Staying Focused While Living in Age of Distraction
1 א

רבי פרידא הוה ליה ההוא תלמידא דהוה תני ליה ארבע מאה זימני וגמר יומא חד בעיוה למלתא דמצוה תנא ליה ולא גמר א"ל האידנא מאי שנא א"ל מדההיא שעתא דא"ל למר איכא מילתא דמצוה אסחאי לדעתאי וכל שעתא אמינא השתא קאי מר השתא קאי מר א"ל הב דעתיך ואתני ליך הדר תנא ליה ד' מאה זימני [אחריני] נפקא בת קלא וא"ל ניחא ליך דליספו לך ד' מאה שני או דתיזכו את ודרך לעלמא דאתי אמר דניזכו אנא ודריי לעלמא דאתי אמר להן הקב"ה תנו לו זו וזו

Rav Preida once had a student that had to be taught something 400 times before he could understand it.

One day, the Rebbe was asked to do a mitzvah, and the student failed to learn the lesson.

“Why is it different today than all other days?” he asked his student.

“Because,” he answered, “from the moment the master was asked to do the mitzvah I was distracted, thinking to myself, ‘Soon the master will have to get up . . . Soon the master will have to get up . . .'"

Rav Preida said, “If that is so, let me teach the lesson to you again.” He then repeated the teaching another 400 times, and because of this a heavenly voice called out to Rav Preida, “Which reward do you want? Either you can live a long life, or you and your generation can merit The World-to-Come?”

He answered, “I request that I and my generation merit The World-to-Come.” To this God responded, “Give him both rewards!

2 ב

(ז) רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר אִישׁ בַּרְתּוֹתָא אוֹמֵר, תֶּן לוֹ מִשֶּׁלּוֹ, שֶׁאַתָּה וְשֶׁלְּךָ שֶׁלּוֹ. וְכֵן בְּדָוִד הוּא אוֹמֵר (דברי הימים א כט) כִּי מִמְּךָ הַכֹּל וּמִיָּדְךָ נָתַנּוּ לָךְ. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, הַמְהַלֵּךְ בַּדֶּרֶךְ וְשׁוֹנֶה, וּמַפְסִיק מִמִּשְׁנָתוֹ וְאוֹמֵר, מַה נָּאֶה אִילָן זֶה וּמַה נָּאֶה נִיר זֶה, מַעֲלֶה עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב כְּאִלּוּ מִתְחַיֵּב בְּנַפְשׁוֹ:

(7) Rabbi Elazar, man of Bartuta, says: Give Him from what is His, for you and yours are His, and thus with David it says, "For all comes from You, and from Your hand we have given to You" (I Chronicles 29:14). Rabbi Shimon says: He who is walking on the way and repeating his studies, and interrupts his studies and says, "How lovely is this tree! And how lovely is this newly plowed field!" - Scripture considers him as if he is liable for [forfeiture of] his life.

3 ג

(ז) מה נאה אילן זה מה נאה ניר זה הוא הדין לכל שיחה בטלה, אלא שדבר בהווה שדרך הולכי דרכים לדבר במה שרואים בעיניהם.

ויש אומרים, דאשמועינן רבותא דאע''ג דעל ידי כן הוא מברך ברוך שככה לו בעולמו, אעפ''כ מעלין עליו כאילו מתחייב בנפשו, מפני שהפסיק ממשנתו:

(7) "'How lovely is this tree! And how lovely is this newly plowed field'": This is true of all idle talk, but it is is speaking according to what is common; as it is the way of wayfarers to speak about what they see with their eyes.

And some say that it comes to make us understand a new idea- that even though s/he will make the blessing, 'Blessed is God, Who it is like this in His world;' nonetheless, Scripture considers it as if s/he was liable for his or her life, because s/he interrupted his or her study.

4 ד

(כג) המפסיק ממשנתו ואומר, מה נאה אילן זה הרי זה מתחיב בנפשו ומאכילים אותו גחלי רתמים (אבות ג ז). וכתב בספר החסידים (סימן תתקמ''ד), שהלומד ובאמצע למודו מפסיק לדבר דברים בטלים או מסתכל בנשים, נענש גם על הלמוד. וחבל על דמשתכחין שאינם נזהרים בזה ונמצא שיורשים תרתי גיהנם, רחמנא לצלן. לכן צריך לזהר הרבה. ובפרט אם אמר קדם הלמוד, לשם יחוד קדשא בריך הוא ושכינתה, שאם אינו נזהר הוא נרגן מפריד אלוף. ואם יצטרך לדבר יסגר הספר כאלו סים למודו ואחר כך חוזר ללמד מחדש, אולי בזה תהוי ארכא ונקה:

The Sefer HaChasidim (Section 944) wrote that a person, who interrupts his learning and speaks idle chatter or looks at women, is punished for his learning as well. It is a pity that there are people who are not careful in this matter and will inherit two Gehinoms, Heaven save us. Therefore, a person must be very careful! Especially if he said before his learning, “For the sake of the unity of the Holy One Blessed Be He and His Presence…”, his carelessness will be like a powerful axe that separates [rather than unites]. If he needs to talk, he should close the book, as if he finished his learning, and afterwards start learning again. Perhaps, by doing this, it will be a remedy and he will be untainted by sin...

5ה

ברוך אתה ה' אלהינו מלך העולם, שככה לו בעולמו.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, shekacha lo beolamo

Blessing for Wonders of Nature

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has such [beauty] in his universe.

6 ו

(ב) הַשָּׁמַיִם מְסַפְּרִים כְּבוֹד אֵל וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדָיו מַגִּיד הָרָקִיעַ.

(2) The heavens declare the glory of God, and the land speaks of His handiwork.

7 ז
(ו) בְּכָל־דְּרָכֶ֥יךָ דָעֵ֑הוּ וְ֝ה֗וּא יְיַשֵּׁ֥ר אֹֽרְחֹתֶֽיךָ׃

(6) In all your paths know Him, And He will make your paths smooth.

8ח
עברית

Rav Kook, Musar Avicha 2:2

"In all your paths know Him..."

A person has to seek God inside all of the paths in which a person walks. For example, when a person is davenning, then what he should be asking God for is understand regarding his prayer and serious intention in the belief of his heart exclusively in the matter of his prayer. And a person should not seek knowledge at that time regarding other things since he is involved in this service, that God is present at his side in this service specifically and it is in this work that he will find God and not in any other place... And when a person is involved in some matter of completion – whether by thought or by deed – he must rejoice in his lot and not then pursue a different matter, because the entire world is then folded before him precisely in this detail…”