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12.01 Baal HaSulam,

“Not the Time for the Livestock to Be Gathered”

This is the meaning of the allegory in The Zohar (The Sulam [Ladder] commentary, Nasso, Item 19) about two who boarded a boat, and one was drilling under him. His friend admonished him, “Why are you drilling?” And that fool replied, “Why should you care? I am drilling under me!” But indeed, the individual spoils the beauty of the entire image.

From this we understand that in the ruin of the First Temple, the craftsman and the locksmith did not save the Temple from ruin because the majority of their contemporaries spoiled the beauty, though in them there was no flaw, for prophecy is not present in a flawed place, not even in the slightest.

This is the meaning of a prayer in public, that one must not exclude oneself from the public and ask for oneself, not even to bring contentment to one’s maker, but only for the entire public. It is so because one cannot extend one’s boundary while the boundaries of the rest of the buds of the flower remain where they are, for as smallness blemishes the beauty, so does greatness, since the boundaries of all the lines and circles of the flower must be related.

This is the meaning of (Psalms 22:21) “Save my soul from the sword, my only one from the dog.” One who departs from the public to ask specifically for one’s own soul does not build. On the contrary, he inflicts ruin upon his soul.

12.02 Baal HaSulam,

“Not the Time for the Livestock to Be Gathered”

Even during work, when one prays alone, against his will he departs from the public and ruins his soul. That is, there was not even an awakening of anyone from the children of Israel to demand anything personal, for no one needed anything because they did not feel as separate selves, and this was their power to come out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

Thus, every one must gather with all of one’s strength into the whole of Israel with every plea to the Creator in the prayer and in the work. He should include himself in the root of all of Israel, and will water all the herds from a well of water, for the previous boundary will be lifted from all the souls of Israel, both below him and above him. And the boundary of the holiness in general will be expanded greatly, for the light will appear from the Chazeh and below, for so is the nature of the light of the collective that is on the individual who has been annulled with regard to his own individuality and does not feel himself.

12.03 RABASH,

Article No. 106, “The Ruin of Kedusha” [Holiness]

One should pray for the ruin of the Temple, that the Kedusha is ruined and in lowliness, and no one pays attention to this lowliness, that the Kedusha is placed in the earth and must be lifted from its lowliness. In other words, each one recognizes his own benefit and knows that this is something very important and worth working for. But to bestow, this is not worthwhile. This is considered that the Kedusha is placed in the earth, unused and unwanted.

However, one must not ask the Creator to bring him closer to Him, as it is insolence on the part of man, for in what is he more important than others? However, when he prays for the collective— which is Malchut, called “assembly of Israel,” the sum of the souls—that the Shechina [Divinity] is in the dust, and he prays that she will rise, meaning that the Creator will light up her darkness, then all of Israel will rise in degree, too, including the beseeching person, who is included in the collective.

12.04 RABASH,

Article No. 251, “Concerning the Minyan” [Ten in the synagogue]

“When the Creator comes to the synagogue and does not find ten men there,” meaning that there will be someone there who will pray for the quality of “ten,” which is the Shechina, so she will rise from her exile, for by engaging with the desire to bestow, one raises the Shechina from the dust. But when each one cares for his personal needs, the Creator is angry.

He brings evidence from the verse, as was said, “Why have I come and there is no man” to care for the needs that pertain to the quality of “man,” and cares only to satisfy the needs that pertain to the quality of a beast? Rather, one should always answer to himself for whom he spends his time and for whom he exerts, for he should be concerned only with the needs of the collective.

12.05 RABASH,

Article No. 15 (1986), “A Prayer of Many”

We can interpret the words of The Zohar. It advises those people with an inner demand, who cannot accept the state they are in because they do not see any progress in the work of God, and believe what is written (Deuteronomy 30:20), “To love the Lord your God, to listen to His voice, and to cleave unto Him; for this is your life, and the length of your days.” They see that they lack love and Dvekut [adhesion/cleaving], and they do not feel the life in the Torah or know how to find counsel for their souls to come to feel in their organs that which the text tells us.

The advice is to ask for the whole collective. In other words, everything that one feels that he is lacking and asks fulfillment for, he should not say that he is an exception or deserves more than what the collective has. Rather, “I dwell among my own people,” meaning I am asking for the entire collective because I wish to come to a state where I will have no care for myself whatsoever, but only for the Creator to have contentment. Therefore, it makes no difference to me if the Creator takes pleasure in me or can receive the pleasure from others.

In other words, he asks the Creator to give us such an understanding, which is called, “entirely for the Creator.” It means that he will be certain that he is not deceiving himself that he wants to bestow upon the Creator, that perhaps he is really thinking only of his own self-love, meaning that he will feel the delight and pleasure.

Therefore, he prays for the collective. This means that if there are a few people in the collective who can reach the goal of Dvekut with the Creator, and this will bring the Creator more content- ment than if he himself were rewarded with nearing the Creator, he excludes himself. Instead, he wishes for the Creator to help them because this will bring more contentment above than from his own work. For this reason, he prays for the collective, that the Creator will help the entire collective and will give them that feeling—that they receive satisfaction from being able to bestow upon the Creator, to bring Him contentment.

And since everything requires an awakening from below, he gives the awakening from below, and others will receive the awakening from above, to whomever the Creator knows will be more beneficial for the Creator.

It follows that if he has the strength to ask for such a prayer, then he will certainly face a true test—if he agrees to such a prayer. However, if he knows that what he is saying is only lip service, what can he do when he sees that the body disagrees with such a prayer to have pure bestowal without a hint of reception?

Here there is only the famous advice—to pray to the Creator and believe above reason that the Creator can help him and the whole collective.

12.06 RABASH,

Article No. 15 (1986), “A Prayer of Many”

We can understand the importance of a prayer of many, as it is written, “I dwell among my own people.” The Zohar says, “One should never retire from the people because the mercy of the Creator is always on the whole people together.” This means that if one asks the Creator to give him vessels of bestowal, as our sages said, “As He is merciful, you be merciful, too,” one should pray for the whole collective. This is because then it is apparent that his aim is for the Creator to give him vessels of pure bestowal, as it was written, “The mercy of the Creator is always on the whole people together.” It is known that there is no giving of half a thing from above. This means that when abundance is given from above to below, it is for the whole collective.

12.07 RABASH,

Article No. 7 (1986), “The Importance of a Prayer of Many”

Baal HaSulam explained the matter of a prayer of many as a person praying for the many; this is called “a prayer of many.” This is why a prayer of many is called “a time of good will.” When a person prays for himself, he has slander and questions whether his prayer is truly worth acceptance. But when he prays for the public, it becomes irrelevant to scrutinize him and to see if he is worthy of his prayer being answered, since he is not asking for anything for himself, but only for the public. This is why it was said that a prayer of many is called “a time of good will” and his prayer is answered.

 12.08 RABASH,

Article No. 217, “Run My Beloved”

It is a great rule that the person himself is called “a creature,” meaning only he alone. Other than him it is already considered the holy Shechina. It follows that when he prays for his contemporaries, it is considered that he is praying for the holy Shechina, who is in exile and needs all the salvations. This is the meaning of eternity, and precisely in this manner, the light of mercy can be revealed.

Another reason we should pray only for the general public is the need to disclose the light of mercy, which is the light of bestowal. It is a rule that it is impossible to receive anything without equivalence. Rather, there must always be equivalence.

Hence, when he evokes mercy on himself, it follows that he is engaged in reception for himself. And the more he prays, not only is he not preparing the Kli [vessel] of equivalence, but on the con- trary, sparks of reception form within him.

It turns out that he is going the opposite way: While he should prepare vessels of bestowal, he is preparing vessels of reception. “Cleave unto His attributes” is specifically “As He is merciful, so you are merciful.”

Hence, when he prays for the public, through this prayer he engages in bestowal. And the more he prays, to that extent he forms vessels of bestowal, by which the light of bestowal, called “merciful,” can be revealed.

By receiving the light of mercy, there is an ability to later reveal the quality of “gracious.”

12.09 Zohar for All, “Introduction of The Book of Zohar,”

“Torah and Prayer,” Item 183

The prayer that we pray is the correction of the Holy Divinity, to extend abundance to her, to satisfy all her deficiencies, for hence, all the requests are in plural form, such as “And grant us knowledge from You,” or “Bring us back, our Father, into Your law.”

This is so because the prayer is for the whole of Israel, since all that there is in the holy Divinity exists in the whole of Israel. And what is lacking in her is lacking in the whole of Israel. It follows that when we pray for the whole of Israel, we pray for the Holy Divinity, since they are the same. Thus, before the prayer, we must look into the deficiencies in Divinity, to know what needs to be corrected and filled in her.

12.10 Zohar for All, VaYetze [And Jacob Went Out],

Remembering and Visiting,” Items 284-285

Wherever a person prays his prayer, he should incorporate himself in the public, in the manifold public, as it is written about Shunammite when Elisha told her, “Would you be spoken for to the king or to the captain of the army?” “Would you be spoken for to the king,” since that day was the festival of the first day of the year, and the day when Malchut of the firmament rules and sentences the world. At that time, the Creator is called “The king of the sentence,” and this is why he told her, “Would you be spoken for to the king,” since he called the Creator “King.”

And she said, “I dwell among my own people.” In other words, she said, “I have no wish to be mentioned above, but to put my head among the masses and not leave the public. Similarly, man should be included in the public and not stand out as unique, so the slanderers will not look at him and mention his sins.

12.11 Zohar for All, VaYechi [Jacob Lived],

“Be Gathered, that I May Tell You,” Items 514-516

All the prayers in the world, prayers of many, are prayers. But a solitary prayer does not enter before the Holy King, unless with great force. This is so because before the prayer enters to be crowned in its place, the Creator watches it, observes it, and observes the sins and merits of that person, which He does not do with a prayer of many, where several of the prayers are not from righteous, and they all enter before the Creator and He does not notice their iniquities.

“He has regarded the prayer of the destitute.” He turns the prayer and examines it from all sides, and considers with which desire the prayer was made, who is the person who prayed that prayer, and what are his deeds. Hence, one should pray one’s prayer in the collective, since He does not despise their prayer, even though they are not all with intent and the will of heart, as it is written, “He has regarded the prayer of the destitute.” Thus, He only observes the prayer of an individual, but with a prayer of many, He does not despise their prayer, even though they are unworthy.

“He has regarded the prayer of the destitute” means that He accepts his prayer, but it is an indi- vidual who is mingled with many. Hence, his prayer is as a prayer of many. And who is an individual who is mingled with many? It is Jacob, for he contains both sides—right and left, Abraham and Isaac, and he calls out to his sons and prays his prayer for them.

And what is the prayer that is fully granted above? It is a prayer that the children of Israel will not perish in the exile. This is because every prayer in favor of Divinity is received in full. And when Israel are in exile, Divinity is with them. This is why the prayer is regarded as being in favor of Divinity and is accepted in full.

12.12 Zohar for All, Pekudei [Accounts],

“The Palace of the Sapphire Pavement, Yesod,” Items 485-487

The holy appointee stands over the door to all the prayers that breach airs and firmaments to come before the King. If it is a prayer of many, he opens the gate and lets her in, where she is detained until all the prayers of the world become a crown on the head of the righteous one who lives forever, Yesod. If it is a prayer of one, it rises until it reaches the palace door, where that appointee stands. If the prayer is good for entering the holy King, he immediately opens a door and lets it in. If it is not good, he pushes it out and it descends and roams the world, standing at the bottom firmament from among those firmaments below, which lead the world. In that firmament is the appointee Sahadiel, who takes those rejected prayers, called “disqualified prayers,” and conceals them until a person repents.

If he repents before his Master properly, and prays another prayer, a good one, when the prayer rises, the appointee, Sahadiel, takes that prayer, the disqualified one, and raises it until it meets the good prayer. Then they rise and mingle together, and come in before the holy King.

12.13 Zohar for All,

VaYishlach [And Jacob Sent], “The Prayer of the Righteous,” It.45

A prayer of many rises before the Creator and the Creator crowns Himself with that prayer, since it rises in several ways. This is because one asks for Hassadim, the other for Gevurot, and a third for Rachamim. And it consists of several sides: the right side, the left, and the middle. This is so because Hassadim extend from the right side, Gevurot from the left side, and Rachamim from the middle side. And because it consists of several ways and sides, it becomes a crown over the head of the Righteous One That Lives Forever, Yesod, which imparts all the salvations to the Nukva, and from her to the whole public.

But a prayer of one does not comprise all the sides; it is only on one way. Either one asks for Hassadim or Gevurot or Rachamim. Hence, a prayer of one is not erected to be received like the prayer of many, as it does not include all three lines like the prayer of many.

12.14 Rabbi Nachman of Breslov,

Likutei Halachot

The house of prayer is called “the house of assembly,” for all the souls gather there through the prayer that they pray there, since the prayer is regarded as the soul. Hence, the prayer is mainly in the house of assembly and in public, since the ascent of the soul and its wholeness are mainly when all the souls are mingled and become one, for then they rise to the holiness, for holiness is one. For this reason, the prayer, which is regarded as the soul, depends mainly on the unity of the souls.

Therefore, prior to the prayer, one must assume the commandment to-do of “Love your neighbor as yourself,” for it is impossible to say the words of the prayer unless through peace, when one unites with all the souls of Israel. Hence, the prayer is mainly in public and not alone, so that one will not be isolated, by himself, as this is the opposite of holiness. Rather, we must only unite together the holy congregation and become one. This prayer is in public and specifically in the house of assembly, for there, the souls gather and unite. This is the completeness of the prayer.

12.15 Raaiah Kook,

“Sermons of the Raaiah for the High Holidays”

It is known that everything is discerned by its opposite, as the advantage of the light that comes from recognizing the darkness. Likewise, one has more recognition of the benefit of the public and his mingling with them when he is alone on the road and feels how the collective complements his lacks, whether in corporeal matters or in spiritual matters. As a result, he installs more love of the collective in his heart. And when he unites with the public, his prayer acquires the merit of the prayer of the public.

12.16 Noam Elimelech,

Likutei Shoshana

One must always pray for his friend, as one cannot do much for himself, for “One does not deliver oneself from imprisonment.” But when asking for his friend, he is answered quickly. Therefore, each one should pray for his friend, and thus each works on the other’s desire until all of them are answered. This is why it was said, “Israel are Arevim [responsible/sweet] for one another,” where Arevim means sweetness, as they sweeten for each other by the prayers they pray for one another, and by this they are answered.

12.17 Rav Menachem Mendel of Kosov,

Love of Peace

One who prays for his friend is answered first. This means that one who prays for his friend becomes a pipeline of bestowal to bestow upon his friend. Since the abundance flows through him, he is necessarily answered first, since the bestowal comes through him.

12.18 Rav Chaim Vital,

Shaar HaGilgulim, Introduction, 38

My teacher cautioned me and all the friends who were with him in that society to take upon our- selves the commandment to-do of “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and to aim to love each one from Israel as his own soul, for by this his prayer would rise comprising all of Israel and will be able to ascend and make a correction above. Especially, our love of friends, each and every one of us should include himself as though he is an organ of those friends. My teacher sternly cautioned me about this matter.

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