Kitzur Tefilat Amecha #8

[adapted by Rabbi Shmuel Jablon from Rav Aviner's three-volume commentary on the siddur "Tefilat Amecha"]

In Birkot Ha-Shachar we bless Hashem: "Who has not made me a slave." Slaves have no control over their time. We are fortunate that we do have control over our time, and can use it to serve Hashem. Often slaves have no control over their own minds. Sometimes today when people cannot think for themselves, they are like slaves. If they have to do what everyone else does to “be cool” or “fit in,” that means they cannot think for themselves. They’ve become a slave to the group, to peer pressure or to society. But as Jews were want only to be servants of Hashem.

From Rosh Chodesh Elul through Hoshana Rabba we add the Psalm "Le-David Hashem Ori ve-Yishi - Hashem is my Light and Savior - at the end of davening. King David wrote this in reference to everything that could have caused him fear. With Hashem as his protector, there was truly no need to fear any of his enemies. In this Psalm, there is what may be the most important verse in all of Tehillim. "There is one thing I ask of Hashem, one request I shall have, to dwell in the House of Hashem all of the days of my life…”
Do we really only ask one thing of Hashem? We ask so many things. But they all come down to one central request. We wish to be close to Hashem. This means we want to recognize Him, understand Him as best as we can and to do what Hashem wants. Everything else that we ask for is to be able to accomplish the goal of being close to Hashem.
At the end of the Psalm we say, “Trust in Hashem. Make your heart strong and brave and trust in Hashem.” Rashi explains that we trust in Hashem when we pray. And when we don’t seem to get what we requested, we continue to trust in Hashem. We don’t always seem to get what we want when we want it. Hashem has his own time schedule. But when we are close to Hashem and when we trust Him, we truly have nothing to fear.