The Gemara (B’rachos 26b) tells us that Avraham Avinu established the t’filah of Shacharis (the Morning Prayer) based on the pasuk, “And Avraham arose early in the morning to the place where he had stood before Hashem.” It was Avraham who introduced the notion of daily prayer to the world. T’filah is a very powerful tool. It connects us to Hashem in ways beyond our comprehension. How careful we must be when we daven that we focus on the words and actually talk to Hashem, rather than be busy with everything else around us. If we focus on Hashem, He responds in ways beyond our wildest dreams.
A few months ago, a chasidishe Yid contacted the Irgun K’vod Shamayim (IKS), whose altruistic goal is to inspire people to improve their davening and show the Sh’chinah respect from the beginning to the end of every t’filah. The Yid had recently signed up for their “Master List,” which lists the names of those who have pledged to be more careful with t’filah, and now he wished to tell them the following incident: When he signed up, he was m’kabeil upon himself to refrain from using his cell phone during davening. This pledge was very difficult for him, due to his nature and the peer pressure from friends starting conversations with him. Nevertheless, he took it upon himself in the fervent hope that certain y’shuos he desperately needed would come to fruition. Very shortly after he accepted this pledge, he had a vivid dream one Friday night.
He dreamed that he was walking down a street that was unfamiliar to him. He soon came upon a large building that appeared to be a beis midrash. Bright lights were radiating from its windows. He heard beautiful nigunim emanating from the building. He was unfamiliar with the songs being sung, but he thought they were reminiscent of tunes from his Chabad upbringing. He then heard a voice asking him if he wished to go inside, and he replied, “Yes.” He was told to go inside.
Upon entering the building, a gabbai approached him, who remarked, “You’re an einikel of the Baal HaTanya. Therefore, you go straight in.” He proceeded to enter what turned out to be a giant room filled with lots of people – all of whom were shining brightly, dressed in white. They were singing the beautiful nigunim he had heard outside. All around him were tables piled up with food, but no one was eating. At the front of the room, he saw a tzadik with a glowing face; he instinctively knew that it was the Baal HaTanya, Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi zt”l, who was beckoning him to come forward and sit next to him. Upon sitting down, the beautiful singing slowly subsided and the Baal HaTanya began speaking words of Torah.
The Rebbe spoke and, after a while, he began to focus his remarks on the current generation and the challenges that we face today. He pointed out that we are living in a time where so much is competing for our attention and, unfortunately, what is happening in shul is a lack of recognition of the presence of the Ribbono Shel Olam. The disrespect is extremely destructive.
The Baal HaTanya then turned to the awestruck Yid sitting next to him and said, “For people who are m’kabeil on themselves to be exceptionally careful with these inyanim, they will be zocheh to see y’shuos of all types.”
The singing then resumed in a most lovely and melodic way. A short time later, the scene repeated itself as the singing gradually subsided and the Baal HaTanya spoke divrei Torah once again. Amazingly, the same thing occurred as before: In the middle of his thought, the Alter Rebbe focused again on our generation and the need for all Jews to bring the Ribbono Shel Olam into their lives. He also again disdained the disrespect taking place in our shuls and batei midrash, a common issue in today’s day and age, and he once again looked at the chasidishe Yid and said softly, “But people who are m’kabeil on themselves to be careful in these practices will have the y’shuos that they need and are going to end up in a very good place.”
It happened a third time – and then the Yid woke up with a start. He was actually humming one of the nigunim from his dream. The man’s wife turned to him and said, “You’re singing? You never sing, and certainly not in your sleep! What’s going on? What is this nigun? It actually sounds beautiful.” The man explained to his wife how he had just seen the Baal HaTanya and described all the things that he had heard. Baruch Hashem, since the dream occurred, this chasidishe Yid has seen his t’filos answered time and time again, and the y’shuos he so desperately needed are all coming to fruition.