01 Apr Tefillah Notes-Friday Night-Shabbat HaGadol 3-31-96
The Chiddushei HaRim says in the name of the Ari HaKadosh that each Shabbat we regain the Crowns of Na’aseh v’Nishma. This means that we have the opportunity to study Torah with God as our chavruta, “Panim el Panim.” If so, asks the Chidushei HaRim, why don’t we experience it? Either because we don’t want, or we don’t feel pain over its absence during the week, or we don’t expect it.
I thought that perhaps the Kavanot that we find in the siddur before performing certain mitzvoth are not just to prepare our minds to fulfill the mitzvah with the proper intentions, but to allow us to create expectations that the mitzvah will be great, we will experience the most wonderful tefillin of our lives, the most powerful shabbat, the greatest tefillah.
Then I began to think that Shabbat HaGadol was, and therefore is, a time of expectation of a redemption soon to come. So I began to expect the greatest Shabbat meal of my life. But, I was overwhelmed by the thought: would I be up to it? would my yetzer harah ruin it? would I do things correctly? Would I be too tired? My expectations left, one, two, three!
I realized that by allowing those feelings, I was saying in essence that the power of the mitzvah was dependent on me, not acknowledging the power of the mitzvah itself. Expectations mean a belief in the power of the mitzvah and its ability to affect us and change us.