97. The Baal Shem Tov speaks about what it says in the Zohar – that a person is judged in every room, and he is expelled from that room – meaning the words of Davening are called rooms – for the mind rests in them and the person who prays is going from letter to letter, from word to work (from room to room) and if one is not worthy, the way he is exppeled is by giving him a foreign (distracting ) thought and ultimately he is outside.
In Tzavvas Harivash – When you pray imagine you are going from room to room – (heavenly chamber to heavenly chamber) and when a distracting thought comes to you, they are expelling you (from that chamber) for in each chamber you get judged if you are permitted enter – and if you pray not with passion – then begin to! (as this can allow you to enter) and if you are praying with passion (so it is not that you are being expelled, rather) see what is the nature of the distracting thought… – if it is for example lewd – then bring it to its source, namely love for God (as lust is the counterpart (in the realm of evil, to positive love).
When one has a distracting thought – then one should be most embarrassed, for one has been banished from the king’s palace, and one should return to the palace with great embarrassment and tremendous humility – for a disturbing thought (in prayer) is akin to giving birth to a mamzer (bastard child) as it says in the Talmud, one thing leads to another – just as thought is male and female, similarly the voice and the speech are male and female – and if one has a foreign thought, while he is thinking holy words – then it is akin to the birth of a Mamzer – for this creation has a form – akin to an outwardly kosher person but with an evil inside – so too, the speech is in holy letters – but the thought is bad – that one thinks something else, and this gives rise to a Mamzer – furthermore one should think that God says “Why have you come into the word but not I?” for the person’s thoughts are elsewhere.
99. If a person prays and while praying is distracted (thinking elsewhere..) then the kelipah (dark forces) covers the speech – for thought (the intent) rides the speech – it would be better had this prayer not been, for whatever comes from the heart (of man below) enters the heart (of “man” above”
Note 72 Just as horses take the king (in his chariot) so too the horses – letters of Prayer draw to us the king.
100. The idea of (Divine unity) Yichud (unity with the Divine) in prayer, is that one’s thoughts should not be distracted (thinking about something other than the) prayer – to not mix bad within good –
101. During prayer one must remove themselves of the physicality of the world, as if they are not in this world – this is the interpretation of what our sages teach – “if I am not for I, who is” in other words, when I arrive at the level that I do not feel myself: if I am in this world or not… – certainly I shall have no fear of distracting thoughts – for what kind of distracting thought can come to me when I am removed from this work – and this is “Who is for I” – in other words, no distracting thought can om to me – however if I am all about myself – considering myself super important – then in fact I am not… (truly worthless) and this what is says, who is for I – in other words, of what value is my service to G-d… – for then distracting thoughts will distract my prayer and it is as if I am not in this realm – for the entire purpose of life is to serve God – and also what our sages state, “If I am here, all is here” we can explain according to this.
102. When a Jew prays and connects himself to God – a voice is announced (from God in heaven) “Tzeineh Ureiena Bnois Tziyon…” in other words – whoever is not worthy for this unity, nor wishes for it, should leave (Tzena from Yeitzei) and who desires it, Urenea (from Reah see) that the when the kelipos hear this voice, they desire to distract the person in his prayers – with a foreign thought from the pleasures of this world – and the wise person connects with great love and reverence for God – and through this they elevate the holy Divine sparks in this thought – and one should say to themselves – why should I connect to this simplistic physical pleasure – far better to attach myself to the energy which is the source of all (even the darkness) the wisdom (essence) of God, as it says “He made it all with wisdom.”
103. The sign that one’s prayers are accepted is that if a person has the ability to pray all the prayers without any distracting thoughts or with love and reverence (each to their personal capacity.)
104. The Baal Shem Tov taught, for simple people (difficult to concentrate properly) it is good to rush through Davening (in order to maintain focus) and he quoted a beautiful example he heard from his brother-in-law Reb Gershon Kutavier – there was a forest road where ferocious bandits lurked – everyone would rush through the road – once two people went – but one was drunk as a skunk – the normal person rushed and was saved – but the drunk was beat black and blue – said the somber to the drunk after he came out – amazing how did you make it out – said he to the sober, but what was the issue? (as he felt no issues…) said the somber person “but look at all the wounds” – the drunk didn’t realize. (In other words, this is about rushing through the prayers in order to be able to maintain focused concentration – not allow the kelipos to cause distracting thoughts.)
105. The Baal Shem Tov said – the idea that when a person starts to pray, many distractive thoughts come… are actually a good sign – for if there is a simple person who would like to go to the king – of-course there are guards at many doorways – now if what he will relate to the king is bad for the guards, because chances are the king in any event will ignore this individual, they will put not up a block – however if this person is an important minister whom they know the king will listen to – then they do all in their power to block him – similarly as the kelipos are holding onto sparks of Godliness, especially a righteous person they attempt to disturb his prayers – but the petitioner can scream “Father save me!” and because God desires the prayers of the Jewish people, hence all the doors open and he fixes what needs to be rectified and elevates the holy spark and creates salvation.
107. When a person prays distracting thoughts come to him – now prayer elevates man – man has many potentials – in each world he comes to, he is able to effect big things – however the kelipah seek to stop him, so they throw to him bad thoughts (now of-course the letters which create good thoughts are the same as bad – so this is like, though there may be a very delicious dish, but if you take a few delicious dishes and just mix them up, it may be repulsive) therefore a person needs to discern where these thoughts came from (for all thoughts come from either the seven positive or negative emotions – so if it is lust, one can think about love for God, if its fear, one can think about fear of God, if its boasting, one can think about God’s glory – this is in fact is a tremendous thing, and this causes a great delight to God like (God-forbid) a prince who got captured and returned from captivity (for now these sparks elevate to God. )
108. When arson is praying they should crush the distracting thought and fully focus on God – this is like a person who was counting money and his son came to him saying – I see you have money, please use it to redeem me. 109. If a person learns Torah or prays without love / fear of God, the words ascend not (to God ) certainly if one has distracting thoughts…. – these thoughts are actually the result of one’s own sins – from the kelipos – when a person realizes that they are their own sins and thus one is very perturbed and repents (for the spirituality wishes to return to her father) it so causes.