Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Chayei Sarah

Pursue the Moment

By Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig

Immediately prior to his meeting Rivka (Rebecca), "Yitzchak (Isaac) went out to converse in the field toward evening." (Beraishis/Genesis 24:63) Rashi notes that this conversing is a reference to prayer. The Talmud (Brachos 26b) explains that the morning, afternoon, and evening prayers that we recite daily were instituted by Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov; that Yitzchak instituted the afternoon prayers is derived from this occurrence. Maharsha (1) notes that the Talmud teaches elsewhere (Yuma 28b) that Avraham prayed three times daily, as we do today. Thus, he concludes that when the Talmud stated that Yitzchak "instituted" the afternoon prayers it does not mean that he originated them; rather, he was the most zealous regarding them since the afternoon prayers correspond to his attributes. The Talmud is thereby directing us: through understanding the attributes of Yitzchak we can develop a greater appreciation of the uniqueness of the afternoon prayers and how they are supposed to impact our daily lives.

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (2) explains that Yitzchak faced a challenge in life, which in some ways was more difficult than the challenges his father faced. Avraham discovered G-d through his own industry. His Divine service, flowing forth from this epiphany, was inevitably genuine. Yitzchak, however, from his youth was instructed how to properly approach G-d. His challenge was to transform the good habits he acquired in his childhood, mere external actions mimicking his righteous parents, and elevating them to sincere devotion, service of the Divine infused with his unique spirit and soul.

Afternoon is often the most difficult time to pray - the morning service can be recited before we get involved in our hectic, complicated lives and the evening prayers can wait until we are finished with our daily activities. Further frustrating the meaningfulness of the service is the reality that the weekday afternoon prayers are repetitions of those we already said in the morning. But the afternoon prayers compel us to break from our routine and remember that G-d is caring for us, attending to us, genuinely with us throughout the day. We do this by repeating words recited earlier in the day: we do not have to be the first to perform an act for it to be special; it is as special as the dedication, spirituality and meaning with which we infuse it. Indeed, even our day filled with mundane activities has great spiritual potential. Holiness can be found in everything we do. Our challenge is to be like Yitzchak: to pursue the moments of undeveloped potential and turn those activities into true acts of Divine service.

Have a Good Shabbos!

(1) acronym for Moreinu Harav [our teacher, the Rabbi] Shlomo Eidels of Ostroh, Poland; 1555-1632; Rosh Yeshiva/Dean and Rabbi in a number of leading communities of Poland; author of monumental commentaries on the Babylonian Talmud

(2) 1891-1954; in Michtav Me'Eliyahu, his collected writings and discourses; from England and, later, B'nai Brak, he was one of the outstanding personalities and thinkers of the Mussar movement


Text Copyright 2005 by Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig and Torah.org.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of The Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies 5007 West Keefe Avenue Milwaukee, Wisconsin 414-447-7999


 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Whew! What a Message!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Light Up Right
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Getting What You Pay For
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5767

> Mitzvah Lamp
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

It Can Only Hurt Not to Ask
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Respect of the Sanctuary: On Sacred Ground
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

ArtScroll

Power To Choose
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Rabbi Frand on Parshas Vayeitzei
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

In Every Generation
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Fourteen Sleepless Years
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

Shedding Light on the Identity Crisis
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

Light Over Darkness
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Well Check-Up
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Thanks a Lot!
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Departure of the 'Tent Dweller'
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

Hashem Must Play The Role of Our First Love, Not Our Second Fiddle
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765



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