Why do you daven without any big noises and without any shaking?
And the answer is, I was in Slabodka and I looked at my rebbehs. My rebbehs, when they davened they stood still like trees. They were kulo machshava, they were all thought. Now, I’m not that, but I want to imitate them at least. And they were kulo machshava, they were thinking.
I told you a story about Rav Yisroel Salanter when he once came to Varsha (Warsaw) to visit the Gerrer Rebbi. He visited the Gerrer Rebbi and when he was finished, the Gerrer Rebbi accompanied him down to the street door. It was a chiddush! All of Warsaw knew that the Gerrer Rebbi had accompanied a litvack down to the street door. So a mob of Gerrer chassidim came to see this big tzadik. And they were following him in the street. If the Rebbi went down to the street door for him, he must be somebody!
They followed him till he came to a beis haknesses to daven Mincha. Oh, now we’re going to see a performance – we’re going to see a tzadik davening! Did you ever see a tzadik davening? I one time saw a tzadik davening – he was jumping up and down. Up and down! Jumping up and down with hislahavus, with a fire of ahavas Hashem.
But Rav Yisroel stood still and didn’t move as he davened. And they were so terribly disappointed. Terribly disappointed! But there was one person who was standing near him, watching him, and he was watching his forehead. And the veins on his head were swollen, they were pulsating. His mind was working very hard; avodah sh’bileiv. That’s what tefilah is called, service of the mind. That’s how my rebbehs davened, with their minds.
TAPE # E-39 (December 1995)