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Nisan 10

I am prepared and ready to fulfill the positive commandment (Siddur).

The above phrase should be said before the performance of every commandment.

Soldiers must undergo extensive training and frequent drilling. They are put through exercises in various simulations of actual battle, so that they will be ready when the enemy attacks. Obviously, to wait until the attack and then prepare oneself would be suicidal. The preparation must come long before the attack.

People should view the evil inclination as an enemy that is seeking to destroy them. It is a most cunning enemy, with a huge array of tactics and a singlemindedness of purpose. It never tires and has infinite patience, lurking in stealth and waiting for an opportunity to attack. Confronted with such a persistent and formidable foe, a person must be prepared at all times.

We begin this preparation as soon as we awaken, by expressing our gratitude towards God for another day of life. This acknowledgment that God is the source of life leads one to dedicate himself to His service, and this is reinforced many times a day, as one accepts His sovereignty in prayers and blessings. Study of the Torah and performance of the commandments further increase one's capacity to resist the destructive maneuvers of the yetzer hara, for they train the mind and accustom the body in how to think and act.

Today I shall...

try to maintain a state of alertness and preparedness against the attempts of the yetzer hara to mislead me.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

Published: May 21, 2009

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