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Prayers that Move the Heart

by Yehudis Golshevsky

Reb Noson was truly humble, but nevertheless gave high praise to his own Likutey Tefilot, the book of prayers he composed at Rebbe Nachman’s recommendation. The Rebbe said that nothing gives pleasure to God like taking Torah and turning it into prayer. Reb Noson did this literally, by composing beautiful and inspiring prayers based on each of the Rebbe’s lessons in Likutey Moharan. Reb Noson said, “People say that the famous work of the Shlah Hakadosh – the Shnei Luchot HaBrit – is the entranceway to Gan Eden. Well, Likutey Tefilot is Gan Eden itself!”

Not many know that there was another student of Rebbe Nachman who also tried to compose prayers rooted in the Rebbe’s lessons. When this student reached the third lesson in Likutey Moharan, which speaks about the importance of holy song, he hit a barrier. How should he approach this lesson in prayer? He asked Reb Noson whether he had already written a prayer on this lesson.

“Yes, I have,” Reb Noson replied.

“Can I see it?” the student asked.

“Certainly,” Reb Noson said generously.

When the student saw the prayer, he was amazed. Reb Noson begins the prayer, “Master of the world, Who chooses songs of praise and Who chose David and his descendants…” Reb Noson expands on this theme, leading the reader into the wondrous concepts discussed in the Rebbe’s lesson.

The student appraised the situation honestly. “Now that I see how gracefully you address the major issues in the lesson, I feel like my eyes have been opened,” he said. “I believe the task to make Rebbe Nachman’s lessons into prayers should be left to you. It is your mission, since every detail of the Torah shines so brightly in your prayers.”

Reb Noson would say that many people made it into Gan Eden because they regularly recited his prayers.

Rabbi Yaakov Meir Schechter noticed a certain person who spent an hour or two each day tearfully reciting the prayers in Likutey Tefilot. He discovered that this person was a simple working man who was paid to move heavy objects and goods for people. But when he said these prayers, one could see how powerful their effect was on him. He said them with his whole heart. Gan Eden!


Based on Siach Sarfey Kodesh I:347-348, IV:53-54

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