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The Great Awakenings

The Essence of Contemporary American Religion

Where Will It All End?


By Shlomo Phillips © 1989
(most recent update April 07, 2015)

What a short strange trip human history has been!

It seems like just when we begin to get a handle on life, we start to physically decline and move towards the grave.

Without emuna (i.e. active faith) it all seems so pointless:

Zager And Evans - In The Year 2525

But with emuna we understand that:

Seek HaShem while He may be found;
Call on Him while He is near.

Hitbodedut is the practice of self-seclusion, isolation with HaShem, GOD. During Hitbodedut one communes directly with HaShem in one's own words. This is not time to recite beautiful rote prayers or poetry or even to study Torah. Instead, we come before HaShem as we are, out of sincere hearts, in our own words, in our native language, and we plead for His mercy and instruction. We request His forgiveness and direction, we ask for His loving kindnesses even though in truth it is always with us!

At times of deep prayer we may scream, or whisper, clap our hands, dance, kneel, bow, lie prostrate before Him, sob or exalt... all in His presence as sons and daughters communing with our Father. Just like a child speaking with an understanding and loving parent so too share our hearts with HaShem.

As Rebbe Nachman of Breslov teaches us:

Pray with great strength, putting all your power into the words of your prayers.
You must force yourself to pray. Some people say that a person should not force himself to pray, but the opposite is true. You must force yourself to put all your strength into your prayers.

True devotion is to bind the thought to the word, focusing your mind on the words of the prayers by listening and paying careful attention to what you are saying. This way your inner power will enter your prayers automatically.

All your inner power waits for the moment when it is drawn into words of holiness. When you focus your thoughts on what you are saying, this power rushes forth into the words. Simply pay attention to the words and your inner power will enter your prayers without your having to force it -- Sichot Haran #66

Our sages recommend that we spend at least one hour a day in this sort of prayer. If not an hour, do what you can. "A little is also good" as Rebbe Nachman assures us. The important thing is to invest time with our Heavenly Parent each and every day.

Through Hitbodedut we can enter into the presence of HaShem, increase our faith (emuna) and draw ever closer to Him. Hitbodedut is one of the greatest secrets to living a truly spiritual, meaningful, and happy life.

Prayer helps for everything. Even if a person is unable to study Torah, he will be able to do so if he prays for it. Everything good can be attained through prayer: Torah, devotion, holiness... everything good in all the worlds! Amen -- Likutey Moharan II, 111

Hitbodedut is not hard. You don't need to speak Hebrew, memorize a lot prayers, you don't need a degree in religion... you don't even need to be Jewish! All you need is the desire to draw closer to our Creator. This practice will bless you and thereby bless others! THIS is what life is all about.

Never insist on anything in your prayers. Ask for what you want as a request. If God grants it, He will grant it. And if not, then not!
Regardless of what you need -- livelihood, children or anything else -- it is forbidden to insist stubbornly that God should fulfil exactly what you are asking for, because this is like taking something by force: it is a kind of robbery. Just pray and entreat God for kindness and mercy -- Likutey Moharan I, 20; 196
Clapping one's hands in prayer is an effective way to increase the intensity one brings to Hitbodedut. In this video we discover some of Rebbe Nachman's secrets to successful prayer. We also enjoy the beautiful music of Ani Kodesh ("You are Holy") from the awesome Israeli film Ushpizin:

Watch another wonderful video on Hitbodedut HERE.

Be Still and KNOW HaShem -- Tehillah - Psalm 46:11 (46:10).

ATA KADOSH -- אתה קדוש-- YOU ARE HOLY

ATA KADOSH

Bid'rachim rabot halachnu
lechapes kurtov emet
lo hasasti milin'gos bo
bema'adan hachet
lo matz'anu et atzmeinu
ein od ta'am lekachesh
hatarbut hazot lo lanu
hi belibeinu esh

Va'ani hakatan
hashefel shebein kulam
omed po nir'ad venid'ham
va'ani hakatan
ha'acharon sheba'am
omed po nir'gash venif'am

Ki atah kadosh
veshimcha kadosh
k'doshim kol yom
Yehalelucha selah!

Bakaleh nif'sad hachomer
nschash hachush od mi'shaker
kshe'otzmim et ha'einaim
sof ha'emet lehitba'er.

Vekasheh lit'fos hasechel,
gam hadimyon po me'achzev
aval yesh shalit la'esek
ve'otanu hu ohev

Va'ani hakatan...

YOU ARE HOLY

There are many paths we travel,
To seek a drop of truth.
I didn't hesitate to nibble
At the delicacies of sin.
We couldn't discover
a single taste to ignore.
This culture wasn't for us,
It was a fire in our hearts.

And I am the child,
The least of everything,
I stand here trembling and amazed.
And I am the child,
The last in the nation,
I stand here flustered and thrilled.

Because you are holy
And your name is holy
Holy every day,
You will be praised, selah!

The temporary material is wasted,
The instinct of the snake is to lie,
When I close my eyes,
Finally the truth becomes clear.

It difficult to comprehend common sense,
And imagination is disappointing as well,
But there is a Leader to do the job,
And He loves us.

And I am the child...

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Bibliography and Resources


Be the Blessing you were created to be
And
Don't let the perfect defeat the good


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