Day 38 of the Omer

רֵאשִׁית הַיְרִידָה, רַחֲמָנָא לִצְלַן, הוּא הֶעְדֵּר הָעֲבוֹדָה בִּתְפִלָּה, עֶס וועֶרט אַלץ טְרוּקעֶן אוּן קאַלט, דִי מִצְוַת אֲנָשִׁים מְלוּמָּדָה וועֶרט שׁוֹין אוֹיךְ שְׁוועֶר, מעֶן אַיילט, מעֶן וועֶרט אָן דעֶם געֶשְׁמאַק אִין תּוֹרָה, וְהָאֲוִיר מִתְגַּשֵּׁם, וּמוּבָן הַדָּבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ שַׁיָּךְ כְּלָל לִפְעוֹל עַל הַזּוּלַת.

The first stage in a person’s spiritual decline (Heaven forbid) is a lack of effort when serving G‑d in prayer. Everything becomes parched and cold. Even the routine performance of mitzvos1 becomes burdensome. One hurries [through their observance] and loses a taste for Torah study. The very atmosphere becomes more materially oriented. And it goes without saying that a person in such a state cannot positively influence others at all.2

Living as a Chassid

The Rebbe once posed a question: Two people are heading toward their goals. One is close to his objective, but has stalled and cannot advance. The other is still far away, but proceeds forward steadily. Which one will reach his goal first?

The answer is obvious. Though the second individual must travel a greater distance, he will reach his goal first because he keeps moving forward.

Frigidity in prayer is an early sign that a person’s progress has stalled. Prayer is a unique time of communion with G‑d, and only after coming to feel the preciousness of such moments will one be able to advance spiritually. This is why chassidim make a point of preparing themselves for prayer, especially before the morning prayers, by first studying and mulling over a little Chassidus.