The Rav said tonight that one of the benefits of golus, of having to move from place to place, is that sometimes we get into a rut when we stay in the same place. So why is it that we are told to pick one place to daven in and not move from place to place?
That’s a good question. Every time we should change seats. We could even find new shuls to daven in all the time.
And the answer is, there are certain benefits that we cannot sacrifice and one of them is called הקובע מקום לתפילתו – to set for yourself a certain place to pray. The Gemara (Brachos 6b) says כל הקובע מקום לתפילתו – If you make sure to pray only in one place, אלקי אברהם בעזרו – the G-d of Avrohom is going to help him.
And the idea is this: When you pray in one place you invest efforts in that place. You’re putting certain thoughts and certain ideals into that place and the next time you come, you pick up the idealism that you left on the bench and you start from where you left off — a familiar place tends to give you all the old attitudes that were acquired there. If you daven properly in a place, in a place where you invested efforts, so it’s easier for you the next day to continue where you left off. But if you have to start in a new place, it’s much more difficult.
That’s why it’s a big mistake when people put on their tallis Shabbos morning and they go out looking for different places to daven; these voyagers are looking for adventures in some other shul. A lot of people every Shabbos morning, they’re out traveling to look for a new shul. What do they do there in the new place? They’re busy looking at the faces. Instead of praying to Hashem, they’re looking at the new faces. You came to the synagogue look at faces?! That’s why if you can, you should stand near a wall and avoid looking at faces; look at the wall and think of Hashem.
If you’re in the same place, it’s easier to avoid distraction. In a new place with new people, you’re looking at them. Sometimes this man shoves you too; you don’t know where to stand and sometimes you get shoved. In the place where you’re accustomed, it’s easy to keep your kavanah.
So although golus is a worthy purpose, still we’re here to pray now. We’re not here to praveh golus; we’re here to pray. And that’s why you have to pray in the same place and get into a good rut. A good rut! There’s nothing better than a good rut!
TAPE # 271 (July 1979)