The Arizal- Sha’ar Hakavanot- Lectures On Prayer

kabbalah prayer Dec 13, 2018
 

Lectures On Morning Prayer# 2

The ARI tells us that there are 2 levels within the worlds, the external and the internal dynamics. The external level of the worlds are the Divine Chariot, angels and offanim a lower form of angels. Although the “worlds” are spiritual, there is nevertheless the external framework of operation.

The inner level, the soul of creation is manifested in the form of Nefesh within the world of Asiyah, Ruach within the world of Yetzirah, Neshama within the world of Beriyah. Each one of these levels has as well external and internal realms.

It is known what the Zohar (Vayakhel 211b) says that we must begin a fixing on the realm of action, which include 4 preliminary preparations to access the soul of prayer.

  1. Cleansing one’s bodily needs by using the bathroom
  2. Donning the Tzizit
  3. The Teffilin of the arm
  4. The Teffilin of the head

Corresponding world

Part of soul

Corresponding Prayer

Physical Preparation

Asiyah

Nefesh

Sacrifices/Korbanot

 Cleansing one’s bodily needs by using the bathroom

Yetzirah

Ruach

Psalms/ P’sukei D’zimra

  Donning The Tzizit

Beriayah

Neshama

Blessings of Shema/ Yoter

 The Teffilin of the arm

Atzilut

Neshama of Neshama/ Chaya

The silent prayer/ Amida

 The Teffilin of the head

The physical preparation for prayers are essential. Although going to the bathroom seems like common sense, it nevertheless represents the truth of achieving spiritual elevation. We can not skip steps, nor deny our physical body.

The physical actions correspond to fixing the external part of the worlds. The Mitzvoth are essential connections which must be made each day, nevertheless they do not necessarily have to be made during the morning prayers. The Kabbalistic reason for the process is that they elevate the external parts of the worlds.

The inner parts of the worlds are fixed by Soul. The individual who prays and verbalizes the parts of prayer elevates the internal parts of the worlds. The ARI says that the inner parts of the worlds are further elevated through intention- Kavanah.

Kavanah draws the external parts of the worlds with the internal. This is what the blessings/ brachot are all about. The Mitzvah corresponds to the physical (essential) connection while the beracha draws down what the ARI calls “surrounding light” which is effected by the breath of speech.

Linking the worlds

The purpose of prayer is not to merely have a spiritual experience. Prayer is about binding the worlds by raising up the lower and spiritually desensitized realms called “below to above” and by drawing down the radiant spiritual vitality of the higher worlds down, “above to below”.

By having the Kavanah (intention) within each part of prayer to “link” the worlds together, we effect draw the soul- inner dynamic of creation into creation. Look at it as someone who has to travel on a train. The preparation of buying the ticket, finding the seat, putting away luggage is all external to the purpose of what? getting to the destination. The destination can be viewed the the soul, the inner purpose, while the preparation as the external necessary steps needed to “get there”.

So too, on the spiritual level, all of the “rungs” coalesce and merge within each other, forging towards the destination. The destination being drawing the inner life-force within every aspect of our lives- soul (micro) and the world around us (macro).

 

Here is how the ARI puts it:

Parts of Prayer

Intention for Worlds

Intention for soul

Sacrifices/Korbanot

Bind Asiyah with Yetzirah

Raising up Nefesh

Psalms/ P’sukei D’zimra

Bind Yetzirah with Beriyah

Raising up Ruach

Blessings of Shema/ Yoter

Bind Beriyah with Atzilut  as well as draw down inner light into worlds

Raising up Neshama

The silent prayer/ Amida

Draw down the external lights into the worlds

Neshama of Neshama

 

Here’s to safely traveling and reaching our destination!

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