Preparing Our Prayers: Na'aman III
Continued from an unedited transcript of a shiur: Mrs Naaman goes to her husband, she says, sweetheart, I love you, you support me well, you are a wonderful husband, you are macho, you are big, you are tough, but you know, its kind of gross living with a guy with tzoraas. And this little girl, you know Mrs Naaman is desperate, can you imagine. So she says please just do something. Well Naaman obviously cant go to the prophet of Israel and say you know, listen, I’m the chief of staff of the king of Aram who is ruling over you people and I have tremendous power over you so I want you to heal me, it’s a complex political situation so obviously before Naaman can go to the Navi he has to ask permission from his king.
So we continue in verse 4, ‘so Naaman went and told his master, the king of Aram, saying, such and such spoke the girl from the land of Israel,’ that’s it, he doesn’t say please allow me to go, he simply states what it was the girl said.
He wants the king to make the decision because he doesn’t want to go first, he doesn’t want to even suggest to the king that he would do it, because he doesn’t want the king to be nervous. So he simply raises the issue and places it in front of the king for the king to decide. Correct?
I think it’s a politically astute move. Ok is there anything we can learn from that about how to daven?
Think about it. We don’t always know what the right solution is to a situation, to a problem. We definitely don’t know what to daven for, because we may be davening for one thing and Hashem may know that something else is better for us. We can trip ourselves up with out davening.
Rabbi Soloveitchik used to say that he was always scared of davening for a long life because he was worried what would happen if G-d granted his prayer for a long life but the last ten years of his life he didn’t have access to his mind. He used to say this all the time. And in fact what happened to Rabbi Soloveitchik was that he lived a long life but for the last ten years of his life he couldn’t access his mind. So we may daven for something but we may not know exactly how to daven for it.
The medrash gives an example of a man who davened to Hashem, he was walking through the hot desert and he was exhausted, he was tired, he was thirsty, and he looks up to Hashem and he says ‘Hashem please give me a donkey to ride’ and just then a Roman with a horse and a bunch of donkeys rides up to the Jew and he says to the Jew what are you doing and he says I am walking through the desert, he says I am tired, I am thirsty, so the Roman says ok, take one of my donkeys and give it a ride. So the Jew looks up to Hashem and he says, Hashem, when I said a donkey to ride I meant for me to ride the donkey not for the donkey to ride me. He wasn’t specific enough in his tefilla. So it’s a scary thing to daven. It’s a scary thing. We may be davening for that Lamborghini but you know Hashem, Lamborghini may not offer us a protection on the streets of Los Angeles, definitely not in New York. So how does one learn to present ones tefillos to Hashem from Naaman’s approaching the king. Say to Hashem, such and such is the issue I’m dealing with, help me.
Or such and such is the decision I must make, just say it. And the passuk in Mishlei says leAdam Mearchei Leiv – the person simply lays out the issues that are in the person’s heart umeHashem Maane Lashon, and Hashem will guide the person in how to articulate it the proper way.
So our agenda in preparing for davening is not specific our agenda in preparing for davening is simply to know what the issues about which we want to daven are. Once we know those issues, we just have to say Hashem such and such the girl said to me, such and such are the issues I must deal with.
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