The Sixties Radical Azriel


We can cloak ourselves with G-d’s protection when we study Torah. By studying and doing G-d’s word we have the strength to defeat the flood of life’s worries and concerns that befalls one on a daily basis. To paraphrase my teacher Pastor Steve Gray Yes I can have fear. This is only natural yet there is a line that cannot be crossed. When I start to act like I don’t have the G-d of my father’s Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya’akov. When I act like I am an orphan. When I act like there is no word of G-d. When to act like the rest of the world. This is the line for me and my family will not cross.

G-d has protected me all my life. Father Jack and father George always told me you Azriel are the most blessed man I have ever known. This is true. I need to etch this in my mind when things go haywire.

“G‑d told Noah to build an ark in order that he, his family, and representatives of all forms of animal life survive the Flood.

G‑d said to Noah, “Come into the ark.” Genesis 7:1                                                  

Metaphorically, our personal “arks” are our periods of Torah study and prayer. Just as Noah and his family were protected by the ark from the flood that raged outside it, we can “enter” the worlds of Torah study and prayer in order to be protected from the “flood” of worldly concerns that threatens to inundate us.

It is particularly helpful to immerse ourselves in prayer first thing in the morning. When we confront the world anew each morning, it and everything in it can seem to exist self-sufficiently, as if in no need of G‑d. The morning prayers help us recognize that the world could not exist on its own, and that its purpose is to be made into G‑d’s natural home.

Beginning our day this way helps us to consciously avoid activities that do not further this goal, taking care instead to use every moment as an opportunity to fulfill it. Thus prepared, we can engage in worldly pursuits without fear that they will turn into “raging waters” that overwhelm us with anxiety, stress, and distractions.1 Likutei Sichot, vol. 1, pp. 6–8.