The Wisdom Of The Talmud (Brachos 32b)

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Once, a pious Jewish man was praying by the side of the road.  A non-Jewish royal minister passed and greeted the man. However, the man, who was immersed in prayer, did not respond to the minister. The minister waited for him to complete his prayer and then proclaimed, “You fool! Doesn’t it say in your Torah,Just protect your soul…’  How dare you not return my greeting! What is to stop me from cutting off your head?”
 
Please give me a minute to explain,” said the Jewish man. “Imagine that you were speaking to the king. As you are standing before the king, your friend passes by and greets you. Tell me, would you respond?
 
Certainly not,” answered the minister. “And if you would respond what would happen?” asked the Jewish man. “They would behead me with a sword,” replied the minister.
 
We can draw the following logical conclusion from your own words,” asserted the Jewish man. “If you conduct yourself in this manner when conversing with an earthly king, who is here today and gone tomorrow; how much more so is it correct for me not to respond to a greeting, when praying before the King of Kings, the Holy One, Who is everlasting.”  The minister immediately accepted the import of the Jewish man’s words and sent him home in peace.
 
Throughout the ages, the belief in G-d, the Creator of Heaven and earth, has been the incontrovertible cornerstone of our faith. In the face of every conceivable threat, the people of Israel have loyally upheld their faith. Even more, our faith in HaShem endures despite the unspeakable persecutions that we have suffered throughout our  exile.
 
What makes us so steadfast in our conviction? Our sages of  Mussar reveal that our deep-seated faith issues from a “Prophetic spirit” that rests in the heart of every Jewish person. Meaning, HaShem, in His compassion, has bestowed upon  us the most precious gift – He has indelibly etched pure and lasting faith into our souls.  
 
May our phenomenal ‘gift of faith,’ awaken the merit for us to experience an immediate and miraculous redemption.
 
Today: When you pray, remember that you are standing in front of the Eternal One, the King of Kings.

Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and the Salant Foundation

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