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Shabbat Parashat Vayechi | 5771

Ein Ayah: Praying Near Windows

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 5:124)

Gemara: Rabbi Chiya bar Abba said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: A person should pray only in a house that has windows, as the pasuk says, “And there were windows opened in the attic opposite Yerushalayim” (Daniel 6:11). 
Ein Ayah: It is true that prayer is a service of Hashem that impacts internally on the spirit of a person. However, there is a condition for prayer to have its full impact on the one who prays, and that is that he is fully aware of the value of the outside world. In that way, he will effectively improve both himself and others around him. In contrast, one whose personal service of Hashem makes him separate himself from the world around him will not be improved to the desired degree by the prayer. This is because prayer is supposed to give him the energy to be ready to act in the spirit of and be affected by the justice and straightness of the spirit of Hashem that arouses him.
That is why one should pray in a house where there are windows, so that the ability to look outside reminds him of his obligation to the whole world in which he lives. However, one is supposed to make use of the external world in the context of the true good fortune, which is general peace and true knowledge, and these are engendered in Yerushalayim, from where Torah goes out to the world. That is why Daniel wrote about the window open in the direction of Yerushalayim.
Not Spelling Out One’s Sins
(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 5:127)
Gemara: Rav Kahana said: Someone who spells out his sins is displaying chutzpa, in my view, as the pasuk says: “Praiseworthy is one whose iniquity is forgiven, who covers up sin” (Tehillim 32:1).  
Ein Ayah:A person should recognize that true shleimut (completeness), upon which the complete guidance of the Torah is founded, is beyond any type of speech. So too, the damage caused by sin is beyond description in speech. This problem applies to one who thinks that he can orally express all of the negativity that should come along with the thought of the shame of sin. If he thinks he has sufficed by mentioning that which he did wrong, he is clearly showing chutzpa. Rather he should realize that the destructiveness of sin is beyond description, similar to the fact [which we have seen in the past] that Hashem’s greatness cannot be captured in words. Only [by withholding words] can he recognize the grandeur of the true goodness, and his repentance can be complete in love and humility of the heart.
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Hemdat Yamim
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