this. First, we must acknowledge that the present situation comes from Hashem and He alone controls every minute detail. We should never get lost in the “how” it started, “how” it spread, and so on. Hashem brought it and spread it. That’s all we need to know other than the medical information, which we must be aware of in order to perform our required hishtadlus and take proper precautions.
Next, we must remember that Hashem can change the entire situation with lightening speed and nothing is “difficult” for Him. Statistics, odds, and conjecture are irrelevant when it comes to Hashem’s ability to take this virus away immediately. As fast and as wide as it has spread, it can disappear the same way. It makes no difference to Hashem what the projections are.
Bitachon mandates that we do not fear the physical situation. We believe that all that Hashem does is for our eternal benefit. It feels bitter now, but it is for our ultimate benefit. Hashem is shouting out to us, and we need to respond in a major way. We need to work on strengthening our emunah and bitachon and on intensifying our tefilos.
Finally, bitachon requires us to be hopeful and even to anxiously await Hashem’s salvation as a result of His compassion and chesed, recognizing and acknowledging that we may not deserve salvation. David HaMelech writes: “Rabim mach’ovim la’rasha, v’habotei’ach baShem, chesed y’sov’venu – Many are the agonies of the wicked, but as for one who trusts in Hashem, kindness surrounds him (T’hilim 32:10). The Chafetz Chaim, among many others, writes that one who places his trust and reliance in Hashem will be surrounded by His lovingkindness, even if he is wicked and does not deserve His kindness.
Many of us now have the opportunity to spend more time on tefilah as a result of not being able to go to minyan, not traveling to work, and other factors. There is a plethora of opportunity within our tefilos to infuse ourselves with thoughts and feelings of bitachon. We will start with specifics next week, b’ezras Hashem, but for now, notice the last several p’sukim of Hodu, which we recite in Shacharis. In almost every pasuk there is a boost in bitachon. Say it slowly and with heart and mind. Recite Aleinu slowly, especially from the middle of the first paragraph and on, and you can experience a major lift as you complete all three tefilos.
As a mother giving birth who must give those final major pushes to get the baby out, we are hopefully now being given the opportunity and privilege to do all we can to provide the final push for Mashiach to arrive imminently. The whole world is at attention now. Let us take advantage of this unique time in history as we intensify our bitachon through tefilah and “push” Mashiach out.
You can direct any questions or comments to Eliezer Szrolovits at 917-551-0150.