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The Baal Shem Tov – 10 Teachings

126. Prayer is called the Shechina and during prayer one’s intention should be that we are trying to unite the wife (the Shechina) with her husband.

127 The Baal Shem Tov says that the main prayer outside of Israel is the belief that within everything is God – and through this, one uplifts the feet of the Shechina (ED. Instead of perceiving a separate existence…)

Furthermore one should believe as soon as one prays one is answered – as to the fact sometimes one is not – firstly the answer may be in a heavenly realm, and it could be that the issue one is praying for is actually in the person’s benefit – if one’s purpose of prayer is just to be answered, then one mixes one’s personal issue into the Shechina which creates a barrier.

 Note 117 The Baal Shem said – “I” Jew – “Believe, with complete faith” – I believe with total belief – what does total belief mean? – even were one to cut off my head hand and foot… 

“that the circumstance of a body are not attributable..” the body like a nut that one first must crack its shell, similarly a Jew who eats like a Jew, sleeps like a Jew, and most importantly looks like a Jew – looks not where one mustn’t… – this allows one to know G-d.

“To him alone is it right to pray and to no other” that my aim in life should be but to your will, not to anything physical/materialistic.

128. There are two levels in prayer, the lowest is where one is asking for oneself – this is a person of the world – the higher is where one is asking for the sake of the Shechina – and as one is already within the Shechina – as is known, above and below are one – as it is fixed above, so too below.

Also this is why often people do not appreciate the importance of their prayers – in which they rectify heavenly realms.

129. “On Rosh Hashana three books are open … for Tzaddikim … Benoinim.. Reshayim…”

The book refers to the world of speech, and the Tzaddikim connect the world of speech to the world of thought – this is the primary purpose of all their holy words of Torah and prayer – for in every word of Torah and prayer one must believe that one is connecting the realm of thought with the realm of speech – – this despite the fact, one may not receive what one is praying for – nonetheless by praying in such a manner, one likewise connects the heavenly realm of speech with the realm of thought –    

When a person begins to pray they should meditate that that what I am missing is missing above – and when one prays with devotion, then God is glorified in the realm of speech – and the glory is felt in all the universes – and upon you too glory descends – and be careful to not let go of your devoted concentration – to consider your personal greatness (that you pray with devotion….)

An average is a person who prays also for his own needs – if ultimately their needs are there so they can serve God… this too unites the world of speech with the world of thought.

Note 121

Before prayer one should think about the tremendous suffering of the Shechina, because Jews are in exile – now during the time of the Beis Hamikdash, sacrifices would atone – and now prayer takes sacrifices place –  if a person sins this hurts the Shechina – and through atonement the Shechina comes out of her pain – in other words, through considering the pain of the Shechina in exile – then through prayer the sins are forgiven and the Shechina is redeemed.

A person should always pray that the Shechina should come out of exile.

In one place in the Zohar it says that whoever requests for themselves is like a (obnoxious) dog – yet elsewhere is says that one who prays not for his livelihood daily is of little faith – explains the Baal Shem Tov, that one should realize that their personal lack is the lack of the Shechina.

Who feels pleasure / pain? – The life-force – the proof being, if God-forbid the same person passed, he would sense nothing –

130. when one attaches oneself to the letters/words of prayer, the words themselves speak for the individual.

131. Teaches the Baal Shem Tov, one should completely of themselves forget, and pray but for the Shechina – then a person raises themselves beyond time, to the world of thought, where all is equal – when one is humble, God in Him can reside.

Note – a young boy later to become a Rebbe, went under the Taalis of Baal Shem Tov and he saw  how the Baal Shem Tov’s face would change from a deathly pale to a fiery fervor.

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