Going in circles together
The other day I was praying and I said, “Hashem, help me pray to you. Help me say the words I need to say”. Although I was freestylin’, I realized these are similar to the words from Psalms that we say everyday in the Amida prayer, “אֲדֹנָי שְׂפָתַי תִּפְתָּח וּפִי יַגִּיד תְּהִלָּתֶךָ” (My Master open my lips, and my mouth will speak your praises).
It got me thinking: Here I am, asking Hashem to help me find the words to pray to Him, so that He could answer my prayers with whatever I’m asking for. So in essence, it would be like Hashem putting words of prayer in my mouth, so that He can hear those words (really His words) and give me what I requested.
One could ask, why? Why do we even need to ask if it’s His words? It’s like He’s asking Himself? But I don’t want to go there now. Not for this article.
Let’s strengthen the question.
In Hishtapchus Hanefesh 93, (a collection of excerpts from the writings of Rebbe Nachman and Reb Nosson), the author asks as follows: How can one ask Hashem to draw him close to the service of God, when the Talmud (Berachos 33b) says that “Everything is in the hands of Heaven except for Fear of Heaven”?
The answer, he says, is that the essence of our free choice – namely to fear Heaven – is choosing to pray (a lot) for help to fear Heaven. The Talmud says (Kiddushin 30b) that “Every day the evil one over-powers us, and if Hashem doesn’t help us, we would fall prey to his evil”. We can’t do it alone. We need Hashem to help us. Yes, we have free choice, but that’s just a choice to ask Him for His help. When we do, He’s fighting the battle.
Take it one step further, when we ask Hashem to put the words in our mouths. Not only are we not fighting the battle, not only are we not praying with our own words to Hashem, but we’re asking Hashem to put the words in our mouth, so He can hear our prayers and fight the battles for us. Instead of feeling small, and asking why does He go through all the hassle, think about the following: Hashem wants our success so much that He is willing to do (almost) anything to bring it about. Yes it’s kind of a circle, going from Him to Himself, but He wants our minimal involvement. So what that we’re not hitting the home-run, and we’re just giving the batter his bat. So what? He wants us to give him His bat. Give it to him. Give him the bat! Let him knock it out of the park. Even the bat boy celebrates the game winner.