We identify with the material, and think we do Hashem a favor: “Thursday night I have a class I attend, and with that, I fulfill my responsibility to study Torah for the week.” This is the opposite of the reality. I have not met anyone who eats a piece of cake Thursday night and says, “I fulfilled my responsibility to eat for the week.” Why? Because he’s hungry! You don’t think about fulfilling your obligation. If the stomach is empty, you need to eat! If we would feel spiritual hunger the way we feel bodily hunger, we would solve the whole problem of life. The problem of life is the identification with the material. People think they have specific problems. One has this problem, another has a different problem. This is all true, but underlying it all is a root problem; namely, that we have the wrong sense of reality.
We’ve been dealing with DSL issues all week. I’ve been on the phone and off the phone for several hours all week. Tonight I was dealing with tech support for about an hour, just to get an internet connection so I could check email and, now, post. All this time and effort just to go online. As I reflect, it’s sort of silly. I did, however, recall the above quote that I read over Shavuos and realized that I am lacking in the efforts to maintain strong ‘connections’ in other areas of my life. For example, understanding Tefillah (prayer). While on hold, I decided that I can easily put as much effort into understanding Tefillah and having a stronger connection to Hashem, as I can to getting my DSL connection. We have several great seforim (books) on Tefillah.
I am not one to wave a flag and shout, “Hey! Look at me and what I’m doing!”, but I write this now only to make a concrete commitment to start spending at least an hour a week looking into what I’m actually saying when I daven (pray). In this way I hope to fullfill part of my obligation.