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Michael Laitman, PhD

The Work of the Heart

Q: Is every blessing uttered a vessel that is built and rises upward and takes in a certain amount of Light? Does this also happen with a prayer from the bottom of the heart?

A: A person cannot feel one’s heart or one’s true situation. It is originally concealed from us, and revealed only gradually, according to our ability to correct our original desires. It is very easy to open a prayer book and read from it, but it is very difficult to attain the situation whereby the feelings in one’s heart will match the written word; when the heart will recognize and live by the words as the veritable truth.

When we study Kabbalah, we extend illumination from the Upper Light. As a result, we begin to feel worse and our spirits drop. But we must understand that this is a state of correction; otherwise we would not have been shown from Above that we are evil. We still don’t feel ourselves as evil, and we are not in a state of the “recognition of evil” within us.

That is why we still think that we are blessing the Creator with a hundred blessings when we pronounce the prayer. Note that it is perfectly alright for now, because otherwise we would stop praying altogether.

But if we begin to study Kabbalah, we will see our true situation, which is characterized by the words “prayer is the work of the heart,” meaning that prayer involves working with the desires of the heart and correcting them. At that time we will begin to understand the true meaning of the words we are saying, and we will know what we have to do.

It will be clear that prayer is the work on the screen over our nature. Only the corrected heart, which feels its two extreme situations–the original condition when it was distanced from the Creator, and its present one, when it is filled with the Creator –only such a heart can feel the blessing of the Creator and bless Him.

Q: If prayer is an inner feeling, what are words for?

A: Your sensation during the study–about yourself and the Creator– is your most honest prayer! That is what the Rabbi of Kotzk wrote in the book, Yosher Divrey Emet (Honesty and Words of Truth). That is why you do not need the proper prayer texts. The most correct thing is how you feel about the Creator.

The texts are needed in order to examine how far off we are from the complete correction. Reading in the prayer book is a study about the link between man and the Creator, the giver of the Torah. A prayer is the work of the heart! You will discern how far the words are from the prayers according to your progress.

Your understanding of the interpretation of the terms of Kabbalah will deepen according to the extent of the new feelings that will arise within you. (For example, you will see that “Pharaoh is the uncorrected characteristics of man; that “exile” is when one is distanced from the spiritual world; that “freedom” is the liberation from the authority of your own nature, and so on).

You will be able to see that all the prayers in the prayer book and Psalms were written by people who went through those situations, meaning by Kabbalists in high spiritual degrees. That is why we, too, on our own spiritual level can use those prayers as a handy expression of our thoughts and desires.

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