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Advice for the Tongue Tied

By Tzvi Fishman
1/21/2011, 12:00 AM

This Shabbat, we read about the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. We’ve mentioned that during these weeks of “Shovavim,” we rise from the 49th degree of impurity in Egypt to the 49th degree of purity, and the transcendental summit of the “Gate of Kedusha,” with the acceptance of the Torah.

This is the level of sexual purity, known as “Shmirat HaBrit.” If you haven’t already started, the final three weeks of “Shovavim” is the best time to pour out your souls to G-d, asking for His forgiveness over all of the holy energy, and holy life force, and holy souls, which we have squandered through our sexual wrongdoing.


Some people find it difficult to pour out their hearts to Hashem, as if their heart is like stone, preventing them from crying and expressing their remorse. One of the foundations of Rabbi Nachman’s teachings is the importance of “Hitbodedut” in serving G-d. The essence of Hitbodedut is pouring one’s heart out in personal prayer before one’s Maker. Rabbi Nachman emphasizes that this practice should be practiced in seclusion, and that it is especially effective when conducted outdoors in a field or a forest. In his books, “Likutei Tefillot,” and “Torot and Tefillot,” Rabbi Nachman’s devoted student, Rabbi Natan, presents many examples that can help every Jew rise to more fervent outpourings of the heart. Here is one such example which may help release all of the pain and yearning for G-d that is bottled up inside your heart:

“Please, most honored and awe-inspiring G-d, honored King, You who created the entire world for Your blessed honor, as is written, ‘Everything I created and formed and made, for my Name and My honor I created,’ help me in Your great compassion, that I merit to increase and elevate your praise and honor.

“Help me to nullify myself completely before You, and to diminish my own honor, that my own honor be as if void and non-existent. Help me that I do not raise myself up to declare my own honor in any way, but rather that I only endeavor to enhance the honor due You, and that all of my doings and thoughts and desires be directed exclusively to Your great and blessed honor alone.

“Assist me in your great mercy to shatter and remove all feelings of arrogant self-pride from my heart, that there shouldn’t rise in my heart any trace of conceit at all, and that I merit to achieve true humility. Give me the intelligence and wisdom so that I can find the way to true humility, and to flee from false humility, from humility which is really to win honor from others. Please help me in Your great mercy and kindness that I merit to attain true and absolute humility.

“Please, G-d, in Your infinite mercy, have mercy on Your creation, and open my mouth in prayer that I be able to pour forth my speech before You in a manner that awakens Your mercy to extend over me, that You have compassion on me this very moment and that You aid me to sanctify and purify myself in the holiness of the Brit, that I may be saved from this moment onward from every transgression against the Brit in the world.

“And for all of the blemishes in which I blemished the holy Brit until now, please forgive me, please forgive me and cleanse me in Your towering mercy and kindness, in everything that I blemished by my thoughts, and my speech, and my deeds, by looking at forbidden things, and hearing unholy matters, smelling unholy smells, and in all of my feelings, whether intentionally or unintentionally, whether willfully or unwillfully. In every way that I blemished the Brit, please forgive me and have compassion on me, and shatter, and weaken, and subdue, and nullify all of the ropes and knots and chains binding me to the Sitra Achra (Other Side), which were strengthened because of my numerous sins, which overcome me at every moment and seek to pull me from sin to sin, and not allow me to purify myself as I should, keeping me far from guarding the Brit in true holiness, as a Jew should, a son of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaacov, whom You chose.

“Master of the World, may it be Thy will that all of my transgressions be transformed into merit through my t’shuva, even though I have not even begun to return in true repentance. Even so, grant me the gift of Your forgiveness as a gratuitous gift, and have mercy on me in Your great mercy, and rescue me from the trials and tribulations that pursue me at every moment.

“And even if I myself am my worst enemy, for indeed I have free choice, and no one can force me to stray from the true path, and I confess that I am guilty, and that I myself am responsible for my transgressions, but what can I do for I am weak, and I don’t know how to escape from my pursuers, nor how to overcome all of the lusts and evil fantasies that overwhelm me at every moment. I have no hope if not for Your infinite compassion, that You help me and grant me the strength to overcome all of the lusts and fantasies, to subdue them and cast them into the dust, to shatter them and expel them from my mind, from this moment and forever after, that absolutely no evil fantasy enter my mind or thoughts at all, rather that my mind and thoughts be holy and pure at all times to the utmost measure of sanctity.

“And help me in Your great mercy to purify and sanctify myself, that I be able to sanctify myself in things that are permitted to me, and that I merit to add more and more holiness to my life until I achieve true holiness and separation from all evil things, that through me all the worlds be unified... may it be Thy will, amen.”

(Abridged from, “Torot and Tefillot,” Tefillah L’Torah, 11)