Moses once met a man lost in prayer, whose prayer sounded so absurd to Moses’ ears that he felt compelled to stop and listen. The man was saying:
“Let me come closer to you, dear God, and I promise you that when you are dirty I will clean your body. When you have lice, I will remove them. I am also a good shoemaker, and I will make the best shoes for you. Nobody takes care of you, dear God…, I will take care of you. When you are sick, I will serve you and bring you medicine. And I am also a good cook”.
Moses shouted at the man: “Stop this nonsense immediately! What are you talking about? That God has lice on his body? That he is dirty and that you need to clean him? And that you want to be his cook? Where on earth did you learn this prayer?”.
The man replied: “I did not learn it anywhere. I am a very simple and uneducated man, and I know that I don’t have the knowledge to pray. I made this prayer up myself … and the things I talk about in my prayer are the things I know. I suffer from lice, so I assume God suffers from them too. And sometimes the food I eat is not very good and I have a stomach ache. These are my experiences and I filled my prayer with them, but if you know the right way to pray, please do teach me.”
And so Moses taught the man the right way to pray. The man bowed down in front of Moses and thanked him with tears of pure gratefulness. Moses was happy, thinking he had done a good deed.
It was at that moment that he heard God’s voice: “I sent you to bring the people closer to me. This ‘right prayer’ you have taught this man is no prayer at all, because praying has nothing to do with laws, praying is love. Love in itself is a law, and does not require any other law.”
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