Friday, May 18, 2012

Do You Hear the Cry?

This is a famous story in the Jewish world, and was often retold by Rav Yehuda Amital zt"l as one of the founding educational principles of his yeshiva, and I felt inspired to share it here with you:

The founder of Chabad, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, known as the Ba'al Ha-Tanya, was studying Torah in the end room of a railroad flat.  Two rooms away there was a baby sleeping.  In the middle room, his grandson, the Tzemach Tzedek, was learning.  Suddenly, the Ba'al Ha-tanya, heard the baby cry.  The elder rebbe rose from his studying, passed through the room where his grandson was studying, and went to the next room to soothe the baby to sleep.  Meanwhile, his grandson was too involved in his studies to notice the baby crying.  On returning to his room, the Ba’al Ha-Tanya told his grandson to stop learning.  He proclaimed, “If someone is studying Torah and fails to hear a baby’s cry, there is something very wrong with his learning.” 
I think for teaching tefilla, there is the same standard of application. How do we teach our students this precious lesson?

One way is to really address the power of prayer - not just for the individual, but its effect on other people outside of your personal room. 

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