May My Prayer Be Counted as Incense

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419) “May my prayer be counted as incense before You; the lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.” Incense comes for joy, as it is written, “Oil and incense delight the heart.” Hence, when the priest would light the candles, he would burn incense, as it is written, “When he dresses the candles, he shall burn it. And when Aaron lights the candles at dusk, he shall burn it.” In the morning, he burns incense for joy because the time causes, for morning is a time of joy. In the evening, he burns incense to delight the left side, and so it should be. Incense always comes only for joy.

420) Incense ties knots, the ties of the Sefirot to one another, and grips above and below, removing death, accusations, and anger so they cannot govern in the world. It is written about it, “Moses said to Aaron, ‘Take your censer and put in it fire from the altar, and lay incense on it.’ …and the plague was stopped.” This is so because all the evil discernments and all the slanderers cannot resist the incense, hence, it is the joy of everything and ties everything.

421) During the afternoon prayer, when the Din is in the world, David intended with a prayer of incense, as it is written, “May my prayer be counted as incense before You.” This prayer that he raised will remove the irritation of the harsh Din that governs in the evening by the force of the incense, which repels and removes all irritation and every slandering in the world. The evening offering is an offering when the Din governs in the world.

422) When the Temple was burned it was the time of the afternoon prayer. This is why it is written, “Woe to us, for the day declines, for the shadows of the evening lengthen.” The shadows of the evening” are the slanderers of the world and the irritation of the Dinim that are ready at that time. Hence, one should aim one’s mind during the afternoon prayer. In all prayers, one should aim his mind, but in this prayer most of all, since the Din is in the world. This is why Isaac established the time of the afternoon prayer.

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