Monday, May 9, 2011

The Perils of Prayer

I admire those eighteenth-century Hasids who understood the risk of prayer. Rabbi Uri of Strelisk took sorrowful leave of his household every morning because he was setting off to his prayers. He told his family how to dispose of his manuscripts if praying should kill him. A ritual slaughterer, similarly, every morning bade goodbye to wife and children and wept as if he would never see them again. His friend asked him why. Because, he answered, when I begin I call out to the Lord. Then I pray, "Have mercy on us." Who knows what the Lord's power will do to me in that moment after I have invoked it and before I beg for mercy?

Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

1 comment:

Unknown said...

While the practice of living in the knowledge of one's mortality is commendable, the rabbi's explanation does not consider God's nature: "O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is GOOD." There is no need to weep when we are connected with Christ, who promises to take His children home to heaven.