The Opportunity of a Lifetime

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Rabbi David Ashear

Imagine if somebody arranged a meeting with one of the most powerful and influential people in the world, giving us the opportunity to sit with that person and discuss anything we want for thirty minutes. How much money would such a meeting be worth to us?

To give us an idea of how much value people ascribe to such meetings, Rabbi Eisenman noted that on May 14, 2013, a bidding auction was held, and one of the prizes was having a cup of coffee with the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, who was ranked by Forbes magazine as the 19th most powerful man in the world. An anonymous bidder paid $610,000 for this privilege. Imagine – somebody paid over $600,000 to have a brief chat with another human being! This bidder likely hoped to improve his financial standings through this meeting. But imagine someone had a life-threatening medical condition that only the best physician in the world is able to treat. How much would the patient be willing to pay to have a meeting with that doctor? Imagine a country was bracing for war, and there was someone with a secret that could guaranteed them a swift, resounding victory. How much would the leaders be willing to pay to enlist that person’s help?

We are so fortunate that we can meet with the most powerful Being in the universe, the One Who creates cures that aren’t even yet in existence; Who is the Mater of Wars; and Who is capable of rescuing any person from any situation.

We can speak to Hashem at any time on any day. And not only do we not have to pay any money for the meeting, Hashem so desires that we speak to Him that He even rewards us when we call out to Him. Whenever a Jew has a problem and cries out to Hashem – he is credited with fulfilling an affirmative Torah command – the value is priceless. The person earns his reward for all eternity. And thus, every single “meeting” with Hashem is guaranteed success, regardless of whether we see the outcome we requested.

The Midrash Rabbah (Parashat Devarim) comments that sometimes Hashem wants to hear numerous tefillot from us before granting our request, because sincere, heartfelt prayer is so valuable and beneficial. But we must realize that the closer we get to completing all the prayers wanted from us, the more the evil inclination tries to dissuade us from praying. Our evil inclination puts in our minds thoughts like, Why should I bother praying again? I’ve been asking and asking, and nothing happened! The harder it gets to continue praying, the closer we are to being answered. And every tefillah we recite brings us immense benefit, if not today, then tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, then maybe in a year from now.

A grandson of the Steipler Gaon once informed his grandfather that he was on his way to the Kotel. The renowned Sage asked, “Please mention my name in your prayer.”

The grandson was astonished. “What? I have to mention you to Hashem? You are so much closer to Hashem than I am!”

“Please listen carefully,” the great Gaon said. “No prayer ever goes unanswered.”

It’s a fact of Creation. Every single word of prayer that leaves the mouth of a Jew accomplishes something – maybe not now or tomorrow, and maybe only in ten days or in a hundred years. But results are always effected.

We must take advantage of this priceless opportunity that is available to us at all times. We must never underestimate the power of tefillah. And we must pray, pray some more, and then pray again. Success is guaranteed.