Raising a Prayer
Here The Zohar speaks about the prayer, which every man offers his Creator (Veyikahel, pp. 32-52). This inner action of man constitutes his greatest and most valuable work in his efforts for the Creator’s sake.
The Creator made man at the farthest, completely opposite spiritual level to His: with only the egoistic will to enjoy. And since man has no other properties-desires but the egoistic will to receive pleasure, not only is he unable to change himself, he cannot even wish for the desire to change.
We can change only under the influence of the Creator’s Light, by receiving His properties from Him. Hence our only task is to cultivate a desire to change. As soon as this true desire appears within man, the Creator will immediately give him the strength needed for its realization. So the problem is not how to realize a prayer; it is, rather, how to attain it, how to formulate one’s request for the strength to become like the Creator!
A prayer is a sensation, a desire in one’s heart. Man does not realize it completely and cannot describe it, for the sensation in one’s heart is not subject to any control and conscious correction – it cannot be “created” by one’s own will. The sensations in one’s heart constitute the consequence of man’s mental and spiritual condition, the result of the current degree of his spiritual development.
Thus, the desire to change is also in the Creator’s hands. However, He gave us the opportunity to stimulate this process and to determine our own spiritual advancement:
He allows Kabbalists to write books, and when we read them, we develop the desire to draw closer to Him;
He allows some of the true Kabbalists to be revealed to a wide circle of those who desire spiritual development;
Indiscernibly, He transforms our desires (modifies our souls) so we suddenly take an interest in spirituality;
He changes our desires with regard to this world, helping us realize its insignificance and transience through sensations of disappointment and suffering.
By creating man a worthless egoist, i.e., by making a worthless creation that is seemingly so unbefitting Him, the Creator allowed man to create himself and elevate himself to an equal degree to that of the Creator Himself – to attain His level of perfection. Thus, the Creator reveals the perfection of His creation: although He created man a worthless creature, He thereby enables him to make a “Creator” of himself (in his properties).
Man cannot claim that although he is created with only one desire, he is unable to induce the reception of an altruistic desire instead of his natural, egoistic one. The Torah, Kabbalah, teachers, and suffering are all prepared to accelerate his advancement toward the goal of creation by the path of the Torah, or otherwise, the path of suffering.
However, the path of suffering is not only undesirable for man, whose life on earth makes him feel as though he is caught between the millstones of a tirelessly revolving mill. Ruthlessly and methodically, it pulverizes him both mentally and physically, to the very last day of his life. But this painful path is equally undesirable in the eyes of the Creator. After all, His goal is to delight man, which is in accord with the path of the Torah – a quick and painless way to transform our desires from egoistic into altruistic.
Since only the Creator can accomplish this (and He will, either painfully or painlessly, in accord with our conscious request), the development of such a request toward Him is all that man must do in his life. It is hence written: “Let him pray all day long!” Yet, we now understand that this phrase does not speak of sitting over a prayer-book, but refers to man’s inner work on himself.
There are various forms of work that man must do in action, with his body, as in the case of physically observing the Mitzvot (commandments). And then there is man’s inner, most important work, when observance of the Mitzvot depends on the words and desires of the heart.
Never does Kabbalah allude to or even mention our physical body, for it is no different from the body of an animal – it is born, functions, and dies as an animal. And all the various forms of work that the body performs are mere mechanical actions utterly unconnected to man’s inner intention, and can even be outright opposite to it.
Therefore, the body’s actions are completely disregarded in Kabbalah. Instead, man’s desire is taken into account and is regarded as an action. In itself, when stripped off the physical body (in which it presently exists), it constitutes man’s inner spiritual action.
The spiritual world is a world of incorporeal desires that have no volume, size, movement, or time. Just as in our imagination, where our desires are fulfilled instantly by the power of thought, everything in the spiritual world is determined only by our desires-thoughts, and not by physical actions.
Nevertheless, since in this world we temporarily exist in a physiological body, our task is to observe the Creator’s Mitzvot both physically (with our body) and spiritually. Physically, we can observe them, as a person usually does – because of his upbringing or for a reward in this world (money, health, luck, peace, and so forth) or in the world to come (the best that he can imagine). Alternatively, he performs these actions because he was taught from childhood to do so mechanically, so he cannot avoid doing them in view of the acquired desire (instinct) – if he does not do them, he suffers.
This feeling of suffering is exactly what compels him to carry out the mechanical actions of the Mitzvot. It is not even the desire to receive a reward in this world or in the world to come: in this case, the reward is instantaneous – man feels no discomfort, since he does what he is accustomed to do.
Hence, it seems to such a man, who observes the Mitzvot because of the acquired nature (habit), that he demands no reward for his actions either in this world or in the world to come. After all, he truly does not think about any reward, as his habit, which became his second nature, compels him to perform these actions. If he feels this way, he is absolutely positive that he acts “for the Creator’s sake.” The fact that his habit, his second nature, compels him to perform the Mitzvot mechanically, escapes his awareness.
However, since our body is no more than an animal, the mechanical fulfillment of the Mitzvot by force of habit or for a reward is quite sufficient for him. There is a difference between those who observe because of upbringing or habit, and those who do it for a reward: the former do not even care whether or not the Creator actually exists; they perform purely mechanical actions that they cannot help performing, for they immediately begin to suffer for lack of habitual actions.
Yet, one who observes the Mitzvot because he has faith in reward and punishment believes in the Creator, His Torah, and His governance, but simply uses it for his own benefit. By observing the Mitzvot with such an intention and remaining in it all of his life, he, naturally, does not grow spiritually. And he who does not grow in our world is called “still” (inanimate), as we divide all nature into the following levels: still, vegetative, animate, and speaking (human). Therefore, such people are regarded as spiritually still (Domem de Kedusha), but they are already “spiritually” still, as opposed to those who observe mechanically, by force of habit.
In Kabbalah, the word “body” implies desire. A desire or a body can be egoistic or spiritual (altruistic). The gradual passing of the egoistic body and its replacement with the altruistic one is called man’s “spiritual birth.”
Man’s spiritual growth is designated by an increasingly growing intention to observe the Mitzvot only because such is the Creator’s desire. Man observes it only for His sake, completely selflessly, as if no reward of any kind will ever be given to him in return, not even in the form of his own self-content. It is as though the Creator does not know who fulfills His desire, as though man himself is uncertain of whether or not he observes the Mitzvot. Yet, he does it anyway, for such is the Creator’s will.
So then, the notion of “body” in Kabbalah alludes to man’s corrected desires, whereas uncorrected desires, without a screen, cannot be used. It is as though they are not considered body parts, existing beyond the body. Hence, they are considered foreign forces or desires – Klipot (shells).
The only existing creation besides the Creator is the egoistic will to enjoy Him that was created by Him. This desire can be either egoistic (corrupted) or altruistic (corrected), spiritually pure or impure. All the spiritual forces: angels, Klipot, etc., constitute our uncorrected or corrected desires (the will to bestow delight upon the Creator). Nothing else exists in the universe!
There are twelve parts in the spiritual body that perform spiritual actions: two arms and two legs, each consisting of three parts, in all 4 x 3 = 12. These parts of our spiritual body (our desires that were corrected by the screen) observe the positive Mitzvot.
Just like the body of a spiritual object (Partzuf), man’s body is his altruistic desires, in which he can receive the Creator’s Light according to his intentions (screen). Man’s desires are determined by his intentions.
All the work with the intention “for the Creator’s sake” is performed by the external body parts: the twelve parts of arms and legs, and by the twelve internal body parts: brain, heart, liver, mouth, tongue, five parts of the lungs, and two kidneys. These inner corrections of the body are meant for reception of the Supernal spirit, Light, inside the body, and represent man’s most important work with regard to the Creator.
These inner actions are called Mitzvot. They depend on speech, such as a prayer – supplications, blessings, and praises. And he who comes to know this work is happy in all things. Man does not realize that his prayer permeates all the Heavens, rising up to the very pinnacle of the universe and reaching the Creator Himself.
As was repeatedly mentioned, not a single word in the Torah speaks of our world, especially not of our body. All the words in the Torah are the Creator’s sacred names – the various sensations of the Creator felt by those who attain Him. As we have explained, the attainment and sensation of the Creator is impossible without a screen, an altruistic intention, meaning that all that man desires is to please his Creator. Only the sensations in the heart (the essence of man) can perform this work, and never the physiological organs of our animate body, which is no different from that of an animal.
When the morning Light begins to shine, separating Light from darkness, a call pierces through all the Heavens: prepare for the opening of entrances and chambers, and each go to your position. For the ones that serve at night are not the ones that serve in the daytime. And when the night comes, the daytime servants are once more replaced by the nighttime ones.
When the morning Light begins to shine – when man begins to realize that his egoistic desires are death and darkness, whereas altruism and spirituality are life and Light, the Light within man thereby separates from darkness, and he begins to analyze and realize his states, to feel spiritual ascents and descents – he feels his proximity to the Creator as Light, while remoteness from Him and descents into his egoistic desires feel like darkness.
However, one can feel it only if he feels the Creator (even if only a little, even if indistinctly). To start feeling the shame of receiving from the Creator and the insignificance of one’s nature (the sensation of darkness), one must first feel the Creator. Only His Light contains all that man needs: strength for correction, desires, life. Hence, the main thing to which man must aspire is the sensation of the Creator, but not for pleasure, for correction.
The forces that serve in the daytime are called the “rulers, the government of the day,” and the forces that serve at night are called the “rulers, the government of the night.” As soon as the morning call is heard, they all take their positions, Malchut and Israel descend and enter the Beit-Knesset (the House of Assembly – a place, where all of man’s wishes are collected; hence, it is called the house of prayer) to exalt the Creator and begin their singing and blessings.
It is written: “We shall praise Your mercy in the morning and Your faith at night.” Feeling the Creator’s Light descending upon him, man perceives it as morning that comes after the darkness, and upon feeling such a state, he praises the Creator in his heart. All alien thoughts retreat before the influence of the Creator’s Light, and all impure desires become restrained.
After man has corrected himself in the positive Mitzvot (in the first part, in the corrections of Tzitzit and Tefillin), he must unite all of his heart’s desires in inner work (in the second part), and wholeheartedly dedicate himself to the work of praises, since speech rises upwards.
It is impossible to offer a brief explanation of the Mitzvot of Tefillin and Tzitzit, observed only by those who spiritually attained the level of Partzuf ZA.
These servants, who stood in their places in the air, are appointed to rule over the four sides of the world. Gazaria soars in the air to govern the East, and all the others that are appointed are together with him, and await the words of the prayer that rises on that side from below. And this ruler takes the prayer.
If the words of a prayer are proper, then all these rulers absorb them and rise with them to the firmament, where the other rulers stand. Upon absorbing these words, they proclaim, “Blessed be Israel. Blessed be the lips that utter these words!”
The letters that were hanging in the air then fly up and form the holy name that rules in the air and consists of twelve letters. This is the name by which Eliyahu flew before rising up to the sky. The letters fly up in the air, and the ruler, who holds the keys to the air in his hand, rises to Heaven along with all the other rulers, and pass the letters into the hands of another ruler for further ascent.
After Malchut had been separated from ZA, ZA filled himself with only Ohr Hassadim and became the right line, whereas Malchut formed the left line. These two lines are in conflict with one another, just as the right and the left lines of Bina oppose one another. This continues until ZA ascends to Bina as the middle line, balances the right and the left lines, and makes peace between them by uniting them in a single, middle line.
Similarly, ZA and Malchut, the two opposite lines, need a middle line to balance them, to bring them balance and peace, and to unite them. This occurs with the help of MAN (Mei Nukvin), the prayers of the righteous, for they offer up the desires from this world. Also, the screen that they raise is called the “Masach (screen) de (of) Hirik” – the middle line – causing the left and the right lines to unite, and Malchut to unite with ZA.
Thus, a prayer becomes a request, MAN, and the middle line that leads to peace and unity between ZA and Malchut. Just like Yesod Above (the middle line) unites the Creator with the Shechina-Malchut by gathering all the created souls, man’s prayer creates the middle line and unites all by its ascent – bringing peace and unity between the Creator and the Shechina (His creatures), the unity of souls with their Creator.
Hence, just like the Sefira Yesod Above, man, too, is called Shalom (peace). Moreover, the world below precedes and determines the world Above, for the awakening from below (requests of the lower ones) precedes and evokes the awakening from Above.
The spiritual world is a world of desires. There are only two desires:
The Creator’s desire to bestow perfect delight upon His creation, i.e., upon man;
The will to receive pleasure for oneself, created by the Creator, called creation, or man’s essence.
Nothing else exists except for these two desires! Everything we can possibly imagine derives only from these two spiritual forces. Man’s desire is called a “prayer,” for intentionally or unintentionally, this desire appeals to the One who created man, to the Creator. Spiritually, man develops in accordance with his prayer.
However, one’s true prayer is his request for spiritual correction and elevation. Such a prayer, a desire in the heart, can be achieved only by consistent study of Kabbalistic sources, which affect man’s egoistic desire with their concealed inner Light, and evoke him to ascend spiritually (“Introduction to The Study of Ten Sefirot,” item 155).
A soul is none other than man’s corrected, altruistic desire, his spiritual Partzuf, his desire to receive the Creator’s Light with the screen (intention) “for the Creator’s sake.”
Man’s speech in a prayer is none other than parts of his soul (the soul itself) clothed in a body. A prayer is man’s soul in this world, VAK de Nefesh of Malchut de Malchut within Malchut de Assiya.
Yet, how can one’s prayer, his desire, rise through all the degrees of all the worlds of BYA and reach Malchut de Atzilut so as to become MAN and the middle line, uniting Malchut with ZA? After all, it is well known that no degree can rise above itself, let alone make such an incredible leap from the lowest degree of the spiritual ladder (our world) to the world of Atzilut.
To understand that, we must first thoroughly understand the meaning of Malchut’s ascent to Bina. As a result of this ascent, each degree splits into two parts: Keter and Hochma of each degree remain within it, while Bina, ZA, and Malchut fall to a lower degree. This occurs because Malchut ascended to Bina and thereby created in Bina a new Sof (end) of the degree. This is because Malchut exists under the prohibition of the first restriction, and hence cannot receive the Light. Due to the second restriction, Bina, ZA, and Malchut are located below the new Sof of the degree. Thus, being below Malchut that ascended to Bina, they are defined as a lower degree.
Afterward, through the MAN raised by the lower ones, the Light AB-SAG descends and gives strength to Malchut, which stands in Bina, to descend to her own place: Malchut descends from Bina to her own place, thereby returning all the Sefirot to their places and uniting them all into one degree, consisting of ten whole Sefirot. Consequently, Bina and ZON, which were below each degree, return to their degree, to their previous level. Thus, each degree restores itself back to ten Sefirot.
However, although Malchut, who stood in Bina as the new Sof (end) of the degree, returns from Bina to her own place at the end of every ten Sefirot, this new Sof that she created in Bina does not entirely vanish from Bina. As a result, Bina and ZON do not descend to their place. Instead, they must rise above the new Sof and there create the left line with regard to Keter and Hochma, which never fell from their degree and constitute the right line.
This is why the new Sof remains in its place in all the degrees even after Malchut’s descent from Bina. And this Sof is called the “firmament,” while Bina and ZON, which fell from their degree, but now have returned to it, are called “air.” For each lower degree is defined as VAK (called Avir – air) with regard to the Upper One.
Since Bina and ZON fell from their degree, they became as VAK (air) with regard to it, as the entire lower degree with regard to the Upper. And after the descent of Malchut from Bina, the air (Bina and ZON) that was under the firmament rises above it and becomes the left line.
When Bina and ZON ascend above the firmament, they take with them the lower degree, where they existed when they were below, and elevate it along with them above the firmament. It is so because unlike our world, there are no ascents and descents in the spiritual; a descent constitutes the deterioration of one’s properties from one spiritual level to a lower one.
Hence, being equivalent in properties with the lower degree, when Bina and ZON ascend together, they take the entire lower degree along with them. For after being together once, and having become similar, they receive help, ascend, and never part again.
Ultimately, Malchut’s ascent to Bina forms an entrance, an opening, a gate for the lower degree, through which it can ascend to the Upper One. Hence, when Malchut descends from Bina, thus allowing the lower part, AHP de Bina, to ascend, the lower degree can rise along with the ascending AHP de Bina.
Thus, as a result of Malchut’s ascent to Bina and her subsequent descent due to the influence of Ohr AB-SAG, three parts were formed in each degree:
– Air, Bina and ZON that fell down;
– The firmaments, the new ends of degrees that appeared through Malchut’s ascent to Bina. These never disappear, even if Malchut returns to her place;
– The entrances for the lower degrees that were formed through Malchut’s ascent to Bina, when the lower degree ascends along with her. Without it, the lower degree can never reach the Upper One, for no degree can ascend above itself.
This process is described in the Chassidic tales as the mission of a righteous one (the Upper Degree) in our world: to descend to the most vile and corrupt people (the lower degree). In other words, while essentially remaining itself, the Upper Degree should corrupt its properties so as to equalize with the lower degree. Thus, it shows to the lower ones that in its desires, thoughts, and actions, it is the same as them.
Then, when he completely unites with them, and they fully trust him, when he becomes “one of them” (designating the union of AHP of the Upper One with GE of the lower one), he gradually, inconspicuously or openly, begins to correct them – by his own example, he propagates his thoughts to them. These thoughts cannot be perceived from an outsider, but only from “one of their own.” That is, the Upper One receives additional Light (strength) in its GE so as to be able to raise its own AHP, correct its desires of reception, start working with them for the Creator’s sake, and elevate them to its own level.
And since there is no distinction between the desires of AHP of the Upper One and GE of the lower one, into which AHP of the Upper One fell, they both rise together. This way, the Upper One elevates, i.e., improves, corrects a certain part of the lower one’s properties (GE), and elevates them to its true level.
Therefore, the most important thing in our state is to come to feel AHP of the Upper Degree, located at the very center of our heart, and to become equal with it in our properties so as to afterwards rise together with it.
* * *
This process is described in the book Attaining the Worlds Beyond, which provides a more personal perspective of this spiritual process:
Inside the internal sensations of the Kabbalist exists a part of the Higher Level, of the future state (AHP). One who perceives a Higher Spiritual Level as an unattractive vacuum, rather than a state full of Light, does not receive from the Higher level.
Even though the Higher Level is full of Light, the lower level perceives the Higher only to the degree that the lower qualities permit one to do so. Since the present qualities are not sufficient to receive the Higher Light, the individual does not perceive it.
We can perceive the Upper Level because all the spiritual steps are arranged sequentially from lowest to highest. Moreover, the subsequent states overlap with one another; the lower half of the Higher state is situated within the Upper half of the lower state (AHP of Upper falls into GE of lower).
Thus, the lowest part of our Upper State is always present within us, but is usually not felt by us. The Upper State above us is referred to as “the Creator” because it functions as the Creator for us.
It gives birth to us and it gives us life and guidance. Since we do not have a perception of this Higher State, we often insist that the Creator does not exist.
But if we are in a state in which we clearly see the Creator’s Upper Domain over all the creations in this world, then we lose the possibility to choose freely.
We can see only One Truth, only One Force, and only One Will that operates in everything and in everyone.
Since the Will of the Creator is to grant each human being a free will, then the concealment of the Creator from His creations is necessary. Only if He is hidden can we argue that we can aspire of our free will to attach ourselves to the Creator – to act for His sake, without any trace of self-interest.
The entire process of self-correction is possible only when the Creator is concealed from us. As soon as He reveals Himself to us we immediately become His servants and fall into the control of His thought, grandeur and power.
At that point, it is impossible to determine what our true thoughts are. Thus, in order to allow us to act freely, the Creator has to conceal Himself.
On the other hand, to give us a chance to break free from the blind slavery of egoism, the Creator must reveal Himself. This is so because a human being obeys only two forces in this world: the force of egoism – the body – and the force of the Creator – altruism.
It follows, then, that alternating the two states is necessary. These states are the concealment of the Creator from us when we perceive only ourselves and the egoistic forces governing us, and the revelation of the Creator when we feel the power of the spiritual forces.
In order for one who is still under the influence of egoism to perceive the closest Upper Object (the Creator), the Creator must equalize some of His qualities with those of the lower being – the person seeking a connection with the Creator.
He will endow some of His altruistic qualities with egoistic attributes, and can then come into balance with the person seeing connection with Him.
The Upper Part elevates the Malchut-Midat HaDin to the level of His Galgalta ve Eynaim. As a result, His AHP acquires egoistic qualities. In this manner, His AHP “descends” to the lower part (the spiritual level of the seeker) and comes into a state of equivalence with the qualities of the lower part.
Initially the lower part was not able to perceive the Upper Spiritual State. However, because the Creator hid His highest altruistic qualities behind egoistic ones, He was able to descend to the level of the person so that the person was able to perceive Him.
Because we perceive higher qualities as being egoistic, we are unable to truly grasp their essence. It appears that there is nothing positive in the spiritual that may bring pleasure, inspiration, confidence, or tranquility.
It is precisely at this point that we have an opportunity to exercise our willpower. We may, instead, declare that the absence of pleasure and taste in the spiritual and in Kabbalah is because of the Creator’s deliberate concealment for our own sake. Because we do not yet possess the necessary spiritual qualities, it is therefore impossible for us to perceive the Upper spiritual pleasures; rather, all our earthly desires are governed by egoism.
It is crucial for beginners to understand that they are given depression and distress in order to overcome them.
They may direct their pleas for relief to the Creator, they may study, or they may do good deeds. The fact that such people do not experience pleasure or vitality from spiritual aspirations is directed from Above.
This gives them the free will to conclude that their lack of pleasure comes from a lack of appropriate altruistic qualities in themselves. Hence, the Upper One must hide His true qualities from them.
Therefore, we must remember that the first stage of perceiving the spiritual is the feeling of spiritual deprivation. If the lower part is capable of realizing that the Upper One is concealing Himself because of their incongruity of qualities, and if that lower part asks for help to correct its own egoism by raising a prayer (MAN), then the Upper Part partially reveals Himself (lifts His AHP) and displays His true qualities, which prior to this moment, were disguised beneath egoism.
As a result, spiritual pleasure also becomes apparent. Thus, the lower part begins to experience the grandeur and the spiritual pleasure felt by the Higher Being, Who possesses spiritual altruistic qualities.
Because the Upper Part elevated His altruistic qualities in the eyes of the individual, He thus elevated the individual to the middle of His State (He lifted GE of the lower together with His own AHP).
This spiritual state is known as a person’s “lesser spiritual level” (Katnut). The Upper Part, in a way, elevates the lower part to His own spiritual level by revealing both His grandeur and the grandeur of altruistic qualities. By seeing the magnificence of the spiritual and comparing it to the material, we may spiritually rise above our world.
When we perceive the spiritual, regardless of our will, our egoistic qualities are changed into altruistic ones, that is, into the qualities of the Creator. In order to allow the lower part to take complete possession of the Higher first level, the Upper Part wholly reveals Himself and all His qualities to that lower part; meaning He reveals his Grandeur, makes Gadlut.
At this point, the person perceives the Upper Part as the One and Only Absolute Sovereign of everything in the universe. At the same time, the lower part grasps the highest knowledge of the purpose of creation and of the Upper’s dominion.
It becomes clear to the lower part that there is no other way to conduct oneself than in the way prescribed by Kabbalah. Thus, the lower part’s reason now requires proper action. As a result of this clear awareness of the Creator, one must deal with the contradiction between faith and knowledge, between the right and the left lines.
Now, having acquired altruistic qualities (Katnut), the lower part prefers to proceed only by means of faith in the strength of the Creator. This serves as an indication of the seeker’s sincere desire to come closer to the Creator.
However, the Creator’s revelation of His grandeur (Gadlut) now obstructs one from advancing by faith. Consequently, the individual must willingly dispense with the acquired knowledge.
When one pleads to proceed blindly, relying only on one’s faith in the magnificence of the Creator, rather than by realizing His power and grandeur, and only by using reason in proportion to one’s faith, the Creator is compelled to limit His disclosure. When such an action compels the Creator to diminish His disclosure of His general dominion, His omnipotence, and His Light (Ohr Hochma), this is called “the screen of Hirik.”
Through this screen, we are able to diminish the revelation of the Upper reason (the left line) to the point at which this revelation can be balanced with faith, the right line. The correct correlation between faith and knowledge is called a “spiritual balance,” or the middle line.
We, as individuals, determine the state we desire to be in. Once the correct correlation of faith and knowledge is in place, we can then attain perfection. This is known as “the middle line.”
The part of revealed knowledge (the left line) that we can use in proportion to our faith (the right line), by proceeding by faith above reason (the middle line), is added onto those spiritual qualities that we possessed before, in the state of Katnut. The newly acquired spiritual level is known as Gadlut, meaning big and complete.
After the first complete spiritual level has been attained, we will become equal in qualities to the very first (the lowest) state of the spiritual ladder. As was mentioned earlier, all the states, or steps of the ladder, overlap with each other.
Having reached the first level, we may discover the presence of a higher level within us. Using the same principle as when advancing to the first level, we can proceed step by step to the goal of creation – complete unification with the Creator on the Highest level.
An essential part of our spiritual ascent is a special process that requires that, on discovering a greater evil within us, we ask the Creator to grant us the strength to overcome that evil. We then receive strength in the form of a greater spiritual Light.
This continues until we actually reach the original level and size of our souls: at that point, our egoism is completely corrected and filled with Light.
When we are distracted by outside thoughts, we feel that thoughts obstruct us from ascertaining the spiritual, because our strength and minds are wasted on extraneous concerns, while our hearts become filled with petty desires. At times like this, we lose faith in the fact that only the Kabbalah contains the true life.
Once we overcome this condition, we come out of our state and move into the Light, receiving a Higher Light that helps us ascend further. In this manner, our extraneous thoughts work to help us in our spiritual advancement.
We can overcome obstacles only with the help of the Creator. We can only work on something if we perceive some personal benefit in the task. However, our bodies, hearts and intellects do not understand what benefits can result from altruism.
Therefore, as soon as we try to make even the slightest altruistic move, we lose all strength of the mind, heart and body. We are left with nothing else but to turn to the Creator and ask Him for help. In this way, unwillingly and without any free choice, we advance toward the Creator until we merge with Him completely.
The lower half of the Higher spiritual object is found within the Upper half of the lower spiritual object. In the lower object, the screen (Masach) is found in the eye area. This is known as "spiritual blindness," because in such a state only the lower half of the Higher object is visible to us, since the screen of the lower spiritual object conceals part of the Higher spiritual object.
The Higher spiritual object drops its screen to the lower one, then it reveals itself to the lower object, which in turn begins to view the Higher object as the Higher one views itself. As a result, the lower object receives the state of fullness (Gadlut). The lower object, then, sees that the Higher one is in a "great" state, and realizes that the Higher object’s prior concealment and apparent manifestation as the "small" state (Katnut), was done exclusively for the benefit of the lower one. In this way, the lower object could become aware of the importance of the Higher one.
A person in the right line (Kav Yamin) is happy with his lot (Chafetz Hesed). This is called a “small spiritual state” (Katnut), because a person feels no need for the Torah. He does not feel evil, egoism within himself, and without the need for self-correction, he needs no Torah.
Hence, he needs the left line (Kav Smol). He has to critically appraise his state (Heshbon Nefesh), decide what he wants from the Creator and from himself, and whether he understands the Torah and advances toward the goal of creation. Here he sees his genuine state and is obliged to integrate it in the right line. In other words, he has to be content with what he has and be pleased with his state, as if he has everything that he wishes.
In the left line, which brings about suffering as a result of the absence of the desired, is awakened a need for the help of the Creator, which comes in the form of light of the soul.
In the right line, in a state when a person desires nothing for the self, there exists only the Light of mercy (Ohr Hassadim), the joy from the similarity in spiritual qualities. But this state is not perfect, because it lacks knowledge and the understanding of the inner meaning. In the left line is no perfection because the Light of wisdom can illuminate only if there is congruence in qualities between the Light received and the recipient of the Light.
The congruence results in Ohr Hassadim, which is found in the right line. Spiritual gains can be made only by having a desire. But the right line has no desire for anything. All the desires are concentrated in the left line. However, the desired cannot be received into the egoistic desires.
Thus, it is necessary to unite these two qualities so that the Light of knowledge and pleasure of the left line can enter the Light of altruistic qualities of the right line, and the Light of the middle line will illuminate the created being. Without the Light of the right line, the Light of the left is not revealed and is perceived only as darkness.
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The ascent from our world, in which we do not consciously perceive AHP of the Upper One, occurs in the following way:
All of one’s thoughts about the Creator and spirituality constitute his contact with AHP of the Upper One with regard to him (to the Partzuf). How can this Upper Partzuf descend to him? Only by equalizing one’s desires (properties) with it. All of man’s thoughts and desires (or lack thereof), with regard to the spiritual, constitute his contact with the Upper One. When man feels a lack of desire for spirituality, it means that the Upper Partzuf descended and entered him, equalized itself with him; hence, man feels spiritual emptiness.
It is precisely in this state of not being drawn to the spiritual that man should tell himself that it only seems to him this way, whereas in truth, by faith above reason, he desires and acts for the sake of nearing the spiritual. In other words, if, in the state when the Upper One “falls” (spiritual values lose their significance) in his eyes, one can nonetheless aspire to spirituality, he thereby binds, connects himself to AHP of the Upper One. This is because AHP of the Upper One deliberately degraded its properties and assumed an outward form similar to the properties (desires) of man.
Therefore, as soon as one can establish contact with AHP of the Upper One (even if it appears to him absolutely unattractive, precisely because it lowers its properties to man’s level), this AHP of the Upper One immediately elevates man to its GE. Thus, man ascends to a Higher Degree.
“Piercing through the air” means that the air boundary, consisting of Bina and ZON of the Upper Degree, created as a result of Malchut’s ascent to Bina, is pierced by Malchut’s descent from Bina to her place, for the then air rises above the firmament and reaches GAR (GE) of the degree.
Thus occurs the piercing of the firmaments. For the firmaments constitute the borders of new ends, which appeared because the air (Bina and ZON) was pushed off from its own degree to a lower one, and was not allowed to return to its degree. Hence, the firmament is pierced from Malchut’s descent, and no longer prevents Bina and ZON from ascending and joining that degree.
Malchut ascended to Bina = firmament.
Malchut descends back. This creates a passage for AHP to its GE. Thus, the entrances for the lower degree are opened: due to Malchut’s descent to her place and the piercing through the firmaments, Bina and ZON ascend to a Higher Degree above the firmament together with the lower degree that they were with during their descent.
In other words, the Upper One deliberately opened up the entrances to enable the lower degree to ascend to a Higher Degree, and not for Bina and ZON (AHP of the Upper One), who simply return to their place.
The Light that lowers Malchut from Bina to her own place at the end of the ten Sefirot stems from Partzufim AB-SAG. These are the Partzufim Hochma and Bina of the world of AK. Although the second restriction – Malchut’s ascent to Bina – occurred in Partzuf Bina of the world of AK, the Partzufim Bina (SAG) and Hochma (AB) of the world of AK were unaffected by it, and Malchut remains in her place at the end of the ten Sefirot.
Only the Creator Himself, meaning the properties of the Light, can correct and transform man’s egoistic properties to altruistic. Indeed, man is simply unable to pull himself out of his current state “by his own hair,” as from birth he has absolutely no spiritual strength (desires). Hence, only the Upper Light can correct him. And it can only be Ohr Hochma, for this is the Light that the Creator emanates. Ohr Hochma, unrestricted by Tzimtzum Bet, is located in Partzuf AB of the world of AK. Partzuf SAG de AK is a Partzuf of Bina.
Therefore, when one raises his MAN (prayer), it reaches the Highest Partzufim of the world of Atzilut, which turn to SAG-Bina-Ima (mother), who in turn appeals to AB-Hochma-Aba (father), receives Ohr Hochma from him and passes it to her children – the souls of the righteous, those who wish to become righteous and to ascend spiritually.
Hence, when Hochma- AB unites with Bina-SAG in the world of AK, this Light (Ohr AB-SAG) descends from Partzuf Bina de AK to Partzuf Bina de Atzilut, called EKYEH = Aleph-Hey-Yod-Hey. Partzuf Bina de Atzilut sends the Light to all the degrees of the worlds of BYA. Upon attaining a particular Partzuf, this Light lowers the Malchut of each degree (that ascended to Bina) from the degree of Bina to her previous place.
Starting with AVI, all the Partzufim are in the state of Katnut: AHP of the Upper Partzuf is inside GE of the lower one. The received Ohr Hochma descends to him who raised MAN, thus evoking Gadlut in all the Partzufim, through which the light descends to him. The light descends to each Partzuf along his personal path, which is precisely what connects everyone, each soul, to the Creator.
This is why the name EKYEH is referred to as the ruler of air that moves the boundary of air because of Malchut’s descent from Bina to her previous place. Each degree and each world consists of four Sefirot H-B-ZA-M, each of which consists of its own individual ten Sefirot, where, as a result of Malchut’s ascent to Bina in each degree, Bina-ZA-Malchut of each degree fell to a lower degree.
Thus, there are four kinds of airspace in each world that are governed by the three names of EKYEH: EKYEH in the air of Hesed, EKYEH in the air of Gevura, and EKYEH in the air of Tifferet. Malchut receives from them, and all three names govern in her air together.
The triple name, EKYEH, comprises twelve letters. This twelve-letter name rules in the air by lowering Malchut from Bina to her previous place, returning Bina and ZON (called “air”), who fell to a lower degree, back to the degree above the firmament. For Malchut’s ascent to Bina created an entrance, to enable the lower one rise to the Upper Degree as soon as it opens, i.e., during Malchut’s return to her place.
Hence, when the prophet Eliyahu (a particular spiritual degree) wished to soar to the sky, Malchut of each degree ascended to Bina of the corresponding degree, while Bina and ZON of this degree fell to the lower degree, and a firmament was formed between them. It turned out that each degree doubled: now it contained its own degree, as well as Bina and ZON of the Upper Degree, who fell and clothed the lower degree.
This occurred at each degree of the worlds of ABYA, down to the lowest one: Bina and ZON of the Sefira Malchut of the world of Assiya fell and emerged in our world below Malchut. Malchut de Assiya ends at its firmament, which is a new end, in Bina. Also, this degree doubled, as Bina and ZON of the Sefira Yesod of the world of Assiya fell and clothed in its degree.
In the diagram, GE of man in our world are put in brackets, for he who exists (spiritually, not with his body) at the degree of our world has no desires of bestowal. Hence, it is said that he who exists with his properties in this world, in egoism, has only a point in his heart, from which he can start his spiritual development.
Similarly, the Sefira Yesod of the world of Assiya also ends with its firmament and contains Bina and ZON of the Sefira Hod de Assiya. The Sefira Netzah de Assiya also doubled, and so on up to Bina de Atzilut. This is why the prophet Eliyahu rose up and united with Bina and ZON, who fell from Malchut de Assiya to this world. He equalized with them and clothed in them, whereupon they became like him – reached his degree.
Not all ten Sefirot of the world of Assiya are shown in the above diagram, but as it was previously mentioned, each degree is divided into its own GE and AHP. Man’s task is to find AHP of the Upper One within him, and connect to it, merge with it in all of his sensations and desires.
Subsequently, the twelve-letter name exerted its influence (thanks to the Light AB-SAG), causing Malchut de Assiya to descend from Bina of Malchut de Assiya to its place, Malchut de Malchut, the end of the ten Sefirot. And as before, Bina and ZON ascended to their degree above the firmament of Malchut. And since Eliyahu’s properties were already merged with this air (with the ascending Bina and ZON), he rose together with them above the firmament of Malchut, as he was similar to them.
And since he rose above the firmament of Malchut de Assiya,he entered the air (AHP) of Yesod de Assiya, i.e., Bina and ZON of Yesod that fell down there. Then he merged in his desires with this air and is considered to have clothed in it, for they were previously at the same degree. Then the influence of the twelve-letter name lowered Malchut from Bina of Yesod de Assiya to her place at the end of the ten individual Sefirot of Yesod de Assiya.
After that, Bina and ZON (the air of Yesod) ascended above the firmament of Yesod. And since Eliyahu had already merged with this air, he (man’s soul, his desire) too ascended above the firmament of Yesod de Assiya, due to his concord with them.
And because he rose above the firmament of Yesod de Assiya, he met with the air (AHP) of Hod de Assiya, i.e., Bina and ZON of Hod de Assiya that fell down there. Subsequently, he merged in his desires with this air and clothed it, for they were previously at the same place (spiritually similar to one another).
As soon as man merges in his properties with AHP of the Upper One, the influence of the twelve-letter name (the descent of the Light of AB-SAG from Above) brings Malchut back (gives strength to the screen) to the end of the ten individual Sefirot of Hod de Assiya. And the air, its Bina and ZON, returned to their place above the firmament of Hod de Assiya. They took Eliyahu (man’s soul, his desires) with them, for he had merged with them, and they elevated him to the firmament of Hod de Assiya in view of his similarity with them.
And when he was already in the firmament of Hod de Assiya, he met with the air (AHP) of Netzah de Assiya and merged with it in his properties. When the influence of the twelve-letter name (the Light of correction, AB- SAG, that was sent by the Creator) brought Malchut back to her place (Malchut descended from Bina to Malchut of this Sefira, because she received strength from the Light to resist the egoistic desires of AHP and make them altruistic), the air of Netzah ascended above the firmament, and being merged with Eliyahu (man’s soul), took him with it. Being already in the firmament of Netzah, he met with the air of Tifferet and so on, until he ascended with this air above the firmament of Tifferet de Assiya.
In the same way, the air (AHP) of each degree rose higher, up to the Highest Degree of the world of Assiya. From there, it rose to Malchut de Yetzira, and from there – one step at a time – along all the degrees of the world of Yetzira and the world of Beria, up to the Heavens (ZA) of the world of Atzilut.
It is therefore said about the prophet Eliyahu that the Creator’s spirit (the Light AB- SAG) elevated him (merged with AHP of the Upper One) to the Heavens: spirit means Ruach, Sefirot Bina and ZON of the Upper Degree, called “air,” that fell down to the lower degree. And this air (spirit) elevates one from a lower degree to a Higher one through all the individual degrees, from the lowest degree (Sof de Assiya) up to the world of Atzilut.
An Upper Degree is regarded as the Creator of the lower degree: it creates it, vitalizes it with Light, and governs it. At each degree, man considers the next Highest spiritual degree with regard to him as the Creator. As Rabbi Zushe said: “Every day I have a new Creator.” In other words, as man ascends to a Higher Degree (which he calls “day” or “Light”), he thereby reveals a new property of the Creator in this Higher Degree.
The air of each of the four sides of the world (in Sefirot Hesed-Gevura-Tifferet-Malchut) has its own rulers, who hold the keys to the activation of the twelve-letter name so as to lower Malchut from Bina to her own place. The ascending order of these four kinds of air is as follows: West -Malchut, East -Tifferet (including NHY), North -Gevura, and South -Hesed.
Hesed - SOUTH
Gevura - NORTH
ZA - EAST
Malchut - WEST
It is not the rulers that raise a prayer (the desire that man feels in the very depths of his heart) from air to air, and then from firmament to firmament. The air raises a prayer from the firmament, each air to its firmament: first, the prayer ascends to the air of the Sefira Malchut de Assiya, i.e., to Bina and ZON (AHP) that fell from Malchut de Assiya down to our world. They resemble the prayer itself, for this air (AHP) is similar to a prayer (the Upper One lowered itself deliberately to equalize its properties with the lower one); hence, they merge as one degree.
Then the one that rules there, Zvuliel (Zebuliel), activates the twelve-letter name, which lowers Malchut from Bina de Assiya to her place. This causes the air to return to its degree and rise above the firmament of the world of Assiya. And since the air became similar to the degree of the actual prayer, it also takes the prayer along with it, raising it above the firmament of the Sefira Malchut de Assiya. This is similar to the ascent of Prophet Eliyahu.
And since the prayer ascended to the firmament of the world of Assiya, it meets the air of Yesod de Assiya that fell there, as in the case of Eliyahu. It also encounters the ruler of the air of the East, Gazaria (Gazardiel), because East designates the SefiraTifferet (ZA is often called Tifferet, as the properties of this Sefira dominate and determine all the properties of ZA), which includes the SefiraYesod, for Tifferet includes Sefirot NHY.
This ruler activates the twelve-letter name and lowers Malchut from Bina deYesod to her place, which causes the air of Yesod to ascend to its degree, the firmament of Yesod. By merging with the prayer into one degree via equivalence of form, he takes it with him and raises it above the firmament of Yesod. Then, a similar action occurs in the air and firmament of Sefirot Netzah, Hod, and Tifferet.
Since the prayer ascended to the firmament of Tifferet, it encounters the Northern air, i.e., Bina and ZON of Gevura de Assiya that fell there. There it unites with this air into one degree. Then the ruler of the North, Petachia (Petahyah), activates the twelve-letter name and lowers Malchut from Bina to her place. Consequently, the air returns, ascends to the firmament of Gevura and takes with it the prayer, which merged with it into one degree during its fall.
Since the prayer has already reached the firmament of Gevura, it meets with the Southern air, Bina and ZON of Hesed de Assiya that fell there, and merges with this air. Then the ruler of the Southern air, named Pisgania (Pesagniyah), Hesed de Assiya, activates the twelve-letter name and lowers Malchut from Bina of Hesed de Assiya to her place. The Southern air returns and ascends to its degree in the sixth firmament, Hesed de Assiya, called “south.”
Since the prayer has reached the sixth firmament, it encounters the air that fell from the seventh firmament, which is Bina that includes GAR, and the prayer merges with this air into one degree. When the twelve-letter name lowers Malchut from Bina (the seventh firmament) to her place, the air returns to its degree (the seventh firmament) and takes the prayer with it, as they merge during its fall.
Since the prayer has reached the seventh firmament, it encounters the air that fell from Malchut de Yetzira, and merges with it. Next, the general ruler, Sandalphon, who governs the entire world of Assiya, takes it and activates the twelve-letter name, which lowers Malchut from Malchut de Yetzira to her place. And the air ascends and returns to its degree, the firmament of Malchut de Yetzira, takes the prayer with it and elevates it to the firmament of Malchut de Yetzira.
In exactly the same way, the prayer ascends through all seven Heichalot (halls) of the worlds Yetzira and Beria up to the world of Atzilut. This clarifies the question posed in the beginning: how can a prayer ascend from the very lowest degree of the world of Assiya to the world of Atzilut, for no degree can ascend above itself? From the aforesaid, it follows that since the prayer merges with the first air that fell from Malchut de Assiya to our world, it is exactly this air that elevated them to the firmament of Malchut, whereas the air of Yesod de Assiya was elevated to the firmament of Yesod,and so forth. In other words, the air with which the prayer merges and ascends elevates it to Malchut of the world of Atzilut.
He who falls from Malchut de Assiya to our world descends from the spiritual degree called Malchut de Assiya to the spiritual degree called our world. Of course, this in no way refers to the physical existence in our world. AHP of the Upper Degree are considered fallen when one feels in his heart (in the center of all of his desires) the desire to attain the spiritual, merge with it, and annul his egoistic properties because they harm and impede his advancement.
One should not think that the fall of Bina and ZON to our world from the world of Assiya can be experienced by anyone. And only he who felt this way and was then able to make a sufficient amount of quantitative and qualitative efforts, merits being elevated above our world by AHP of the Upper One.
On the Southern side (Hesed), there is he who governs the air of that side, and his assistants. His name is Pisgania, and he holds the keys to the air of this side. All those who suffer pray to their Creator from the depths of their broken hearts (the very sensation of suffering constitutes a prayer, and requires no words). If their speech (desires) is worthy, it ascends to the air of this side, and the ruler accepts and kisses it (“embrace,” “kiss,” and Zivug are forms of spiritual union of Partzufim), and then declares: “The Creator will be merciful and will spare you in His mercy.”
All of the holy rulers (Ohr Hochma is called holy) and their assistants of that side rise together with him. The letters of the Creator’s holy name, of the twelve-letter name EKYEH soar: four letters Aleph-Hey-Yod-Hey on each side, which rule the corresponding sides of air. They ascend on this side of the air to the Southern firmament, Hesed (the sixth firmament), to the ruler of the firmament of the Southern side, named Anafiel.
On the Northern side (Gevura) there is Petachia, who governs the air with his assistants. If he who prays for his enemies and haters, i.e., for those who make him suffer is righteous, then as the speech of his prayer rises to the air of that side, the ruler accepts his heart’s speech and kisses it (unites it with his properties so as to raise it higher).
The air that comes from the North stirs and calls upon all the firmaments, and they all take this speech, raise it to the Northern, fifth firmament, kiss it and say: “The Lord will cast your enemies down and take them away from your face.” This occurs in the following order: after the governor of the air had accepted the prayer and kissed it, which means that it merged with the degree of the air and the ruler, the air stirs on the Northern side (the new end that Malchut made as she ascended to Bina, called Techum – space, from the word Tohu – chaos), and the twelve-letter name lowers Malchut from Bina of Gevura de Assiya back to her place.
The air that fell into the restrictions (Dinim) of this space is aroused by the desire to rise to the firmament of Gevura. Also, all the degrees that merged with it during its fall rise along with it to the firmament of Gevura due to their similarity to it. Similarly, the prayer that was merged with it during its fall ascends along with it to the fifth firmament.
The order of the ascent (offering up of a prayer) starts from here: it ascends and pierces through the air (AHP), which fell from Malchut de Assiya to our world, and ascends with it to the first firmament, the firmament of Malchut de Assiya. The prayer ascends and approaches the ruler (in its properties), who was appointed to control the Western side, Malchut. There are nine entrances where the assistants to the ruler, Zvuliel stand.
The ten Sefirot of Malchut herself have nine (not ten) entrances, for a restriction to receive the Light is imposed on Malchut of the Sefira Malchut, and it is connected to Yesod de Malchut. Hence, Yesod and Malchut of Malchut share the same entrance.
However, a question arises: “Why do all the parts of the air have one ruler for the air and a separate ruler for the firmament? For example, on the Eastern side Gazaria controls the Eastern air and Shimshiel controls the Eastern firmament (Tifferet, the fourth firmament). Similarly, Pisgania controls the Southern air on the Southern side, and Anafiel controls the Southern firmament. And on the Northern side, the ruler Petachia governs the Northern air, and Gadriel is in charge of the Northern firmament. So why does only Malchut have one general ruler, called Zvuliel, who governs both the air and the firmament?”
The reason is that due to Malchut’s ascent to Bina, Bina and ZON of each degree fall to a lower degree, the degree of air. However, only the lower part of Bina (ZAT or VAK de Bina) falls, whereas Keter, Hochma, and the Upper half of Bina (GAR de Bina) remain at the same degree. Only the lower half of Bina, ZAT de Bina (ZA and Malchut) fell from this degree and became air.
Therefore, two separate rulers were needed: one for the Upper Degree remaining above the firmament, and the other – for the lower half of the degree that fell and turned into air. The degree (ten Sefirot) of Malchut, from whom all nine lower Sefirot fell to the lower degree during Malchut’s ascent to Bina, retained only one Sefira Keter de Malchut, which remained as a point below Yesod de ZA.
Nevertheless, even this point refers more to the Sefira Yesod, which is superior to Malchut, because its properties are more similar to Yesod. And since all of Malchut refers to the properties of air (except for her individual Keter), she has only one ruler.
The ruler wishes to act in the firmament in the daylight, but does not receive permission until the moon rises, i.e., until nightfall, when all the rulers and forces emerge. And when the day breaks (the Upper Light starts shining), they all ascend (the spiritual properties become corrected and improve under the Light’s influence) to the Highest of the nine entrances, the point of Keter de Malchut, which remained at its degree above the firmament (Parsa).
And when the prayer ascends, it enters through this Upper entrance, and all the rulers with their assistants emerge from it, led by their Supreme ruler, Zvuliel, the only ruler of the air of this Upper entrance, who is above the firmament of Malchut de Assiya. They all emerge, kiss the prayer, and accompany it up the second firmament of Yesod de Assiya.
Malchut constitutes the left line – Hochma without Hassadim. Therefore, when she dominates, the Light does not shine and darkness prevails. Hochma cannot shine without Hassadim, which means that when Malchut rules, it is nighttime (not daylight). Indeed, all nine of her lower Sefirot, from which all the rulers (of man) and forces (man’s desires) of the left side originate, rule at night.
This is why it is said that Malchut descends from Bina to her place, although her nine lower Sefirot remained untouched by the impure force, for Malchut descended from the firmament, which transformed her into air. Even so, they (nine Sefirot) have no power in her place, and must rise above the firmament to the Upper entrance, Keter de Malchut. There they enter the right side (Hassadim), and the prayer ascends with them because of their similarity (in desires, properties), achieved while they were below the firmament (in the state called “our world”).
And since the prayer (MAN) rose above the firmament of Malchut (to GE of the Upper One), it encounters the air (AHP of the still Higher one) that fell there from the second firmament. After the descent of Malchut from Bina of Yesod de Assiya to her place, this air ascends to the firmament of Yesod, and takes with it all the rulers, their assistants, and the prayer, which were merged with it during its fall, and elevates all of them to the firmament of Yesod de Assiya.
And when the prayer ascends to this firmament (Yesod), the twelve gates of this firmament open up. A special ruler, Ana’el (Anahel), who is in charge of many forces, stands at the twelfth entrance, and when the prayer ascends, proclaims to all the entrances: “Open the gates.” And all the entrances open up, and the prayer enters through them.
This happens because Tifferet has twelve borders of the diagonal, defined by the Sefirot H-G-T-M, each of which contains three lines of HGT, twelve in all. And all that exists in Tifferet is also present in Yesod, but there these twelve borders are called “twelve gates,” through which the prayer enters.
And then awakens a very old ruler, who stands at the Southern side. His name is Azriel-Saba, sometimes referred to as Machaniel, for he is responsible for 600,000 groups (camps – Machanot). All the groups have wings and eyes; they stand and listen to all those who are quietly praying, to the prayers that come from the depths of the heart and are directed only to the Creator. Only such prayers are heard by those who have ears.
There is a special opening in the Sefira Yesod de Hesed (Supernal mercy) that descends from the right line of Bina. Hence, the ruler of this mercy is called Azriel-Saba. He is called Saba (grandfather), because Hochma and Bina are called “old men.” And he is appointed to rule over 600,000 groups (camps), because 600 = 6 x 100, where 6 = HGT NHY Sefirot in Bina. And since each Sefira in Bina is designated by 100, 6 x 100 = 600. And the thousands stem from Ohr Hochma, which shines in each of these Sefirot. Hence, 600 x 1,000 = 600,000 groups.
GAR de Tvuna, the lower part (ZAT) of Bina, are called “ears.” Only Ohr Hassadim shines in them, without Hochma. VAK de Tvuna are called “eyes,” and Ohr Hochma shines in them.
Malchut and Bina constitute two kinds of air, West and North, which unite and intermix, and form a diagonal, a combination of judgment and mercy that mitigates strictness and judgment. Hence, they hear good words from one who merits it, i.e., they accept one’s prayer to the extent of the mercy in the diagonal. Alternatively, they hear bad things about one who does not merit, accepting one’s prayer to the extent of the judgment in the diagonal.
If man’s ears hear the prayer (which means that he speaks not from the depths of his heart, but with his mouth, so outwardly that his ears hear it, but not his heart), no one will accept it Above. Therefore, man must be watchful: no one should hear his prayer, for the speech of the prayer unites in the Upper World, in ZA, and the speech of the Upper World must not be heard.
Consider how the Torah is read: one reads and the others keep silent. However, if they all read it out loud, they lessen the faith Above, for the voice and speech of one mingle with the voice and speech of the others, and undermine faith, i.e., Malchut. The voice and speech (ZA is called “voice” and Malchut is called “speech”) of one must be similar to the voice and speech of the other.
Two reasons are mentioned above as to why a prayer must be speech without voice, unheard by man’s ear. The first is that Malchut, who begets people, consists of two points: the Light cannot be received from Malchut with a measure of judgment, whereas the Light can be received from Malchut that is corrected in Bina with a measure of mercy.
Similarly, man consists of a combination of these two points. If he merits, the measure of judgment becomes concealed, the measure of mercy is revealed, and he merits receiving the Upper Light. However, if he does not merit, the measure of judgment becomes revealed and the Light disappears from him.
Therefore, the Upper ear has an inclined form so as to be able to receive the prayer of man-righteous one, him who merits the concealment of the measure of judgment, so that the listening ear would not arouse judgment, concealed in the speech of the prayer. Hence, if an outsider hears the prayer before it ascends, he evokes the judgment concealed in the speech of the prayer, and it cannot be heard Above.
There is another reason for this: the speech of the prayer constitutes parts of Malchut. And he who prays must be a part of Malchut. Hence, the prayer must ascend and be included in the Supernal Malchut, called “speech.” Then Malchut unites with ZA (voice) and the prayer is accepted, i.e., the Light is accepted from ZA.
Therefore, one must not raise his voice during prayer so as to allow the Supernal voice, the Light of ZA, to descend to the praying person. The speech ascends to Malchut, merges with ZA with the help of Malchut, and receives a completely corrected voice from ZA. As a result, the prayer can receive the Light. It is therefore said that the words of a prayer pronounced by man’s voice must not be heard.
He who reads the Torah must also be a part of ZA, called “Torah.” And the voice of one who reads Torah must be instead of the voice of ZA. Hence, it is forbidden to hear someone else’s voice, for it will be the voice of one who exists under judgment, and not under mercy.
Thus, the voice of an outsider harms the voice of one who reads the Torah, and Malchut is unable to receive the Light from ZA. Yet, if this is the voice and speech of one man, then the voice, called ZA, and speech, called Malchut, merge into one combination. But if voice and speech of an outsider join the reader’s, it will harm him.
With regard to everything mentioned above, one can say that only he who approaches the described state can understand what The Zohar narrates. Spiritual actions are understood in one’s heart, his desires, his properties. If they do not correspond to those that are described above, no explanation of any kind will help. An “outsider” designates man’s “foreign” (distant from spiritual aspirations) thoughts and desires.
When a quiet, concealed, and secret prayer ascends, the governor Azriel-Saba himself and all of his assistants, who are in charge of the 600,000 groups (camps), and all those who have eyes and ears emerge and kiss the ascending word of the prayer.
This is said in the verse: “The Creator’s eyes and ears are upon them.” The Creator’s eyes rest upon the righteous. The Creator’s eyes refer to those below who have eyes, meaning the angels that exist in the firmament of Yesod de Assiya. They exist Above, at the degree of GAR, for eyes signify the property of Hochma. However, these eyes are the eyes of the Sefira Yesod, as it is written: “The Creator’s eyes rest upon the righteous,” as Yesod is called the “righteous one.”
The third firmament is the Sefirot Netzah and Hod de Assiya. The prayer ascends to this firmament. The ruler Gadria, who controls this firmament with his assistants, acts three times a day during the ascent of the three lines to the world of Atzilut, when the luminous scepter of Light ascends and descends, but does not stay in one place, for Ohr Hochma of the left line (called the “scepter of Light”) wants to shine.
The word “scepter” (Hebrew, Sharvit) signifies eyesight, and Ohr Hochma is called the Light of eyesight. The scepter moves three times and conceals itself, because Hochma reveals itself only when the three lines move in the three points: Holam (the dot above the letters), Shuruk (the dot inside the letters), and Hirik (the dot below the letters).
When the prayer, which is the middle line, ascends and carries the screen of Hirik, the scepter (the Light of the left line) descends and bows its head before the prayer, designating the concealment of GAR, called “head.” This is because the middle line reduces the left line with the help of the screen of Hirik. This third firmament of Sefirot Netzah and Hod de Assiya is called the “firmament of the scepter,” for the scepter of Light acts within it.
When the prayer ascends, the ruler bows his head before it (diminishes his level) and then strikes the iridescent rock with his scepter. The rock stands at the center (the middle line) of the firmament, and 365 hosts emerge from the rock, which were concealed within it since the Torah descended to the earth. Because they objected to this descent, the Creator reproached them, and they concealed themselves in the rock.
Here, by analogy with the aforesaid and in accordance with the definitions of such notions as a “scepter,” a “rock,” “hosts,” “Light,” “concealment,” “to bow,” the reader is offered an opportunity to translate from the language of legends into the language of spiritual actions. And when the reader attains what is written, he will feel it within him!
And they do not emerge from there, except for when the prayer ascends. Then they praise the Creator, saying: “Our Creator, how great is Your name upon the earth!” This prayer is called “Great,” because it ascends to all these firmaments, and they bow before it.
This occurs because the angels that opposed the descent of the Torah (see the article “Heaven and Earth”), i.e., the middle line, to the earth (Malchut and the worlds of BYA), emerge from the left line. And they wanted the left line to dominate in Malchut and in the worlds of BYA, but not the middle one, called the “Torah,” which reduces the GAR of the Light of the left line.
Malchut, called “earth,” includes all the worlds of BYA. However, the Creator (middle line) reproached and compelled her to receive the Light of the middle line and conceal herself in the rock, in the forces of judgment, which exist in the middle line that stands at the center of the firmament.
However, the prayer can ascend only by activating the left line, namely Bina and ZON that fell to the lower degree, then ascended once more above the firmament, and became the left line. They take the prayer that existed with them during their descent to the lower degree.
This is why the ruler receives the scepter, the Light of the left line, for during the ascent of the prayer, the left line shines in his domain. The 365 hosts then awaken and receive the Light of the left line from the scepter. Hence, they exclaim: “The Creator, Our Lord, how great is Your name upon the earth!” for the prayer ascends to this firmament, called “Great,” and includes the screen of Hirik of the left line, from the GAR. Thus, they bow their heads, i.e., do not use the GAR of Ohr Hochma, but only VAK.
Afterward, the prayer clothes in the Supernal adornments and rises to the fourth firmament, Tifferet. Then the sun (Tifferet) emerges at its level, the Supreme ruler Shimshiel, and the 365 hosts ascend to this firmament along with him. They are called “the days of the sun,” for these levels stem from the sun, Tifferet. And they all clothe and adorn Malchut in the Heavens of the Garden of Eden.
The prayer pauses there to merge with the air of Gevura of those degrees, because it was not supposed to pause at the previous firmament, NHY, as they are included in Tifferet. And the prayer remains there until all the hosts have risen with it to the fifth firmament (Gevura), where Gadriel rules; he is in charge of all the hosts of the other nations, for Gevura constitutes the left line, which the other nations hold on to.
And when the prayer ascends, carrying within the screen of the middle line (which reduces the left line from GAR to VAK), it shakes him and all of his hosts, and they lose all their strength, emerge and bow their heads, i.e., GAR, and adorn this prayer.
They ascend with it to the sixth firmament, Hesed, and the legions and hosts come forth and accept the prayer until they reach the seventy gates, HGT NHYM, each of which consists of ten, as Hesed includes all seven lower Sefirot. The Supreme ruler, Anafiel, stands there and adorns the prayer with seventy adornments.
And since the prayer was adorned, all the legions and hosts of all the firmaments that accompanied the prayer from firmament to firmament unite and raise the prayer to the seventh firmament, Bina, which includes GAR.
The prayer enters the seventh firmament, and the Supreme ruler Sandalphon, who is in charge of all the guards at the entrances, ushers the prayer into the seven halls of the world of Yetzira. These are the seven halls of the King, the seven halls of Malchut de Atzilut, where ZA rules.
When the prayer, adorned with all of these adornments, ascends there, it unites ZA with Malchut, for everything grows with similarity to everything else. And the Creator’s name, i.e., Malchut is adorned from Above and from below, and on all sides, as Malchut merges with ZA into one. And then Yesod (the righteous one) fills Malchut with its blessings.
Happy is the lot of him who can put his prayer in proper order, so the Creator will clothe in this prayer. He waits until all the prayers of Israel finish ascending and unite into a complete and perfect prayer, whereupon everything will become perfect both Above and below.
Besides the prayer, there are the Mitzvot of the Torah that depend on speech and action. There are six Mitzvot that depend on speech:
To fear the Great and Mighty Creator;
To love the Creator;
To bless the Creator;
To proclaim the Creator’s unity;
To bless the nation, which is incumbent on Cohanim (priests);
To entrust one’s soul with the Creator.
Out of the six above-mentioned Mitzvot, the first finds its place in the blessings that King David sang during his offerings in the Torah, where man must fear his Master, for these songs stand in a place called “fear” or Malchut. And all of these written blessings constitute the essence of fear of the Creator, Malchut. And man must sing these songs with his desires in fear.
Man must achieve a level of spiritual development where his desires will coincide with what is said in the texts of these blessings. It is impossible to force someone to wish something; all our feelings are the product, the result of our spiritual level. The Light of that degree influences one’s egoism and corrects it with the power of that degree. Therefore, man can only ask for correction, but it will come from Above, from the Light, from the Creator.
Here we have a list of degrees that man must gradually go through in his correction. These degrees are usually called Mitzvot, and in all there are 620 of them between us and the Creator: 613 Mitzvot of the Torah for Israel (altruism) and seven Mitzvot of the Torah for all the nations (egoism). Here they are expounded in a different way: since the most important is to ask for correction (and if the request is genuine, the answer in the form of Light immediately descends to it), all of man’s work on himself, all of his efforts in the study, work and actions are aimed only at the creation of a true request, MAN. Hence, the stages of man’s spiritual development are described as his path in prayer; as if he stands and prays, although this process continues within him throughout his life on earth.
The second Mitzva: to love the Creator (as it was repeatedly stated, this feeling is the result of correction; see “Introduction to the Study of Ten Sefirot,” item 45 – the four degrees of sensation of governance, from darkness to love), when in his prayer one reaches Ahavat Olam (great love) and Le El (for the Creator). These two blessings precede the appeal, Shema Israel (Hear, O Israel) and Ve Ahavta Et (and love the Creator), the blessing of the Creator for one’s love for Him that follows the appeal Shema Israel. And this is the secret of love for the Creator.
The third Mitzva: since man reaches a place in the prayer that is called Lehishtabe’ach (blessed is the Creator), he must attain praises and blessings of the Creator in his desire, as in parts of the prayer Yotzer Ohr (He who creates Light) and Yotzer HaMeohrot (maker of the stars).
The fourth Mitzva is to proclaim the Creator’s unity, i.e., Shema Israel (Hear, O Israel, our Creator is one!). From this point (degree) on, one must express the secret of the Creator’s unity (in all His manifestations to man) in his heart’s desire (one’s heart must be filled only with the sensation of the One, Upper Force). Afterward, the Mitzva to remember and remind others of the exodus from Egypt (egoism) is observed, as it is written: “Remember how you were a slave in Egypt.”
The fifth Mitzva is for a Cohen to bless the people (the Light’s descent to the Partzuf), so that Israel will be included when the prayer (the Cohanim’s blessing) ascends, for at this time (state), Knesset Israel (all those who correct themselves by aspiring to the Creator and constitute a part of Malchut de Atzilut), i.e., Malchut, receives a blessing (Light).
The sixth Mitzva and the desired time (state, spiritual level when man wishes only to give all of his desires, i.e., his soul, to the Creator, meaning that he can act for the Creator’s sake in all of his desires) is to entrust one’s soul with the Creator with complete desire in one’s heart. When one falls (willingly accepts the small state) on his face (Hochma) and proclaims (raises MAN): “I entrust my soul with You, O Creator.” The intentions and desires of his heart are to give his soul completely to the Creator (this desire is the consequence of this spiritual degree and comes naturally to those who attain it).
These six Mitzvot of the prayer correspond to the 600 Mitzvot of the Torah. And the remaining thirteen Mitzvot are required in order to attract the thirteen properties of mercy (thirteen Midot HaRachamim), which include all the rest. The prayer is adorned with 600 Mitzvot, which corresponds to HGT NHY, to what the prayer, Malchut, receives from ZA.
Happy is he who heeded and focused his desire on this (who was able to raise a proper request for his correction), who completed all that was required each day (in the Creator’s daylight), and directed his heart’s intentions and desires to fulfill this Mitzva, which depends on the word.