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180 Teachings from the Holy Baal Shem Tov On Prayer

The Baal Shem Tov On Davening

Make a light for the Teive (ark) and complete it (on its roof) to the width of an Ama (app. 3 feet.) Tzohar means light and Teiva means (also ) word.

Says the Holy Baal Shem “Make your words of Torah and Teffilah (prayer) bright. For within every letter there are universes, souls and Divine energy.

And these universes and souls elevate and connect and unify with Divine energy – then afterwards they connect with the letters of the word, and they become an ark, and afterwards combinations (Yechudim) of Divine energy occur – and a person should include his soul in each level mentioned – and then all the universes unite as one – they elevate and a great pleasure and rejoicing occurs above – this is the meaning that, the Teviah should have an upper middle and lower floor – there are the worlds, angels and Divine energy.

Every word you say, you must hear (yourself) for the Divine presence (the Shechina) is the world of speech – – it takes much faith to believe this.  

 When we pray we must put all our energy in every letter we say – we should have in mind that the letters connect – now if a physical union is pleasurable – infinitely more so a spiritual – we should then elevate ourselves to the point where we are in the mystical realm of Beriah – we can’t even hear the words, only our thoughts, and then we get to the point of Atzilus.

Every word has three stories – universes, souls and Divine energy – the bottom level are the universes which we connect to the soul, which then get connected to the Divine energy – we must have faith that this is what we accomplish in every word of prayer.

Make a portal from the word – to see from one end, to the other end of the world.

Make your words bright – when a Jew speaks, he must make sure that before he speaks he thinks (so his word will be illuminated.)

When you pray, pray to the Divine within the letters.

Request that the Divine in the letters cause you to pray a since prayer – through this, all the harsh judgment will be sweetened to mercy.  

Every word includes in it every universe.

Every word is like a spiritual person, and one must place all one’s energy into the word, otherwise it creates sort of a spiritual man, missing a limb or two.

Every word contains universes – and if one places one’s entire energy into saying the words, then these universes are enlightened – and bestow.

The breath below rises, to the breath above (I think this means our souls beyond) which then gives us breath below.

The Baal Shem Tov’s soul told him that all that was bestowed upon him, was not for the incredible knowledge he learned, but the tremendous devotion in prayer.

The Baal Shem Tov said, though one should pray with the fire of their soul, they must do so with a broken humble heart – for once his disciples were all praying with fiery passion but an accusatory decree in heaven arose as they lacked humility but as one person had humility, it saved them.

One can read the Torah making mistakes, but knowing its light, as one cherishes the Torah this brings God joy – this is like a parent who though his young son is stumbling over the words, but he is so happy to listen and fulfil his requests.

When one awakens, one must be careful to say nothing (certainly superfluous) for the world is created as is known through (Divine) thought, speech and action – now of-course thought was the first – just as the Torah commands one to honor the eldest son, for he receives the greatest portion from the father and transfers this to his siblings (perhaps this means latent soul talents) similar, all comes from our first thoughts.

Whatever one sees, one should connect it to God, when one sees love, remind yourself of your love for God, if one sees fear remind yourself of your fear of God – even when going to the bathroom, you can say “I separate the evil from the good” – this is Yechudim.

When a person goes to do a Mitzvah they must run – you see… – when we get to heaven, every Mitzvah we did – everything we do, creates a soul and a body – the intent is the soul, and the body is the deed – so this person who tarries, perhaps shmoozing along… they in heaven is forced to crawl a narrow bridge over a raging river – firstly it is very scary – but then the angels he created – that were looking forward to his creation – for from his intent the angel’s soul was born, and from his future action, the body – it blocks the way, and the extra time spent on the bridge, is for it painful.

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 though 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 an 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 / concertation) it is amazing.

43 The Baal Shem Tov said – it is amazing that though one can be total concentration in prayer- after 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 created a foreign child.)

45. One who is on a low level, far better s/he should pray form 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 concertation during prayer and this will allow that through their prayer they will.

49. It is not possible to pray without strengthening oneself, and hence one should ask of Hashem.

50. Be aware, it is good that God helps one should pray half or most of the prayer with great concentration, and when one feels weak, then one can pray the rest with a little.

51. Sometimes a person prays with minimal ability to concentrate but then in one second the light of God shines through his soul and he is elevated heavenly.

52. Sometimes a person prays in small (“small” and “large” are refences to capacity) he doesn’t go heavenward – however he is aware that God’s glory fill this earth and like a child feels close – this too is a great connection.

53.   Even if one is in small (capacity – connection) one should still pray (with small) for sometimes above it is small (like zah) – the most important thing is to be connected, for like a coal – the flame may be small, however with a blow it can quickly go large –

54. If one finds one (intellectually/emotionally) cannot pray, then one shouldn’t give up and strengthen and deepen their fear of God, this is like a king who goes to battle – now the wise people know him from his character (behavior) but the average person can recognize him only because that is where greater protection is – so too, the person who wishes to get to the king must strengthen themselves.

55. A person shouldn’t say – when I can pray with fervor I shall, but when I can’t I won’t, for as the example of a king who goes into battle (battlefield) so those who are close recognize him (from his behavior) but most only, through the fact he is extra protected – likewise God is there ( you just have to fight harder to get to Him.)

56. Even when someone is small (stressed) they should think about Heaven – God – and immediately to there they are elevated, for as is known, wherever a person’s thoughts are there he is.

In the book Kesoinois Pasm it writes – wherever a person’s thoughts are, there he is, whether above or…

In Toildois Yaakov Yosef he writes, I heard from my master “Where a person’s thoughts are, there the person is.”

In the Degel Machaneh Efraim (from the Baal Shem Tov) wherever a person’s thoughts are, there they are entirely.

In Likutie Imri Pninim I heard from my Rebbe “Wherever a person’s thoughts are, there they are entirely – when someone thinks about God then they stand in God’s presence, if God-forbid they have negative thoughts (anger etc.) they are literally in hell (with its fires consuming them) this is so even when they are alive, how much more so after death – but Tzaddikim whose thoughts are about God – (machshavah) “thought” is the same letters as “joy” (simcha.)  

In Ksoines Pasim I received from my master, to know if one’s soul is connected to life or death, one need ask themselves what they want – if it is lashoin hara, jokes etc., or if Torah and good deeds.

In Shoishanim Lidavid he writes: the Baal Shem Tov explained, where a person’s thoughts are that is where he is connected to – if he thinks angry thoughts, he is connected to the realm of din (anger, and he will be judged) if he has trust in God’s plan – he will receive blessings – hence a person should always be connected to God.

58. When a person begins to pray, he should do so in fear – considering to whom will I be praying to – the Master of all the universes, who creates and keeps them going – think about how great and lofty God is, and afterwards he can be in the higher universes.

60. Certainly prayer done from joy is far greater than from bitterness and with tears – this is like the difference between a poor person who requests of the king with tears – even so, but a little will he receive… – whereas the minister who praises the king highly, gets a great gift.

61. Ensure your prayers are said with love and fear of God, not for any selfish motives – for this gives rise (perhaps this is speaking to the great Tzaddikim, to enemies who seek to harm you – and even more importantly is the love.

From Toidois Yaakov Yosef – The Kabbalists teach, one should always serve God with love and fear – says the Baal Shem Tov, but on Rosh Hashanah it should be with more fear, and on Shabbos and the holidays with more love.

62 From doing a Mitzvah – Torah prayer – with selfish intents – as every thought is a complete “person” thus is born someone (see below for more) who will cause you pain.

Teaches the Degel Machenah Efraim (in the name of the Baal Shem Tov) the verse states “if God loves someone, even their enemies makes peace with them” – why enemies? – for some people are simply malicious – but sometimes the hate that comes from one (even from within their own family,) is because it is offshoots (sparks) of sins they did (that are inhabiting this person) however when you do Teshuvah, those sparks die (so the hate dissolves.)  

63. One should not say, I will only Daven intensely on Shabbos but not during the weekdays – for this is like someone who once a week has access to the king, but the rest of the week ignores – even though his access is once a week, but as he knows, without the king, life is meaningless… he does whatever he can (to gain access) and the king will do His will.

64. Even someone who learns Torah, if they are not nice, especially if it fills them with arrogance, their Torah is worthless.

66. Sometimes a person wishes to Daven but (as an old man) his limbs feel like they are a burden (heavy) this is what King David prayed for, to have the energy to pray.

67. “Cast me not aside in old age” explain the Baal Shem Tov “cast not serving God, till old age “

68. Says the Baal Shem Tov, what does it mean, “Cast me not aside in old age?” does a person need not God when they are young?! – rather at times a person can get inspired – teaches the Baal Shem Tov, don’t let that inspiration fade.  

69. A person should train themselves to Daven, even the songs in a low voice – and he should cry out quietly – and he should say the words, whether in Davening or learning with all his energy – as it states “my entire body” speaks – and the crying out that comes from intense concentration (passion) should be soft.

70. Sometimes we must pray to God only with our soul – this means with thought – and the body is pretty stationary… – in order to not wear oneself out… – and sometimes, a person can say the entire prayer with great fear and love and passion without actual movement – and it will appear to another that he is saying these things without any passion – and a person can do this when he is deeply attached to God – then he can serve Him with his soul alone, with great love – and this in fact is even better, and goes quicker, and even deeper passion to God – then a prayer that looks outwardly very passionate – such a prayer the Kelipah has no hold over, for it is all internal.

71. Sometimes a person can pray exceptionally quickly as his heart is so passionately fired up for God that the words say themselves.

72. By Meditating on this name כ”ף וא”ו זיי”ן וא”ו we clear our mind.

76. I heard from my master, both when it comes to learning, and when it comes to prayer, if one understands, the words they are saying and the actual law in his learning, then he attaches Malchus which is speech to Binah which is thought.

77. The whole point of prayer is to unite the Din (or sweeten the din) of Malchus by connecting it to Binah.

78. The secret of Prayer like lighting, is first there is silence which is golden, and then it leads to the love which assuages the din (for as is known, one must rectify anger at its source.)

81.

If one needs to educate their fellow man / citizens etc. first one must connect oneself to God – and then one should feel connected to them – for we all have one source (particularly the leaders to the people (Rebbes etc.)) and when one does this – then God your Lord is with you, and you can uplift them and connect them to God.

The Baal Shem Tov says, if you seek to lift someone who is drowning, you cannot give him your hand, for then he will pull you in, rather you must grab his hair.

 82 The Baal Shem Tov says, when we pray, we should realize that the person is a small (micro, which contains the macro) universe – so by praying and realizing that this energy is coming into you, it comes into the entire (macro ) universe/s.

83. Ask Of Your God, A Sign Ois – (Ois in Hebrew also means letter) says the Baal Shem Tov – ask of God that the letters you say in prayer, you should be able to return them to their source.

 84. When you pray realize God is in the letters – for you cannot speak unless you have thought – so these holy letters are the clothing for the King – and through saying them with intense joy and concentration, you unite with God.

85.  The world is made through speech, so before we say the words of Davening, let us meditate on the fact that speech is preceded by thought which is preceded by desire (emotions, that create the thoughts) so through my prayers, I am sourcing the Divine speech, thought, desire (emotions that are the entirety of everything.)

86. When you speak (pray) know that the words you are saying come from God, and through this you elevate the words.

87. As the parable is a garment to the wisdom – so too, speech is a garment to thought – and when one speaks (prays) without concentration, this breaks the vessels (in other words, causes cosmic shattering) for there is no life in the vessels.. – and when one removes oneself from the physical – which is the body and it’s (his) vessel, then one can see the inner light – the energy and light of the letters – and when one removes oneself from the physical – and one clothes oneself into the very words – then he is connected to God – who is in these words – and one should see to it that one doesn’t lose concentration – and one should strengthen oneself to elevate.

Note 59

The Baal Shem Tov said the letters of speech are called limited and measured (boxed) containers, called Yesh (existence) – how much more so the practical Mitzvos like Teffilin and Tallis – the containers is called Yesh – and one must draw into it the spiritual light that gives it life, which is called Ayin (nothingness) for it is soul that comes from nothing, from the infinite source of life – and corresponding to these two levels. one will receive the world to come, as it states  “To give to those who love me “Yesh” and their treasure-stores will I fill” this is the light of the soul inside the treasure-house and container, which gives it life called Ayin –  

88. Place all your concentration in the power of the words that you say in prayer until you see the light of the letters how they dance into one another – and from this, new lights are born – and this is the meaning of the verse “Light is sowed for the righteous and for the good-hearted joy” – the letters of the Torah are the “rooms” of God, that He draws into them His infinite light, as it states in the Holy Zohar “God and his Torah are completely one” – and into it one must put all of one’s concentration, which is the soul – for one’s concentration is their soul – and this is attachment / Deveikus – “God the Torah and the Jewish people are completely one” – and in this way we excise ourselves from the mundane physicality – in other words, we remove our soul from our body, and our soul will be in those words (thoughts) that we speak, and one will see many higher universes.

Note 61

The idea of attachment (to God during prayer) is that when you say a word, you say it at length, for due to one’s longing for it (the Godliness within) one seeks not to depart from it, and therefore one says it at length.

In Kesser Shem Tov, it says regarding Diviekus (attachment) some say attachment is when you say the word at length, and you don’t wish to separate from it – and others say it is when you do a Mitzvah or learn Torah, and you create a body to the soul and a soul to the spirit and the spirit to the Neshomah – higher soul – and the soul becomes the vessel for the light of the Shechinah upon our head.

And it is as if this light spreads around you and you are in the light, sitting and rejoicing with trepidation – Similarly the heaven is like a semi-circle in each direction – – And the “awe of heaven” should literally be upon – as heaven and the light of the Shechina – which is called awe of heaven – is literally on you –  – as if the light completely surrounds you…- and you are within the light, and the radiance of the Shechina and you rejoice in trepidation… and this a complete unity (with God.)

89. You should see yourself that the world (the heavenly) speech speaks in (through ) you, and without it, it would be impossible to speak, as the verse states, “G-d open my lips” and so too, your thoughts are not possible to be, except through the agency of the world of thoughts – and you are like a Shofar that what comes out of you is the voice that was put in – and if the blower stops, no voice will come out – so too, without the power of God which places this in you, you couldn’t speak or think.

90. Realize that when you pray, that the realm of speech (above) is speaking in you – such an incredible realm through which the entire universe was made – as it is says, “God made the universe though Divine speech” – and through this, think about the greatness of God, that all the life-force of all the universes come through His speech – and He is the realm of transcendence (Yirah,) and the Shechina contracts itself and rests in in your speech, as it states in Sefer Yetzira – “He placed them in the mouth” and if this is the case with the Divine speech, how much more so the Divine thought! – how many awesome pure lights which no man can fathom… so when you think (the words of prayer) realize that this is the contraction of the realm of thought in your mind, in the potential of Chochmah and Bina (your brain… ) Such an infinite realm, one should feel embarrassed (healthy sense of reverence from.)

91. And this is called Davening (praying ) Lishmah (properly…) to pray for the sake of the words, for the words long to cleave to the thoughts (meanings) and when you speak with love and awe and voice, then the words and the thought realm, love each other – this is like the pleasure a father has from his son, for the thoughts long to come into the voice to be spoken.

92. The speech of a Jew is sort of the realm of speech that gives life to the world and the thoughts of the Jewish people is the realm of thought, and this world receives letters of speech through the medium of emotions (heavenly,) namely Love (kindness) Din (judgment) Mercy – for this world contains space and limitation – therefore it must receive though the emotion – this is like the sun that one cannot look at it as its light is too strong… – and the light that comes out of it one can see – one can benefit from it, as it is less …– if it was as intense as the sun itself, no one could grasp (benefit) from it and this the meaning that God is a son and protector.

93. Just as a mother wishes for her son to say something clever so the father will fall in love with him (be proud etc.) similarly the Shechina (Divine “motherhood”) wishes for you to pray with great love and awe and then G-d boast to all the angels – furthermore this causes all the angels to also praise G-d – as such, best to say at least one word in your prayer, with love and awe.

94. Our prayers should be specifically so the voice (meaning the Holy letters contain Divine energy) should return to her father the king – this is like a conman who really has no business coming to the king, but as he is given the task of holding onto the kings signet ring, which the king loves – all the gates are to him open – similarly a person who sole desire in his prayers is that the words return to her father – all gateways of blessing to him/her are open.

95. I heard from my Master (the Baal Shem Tov) regarding morning prayers – that it should be  as is written “I wake up the dawn and the dawn doesn’t arouse (rouse) me” – a person must try and exert much effort until Boruch She-amer which corresponds to the world of Assiyah – which is below, the location of Kelipos – and then he should concentrate further from Boruch She-amer until Yishtabach which is the world of Yetzira, and there, there are less kelipos – and from Yishtabach until Shemoinah Esrai you should concentrate further (deeper) and then during Shemoinah Esrei, this is like hugging and kissing (intimacy) and one should undress oneself of one’s physicality, as it says in Shulchan Aruch, see there… – and then one arouses the spirit (Divine) and in this order… a male (in other words, permanent inspiration) is engendered – however when a person randomly receives a Divine inspiration, this is not good, and therefore when this occurs one should have an intense fear (of God) and pray from the depths of the heart.

Note 65 The Baal Shem Tov says prayer is intimacy with the Shechina.

Note 66 If a person suddenly is aroused by a Divine inspiration, a great love for God (without any effort) this is not a good sign at all.

The Baal Shem Tov says we need to ask God that we should come to him in inspiration, not that we get a gift from beyond of inspiration for in such a circumstance there is the attribute of Din.

The Baal Shem Tov said a reason why Moshiach is delayed is because we don’t properly arouse ourselves to love God in Ahava Rabbah which is preparation for Shemoinah Esrei.

96. As soon as one starts praying and says the words “And-ay Sifasay Tiftach…” (“G-d open my lips and may my mouth sing your praises” – said before Shemoinah Esrie) immediately the Shechina (Divine voice) is speaking through the person.

When one has the conviction that the Shechinah is speaking through you  – certainly a great awe and reverence would be felt – furthermore it is as if G-d-Himself has humbled Himself to come down to speak these words. –
And G-d is with you completely – as it says, “Peaks from the cracks..” meaning from the very letters which are rooms and one is ascending room to room – and in every room one is being judged if he is worthy to enter – and if the person would consider that he is being judged while a foreign (nor relevant) thought enters one’s mind (which is an attempt to hold him from entering a higher level,) certainly one would work harder in prayer – but one forgets that he is being judged.

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.

Note 70

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).

98.

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 a person 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.  

110.  Note 83

I heard from my master (the Baal Shem Tov) regarding Prayer – that one needs in every word humility, separation and sweetening – – in every letter, all letters are included – for the source of all letters is Alef and it is close to the infinite ray of the Infinite – and afterwards it spreads and places itself, letter into letter until the letter Beis which is two Alefs, until the letter Tof – each one is a cover and concealment of the infinite light – in four hundred coverings – and the letter Tof is the final and most distant from the Creator, by many concealments– to the extent that Eisav and the four hundred (bad) men with him can draw energy from there – and the Tzaddik who knows that the Master of the world is in every movement and in all places – and there is no place devoid of Him – then he uncovers the covering – and elevates all the souls to the highest heights, to God, the Master of the World – and in this way He gathers all the stones (letters) to one location – the unity of the infinite light – and they all become one in the singular true source that the Tzaddik elevated them to, the original source of the infinite light.



In all the meditations that are there, one must think in every word to sweeten the anger (din) – for the secret of the word Alef is Peleh – and this comes into the letter Beis which are two Alefs, until the letter Tof – four hundred etc. and as the letter becomes distant – it becomes distance from the supreme pleasure of the light – and it comes into the concealment of the Kelipa until the letter Tof – which is a crooked foot – Malchus of Malchus of Assiyah – which there are distracting thoughts and lusts and loves, are found – and also there God conceals Himself, for there is a spark of Divinity (within all) and one considers the exile of the Shechina (the concealment of God within all matter) that a part of God is “trapped” in this dirty container of kelipa, one will have a deep fear (perturbed) – one must know that there is no movement without God – – hence God is with me, and then one can overcome the test – especially when one has disturbing thoughts in prayer – a great fear can come to him (because of it) and one should humbles oneself literally like dust – in fact, all creatures even a worm serves God – then one removes the spark from the Kelipah (and it ascends into God and through this humility, a great separation comes from above, that one should not be too broken from their great humility – and actually a division between good and evil is created – and the evil falls off – and then comes a sweetening within the light of Godliness – and one tastes the taste of the world to come – and the anger gets sweetened (in its source) and this is the order of prayer – first humility in the songs of praise (Pesuikie Dezimra) to feel connected to all creatures (all serving God) on this earth – that a nothing and breath such as you, can merit to sing praise before the great and awesome infinite Creator – and then in Shema there is a separation – the choseness of the Jewish people – and but you, say the Shemah … Echad – and then during Shemoina Esrei there is a sweetening with tremendous attachment – and this is both generally and specifically in every single letter.

111 Just knowing that God is within every single detail and movement in this world gives the person the powerful faith to subdue the kelipa.

Note89

The way we overcome the Kelipa is we are aware that God is literally in everything – when one is conscious of this fact, this allows one to not become angry, petty – and have a humble heart – hence filled with love of God and for the Jewish people – and through this one separates the good from the evil in all times and places.

112 How does one dance before the Kallah – Beis Shamai says “The Kallah As She is,” Beis Hillel Says, ‘A Beautiful And Kindly Bride’ – the explanation (spiritually of this) is when Moshiach comes, the Shechina is called Kallah etc. however now the Shechina is referred to as “this” – so the point is, how do we dance in exile, when the Shechina is in exile? – for the dance is to elevate all the sparks, and the low level, to elevate it to above, like a holy dance etc. and this works not out well during the time of Galus – for who can do this perfectly? – therefore Beis Shamai says, a Kallah as she is – The secret of “Her husband is known in the gates” – for each person, what they assume in their mind in general about God, is good – and if one is able to specifically refine each and every personality trait to beauty, the Shechina, this is the practice of Beis Hillel.

Note 90 The Baal Shem Tov teaches when Moshiach comes the Shechina will be called Kallah.

Now the Shechin is called “this” for everything a person sees in it is the Shechina.

113 The Baal Shem Tov explains on the debate between Beis Shamai and Hillel, on how to praise the Kallah… that Beis Shamai says – in general one must know God hides in everything, and Beis Hillel says that specifically we must know that the sparks of Divinity, fell into the Kelipah, and during prayer, distracting thoughts come, so we should fix them, and one must separate and remove the kelipa and elevate the sparks and beautify them, so it should be a beautiful Kallah.

114. When a person knows and believes that God inhabits ever single atom, and every detail, and thought, it all comes from Him, then all the Kelipa (dark forces) will dissipate – this is knowing God your Father.

115 Regarding bad thoughts – how to elevate them and fix them and the bad will dissipate – if one doesn’t know how to do this, for each individual thought – then one should know that within everything that exists, is the two Divine names of Yud-Hei- Vov-Hei and Adnay.

  Note 92 The Master explained regarding bad thoughts to elevate them to their source and fix them up and return them to God, to love God, for they only come for the person’s benefit, to inspire positive traits, joy and attachment (to God) and humility to the source – but the fool follows the evil – but the righteous person elevates the thought to their essence, which is in all things, and returns them to holiness, through the belief that there is no entity both large and small – no thought, without God – which is inspiring the person to connect to their source, and through this faith all the Kelipa will be nullified, and if one knows not how to do this for each individual thought, then one can have the general meditation that within everything is the two names of God, Yud-Hey-Vov-Hey and Adnay.

116. The Talmud states that if a person says Shema twice – we quiet him – and the Talmud asks perhaps the first time he lacked concentration (without going into the lengthily answer, but the punchline,) Says the Baal Shem Tov, though he lacked concentration the first time, nonetheless he should realize that within every thought – even a bad thought is a “complete being” for everything is energized by God – and therefore this thought is coming to the person to rectify it, and if one believes this not, one is limited the infinity of God (to descend into darkness, so man can rectify.)

Furthermore says the Baal Shem Tov – the negative thought that comes to the person comes so the person should rectify it – however how do you know if the negative thought is just trying to distract whereas one should stay away for it – so the way one can tell is when the negative thought came, did you think to elevate it? (for if not, then it is there to distract, and one should stay away from it.)

Someone once asked the Baal Shem Tov – if he said words of prayer without concentration, may he repeat them – replied the Baal Shem Tov to him – in those words which were said distracted, were sparks of Godliness, that as you said them, you elevated them – but you may rethink the words.

118. When a person has a foreign thought in prayer – he should realize that the kelipah causing this thought actually came from his own (sins) whether in this lifetime, a previous or even from within Adam (for all Jews within Adam are sourced) therefore this is his task (this probably refers but to Tzaddikim knowledgeable in this sacred “art”) to elevate.   

119. Our sages state, Talmud is greater then Mitzvahs, for when one studies one also has the Mitzvah – – now (from the three soul levels: nefesh, ruach, neshamah) the nefesh enclothes the ruach and the ruach enclothes, the neshama, hence the nefesh to the ruach is considered wife and the ruach to the neshama is called wife – – now it is known that the entire Torah is a preparation to fear of God which is called prayer – and when one prays they receive Divine male energy corresponding to the Torah they have studied – now if their study was lishma (altruistic) then what they receive will be simalear –

Note 101 The Baal Shem Tov teaches how do we know if we are deserving God through personal motivation (such as honor etc. or reward) if after we do the service, we remain as humble.

Sometime the Yetzer allows one to pray with great concentration, just so later he can make him fall into the sin of Arrogance.

Similarly the Baal Shem Tov teaches, a person may seek to do a Mitzvah humbly (in private..) so he can consider himself great or worse in front of others – and the greatest is what our sages teach – seek out to do both small and big Mitzvahs – for if a person is altruistic, then the small and big to him are equal.

120 The Baal Shem Tov says that until Moshiach comes, every day of prayer is new (battle.)

121. In prayer there is present – and war – the war are the bad thoughts that come which one must bring them to their source * – and then those thoughts which are elevated, to him is a present.

* Note 104 The opposite of love is lust – the opposite of God is idolatry (perhaps arrogance..) – the opposite of self-discipline – hate (murder etc.)  

122. When a distracting thought comes to one in prayer, for example about intimacy etc. a person can realize that this is a punishment and by feeling a great fear of God, they elevate.

123 All negative thoughts come from the breaking of the 248 vessels – these descend through malchus of malchus of Asiya.

  124 Every single day in our prayers we should have new Divine insights (as well as for those – Tzaddikim – to whom this applies, elevate the distracting thoughts.)

One should pray for the sake of the Shechina as it says in Kabbalah, if one is praying for the sake of the Shechina their prayers are answered.

125 It says in the Mishna, Do not serve God in order to receive a reward, and there is another version, serve God in order to not receive a reward – says the Holy Baal Shem Tov – both are true, the former is serve God for the sake of God, not for your own sake – hence if what you request is or isn’t fulfilled, to you should be the same – the second is like a person who loves the king so much, and wishes to speak to him – one day said the king “all who wish for anything should come and their wish shall be granted,” this  person ran to the king but said not his wish – for his greatest wish was to have the wish to always need the king.

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.

133 The Baal Shen Tov gives an amazing parable, once a king said, anyone can come to me and I shall fulfil their request – many came requesting gold and silver but one special person said to the king – my request is to but come speak with you three times a day- the king was so pleased that this was the man’s request, that through the multiple doorways to the king were many treasures and the king said – for this person all my treasures- on his way to speak to me, are open.

Note 125

The Tzaddik perceives that any pain or lack that he or the Jewish people has, is a lack in the Shechina and therefore he prays for the Shechina – as is rectified above, so is rectified below.

When the prayer is for the Shechina, God is there.

A righteous man prays that His prayers should be for the sake of the Shechina.

Such a prayer God gives the person (as in the example above) everything.

King David said, “A prayer of a poor person – before God, he requests to pour forth his supplication” that a person’s sole prayer is for God.

The Baal Shem Tov gave an example – three types of people approach the king – the first one seeing the guards outside, run (from fright) the second, bribe the guards, but coming to the palace and seeing treasures the likes they have never experienced, get so caught up, they forget the king – but the third, realize, that compared to the source of all pleasures, The King Himself…

134

I heard from my master (the Baal Shem Tov) that though Reb Nechuniah ben Hakana (one of the great Kabbalists) knew all the Kabbalistic names of God etc. nonetheless, he prayed like a child – just to God Himself.

My master explained – regarding prayer and Divine service, there are two types – negative, namely God is distancing the person – Positive, that God brings the person close – now when a person says the name of God, they are meant to meditate that God is the Master (depending on the name) as well as that He is the source of all life, constantly present… – now can there be a greater unity then this kiss (the feeling of closeness to God) but when a person is being distanced, then he is given distracting (or troublesome) thoughts – now the truth of the matter is, that the purpose of these troubles is only to cause later a deeper bond (through re-attachment – Teshuvah,) in fact when a person is troubling another, he’s still present (engaged with the other) similarly, one should realize – though the sweetness of God is better, nonetheless, even when God is troubling, He is here.

135 A holy person should realize that if an extraneous force causes one to need to stop studying Torah, or praying, this too is for the sake of a deeper (Teshuva re-attachment) bond.  

136. Says the Holy Baal Shem Tov when God’s left hand is pushing you away, it is so his right hand can draw you close.

137. The Baal Shem Tov taught – From the great humility in a person, a person doesn’t fulfil their service of God – they don’t realize how the entire heavenly realm, all the angels etc. above, all receive their nourishment from your Torah and Prayers (for this causes the light of heaven!) – if a person truly believed this, he would constantly serve God with great joy and trepidation – and he would be careful in every letter and movement to do and say them with great fervor (or properly ) – one should also pay heed to what King Solomon teaches, that every word of prayer and Torah, God kisses and longs for that word – if one truly integrates this belief… who would not tremble that the great and mighty king awaits your words – a person should pay heed and realize that he is like a ladder with his feet on the ground, and his head in the heavens – and everything he does and says makes a powerful impact in heaven – – then certainly one will be careful that all they do will be lisheim shamayim (altruistically for God) but if a person feels “who am I to effect anything above or below??” so one goes willy-nilly after their foolish whims – but the truth is, that a person through his actions is completely attached to God, as it states “Imitate God” – and through you having compassion below, you cause compassion in all the heavenly realms.

Note 131 When a person moves even their pinky, all of heaven moves (explains Reb Mottele Tzchernobler) because all universes are within the person.

138 Just as if a person was hungry for a food which happened to be on a high shelf out of reach – so he begins to imagine eating it – but this far from satiating him, causes greater hunger – similarly the person who imagines lofty (Yechudim) mediations, that he has no grasp on.

139 Just as if God-forbid a person who is drowning and they are thrashing about in order to save themselves – no one watching would make fun – similarly the person who does funny movements in prayer (should not be mocked) as they are attempting to stave of the distracting thoughts.

140. The idea behind the prayer “Lishem Yichud… for the sake of the unity of God and his Shechina” – the idea is to bring Tiferes “pride” to Malchus – that God wishes to be proud within Malchus, which is the lowest level – the world of speech – for this level gives life to all worlds – as the verse states – it is with the word of God the heavens were created – and it says, “And you give life to them all” – and the speech of God consistently gives life to all the worlds – and when a person does a Mitzva, God takes pride in Malchus – meaning His speech, giving life to all the worlds  – and then the person brings the Malchus to God – which means God rejoices with the world of speech – and this is the unity of God and His Shechina – – that God takes pride in Malchus, which is within the world, and his kingship is revealed – this means that all recognize that He is the king of the world – and this is great pleasure to God – and the attribute of Malchus is within our hands – for we are the ones’ who recognize God’s kingship  – and then His kingship is complete, for there is no king without a nation – and God has great pleasure in this.

141 Two types believe in God, one believes as it is the heritage of their ancestors, there is a benefit to  this, inasmuch as this is their heritage, nothing can sway them; the other believes, as through his research he has discovered God – there is a benefit in this, that it is personal and deeper – however the liability is, as it is his mind, he likewise could be unconvinced by a fallacious argument – the ultimate is when marrying both these faiths.

142 The reason we say Hodu before and not in Pesukei Dezimrah – because the prayer corresponding to the worlds of Assiyah, Yetzira and Beriah – which corresponds to the angels called oifanim, chayois, and serafim – the lower level of angels (in Assiyah) seek to elevate – the next level that perceive more of Godliness are called Chayois  (also passionate) and the highest level in the world of Beriah are called Serafim, as their knowledge, hence longing for God is so great (Serafim from the word, like consumed by this passion)  – so too the person begins with Karbanois (the desire to reach higher) then he goes to Pesuikie Dezimra which is the Chayois (passion) however to get someone in the right frame of mind for passion, we begin with Hodu – and finally we enter into the ecstasy of Shema etc.

143. It is super important that at least for the daily twice Shema, we seek to say it with full concentration – as it states, this prevents all harm.

144 – In Shemaona Esrei when you attach yourself above you merit that you are raised ever higher in the prayer – as our sages teach, he who comes to purify himself is assisted – and through such a prayer he merits that he attaches his thoughts above – and from this he can come to an even higher level, even when he isn’t praying, namely that he should be attached above.   

145. It was God foreseeing the incredible pleasure He would get from the Jewish people  – like the chochma (the flash of intuition) which contains within it the subsequent details, pleasure (which then goes into the realm of Binah, thought (subdivisions) and through malchus creates – the vision for the instinctual pleasure.)

146. “Ein Keloikeinu” is like a book – the world of Assiyah where one cannot mistaken – “Mi Keloikeinu” is in Yetzirah that G-d-forbid one can make a mistake – “Nodeh Leloikeinu” is in the world of Beriah which is close to Atzilus so one errs not – and “Atah Hu Eloikienu” is the world of Atzilus hence speaking directly.

147. When one thinks they are close to God they are far, but one who thinks they are far, they are close.

The Baal Shem Tov gives an example of a circular stairway – that if the king is on a higher floor, when you see the king from below you are far, but as you approach the king, making a roundabout on the stairway (hence you are getting closer – but as the stairway is circular, you are facing away from the king) you are actually close.

148. The prayers daily, every day new Nitzoisois (sparks of Godliness trapped in the physical) elevate, but on Shabbos in Kesser, they all ascend (on high.)

149. Though one prays Shacharis and Musaf with great concentration on Shabbos, Mincha is prayed with far less, as the body has become weakened.

150. The Baal Shem tov was very “adamant” that we must say Boruch Ado-Nay Le-oilam, Amen Ve-amen in Maariv.  

151. Just as the bride is bedecked beautifully to lead to the union – the bride is called prayer / the Shechina – and the Tzaddik through his intense devotion (in prayer) brings the Shechinah to God.

The Tzaddik is called the fruit, and the Rasha is the fertilizer – as we know, in this world you can only get the fruit if you have fertilizer – but the point is the fruit… so too the evil is only there so the Tzaddik can extract the sparks of Godliness.

The evil causes the Tzaddik to pray from a place of constriction, which unites the Shechina with God and subsequently brings Moshiach.

152 (with note 149) A person should pray for the Shechina, for everything we lack below is a lack above, and all the great miracles the Baal Shem Tov caused from people being healed from blindness, from childlessness, from death’s door was all because he would pray for the Shechina above, which would rectify everything below.

One should see themselves as the Shechinah is praying and in this way one is attached to God.   

153 A wise person realizes that the pain they have is the pain of the Shechina and as they pray for the Shechina, their pain also is healed.

154. The Tzaddikim by seeing what they lack, they understand what the Shechina lacks, and pray for the Shechina.

Note 150 Even if a Jew who has evil in him is suffering, this causes God to suffer! for God created the world as a Giver – who loves to bestow. – So when praying, we pray for the pain of God – furthermore this was the way of Nachum Ish Gam Zu (who for every negative would say “this too is for the good”) for by so doing he would through faith, extract the goodness from the negative, and so it would become.

156 The Baal Shem Tov says, we must pray for our enemies as they are the spirit of the Tzaddik (who is being harassed) in a separate incarnation- and through praying for them, the harshness is sweetened at its source – and one extracts the spirit and what is left, disintegrates automatically.

157.  ED. This may apply more for Tzaddikim – The Baal Shem Tov teaches to pray for one’s enemies and the benefit is as follows (this refers to fellow Jews who are harassing the Tzaddik) that one’s own soul has descended into the seven sefiros – his Nefesh becomes his servants and animals…  – his Ruach, his wife – and his speech which is called unity in the mouth, is also called wife – so when one speaks say lashoin hara, this creates enemies who speak negative against him – the neshomoh which is from the mind are his children, and if one sins in the mind, this causes that he has pain from his children – and in the soul this too is true, if one sins in action, this causes pain from ones servant’s and animals – and in every sefirah, one can elevate the naran (nefesh ruach neshama) however the seventh sefira (malchus) this is difficult, and for this Sefira the kelipa receive their life force – – so the enemies that one formed from bad speech – one must elevate them through the speech of Torah – but if one just casts them off, then they hate him more (as their “grobkeit” – coarseness increases) therefore the punishment of a not so good Tzaddik is the spirit (ruach) of the Tzaddik-Himself, and through this prayer, it becomes sweetened in its source – and one extracts their spirit and whatever is left automatically disintegrates.

Note 152 The Naran (nefesh ruach neshoma) of a person incarnates in the seven sefiros – – the nefesh, its light spreads into the secret of his servants and animals – and if a person does evil action, this causes that he has pain from his servant and animals – that the horses and donkeys die – and sometimes through his bad actions he causes souls to descend into the kelipah – and they incarnate into the physical, and plants – and so his animals graze there and eat that grass, and the souls that are there cause illness and death to his animals (as revenge…) and when a Tzaddik passes there, he elevates those souls – – then they leave the animals alone, and they get healed.

And if one sins in his ruach – speech – lashoin hara etc. or speaks negatively about a Jew etc. – now we know that holy speech is called a unity – and the opposite in Lashoin Hara (ED. A separation.)

So G-d forbid one who talks Lashoin Hara effects the vov … and his is a sin worse than idolatry, murder, and adultery – for the person literally spills the “blood,” the visage of his fellow – and the Shechina cannot shine – – this is a general sin and he removes all the energy and radiance that is in the Shechina – – From this, bad people come and talk bad against him and this breaks him – and the person also has problems from his wife – and in direct proportion to ones’ negative effect – so is one’s suffering – – and through his suffering the person whom he critized becomes appeased, and he forgives him (in heaven…”) and this about a Tzaddik who just happened to speak negatively about another (like accidently…) but a wicked person who indulges in malicious speech – he lives in this world peacefully, but his soul is cut off, and loses any connection to existence.

And if one sins in their Neshomoh – and the Neshomah dwells in the mind… and the person’s thoughts, which is where the semen (the source of it) comes from – so one who sins in thoughts, causes pain from his children – and in all the Sefiros and emotions, one can elevate the nara”n (nefesh, ruach, neshomoh) except for malchus, for that is where the kelipa derives, it is therefore difficult to elevate from there the holiness – for one needs great faith and to withstand many tests – and to be firm in their convictions that in every single negative experience is God with him – in other words for him – and one should believe with complete faith and trust in the name of God, and rely on his God in all matters – and in this way one handles the evil of his friends and accepts it with joy –

And the principle that is derived – that the people who hate you come from sins of speech – therefore one must elevate them through speech – the speech of prayer – to pray for them that they should return to God – as Reb Yehuda Hachassid… that every Jew who caused you suffering and speaks evil against you becomes a Baal Teshuva, even a gentile converts… – however if one doesn’t do this, but casts them aside and causes upon them Din – they become coarse and hate him even more – and this is a punishment for a Tzaddik whose not completely good – for all who hate him and cause him mental pain actually come from the source of his soul – and are literally the ruach spirit of his soul – and they were created to cause him suffering and humility – that he shouldn’t become arrogant God-forbid – which would cause him to fall into kelipah – so this being the truth, why should the Tzaddik cast them aside – they cause him life in this world and the next… – therefore with all his effort he must fix them – and cause them to shine his light upon them – and to elevate them in prayer – and through the prayer, the judgment is sweetened and one extracts the ruach (spirit) from them and the pure evil (part) automatically disintegrates – and one shouldn’t be angry (and cause judgement on them, even between oneself and God) on the contrary, one should pray for them and see miracles – and the good will return to be his friends – and this is the idea of Moses, the true shepard, and then he gave them the Torah and they became his disciples.

The Baal Shem Tov teaches that there is the world of thought from where all thoughts come to a person – there is the world of speech from where from where speech comes to the person, and there is the world of action from where all types of action come to the person  – now if a person sins in thought, then the person has trouble from their children, for they come from his thought (mind – the seminal beginning of the seed) if a person had no sins in his thoughts, his sons would be connected to his brain – and his thought would envelope his children – however when a person sins in thought – then his thought departs from his children, and he has pain from his children (which is measure for measure – midah cineged midah.)

And if one sins in speech, then one has pain for one’s wife – for woman is the secret of speech – for the woman is like the mirror who understands her husband – and when one’s speech is complete in Torah and Mitzvos and faith, then one has Nachas (satisfaction) from his own speech, and when one has faith, one has nachas from their speech, and similarly the wife has Nachas from him, as she comes from the world of speech – but if one sins in speech, which include voice (sound) one has pain from one’s wife – similarly with action – one who is complete in their actions, one doesn’t have pain from their possessions – and therefore when one does a Mitzvah (action) one must ensure that their intention (thought) mind is connected – but when one’s thoughts, speech and action are disconnected, one suffers.

***

The Gemarah says, Mar Ukbah sent to Reb Elazar – “there are people that are harassing me and I have the power to hand them over to the Government…” – – so he wrote to him the verse: “Be silent to God, and await for him” – get up early and rise and study in the house of Torah study, and they will disappear.

Explained the Baal Shem Tov – Reb Elazer gave him great advice – that through studying more Torah the Dinim will be rectified – the Dinim (harsh decrees) that are within the people harassing – for the fact that people are harassing is because there is a Din above – this Din enclothes itself in bad people – the solution is to not fight with them – rather to learn more Torah – the inner dimension of Torah – which is the secret to knowledge – and one should pray with love and awe of God which is literally Daas – and through the Daas and words (of prayer) one elevates above – to unify in the world of thought – in where there are no harsh judgment – and no evil – only good and then one includes those fallen Dinim in the positive – and all of this is through recognizing that these Dinim are fallen letters – the harsh speech are the fallen letters – therefore when one studies Torah with love and awe, which is the level of Daas one elevates those letters to the source of Torah above – and they become rectified in their source – as is known, all that descends below is through letters (of Divine speech) and through them elevating to their source, the evil falls away – and all becomes good and then the people who were previously enemies become friends.

  • * *

Says the Baal Shem Tov it is a nature in the Jewish people that when something negative occurs, we rejoice – in this rejoicing, we sweeten the judgement (from the sting / harshness) if however a person gets angry or seeks vengeance (or God-forbid does something cruel etc.) then on the contrary, one is helping the enemy – for the purpose of rejoicing in the negative is certainly there was a Din (a negative decree in heaven) and through what occurred the decree has averted.

159 The Ramban asks on how a prayer works – that it changes a negative heavenly decree to a positive – – now this seems to not makes sense – why would God change his mind – if we are speaking about someone who has changed, this makes sense, but if we are talking about someone praying for his friends?
So the Baal Shem Tov explains that the prayer is to sweeten the judgment of malchus (where judgments are) to take it back into Binah (settle her – put her at ease) and so now the person is not the same

Note 155

The Baal Shem Tov explains a great secret on how to turn bitterness to sweetness (suffering to delight) one must find within the pain and suffering a source of goodness – for in the source, Gevurah (Din – harsh decrees) is complete loving-kindness – for they are the limit (of the infinite expansion of God’s love – or the limitation – like screens which allow an infinite light to be seen and felt) the purpose of these limitations is so each person can receive the limited amount of energy necessary for their survival and life (for too much would blow the circuit  – infinity in finite would cause the infinity to be the only existence) similarly sometimes difficult things occur, so we may remain humble and in this way not lose our share in the world to come – – so in essence it is all loving kindness – and through finding the source of kindness, and accepting it with love – then it all truly so becomes – and the negative turns into the positive (source where it emanates from) – and we need to create a kal vichomer (analogy…) the dinim (sufferings below) need to realize (be told) that if my source is complete kindness, I which are but a fraction of a fraction, fraction etc. of my source, how much more so I must be only kindness – and when the person feels this – so it manifests.

Everything coming from God originates in positive letters – however when these letters descend, they can become messed up – the Tzaddik through his prayers fixes all the letters.

The main prayer is for others – from God evil comes not, rather letters, and these letters can be combined in positive or negative forms.

   The Baal Shem Tov teaches that we sweeten the harsh decrees by finding the hidden (or motivational) kindness behind them.

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When we find the kindness in a harsh (circumstance,) the kind element overtakes it.

When something bad occurs do whatever you can to see something good in it – for then the good becomes extracted and the bad will disintegrate.

 160

God answers all prayers, even of the thief to have success, but the difference between the righteous Tzaddik) person and the criminal is, whereas in the former God will give him what he wants though God knows it is not what is in his best interest, in the latter as well… but when the Tzaddik realizes he needs something else, God will then change (and help – but not the criminal, who then gets caught..)

One can ask, why would God even answer the prayers of the wicked – and this is for free-choice – for as he realizes that even his wicked prayers are answered, he will obviously understand how much more so his good.

Note 156

The Baal Shem Tov comments on the saying, the greatest knowledge is not knowing – that two types of people seek to know the unknowable king – the first gives up, as he is unknowable, the second researches as much as possible, but realizing the king is infinite, understand his limitation – such must be our quest.  

 ****

One Must research God and then realize what one should and shouldn’t (may or may not know.)

161

Know that just as dreams follow their interpretation, for the belief in what will occur causes it – similarly thoughts – which is why if you choose to think positive (so if you have a negative thought, always come up with a positive.)

Note 157

Because a person can change information from negative to positive – like Yirmiyah the prophet, who should have prayed for the Jewish people hearing the harsh decrees… – for even in a dream, if a person sees a negative like a dead person, they can make it into a positive (from the letters of Meis (dead) to Tam (sincere.)

The Baal Shem Tov says on the verse, “Turn from evil and do good” our job is to turn evil (thoughts, fears etc.) into good (positive, hope etc.)

The Baal Shem Tov says on the verse “Turn from evil and do good,” remove from the bad the bad, and then it turns to good.  

162 The Baal Shem Tov says, when someone encounters a difficulty, and then through prayer it goes away, when this issue comes to the person in the future, it will easily be overcome.

163. The Baal Shem Tov queried, in the times of Moshiach, when there will be no problems, what will we pray about? – and prayer is one of the limbs of the Shechina, so certainly it must continue! – so he explains, there are four types of prayers: 1 the prayer for God’s name that has been defiled in exile 2. The prayer for forgiveness of sins, for a sin is worse then death 3. Prayer for livelihood and 4. Prayers for life – now the limbs of the Shechina are encompassed in these four prayers (hence when we pray for them we save the Shechina) and the physical needs are separated and all the sparks of Godliness (within the physical are ) elevated – but in the times of Moshiach, when these problems don’t exist, our prayers shall be Yechudim (ever higher drawing down of spiritualty.)

164. The words of prayer must come from the depths of the heart!

165. When there is negative judgment – one shouldn’t use words (which may evoke the accusatory angels) rather thoughts.

166. The Baal Shem Tov said, after prayer one must be very careful, for if one prayed with fear of God, these emotions can then turn into anger, and if a person prayed with love to God, these emotion can turn into lust etc. therefore immediately after prayer a person must delve into Torah study or work and this is the meaning of the Mishna, “all Torah (in this context prayer) that doesn’t include work (or Torah study after prayers) in the end it becomes nullified, and leads to sin.”

167. If you wish to know if your prayer has been answered, after your prayer, do you feel joy?!

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