Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Risk of Prayer

I read an interesting paragraph in an Annie Dillard book.
I admire those eighteenth century Hasids who understood the risk of prayer. Rabbi Uri of Strelisk took sorrowful leave of his household every morning because he was setting off to his prayers. He told his family how to dispose of his manuscripts if praying should kill him. A ritual slaughterer, similarly, every morning bade goodbye to his wife and children and wept as if he would never see them again. His friend asked him why. Because, he answered, when I begin I call out to the Lord. Then I pray, "Have mercy on us." Who knows what the Lord's power will do to me in the moment after I have invoked it and before I beg for mercy?

Dillard, Annie. The Writing Life. New York: Harper Perennial, 1990, p. 8, 9.

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