The Intention of the Prayer

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66) “A Psalm of David. Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. O my God, in Thee have I trusted.” Why did David seek to say this praise as he did? All the praises in the alphabetic order are complete, and this one is missing, without a Vav. Also, why did he set this up for kneeling?

67) When the night comes, the bottom tree, upon which death depends, which is Malchut from the side of Din, spreads its branches and covers everything. This is why it grows dark and all the people in the world taste the taste of death. And a person precedes himself and places a deposit for his soul, and places it in his hand as deposit for the night, so it is returned at daybreak. And because he takes the soul as deposit, the deposit returns to its owner at daybreak. And when the deposit returns to him, he should bless the Creator, who is the High Trustee.

68) After he rose from his sleep, he enters the synagogue, crowns himself with Tefillin, and covers with a cover of Tzitzit, enters, and first purifies himself with the Korbanot [offerings, a section of the prayer], and then assumes the burden of Malchut in the order of David’s praises, which are the order of the burden of Malchut. In this order, he puts the burden over him. Afterwards, there is the order of the prayer of Meyoshev [sitting, another section], corresponding to Malchut, and the order of the prayer of Meomed [standing], opposite ZA, to tie them—ZA and Malchut—together.

69) Although the prayer depends on speech, the words of the mouth, everything depends on the action, first, and on the speech, the speech of the mouth, next. When one performs an act first, it is like a prayer. And one does not pray until he sees an act first, similar to the prayer.

70) The act in the beginning is that when a person rises from his sleep he should first purify himself, tend to his needs, then assume that burden, and spread the portions of Mitzva over his head. Afterwards, he will tie the knot of unification, which are the Tefillin, a prayer of the head and a prayer of the hand, and establish them in one knot on the left and on the heart, as it is written, “Let his left hand be under my head.” It is written, “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm.” This refers to the Tefillin of the hand, the Malchut that was given over the arm, opposite the heart. And this is the act that should be done first.

71) Afterwards, when a person enters the synagogue, he will first purify himself with the Korbanot [offerings] with the words of the mouth, meaning saying the portion of Korbanot. Then he will take upon himself the burden of Malchut, spread over his head with the praises of King David, such as the act of one who spreads portions of Mitzva over his head, corresponding to the act of the Tzitzit. And then the prayer of Meyoshev [sitting], opposite the act of the prayer of the hand, Malchut, followed by the prayer of Meomed [standing], ZA, opposite the act of the Tefillin of the head. One opposite the other—the act should be as the speech, since the prayer depends on an act and the speech.

72) And if one blemishes the act, the speech finds no place to be on, and it is not a prayer. And that man is blemished above and below because an act needs to be seen and to be mentioned in speech. This is a complete prayer. Woe unto one who blemishes one’s prayer, the work of his Master. It is written about him, “When you come to appear before Me, when you make many prayers, I will not hear,” for it depends on the act and the speech.

73) When one makes one’s prayer in this manner, in act and in speech, tying the knot of unification, the upper ones and lower ones are blessed by him. Then, after he has completed the Tefilat Amida [standing prayer[, one should show himself as though he had passed away from the world. This is because he has been separated from the tree of life, ZA, which is the Tefilat Amida, and has gathered his legs into that tree of death, meaning returned his deposit to him, for he has returned his soul to him in the morning, as it is written, “He gathered up his feet into the bed.” Because he has already confessed his sins and prayed for them, he should now be gathered into that tree of death and fall on his face, and say to Him, “Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.” In the beginning, when I went to sleep, I gave you the soul as deposit. Now that I have tied the unification and performed the act and the speech properly, and have confessed my sins, my soul is certainly given to You, meaning he will assume complete devotion.

74) One should see oneself as though he had been rid of the world, since he has given his soul to a place of death. This is the reason why there is no Vav in the alphabetic order of “Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul,” since Vav is the tree of life, ZAVav de HaVaYaH, and the one to whom he has given his soul is the tree of death, Malchut. It teaches us that there are sins that are not atoned until a person passes away from the world, as it is written, “Surely this iniquity shall not be forgiven you until you die.” This is why he certainly gives himself to death, and gives his soul to Malchut, and not as deposit, as during the night, but as one who has passed away from the world.

75) This correction should be with the intention of the heart. And then the Creator takes pity on him and atones for his sins. Happy is the man who knows how to lure and to serve his Master with the desire and the intention of the heart. Woe unto one who comes to lure his Master with a far away heart and unwillingly. This causes him to part from the world prematurely, when this tree awakens in the world to induce Din.

76) For this reason, one needs to attach one’s soul and desire to one’s Master, and not approach Him with a false desire, since it is written, “He that speaks falsehood shall not be established before my eyes.” When he establishes himself for devotion by falling on his face with his heart far away from the Creator, a voice comes out and says, “Shall not be established before my eyes,” meaning the one who wishes to correct himself will not be established, I do not want him established. It is even more so if he comes to unite the Holy Name and does not unite it properly.

77) Happy are the righteous in this world and in the next world. It is written about them, “They shall come, and shall see My glory.” And it is written, “Only the righteous shall give thanks unto Thy name.” Happy are Israel because they adhere to the Creator, as it is written, “And you that cleave.”

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