"And the [angelic] messengers returned to Jacob, saying: 'We came to your brother Esau, and he is also coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him'". (Gen. 32:7) After saying, "We came to your brother," do we not know they referred to Esau, as he had no other brothers? "We came to your brother" means that he did not repent and walk the path of righteousness, as may be thought, but remained the evil Esau as before. "...and he is also coming to meet you..." does not mean, as you may say, by himself, but rather he has "four hundred men with him."

Why was all this specified? Because G‑d always longs for the prayers of the righteous and adorns Himself with them. As we have already said, the angel in charge of the prayers of the children of Israel, whose name is Sandal-fon [only read this word, do not say it out loud - Ed.] receives all their prayers [of Israel] and weaves them into a crown for the Life of the Worlds. G‑d desires the prayers of the righteous all the more; they become a crown with which to adorn Himself. You may wonder why Jacob was fearful, since camps of holy angels accompanied him. He was fearful because the righteous do not rely on their merit, but on their prayers and supplications before their Master.

Come and see! Rabbi Shimon said that the prayer of the many rises before G‑d and He is adorned by that prayer, because it ascends in several ways [for one may ask for health, and one may ask for livelihood, and one may ask for children, and one may ask for life, and all of this rise to before the Shechinah] and consists of several sides [including the prayers of all the different members of the congregation]. Because it comprises several aspects, it is woven into a wreath and put on the head of the righteous One, the Life of the Worlds [for He gives life to all the worlds and to all that one lacks]. But a solitary prayer does not include all the sides, rather it contains only one aspect. Therefore, the solitary prayer is not prepared and accepted as is that of the many.

Come and see: Jacob included all. Therefore, G‑d desired his prayer. It is therefore written, "Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed."
[G‑d made him feel afraid so that he would pray.]

Rabbi Yehuda opened: "Fortunate is the man who fears always: but he who hardens his heart shall fall into evil". (Proverbs 28:14) Fortunate are the children of Israel, whom G‑d desires and to whom He gave the Torah of Truth with which to attain eternal life. For whoever is occupied with the study of the Torah receives supernal life from G‑d and is ushered into the life of the world to come, as it is written: "for He is your life, and the length of your days", (Deut. 30:20) and, "and through this word you shall prolong your days" (Deut.32:47) - for it is life in this world and life in the World to Come.

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida pick this selection, and what do they want us to learn from it?

We spiritual travelers know oh so well that "man is in search of G‑d." But do we also know as well in our heart-of-hearts, the Chamber of Holy of Holies that dwells inside us, that also "G‑d is in search of man."

The Kabbalah of the Ari begins with the initial premise that G‑d had a desire, a desire to open a place in Himself, so that there could be an Other, a partner, so to say.

And since then, G‑d has been in search of us, too.

We are told to "Tenu Oz Le'Elokim/give strength to G‑d". How can G‑d need our strength? Isn't He "the Master of All, Was-Is-Will Be, Overpowering, Omnipotent, Almighty, Cause of all Causes, Reason of all Reasons, Authority of all the Worlds, Ruler and Governor, One and Unique" amongst many wondrous epithets?

When we pray we speak to G‑d. Our desire from below elevates Feminine Waters of passion. When we learn Torah, G‑d speaks to us. Masculine waters from above impregnate us with new mentalities to imbue and our selves and our world with Holiness.

What does this mean to you, and why is it revealed to you now?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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