He’evinu – We have caused perversion. We have corrupted ourselves and others. For example, if we decide a Halacha without knowing the right way, even if we are correct. Or, taking things that are for good and turning them for bad. That’s how Job described He’evinu.
We have complained that our actions haven’t benefited us. We pervert our learning by forgetting our relationship with God. This is one of the most dangerous things in the world. We can do all the mitzvot in the world, and still forget about God. We can have the highest, most passionate, pious experience prayer without really davening to God.
The worst personalities in the Bible — Doez ben Adomi, Menashe, Yeravam ben Nevat – also happened to be the greatest scholars of their generation. Menashe burned every Sefer Torah, but he learned Torah, too. Doez ben Adomi burned an entire city of Cohanim, but he learned Torah, too. He prayed every day. He was a frum as frum can be. Even in Boro Park they’re not as frum as he was. There was a disconnect in their learning, and it corrupted them.
The Zohar asks, how could they be so corrupted, despite their learning? – Because God was absent from their Torah and mitzvot. My friends, be careful about this because it’s so easy to fool yourself that you’re praying to God. God must be a reality. You must know about God. He must be real or else all the davening in the world won’t amount to a hill of beans.
“God created the heavens and the earth.” What does it mean? Or, “God is One.” What does it mean? I can cry out to God, but it doesn’t mean God is there. We need to do spot checks while praying and learning. You must make sure that you’re thinking of God.