Well, finals are finally over, so now I can focus on what’s really important in life – life itself and the lessons that it teaches me. I’ve been sitting on this for a while, but this is the first chance I’ve had to write it down.
I was at my friend’s house towards the end of shabbos a few weeks ago. I was sitting on the couch talking to my friend, and her 11 year old brother was reading near us. It was getting close to the time for ma’ariv. He didn’t show any signs of letting go of his book, so I told him to put it down and go.
I asked him again, but in a different way – “What’s more important to you, davening ma’ariv or reading your book?”
Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), he answered “my book.”
I wasn’t shocked at his answer, but I was kind of upset. I kept thinking, “How could he consider his book more important than davening to Hakadosh Baruch Hu?! How could he have his priorities so backwards?”
It kept bothering me until I realized something.
It’s always easier to see faults in others than in ourselves. The thing is that the faults we subconsciously look for in others are those that hold sway within us. As the pasuk in Mishlei (27:19) says, כַּמַּיִם, הַפָּנִים לַפָּנִים-- כֵּן לֵב-הָאָדָם, לָאָדָם. (“As in water, face answers to face, so is the heart of a man to a man.”) A person sees himself reflected in his perception of others.
What I saw in my friend’s brother was a flaw, but it was a chisaron (lack) that I myself have.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about my t’fila. I’ve noticed a real lack in kavana (concentration). I’m constantly distracted by other things. I push davening off until the last minute before the zman (time limit). I think about school or work or anything that’s not davening. I hardly look at the words inside my siddur.
And I ask myself, as I asked my friend’s brother a few weeks ago, “What’s more important to you, davening or <fill in blank>?! ___ or speaking to Hakadosh Baruch Hu?!”
And I’m scared to hear my own answer.
4 days ago