Inapoi la pagina 1988 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
What Does It Mean that One Who Prays Should Explain His Words Properly?
Article No. 08, Tav-Shin-Mem-Het, 1987-88
The Zohar (VaYishlach [And Jacob Sent], Item 70) brings evidence that one who prays should explain his words properly through what is written about Jacob, who said, “Deliver me, I pray Thee.” It writes, “‘Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he might come and strike me and the mothers with the children.’ This implies that one who prays his prayer should explain his words properly. He said, ‘Deliver me, I pray Thee.’ It seems as though it should have sufficed, since he does not need more than deliverance. Yet, he said to the Creator, ‘Should You say that You have already delivered me from Laban?’ This is why he explained, ‘from the hand of my brother.’ And if you say that other kin are called brothers, too, as Laban said to Jacob, ‘Because you are my brother, should you serve me for nothing?’ he therefore explained, ‘from the hand of Esau.’ What is the reason? It is because we must explain the matter properly. If you say, ‘Why do I need deliverance?’ It is because I fear that he might come and strike me. All of this is to explain the matter above, and not obscure it.”
It is very difficult to understand this. When a person prays to the Creator, who knows the thoughts of man, should we interpret our words properly, or He might not know what the person needs? Rather, we should interpret this with respect to man. That is, the person himself should know what he needs and scrutinize every single lack separately. A person should not say in general, that he is not okay and he would like the Creator to help him. The reason is that there is a rule: “There is no light without a Kli [vessel], no filling without a lack.” Hence, it is upon man to arrange for himself all the things he needs. That is, deliverance from Laban is not like deliverance from Esau, and so forth.
We can understand this the way Baal HaSulam said about what is written concerning Laban, who said to Jacob, “Laban replied to Jacob, ‘The daughters are my daughters, and the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine.’” Concerning Esau, when he spoke to Jacob, it is written that Esau said the opposite: “And he said, ‘What is this company of yours that I have met?’ And he said, ‘To find favor in the eyes of my lord.’ And Esau said, ‘I have plenty, my brother; let what is yours be yours.’ And Jacob said, ‘then take my present from my hand.’”
He said that sometimes the evil inclination dresses as Laban, who is righteous, and walks with a white garment. Sometimes it dresses as Esau, saying that man has already done everything completely, and there is nothing more to add, installing in him a spirit of pride. The order is that before the work, it tells him: “You should not get into the work Lishma [for Her sake], as this is difficult and no work for you. Rather, you, everything you do is for me, and you cannot aim anything for the sake of the Creator.” With these arguments, the evil inclination can prevent a person from engaging in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds] in truth. This is before the work, and this is the meaning of what Laban said, “The daughters are my daughters.”
After the work, Jacob comes and tells him, “Now I see that you are right, meaning that all my thoughts were only for you,” meaning Lo Lishma [not for Her sake]. “Thus, now I must ask the Creator to give me repentance so I will have the strength to work for the sake of the Creator.” The evil inclination comes and dresses as Esau, from the word Assiya [doing/action], that “You really did everything for the sake of the Creator and you are a great righteous, and you are not like your friends.” Then Jacob told him, “then take my present from my hand,” meaning he said, “I have plenty,” meaning that all the work I did so far has been for you. But Esau told him, “Let what is yours be yours,” meaning you did not work for me.
Accordingly, we should explain why we need to interpret “When he prays, he should explain his words properly.” It means that the person himself should scrutinize the order of his work so he will clearly know what to pray for, since sometimes a person prays for the opposite of what he needs. The prayer is the disclosure of a lack within a person, for a lack is called a Kli [vessel], and there is no light without a Kli. Hence, a person should pray so as to have a Kli that the Creator will fill. If there is no Kli, it is impossible to speak of the Creator filling the lack.
This is similar to what we pray in the Beginning of the Month Prayer: “May the Lord grant our heart’s wishes favorably.” “Wishes” are Kelim [plural of Kli]. When there are Kelim, the Creator can fill the Kelim. We should understand what we are saying in this prayer of the blessing of the month, “May the Lord grant our heart’s wishes favorably.” What does it imply that we add the word “favorably”? Would one ask for the unfavorable?
We can understand this by what The Zohar says, “One who prays should explain his words properly,” as it is written, “Deliver me from the hand of my brother.” Laban is also called “my brother,” as it is written that Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my brother.” This is why he clarified, “from the hand of Esau.”
According to what Baal HaSulam explained, at times the evil inclination is called Laban, and at times it is called Esau. The difference between these names relates to before the fact and after the fact. Before the fact, it is called Laban. After the fact, it is called Esau.
By this we should interpret that when a person prays for the Creator to help him since he wants to do some good deed but feels that he does not have the power to overcome, he must not pray that the Creator will deliver him from Esau, meaning to think about how he does everything not for the sake of the Creator and that his work is worthless. He should ask the Creator to deliver him from Esau’s words, who says, “Your work is indeed worthy and highly regarded above, and your intention is not to work for me,” meaning for the evil inclination, which is now regarded as Esau.
Instead, he wants the Creator to help him feel that he is doing everything not for the sake of the Creator, and will see the truth—that his work is worthless. It follows that if he really feels that his work is worthless, what will he gain by receiving such help from the Creator? He will certainly not succeed in doing anything good, since a person cannot work for a lost cause. Rather, one must see some benefit from the work.
This is the meaning of what The Zohar says, that “he should explain his words properly.” It is because a person must know what he is missing so he can observe Torah and Mitzvot. For this reason, his prayer should be “Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of Laban,” meaning from what Laban would make him see, that “All that you see is mine.” Laban claims that all he did was for his own sake, for the sake of the evil inclination, and his work is worthless.
At that time he prays that the Creator will give him the feeling, and that he will see that the Creator enjoys everything he does, and every little thing in spirituality is a very important matter, and we cannot appreciate its importance. Then he will have the strength to work because now he is working for a purpose, meaning that with his work, he will do a great thing for the entire world. It is as our sages said (Kidushin, p 40), “Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, says, ‘Since the world is judged by its majority, and the individual is judged by its majority, if he performs one Mitzva[commandment/good deed], happy is he, for he has sentenced himself and the entire world to the side of merit.’”
When he has this feeling, he certainly gets energy for the work. But if he asks, “Deliver me from the hand of Esau,” it will be to his detriment. Since there is no light without a Kli, when a person prays, he should “explain his words properly.” What is “properly”? It means that his prayer should be suitable for reception because it is to his benefit.
However, after the fact, one should shift to the left line. That is, he should examine and see if the work was really in utter completeness, and check if he has more to correct so that through the Torah and Mitzvot he is doing, he will achieve Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator. At that time, the evil inclination dresses as Esau and tells him: “You have no flaw that anyone can point to, since everything you do is only for the Creator.” This is called Esau, from the word Assiya [action/doing]. That is, your work is called “complete work,” and there is nothing to add to it. At that time comes the prayer, “Deliver me from the hand of my brother, Esau, since I want to have the strength to examine and see what I really should correct.”
If, after the fact, he asks, “Deliver me from the argument of Laban,” who said that everything he did was not for the sake of the Creator, but for his own sake, which is the authority of the evil inclination, then he is controlled by Esau, meaning he is doing everything for the sake of the Creator. In that case, he would always remain with his flaws because Esau claims that he has nothing to correct and he is doing everything for the sake of the Creator. He would never be able to see the truth.
This is why The Zohar says that he should explain his words properly. That is, one should obtain the right Kli where the right help may enter, since “There is no light without a Kli.” With this we will understand what we asked, “What does it mean that we say that the Creator should grant our heart’s wishes favorably?” Would a person ask the Creator for something bad? Rather, it is that each prayer should be in its place.
Inapoi la pagina 1988 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link