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Baal Shem Tov – on Prayer #2

34. Says the Holy Baal Shem Tov – once the satan in heaven accused the Jews – not the wicked, but the righteous – they go to Shul, however on the way they get sidetracked by a hawker, and for the few cents they save by purchasing the item/s, they miss Kadish and Barchu etc. – answered the Baal Shem Tov: True they may spend a few cents and lose a mitzvah, but if they already gained a Mitzvah, even for all the money in the world, never would they relinquish!

35. Sometimes prior to Davening (prayer) one must truly strengthen themselves, so they can meditate/concentrate – some people this works by learning Torah (hence expanding their thinking) others, through saying psalms, and others through neither – as long as a person gets themselves into the right frame of mind…

36. One should not exert all their energy prior to praying, on say, saying the Tehhilim and lose what is most important namely deep concentration/meditation during Pesuikie Dezimrah, Shema and Shmoinah Esrei – the same applies that one should lessen their effort before Neilah – so as to say Neilah with great concentration.

37. Whenever in Tehhilim it states Mizmor Lidavid (a song to David ) first David would sing and then the Ruach Hakodesh upon him would reside – whenever it says Lidavid Mizmor – “to David a song,” first the Ruach Hakodesh would rest and then he would sing – so when we say Tehhilim, with great reverence and humility, must we say… for when does the Ruach Hakodesh upon us reside??  

38. The Baal Shem Tov told his disciples that before prayers, one should learn a teaching of the Zohar.

39. One should be very careful to begin prayers, saying the Shema before Netz / sunrise, for then it is easy to be heard (afterward, harsh judgments are in the air.)

40. The Baal Shem Tov wrote: how come one may not precede their prayers to the community? for it is important to pray together.

Once the Baal Shem Tov took – as his custom, but this time more so- long in his prayers – all his Holy Disciples waited for a very long time, but eventually each departed to do what they need – When they came back, the Baal Shem Tov said, the fact that you left caused a great separation – for when we are all together, the prayer ascended – he gave an example that, there was once a beautiful bird of extraordinary kaleidoscope of color, and it perched itself high on a tree that no one could reach it – the king desperately desired it, so he said / told people to climb on each others shoulders to reach it – but as some people weren’t in the mood, they couldn’t get to the top – the truth behind this exercise, was not really the bird – but the king desires the unity of the people.

Through unity we ascend to the highest heaven, for every Jew, like every letter of the Torah, combined, form the Holy of Holies.

“As you caused a separation, therefore the rectification is to place deep within each of your hearts a real love for your fellow Jew, and your Father In Heaven.”

42 It is amazing that someone can remain alive after praying – for based on the incredible sacrifice in prayer (focus / concentration) it is amazing.

43 The Baal Shem Tov said – it is amazing that though one can be total concentration in prayer- afterwards they remain alive.

44. A person who speaks without thinking, this is as grievous as the sin of one who emits wasteful semen (as is known, the thought one has during intimacy effects the child and if one thinks foreign thoughts, this creates a foreign child.)

45. One who is on a low level, far better s/he should pray from the siddur for the letters add in concentration – however one who is in heaven, far better not – for then the letters disturb.

47. To begin a person should have intense concentration during prayer and this will allow that through their prayer they will.

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