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The Kabbalah of Prayer

Deep Calling Unto Deep

Prayer is for the soul what food is for the body. As fire flickers upwards, drawn to its supernal source, so does prayer issue forth. It is hard, if not impossible, to conceive of faith in G-d without some concept of prayer

Introduction to Prayer
As fire flickers upwards, drawn to its supernal source, so does prayer issue forth - the Divine within man drawn to the Divine beyond. It is hard, if not impossible, to conceive of faith in G-d without some concept of tefilah
Principle of Unity
On the metaphysical level, the heart is also the medium through which humanness expresses itself. In the heart are ignited the sparks of human feelings and passion. From it flicker the flames of human desires and caprices, and through its manifestations we perceive man's character and personality.
Daily Schedule
It is recited in the midst of our activities, at the height of our mundane entanglements, at a moment when thoughts of the sublime appear altogether incongruous to our self-centered interests. Just then, at the very point of possible detachment, we need to strengthen our bonds.
Speech and Thought
They may not understand the meanings of the words they utter, but insofar that their prayers are offered with simple faith and total sincerity they are beloved and acceptable.
Comprehensive Principle
The vertebrae of the spine are counted among the 248 limbs. The spinal cord itself, however, is not included among these. Just as the spinal cord in the vertebral column is the backbone supporting and upholding the body, so is prayer the spinal cord
The Ladder
It is the elevator by means of which we ascend and soar ever higher, from the darkness of matter to the very source of light. It is the link between lower and higher, between earth and heaven, body and soul.
Reflecting on the nature of G-d, in order to know the most effective method for successful prayer, he must realize that there are certain modes of behavior which are incompatible with his aims.
The Crucible
Silver or gold mixed with base metals, when thrown into an adequately heated refining pot will become separated from the dross. The precious elements will emerge independently.
Prayer demands a transcendence of self, "as if stripped of physicality, no longer sensing one's own reality in this world."
It is the underlying premise for the elevation, sublimation and ultimate self-actualization of man, and through man of all matter. For man on earth is sustained through the physical entities of the realms of minerals, vegetables and animals.
Battle of Prayer
The constantly re-emerging materialism of the mundane involved in daily life, challenges man to a laborious struggle if he is to retain the uniquely human image and identity and to remain sensitive to higher ideals and aspirations.
Humility and Joy
Prayer needs fortitude, a stringent effort on the part of him who prays. The involvement must be total, a rallying of all strength and concentration as when fighting a formidable enemy.
Order of Prayers
The workings and aims of prayer are indicated in the very order of the prayers. The composition of this order is not arbitrary. It follows a precise order and pattern
Implications of the Order
Here again we note the reflexive nature of prayer: by speaking to, and of, G-d, we also address ourselves. Stirred and inspired by the contemplation on the Creator and Sustainer of all, one is rendered fit to petition the Al-mighty.
Four Rungs of the Ladder
The order of the prayers is one of gradual ascent, rising ever higher among the 'Four Worlds,' from one sphere to the next - the higher - one
The Blessings
Man prays for a state of grace and willingness, to arouse, manifest and elicit the Divine Grace and Favor.
Divine Pathos
How is it possible to submit petitionary prayers for life and good health, for sustenance and forgiveness of sin, which of themselves imply self-awareness, yet speak simultaneously of self-negation?
Prayer with the Community
When an individual senses pain, anguish and distress, or other deficiencies, he must realize that his condition reflects, as it were, an analogous condition in the celestial spheres.
The Request
The big question: "how can prayer avail to change G-d's will to decree good for someone after it had not so been decreed
Prayer and Change
As stated already, prayer confers upon man a capacity without which he may not have been fit to receive a certain benefit, by preparing and readying the petitioner for the Divine grace.
Averting Decrees
In context of the preceding, we understand also why it is necessary to pray and perform certain acts to have our needs and requests attended to, notwithstanding the fact that G-d knows these needs beforehand.
Divine Providence
Now the reason may be that G-d refuses to assent as a form of punishment or trial, or because the petitioner is not yet fully prepared and ready. Then, again, there may be some other, external impediment.
All Prayers Answered
It would seem that some prayers are not answered. This does not mean, however, that they were in vain or not effective.

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