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13 Prayer

The Midrash explains:[1375]

Text 13-1: Midrash on Effectiveness of Prayer
Great is prayer in the sight of G-d. R. Eleazar said: If you wish to know the power of prayer, know that if it does not achieve the whole of its object, it achieves at least half of it. Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him, and the decree went forth, A fugitive and a wanderer shalt thou be in the earth (Genesis 4:12); immediately he confessed before G-d, as it is said, My punishment is greater than I can bear (ib. 13); he said before Him: ‘Master of the Universe, Thou bearest with the whole world, and yet with my sin Thou wilt not bear; Thou hast written, Who is a G-d like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by transgression (Micah 7:18); pardon my iniquity for it is great.’[1376] Immediately he found favor before G-d and He withheld from him the curse of ‘fugitive’; that is half of the decree, for so it is written, And he dwelt in the land of Nod (Genesis 4:16). Hence you learn that prayer is great in the sight of G-d. And likewise it was with Hezekiah. When G-d said to him, ‘Set thy house in order; for thou shalt die’ (Isaiah 38:1), immediately, Hezekiah turned his face to the wall (ib. 5). For so Scripture says:

He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him;
He also will hear their cry, and will save them.
(Psalm 145:19)

Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa said, “Whenever prayer comes easily to my lips I know that it has been accepted. When it does not, then I know that it has been rejected.”[1377] Every prayer service consists of four parts: Offerings, Psalms, Shema, and Amidah. The Offerings are to cleanse our life of impurity and sin, the Psalms are to bring us to a state of joy, the Shema brings us true knowledge, and the Amidah brings us life. The Amidah is also called Tefillah - prayer, because it is the entire purpose of the prayer service and the quintessential prayer. The entire purpose of prayer is life that is to desire life that we should never give up. Psalm 34:13 teaches that if one really wants to Chofetz chayim – desire life, one must l’rot tov – see the good, and ohev yamim – love ones days.[1378]

13.1 Blessings

The daily and holiday blessings are explained in section 13.8.1 below. Some other key blessings good to know are in [1379].1379

Table 13-1: Blessings on Events
seeing a rainbow
zohair habrit
good news benefits you and others
hatov vhamativ
bad news, destroyed synagogue (has vshalom)
dayan haemet
donning a new garment
malbeesh aroomim
lightning, earthquake, comet, mountain, or river
osay ma’aseh vresheet
before studying Torah
1) ha’m’lamaid Torah l’amo Ysrael
2) asher bachar banu mecall ha’amim...
Seeing the sun every 28 years[1380]
asei ma’aseh b’resheet

Once every 28 years before midday, one recites the blessing over the sun returning to its original position at the time of creation.

Text 13-2: Blessing over the Sun
Blessed are Thou, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who performs the work of creation
áøåê àúä éé àìåäéðå îìê äòåìí òùä îòùä áøàùéú

While the Torah acknowledges a longer process of creation that would explain evolution, there is a settled position of the Earth in relation to the sun that is acknowledged. Hence we are giving thanks to Hashem for the perfect manner in which he arranged the orbits of the heavenly bodies.

In the morning there are thirteen blessings that are said. They are adjusted to each person’s unique situation. Three are peculiar in thanking G-d for not making one of a different nation, a slave-servant, and a woman. Basically they are to remind one to be thankful for the additional obligations or service one has. The peculiar blessings are modified to ‘thanking G-d for making me according to Your will’ if they do not fit. Some authorities and prayer books have modified the blessings to the affirmative, i.e. making me an Israelite, making me a free person, and making me according to Your will.

There are 613 commandments in the Torah, while some do not apply to the other nations or are not used today without the Temple service. The indentured servant had fewer obligations and free time for Godly service. Women do not have the obligation of timely commandments, but have other additional commandments. Yet we say a blessing for the additional commandments. In this manner a woman can also be thankful during pregnancy and the additional commandments that accompany her service to G-d.[1381]

The condescending aspect of these blessings is overcome in humbling times, where there is no pride, but only fear. Should we ask, how other nationalities, servants, or women feel hearing these words in a synagogue service? A similar incident occurred in the Alenu prayer with a verse from Isaiah, “they bow to a god that does not save” which was stricken from the prayer book by sectarian authorities. These blessings and verses have a context in the prophet of Isaiah who spoke to all nations and is universally admired. Similarly the verse, “they bow to a god that does not save” has to be understood in context instead of applied to everyone but Jews. As the stricken verse from the Alenu is still held in abeyance at most synagogues, there is good reason to change the three blessings that alienate from the nations, servants, and women. In the prayer book of the Levites, would they say, “thank G-d for not making me an Israelite?” Kal vechomer, we should not pray in a way that can be interpreted to alienate others.

13.2 T’hillim

The psalms are a powerful form of prayer for changing one’s life. Read each day, they work their way into the subconscious and improve one’s entire attitude towards life.[1382]

Text 13-3: Talmudic Source that there are Ten Types of Song in the Psalms
For R. Joshua b. Levi said: The Book of Psalms was uttered with ten synonyms of praise, viz.: nizzuah [victory], niggun [melody], maskil [instruction], mizmor [psalm], shir [song], ashre [happy], tehillah [praise], tefillah [prayer], hodayah [thanksgiving] [and] halleluyah. The greatest of all is ‘halleluyah,’ because it embraces the [Divine] Name and praise simultaneously. (Pesachim 117a)

13.2.1 Ten Psalms a Day

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov popularized the idea of reciting ten psalms a day for a complete cleansing of the body and soul. His Tikkun Hakelei collection contains the ten types of song, which together are particularly effective (see Tikkun Hakelai).[1383] Here is a list of different groups of ten.[1384]

Table 13-2: Ten Palms a Day for Healing
Ten Types of Song
Rabbi Nachman’s
My Own Revealed From On High In This Order
Short Ten Revealed In This Order
Short Alternates
95 – 99

13.2.2 Marriage Psalms

In addition to the psalms below, there is merit to reciting the Iggeres Haramban for finding a spouse (see 4.6.1). Also one is virtually assured of marrying in the year one visits the tomb of Yonaton ben Uziel in the Galilee of Israel. Once we recognize that everyone is imperfect, we can seek to marry the person who motivates us in the way we desire to go. For Men

There is a tradition that if one visits the tomb of Yonaton ben Uziel in the Galilee that one will be married within a year. The problem is that one will not necessarily be married for good and divorce can follow. Hence, one should pray for the restoration of the Shechinah as well, so that one will be married for good (see 13.10). There is a story that three rabbis prayed to be able to capture and imprison the evil inclination. When their prayer was answered, they held the evil one for three days. During these days no hen laid an egg, there were no marriages, and no children born. Ironically it is the evil inclination that leads one to marriage. For this reason one must choose ones own spouse based on the criteria that one sets. The consequences of this choice are ones own. Men have the commandment to marry; this is one of the purposes of the evil inclination. There is also the goal that two people will help make each other better than they could have been living alone. Mainly this is achieved by having a family, which increases ones opportunity to give.

Text 13-4: Genesis 29:21
Give me my wife – הבה את-אשתי

The Nichelsburg Rabbi recommends Psalm 128 as a tikkun for getting married:

Text 13-5: Marriage Psalm for Men – Psalm 128
A Lifting Song
Sing praise all ye who fear the Lord and walk in His way
By the toil of your hands you shall eat and it is a goodly praise to you.
Your wife shall be a fruitful vine in the innermost part of your house.
Your sons shall be like olive saplings (seated) around your table.
Thus, is blessed the man who fears Adonai.
Adonai will bless you from Zion
And you will see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
And you will see your children’s children.
Peace upon Israel

twlumh ryc
wykrdb ]lhh yy ary-lk yrca
]l bwfw ]yrca lkat yk ]ypk uygy
]tyb ytkryb hyrp }pgk ]tca
]njlcl bybs \ytyz yltck ]ynb
yy ary rbg ]rby }k-yk hnh
}wyxm yy ]krby
]yyj ymy lk \lcwry bwfb harw
]ynbl \ynb-harw
larcy-lu \wlc For Women

Reciting psalms 31, 32, 70, 72, and 124 bring the opportunity of marriage for women:[1385]

Text 13-6: Tikun Marriage Psalms for Women
A mystic rabbi in Israel suggested these five psalms, which are preceded by the words, “I’m reciting these psalms in the merit of King David and I wish blessings to come to these women” Then they say the group members’ Hebrew names and the members’ mothers’ Hebrew names. The goal is to pray for others.

On women (irrelevant for this section, but interesting):[1386]

How men feared women! she thought, walking among the late-flowering roses. Not as individuals, but women when they talked together, worked together, spoke up for one another – then men saw plots, cabals, constraints, traps being laid.

Of course they were right. Women were likely, as women, to take the next generation’s part, not this one’s; they wove the links men saw as chains, the bonds men saw as bondage. She and Seserakh were indeed in league against him and ready to betray him, if he truly was nothing unless he was independent. If he was only air and fire, no weight of earth to him, no patient water...

13.2.3 The Songs of Ascent

Those seeking to elevate their spirit to G-d, recite Psalms 120-135 at Seudah Shelishis, that is the third meal on Shabbat, which is a holy time of the day. We recite Shir Amalot, the Songs of Ascent, after Mincha starting on Sukkoth until Pesach. From Pesach until next Sukkoth, we read Perkei Avots. Reading Shir Amalots is a preparation for a heightened state of spiritual awareness.

The period after Mincha on Shabbas is the time of Zer Anpin who descends to join with the Shabbas Queen. Who is Zer Anpin? He is the Prince and masculine counterpart to Nukva who is identified with Shabbas. After the sefirot shattered because they had not learned to give, Hashem reformed them into the Partzufim. There are four lower ones consisting of father, mother, son, and daughter. Zer Anpin, the son, surrounds Nukva, the daughter or Shabbas Queen, from six sides or directions: South, North, East, Up, Down, and West. Zer Anpin associates with the six days of the workweek, while Nukva associates with Shabbas. The Zohar refers to the six sides of Zer Anpin as Metatron and Nukva as the Shechinah, the female presence of God. Here the Zohar understands the soul as emanating either from the place of Metatron where its role in this world symbolizes the six days of work or the place of the Shechinah from where ‘it “shall go forth free”, because its owner is righteous, and is not subjected to labor or servitude.’[1387]

In the Amidah, we make a throne for the Shabbas Queen. This is the union of Zer Anpin and Nukva, or in terms of sefirot, the union of Yesod and Malchuts.[1388] The Shabbas Queen, when supported by Zer Anpin, rules over her domain and spreads blessing and peace throughout the land and in the heavens above. We should view the Shabbas as the middle of the week with three days before and three days after. In this manner, we keep the Shabbas Queen in the center of our lives.

This is the same for a husband and wife. Placing the wife in the center of life with work on the periphery causes the wife to feel supported, loved, and cherished, which in turn brings the Shechinah or presence of G-d into the household. The Shechinah is the Shabbas Queen and the wife causes her presence to dwell in the house. When the husband is behaving properly, serving his wife; and his wife respects her husband’s Torah devotion; then there is great unity in the home and the Shechinah descends in joy and blesses the family.

13.2.4 Hallel

One recites these psalms in gratitude after deliverance from a threat. They are also effective on holidays to elevate joy and healing.

13.2.5 Improving oneself – Midos

Psalm 15 is the corner stone of spiritual cleansing, while Psalm 13 is the cornerstone of longing to be close to G-d. Recite Psalm 15 everyday and one will become a better person.

Text 13-7: Improving Ones Character – Psalm 15
A Psalm of David
Adonay, who will sojourn in your Tabernacle?
Who will dwell upon Your holy mountain?
He who walks in wholehearted integrity
and deals righteously
and speaks truth in his heart.
He who has no slander on his tongue,
who has done his friend no evil,
nor cast disgrace upon his fellow man.
In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
and those who fear Adonay he honors;
though he swears to his own hurt,
he does not change [his oath].
His money he has not lent out at usury
and a bribe against the innocent he has not taken;
whoever does these things will not be moved, forever.


“Can man have an integrity without God's help? I doubt...
Man with his own integrity is Narcissus. It is easy to find Narcissus, but hard to see one seeking integrity from God.
Even faith, I believe, is a gift from God. It has been the best gift I don't deserve, yet God miraculously gave to me.”

So true to improve requires God’s help.

13.2.6 Midnight Service

A Midrash teaches that David’s Lyre would play a note in the wind at midnight. At this point he would arise at night and study. Today many arise and recite the Tikkun Hatzoth, the Midnight Psalms. These include 137, 79, 42, 43, 111, 51, 126, and additional petitions and lamentations. One finds midnight in Judaism by dividing the night length in half. For example, with sunset at 8PM and sunrise at 6AM this gives a 10hour night, which determines midnight at 1AM. Studying Torah is always meritorious and supercedes the recitation of the Tikkun Hatzoth if one is so inclined.

Text 13-8: Zohar on Midnight Study
When R. Hizkiah was studying with R. Isaac, they once rose at midnight to study the Torah. R. Isaac discoursed on the verse: “Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord” (Ps. CXXXIV, l). ‘This verse’, he said, ‘is a tribute to all true believers. And who are the true believers? Those who study the Torah and know how to unify the Holy Name in the fitting manner.

When a man rises at midnight to study the Torah and the North Wind awakes, then a certain Hind[Tr. note: The Shekinah.] arises and praises the Holy One, blessed be He. And with Her arise thousands and myriads [of angels] who all commence to praise the holy King. But they all fall into silence in order to listen to those who study the Torah, and they proclaim: “Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord”, as much as to say, “ You bless the Lord, you praise the holy King, you crown the King.” And that Hind adorns herself with that man and stands before the King and says: “See the son with whom I am come before thee, with whom I approach thee.” Their blessing is a real blessing, as it says, “Lift up your hands in (to) holiness” (Ibid.) What is “holiness”? The supernal Place from which issues the source of the “deep stream”. When a man has come so far, they proclaim over him, “The Lord bless thee from Zion” (Ibid.); from the place in which the Community of Israel is blessed, from there He will furnish thee with blessings. Also, “thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem” (Ps. CXXVIII, 5), to wit, the blessings that reach it from the King through that holy grade of the Righteous One.’[1389]
The principle of the midnight prayer is established by this verse:[1390]

Text 13-9: Source Text for the Midnight Prayer
And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt,
from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne
to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon;
and all the firstborn of cattle.

The psalms of the midnight service are lamentations on behalf of the house of Israel. The Midrash on Exodus 12:29 explains:

Text 13-10: Midrash on Midnight Salvation

  1. AND IT CAME TO PASS AT MIDNIGHT (XII, 29). It is written: That confirmeth the word of His servant, and performeth the counsel of His messengers (Isa. XLIV, 26). R. Abihu explained: That confirmeth the word of His servant’ refers to Moses, as it says: My servant Moses is not so (Num. XII, 7). In which instance did He confirm this word? When He brought upon them the plague of darkness, Pharaoh began to cry: ’Go ye, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed’ (Ex. X, 24). To which Moses replied: ’As thou livest, our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not a hoof be left behind’ (ib. 26). Why ’a hoof’? Because even if one hoof of a beast otherwise belonging wholly to an Egyptian was the property of an Israelite, it was not to be left behind. ’For thereof must we take’ (ib.). After having said ’For thereof must we take’, why does he afterwards say And we know not with what we must serve the Lord (ib.)? In fact, what he [Moses] said to Pharaoh was this: ' Those who transgress thy command are put to death; and when thou, who art only a mortal, givest a command: "Collect for me so-and-so," then the world can comply with thy request; but as for us the Lord may say to us: " Offer up sacrifices for two hundred and ten years"; for this reason "we know not’’.1 To which Pharaoh replied: ‘How long wilt thou continue coming? Get thee from me, take heed to thyself; see my face no more’ (ib. 28). Moses answered: ’ Thou hast spoken well; I will see thy face gain no more ' (ib. 29). Said God: ' What do I still need to do? To inform Pharaoh of one more plague.’ Immediately therefore God, as it were, hurriedly entered the palace of Pharaoh for the sake of Moses, who had said: ’I will see thy face again no more,’ so that he might not appear untruthful. Hence you will find that this was the only occasion when God spoke with Moses in the house of Pharaoh, for it says: As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread forth my hands unto the Lord (IX, 29). Whereas now God rushed into Pharaoh's palace and spoke to Moses, as it says, Yet one plague more will I bring upon Pharaoh (XI, 1).t When Moses heard this, he rejoiced and was exalted,2 as it says: Moreover, the man Moses was very great (ib. 3). Moses then began publicly to proclaim: ’ Thus saith the Lord: About midnight (ib. 4). Thou sayest well " See my face no more"; I will no longer come to thee, for thou wilt come to me, and not only thou, but also this chief of thy hosts at thy side, and thy governor and all thy courtiers shall come running with thee to me, imploring and prostrating themselves to me for us to depart from here,’ as it says: And all these thy servants shall come down unto me... saying (ib. 8). He did not wish to say: ' And thou shalt bow down unto me,’ out of respect for royalty. When midnight came, then immediately, as Moses had foretold, AND IT CAME TO PASS AT MIDNIGHT, THAT THE LORD SMOTE ALL THE FIRSTBORN; thus He ' confirmed the word of His servant, and performed the counsel of His messengers’. God had consulted Abraham concerning this matter. When was that? When the kings came and he pursued them, God said to him: ' It will be enough if thou wilt only pursue them till midnight, for thou and I will share the night,’ as it says: And he divided the night against them (Gen. XIV, 15).3 And when the moment arrived,4 this counsel was carried out; hence, AND IT CAME TO PASS AT MIDNIGHT; therefore it is written: ’And performeth the counsel of His messengers.’
  2. Another interpretation of AND IT CAME TO PASS AT MIDNIGHT. It is written: At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto Thee, because of the judgments of Thy righteousness (Ps. CXIX, 62). ‘At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto Thee’-for the judgments Thou hast performed in Egypt, while unto us hast Thou done righteousness.’ When was this? When Moses said: ’I will smite all the firstborn’ (Ex. XII, 12), some were afraid and some not; those who were afraid brought their firstborn to an Israelite and said: 'Do please allow him to pass with you this night.’ When midnight struck, God smote all the firstborn; as for those who took asylum in the houses of the Israelites, God passed between the Israelites and the Egyptians, depriving the latter of life while leaving the Israelites alive. When the Jews awoke at midnight, they found the Egyptians dead among their surviving firstborn; as it says: I will pass over you, and there shall no plague be upon you (ib. 13). Then did Israel begin to say: ’At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto Thee,’ and for this reason does it say: ’Because of the judgments of Thy righteousness.’
  3. AND IT CAME TO PASS AT MIDNIGHT. It is written: She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her lamp goeth not out by night (Prov XXXI, 18). You will find that it is written: For there was not a house where there was not one dead (Ex. XII, 30). How was this possible? By counting the first drop of every issue with which an Egyptian fructified a woman as responsible for a firstborn, you would find that all his children would die, for it says: And He smote all the firstborn of Egypt, the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham (Ps. LXXVIII, 51) [which means, the issue of] the first drop. Even girls who were firstborn, died; with the exception of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, who had a good intercessor-Moses, of whom it says: And when she saw him that he was a goodly child (II, 2). For this reason did Solomon say: ‘She perceiveth that her merchandise is good.’ She riseth also while it is yet night (Prov. XXXI, 15). Which night was this? AND IT CAME TO PASS AT MIDNIGHT.
  4. AND IT CAME TO PASS AT MIDNIGHT. Elihu said: In a moment they die, even at midnight (Job XXXIV, 20). When they died, all began to cry; for it says: AND PHARAOH ROSE UP IN THE NIGHT, HE, AND ALL HIS SERVANTS, AND ALL THE EGYPTIANS (XII, 30). AND HE CALLED FOR MOSES AND AARON (ib. 31) immediately. Moses then said: ‘What doth Pharaoh seek? Who now comes unto whom, thou to me, or I to thee?’ Pharaoh replied: ‘I PRAY THEE, RISE UP, GET YOU FORTH FROM AMONG MY PEOPLE (ib.). Why was all this? To prove that He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength; who hath hardened himself against Him and prospered (Job IX, 4).
  5. Another interpretation of AND IT CAME TO PASS AT MIDNIGHT. David said: In the night I will call to remembrance my song-neginathi (Ps. LXXVII, 7). The assembly of Israel said: ‘I remember the disasters with which Thou didst crush mine enemies for my sake that night.’ The word ’ neginathi’ refers to disaster, for it says: I am their song-manginatham (Lam. III, 63), and also: Who hath delivered (miggen) thine enemies into thy hand (Gen. XIV, 20). When Sennacherib attacked us, Thou didst overthrow him at night, as it is said: And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians (II Kings XIX, 35). Said R. Nehemiah: See how great is the love of the Holy One, blessed be He, for Israel. For the very ministering angels, who are mighty in strength, that fulfil His word (Ps. CIII, 20) were made by God the custodians of Israel. Who are they? Michael and Gabriel; as it says: I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem (Isa. LXII, 6). When Sennacherib came, Michael came out and smote them, and Gabriel, at God's behest, delivered Hananiah and his companions. Why was this? Because God had made a condition with them thus. When? When He desired to descend in order to deliver Abraham from the fiery furnace, Michael and Gabriel said: ‘Let us go down and deliver him.’ But He said to them: ‘Had he descended into the fiery furnace for the sakes of one of you, then you would have delivered him. But since he went down for My sake, I Myself will descend and save him,’ as it says: I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. XV, 7). ' But I will appoint for you another time when to descend, because ye were anxious to save him for the glory of My name. Thou, Michael, shalt descend upon the camp of the Assyrians, and thou, Gabriel, on the camp of the Chaldeans.’ When Gabriel came down to deliver Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, he ordered the fire to scorch all those who had thrown them in, as it says: The flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Dan. III, 22). Some say that four classes of governors died there2; for at first it says: Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces (ib. 3), while at this point four are lacking, as it says: And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king's ministers (ib. 27). Hananiah then said: ’O praise the Lord, all ye nations’ (Ps. CXVII, 1); Mishael said: ’Laud Him, all ye peoples’ (ib.), while Azariah said: ’ For His mercy is great toward us ' (ib. 2), and the angel replied: ’And the truth of the Lord endureth for ever (ib.), for it is true what He told me when I went down to save Abraham.’ Michael also did what he had been promised, for it says: ’And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went forth,’ etc. (II Kings XIX, 35). We have learnt1: All the generals and officers were drinking wine and left their vessels scattered about. God then said to Sennacherib: ' Thou hast done thy part,’ as it says: By thy messengers thou hast taunted the Lord (ib. 23); ‘so will I too send My messenger.’2 What did He do to him?-And under his glory there shall be kindled a burning like the burning of fire (Isa. X, 16). What is the meaning of ’ and under his glory’? He burned their bodies within, leaving their clothes without untouched,-the glory of man being his garments.3 Why did He leave their garments? Because they were the descendants of Shem, as it says: The sons of Shem: Elam, and Asshur (Gen. X, 22), and God said: ‘I owe it to them for their father's sake, because he and Japheth took their garments and covered the nakedness of their father,’ as it says: And Shem and Japheth took a garment (IX, 23). For this reason did God say to Michael: ' Leave their garments untouched, but burn their souls.’ What is written there? And when men arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses (II Kings XIX, 35), hence does it say: Morning by morning will I destroy all the wicked of the land (Ps. CI, 8). Israel and Hezekiah sat that night and recited the Hallel, for it was Passover, yet were in terror lest at any moment Jerusalem might fall at his [Sennacherib's] hand. When they arose early in the morning to recite the shema’ and pray, they found their enemies dead corpses; for this reason did God say to Isaiah: Call his name Maher-shalalhash-baz (Isa. VIII, 3), and he did indeed hasten to plunder their spoil. Another called him ‘Immanuel’, that is, ‘I will be with him,’ as it says: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God (II Chron. XXXII, 8). Just as God did in this world through the hand of Michael and Gabriel, so will He perform in the future also through them, for it says: And saviours shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the Mount of Esau (Obad. I, 21)-this refers to Michael and Gabriel. Our holy Teacher[1391] is of the opinion that this refers to Michael only, for it says: And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people (Dan. XII, 1), because he it is who presents Israel's requirements and pleads for them, as it says: Then the angel of the Lord spoke and said: O Lord of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have compassion on Jerusalem (Zech. I, 12), and also: And there is none that holdeth with me against these, except Michael your prince (Dan. X, 21). R. Jose said: To what may Michael and Samael be compared? To an intercessor and an accuser before a tribunal: each speaks in turn, and when each has finished the intercessor sees that he has triumphed, and he begins to praise the judge that he may issue his verdict; and when the accuser wishes to add anything, the intercessor says to him: ‘You remain quiet and let us hear the judge.’ So also do Michael and Samael both stand before the Divine Presence; Satan accuses, while Michael points out Israel's virtues, and when Satan wishes to speak again, Michael silences him, because, as it says: I will hear what God the Lord will speak; for He will speak peace unto His people (Ps. LXXXV, 9). This is the meaning of: ‘In the night I will call to remembrance my song’ (ib. LXXVII, 7), referring to the miracle of Hezekiah. Another interpretation of: ‘In the night I will call ta remembrance my song’ is: ‘I remember what Thou hast done to me in Egypt and Thy contrivance in Egypt.’ What was this? When God at first sought to bring the plagues upon Egypt, He intended to commence with the plague of the firstborn, for it says: Behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn (Ex. IV, 23). Pharaoh then retorted: ‘Who is the Lord that I should hearken unto His voice’ (V, 2). Then God said: ‘If I bring the plague of firstborn upon him at the outset, he will send them out at once; no, I will bring other plagues upon him first, by this means will I bring them all, as it says: AND THE LORD SMOTE ALL THE FIRSTBORN (XII, 29). On this account did David sing praises: Who knoweth the power of Thine anger? (Ps. XC, II). Who understands Thy contrivances at the Red Sea, as it says, Thy way was in the sea, and Thy path in the great waters, and Thy footsteps were not known (ib. LXXVII, 20)? Who knows the things that Thou doest at the last?

The midnight is the time par excellence to rise and ask the Ribono shel Olam to save us from any ordeal.

13.2.7 Healing

Text 13-11: Psalm 105:41-45 for Prostate Healing
He opened a rock and waters flowed out, they ran through dry places like a river.
For He remembered His holy word to Abraham, His servant.
And He brought forth His people with gladness.
His chosen ones with singing.
And He gave them the lands of nations, and the labor of the peoples they inherited.
So that they might preserve His statutes and treasure His laws, praise God.

Here we have the story of Moses with the Staff of G-d, G-d’s will, bringing forth, flowing water.[1392]

Text 13-12: Psalm 60:4 for broken bone Healing
Heal its fragments – R’phah Sh’va’re’hah ☺ R’phah Sh’va’re’yahרפה שבריה

This very powerful verse should be recited while contemplating the healing energy of G-d swirling into the patient, then mediating on G-d releasing healing energy through the hands of Raphael on your hands around the body’s organs that need repair.[1393]

Text 13-13: General healing for Miriam
Heal her please G-d – Rfah nah El nah la

Numbers Ch. 12:8
ootmoonat Hashem yabeet
Look, go into the picture of Hashem

13.2.8 Z’merot

There are obstacles between G-d, and us between our prayers and the gates of heaven. The psalms prune away these obstacles. They are also called Z’merot, when sung, from maZemerot, pruning hooks.[1394]

An ancient idea suggests Z’merot are related to enabling the sun to rise. One would start reciting psalms before the sunrise and reach the shekiah – first light by the Shema. In metaphor, the psalms cut away the mountains to allow the sun to rise.[1395]

Z’merot may also be from zamer that means gazelle. These songs make the spirit jump like the sprite gazelle.

13.3 Tefillin

Putting on tefillin each day is beneficial for refocusing the mind on proper priorities. In this daily physical meditation, one reminds oneself to be a mench.[1396]

Meditation 13-1: Tefillin
Been putting on the Tefillin now everyday, I feel good, it kind of has changed me in some way, cant explain it, but in a harmonious way. Just more relaxed and patience it teaches me. Anyway, had a lot of thoughts about it...

1) Realize Tefillin was created by G-d, not by man. I came to this conclusion because it is exactly the same for every jew whether it being in the past, present or even future. Like the sun in our sky, it is something which is always present, unceasing and unchanging.  With technology every thing we create is always changing and constantly evolving.  From thousands of years ago, to thousands of years ahead, it will always be present and some may wonder what is it's purpose. But only those who wear it will know it has inherent meaning.

2) I read some interpretation about the actual wrapping of the tefillin. I have some of my own interpretation. The order in which we put it on has significance. 7 winds around the hand representing not only the 7 days of creation, but I think there is a visual representation that might be overlooked here. Including the 3 winds on the fingers, you get a total of 10, obviously our hole number system based on that.

3) Getting back to a visual meaning of the tefillin. And by the way, we cannot overlook this at all, it is very significant. 4 steps-- one being the initial pointing towards the heart. Two being the winding on the arm. Three being the placement on the head. Four being the wrapping around the middle finger. And then the whole process in reverse order.

First, pointing towards the heart. First we must take actions in our life based initially from the heart.

Second, wrapping around the arm represents life itself. Life is supposed to include some sort of work, that is where we can appreciate the day of rest.

Third, then comes the placement on the head. Ideas come from the mind. But also the notion the brain can translate many messages and can create meanings and understandings from them. It is also a decipher.

Forth, the wrapping of the middle finger is a link between man and G-d.

So we go from this process of the heart to life to ideas to link to G-d. And the importance of going in reverse order is that once we have this link to G-d, we get ideas which go back into our daily life which fill the heart. It is like we need to reach out and then get something back from G-d.

Now Jeff, one thing that I did today which was different than before is I reached up with my left hand pointing my finger up to the ceiling. Pointing as far up as I could do it. I want you to do it also one day.

Now, look up your arm with your eye. The strap around the arm is now a continuous spiral leading upward. And when you wrap around your hand in the shape of a Shin, representing G-d. And when you look further up to your middle finger-- the furthest point from your body, not counting feet. The winding around the middle finger-- it is like a spiral staircase, starting out wide around your arm, and getting tighter and smaller all the way up to the tip. There is a visual experience with this. We are reaching up to G-d, to get answers.


Along these lines the seven wrappings of the arms correspond to the seven lower sefirot and the wrappings on the middle finger the three sefirot crowns. Putting on tefillin is a symbolic exercise to train the arm, the place of action, to follow the midos of G-d. The seven lower midos are to be kind, follow justice, be truthful, steadfast in the ways of G-d, thankful, righteous, and filled with the spirit G-d. The three higher results are understanding, wisdom, and closeness to the will of G-d.

The Zohar says:[1397]

Text 13-14: Zohar on Tefillin
AND IT SHALL BE FOR A TOKEN UPON THINE HAND AND FOR FRONTLETS BETWEEN THINE EYES. This commandment has also another significance besides being a Divine ordinance, for the phylacteries are signs and means of sanctification, symbols of the beauty of the supernal colours. It is written: “And thou shalt do that what is right and good.” “Right” here indicates the phylactery of the hand, which has to be supplemented by and joined with the phylactery of the forehead. The four Biblical sections (Ex. XIII, 1-10, 11-16; Deut. Vl, 4-9, XI, 13-21) are in the head-phylactery in four compartments, but in the hand-phylactery in one, for the latter has nothing of itself but what it receives from above (the head). This mystery is expressed in the words, “all rivers run into the sea” (Eccl. 1, 7). And because it draws the influx of Divine light from that which is above, it is called tephillah (entreaty, prayer, the traditional name for phylactery); and because it derives holiness, it is called kedushah, and it also symbolizes “Sovereignty”, “Kingdom”, the Kingdom of God in its completeness. The symbolism of the four sections has been explained in various places. The first of them (Ex. XIII, 1-10) is of supreme significance, containing all the four divisions of the supernal light which emanates from Ain (lit. “nothing”, the hidden, unapproachable, transcendent).

In the last sentence of the above Zohar, the “four divisions of the supernal light” are AV-72, SaG-63, MaH-45, and BeN-52, expansions of the name of G-d above Keter. The colors are supernal, manifested in the four expansions of the Name of G-d. One sees these colors as flashes from chains of the Hebrew letters at each one of these levels.[1398]

Section 1: Hochmah
EXO 13:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,

EXO 13:2 Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.

EXO 13:3 And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for the strength of the hand of the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.

EXO 13:4 This day came you out in the month Aviv.

EXO 13:5 And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month.

EXO 13:6 Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD.

EXO 13:7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.

EXO 13:8 And thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.

EXO 13:9 And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD's law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.

EXO 13:10 Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.

Each word in the verse, “sanctify unto Me all the firstborn” stands for something connected with the Divine attributes: “sanctify” is related to the hidden region of supernal Holiness, the mystery of the Wisdom which comes from above; “unto Me” refers to Binah-Understanding, the Mystery of the supernal world, the inner Hall-as it is written, “unto Me are the children of Israel slaves”; “unto Me belongs every firstborn”; “ye shall be unto Me a precious people”-all these are connected with Binah. “All” signifies Grace: grace above and grace below; “firstborn” has a symbolic reference to “Israel my firstborn” (Ex. IV, 22), who represents all the sides and all the colours. These four words, esoterically considered, contain all the truths which are given in greater detail in the four Scripture sections written on the parchment scrolls of the phylacteries. Thus the first section is a summary of all the four. The second section (Ex. XIII, 11-16), referring, as it does, to the Exodus from Egypt, symbolizes the freedom of the “Jubilee”, and represents Binah.

Section 2: Binah
EXO 13:11 And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee,

EXO 13:12 That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD's.

EXO 13:13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.

EXO 13:14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:

EXO 13:15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.

EXO 13:16 And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt.

The third section, the Shema, contains the mystery of the right side, called “The Supernal Grace”, for it effects the union of all things extending unto the four quarters of the universe; and the Holy One, blessed be He, through the medium of this attribute, brings forth order and harmony in the whole universe, a harmony which extends even to the lowest depths. By this attribute of Grace the Holy One created the world, when He wrapped Himself in the garment of light. This Supernal Grace is the Unifier.

Section 3: Hesed
DEU 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

DEU 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all
thy soul, and with all thy might.

DEU 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

DEU 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk
of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and
when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

DEU 6:8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be
as frontlets between thine eyes.

DEU 6:9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates
For this reason the section of the Shema is joined to that of “And it shall be”; for the act which makes each day a unity and likewise forms the whole sum of separate days into the perfect whole, is the fact of following the Divine Will in knowledge and action; and through this act alone (of concentration on the union during prayer and the recitation of the Shema) can that union of which we have frequently spoken be attained: that is, the union of each day, the union which is expressed in the sentence: “Hear, O Israel, TETRAGRAMMATON Elohenu TETRAGRAMMATON is one”. These three are one. How can the three Names be one? Only through the perception of Faith: in the vision of the Holy Spirit, in the beholding of the hidden eyes alone. The mystery of the audible voice is similar to this, for though it is one yet it consists of three elements-fire, air, and water, which have, however, become one in the mystery of the voice. Even so it is with the mystery of the threefold Divine manifestations designated by TETRAGRAMMATON Elohenu TETRAGRAMMATON – three modes which yet form one unity. This is the significance of the voice which man produces in the act of unification, when his intent is to unify all from the En-sof to the end of creation. This is the daily unification, the secret of which has been revealed in the holy spirit. There are many kinds of unification, and all are appropriate, one involving the other, but the one which is effected on earth by the symbolism of the voice is the most appropriate.

The fourth section (Deut. Xl, I3-21) contains the mystery of rigorous Judgment: “Take heed to yourselves that your heart be not deceived” (v. 16).

Section 4: Gevurah – Reward and Punishment
DEU 11:13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,

DEU 11:14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.

DEU 11:15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.

DEU 11:16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;

DEU 11:17 And then the LORD's wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.

DEU 11:18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

DEU 11:19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

DEU 11:20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:

DEU 11:21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

We have already dealt with the symbolism of the relationship of the two phylacteries to one another. The strap that is passed through the head-phylactery ends at the back of the head in a knot representing the letter Daleth (D. in Shaddai), and concerning it it is written: “And thou shalt see My hinder-parts”, for all is tied up there in one knot. The strap that is passed through the hand-phylactery is fastened in a knot in the shape of the letter Yod, the sign of the mystery of the holy covenant, to which we have frequently referred. It is all a part of one mystery. Blessed are the Israelites for being made aware of this mystery. It is essential that every man should put on the phylacteries daily, in order that he may achieve the likeness of the supernal Prototype, and then “all the people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of thee” (Deut. XXVIII, l0).

One of the final mysteries on Tefillin could only be revealed by one of the superior saints of a generation.[1399] Though I have studied the text, I was not worthy to discover this passage:[1400]

Text 13-15: Zohar on Tefillin Hair of the Calf
Said R. Simeon: ‘AII this is true, yet nevertheless the Holy One, blessed be He, has conferred power on the unclean spirit and it behooves man to subjugate him from all directions. Now I am about to reveal to you’, he said, ‘a mystery which is only permitted to be revealed to the superior saints. The Holy One, blessed be He, has conferred power upon the place which is the unclean spirit to have dominion over the world in many ways and to be enabled to inflict harm; we thus dare not treat him lightly, but we have to be on our guard against him lest he indict us, even in our holy actions. We have, therefore, a secret device, namely, to assign him a little space within our holy performances, since it is out of the source of holiness that he derives his power. Hence we are required to enclose inside the phylacteries a hair of a calf with one end jutting out and exposed to sight. This hair is incapable of communicating defilement, since it is smaller than a barley grain. [Tr. note: Allusion (apparently inexact) to Mishnah, Ahaloth III, 2.] Now, when the unclean spirit beholds this hair that is within the supremely holy, and thus finds that he has a portion therein, he will abstain from assailing the wearer and will be powerless to inflict evil on him, whether on high or below. Whereas if nothing is given him within what is holy he brings accusations, saying, that-and-that man who at the moment makes himself holy has done such-and-such a deed on such-and-such a day, and these-and-these are the sins he committed; so that the man will thus be brought to judgment and be punished. The Israelites, who were aware of this secret, used to adopt a similar device when they began to sanctify themselves on the Day of Atonement; they at once made provision for assigning the unclean spirit his portion, so that he should not accuse them nor bring to notice the sins of Israel. For when he presents himself to bring accusations against Israel, ever so many bands and hosts stand there ready to take up his word. Happy is the portion of him who is able to be on his guard so that his sins should not be brought to notice on high, and so that he should not be regarded with disfavor.’ Meanwhile tears began to flow from R. Abba's eyes. Said R. Eleazar to him: “Abba, Abba, unloose thy girdle, and wipe the tears from thy face, inasmuch as the mystic doctrines of the Torah were entrusted to the righteous, as it is written: “The secret (sod)[Tr. note: Sod in Bib. Heb.=counsel, in post-Bib. =secret, mystery.] of the Lord is for them that fear him” (Ps. xxv, 14).’

Observe that on New Year's Day the world is brought to trial before the holy Judgment Seat; and there stands on one side the evil spirit who regards intently and makes a record of all those that are doomed to death. But at the moment that Israel awakens mercy by means of the sound of the trumpet (shofar) he becomes altogether confused and distracted, and turns his gaze away from the doomed ones. This continues until some time after. [Tr. note: i.e. the eve of the Last day of Tabernacles.] Then all those under decree of death who have not repented of their sins are delivered into the hands of the evil power under a final order of death, which order is irrevocable. The whole of Israel together have thus to be on guard against him, and how much more so one who is by himself. We have thus to assign him at every New Moon a he-goat as his portion, so that he will abstain from acting as accuser. The sacred moon will thus draw sustenance in holiness and be fittingly renewed. The moon being renewed every month is thus called “na'ar” (youth), but the opposite force, which is forever immersed in defilement, is called “old and foolish king” (Eccles. IV, 13). Thus for holy Israel, the one nation united to God in holiness, the Holy One, blessed be He, has provided a means of escape from all the evil powers. Happy are they in this world and in the world to come. So Scripture says: “Thy people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land for ever; the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, wherein I glory” (Isa. LX, 21).

This extraordinary explanation seems to have some basis in the Torah. Perhaps the goat left alive as a living atonement to G-d and then sent into Azazel Wilderness, represents a similar distraction. Perhaps, not blowing the shofar on Erev Rosh Hashanah has a similar purpose.[1401]

The Zohar is the work of Rabbi Shimeon Bar Yochai who by writing the Zohar gave us the inspiration to survive the dark and Middle Ages.[1402]

13.4 Tzitzit

Text 13-16: Numbers 15:38
Speak to the people of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a thread of Techelet – תכלת.

Sometime during the Roman exile, the sea creature that was used to make this dye (or the family that had the secret) was lost and consequently the color is uncertain.[1403] Hazal considered the source of the color to be integral to fulfilling the mitzvah.[1404] Techelet is the name of a sea creature’s ink and not just its color!

The color of blue in Hebrew is Cahool. Techelet like the fuchsia flower is named after the source. The color of the source may be an Indigo, a violet blue after the color of a snail, which is found on the coastal beaches of Gaza.[1405] While the color starts as a violet blue, exposure to sunlight turns it into a truer blue. Another word for the color blue is Tahool, possibly an offshoot of Techelet.

Still, the source of Techelet may be a different sea creature, perhaps one with a denser quantity of ink in its body. Another alternative is that the Hebrews found multiple sources of sea creatures with similar colored ink, when they were on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. I favor this possibility. In this case, Techelet is a reference to the ink color of a general sea creature. Hence, as long as the dye one obtained was from a sea creature, and it bore some resemblance to the color of the sea, it was acceptable to use. This would have permitted some variation in tzitzit color, possibly reflecting some personal affinity to different shades of blue from indigo to aquamarine. Nevertheless, most sages believe the source must be from a kosher fish! Now we raise the question, to what extent should clothes or other articles be made from kosher animals? There isn’t a prohibition here, but perhaps a greater affinity to use materials from kosher animals.

Those who keep this commandment merit to be reminded whenever they peer of the presence of G-d.[1406]
Text 13-17: Light of the Eyes on the Tzizit
Now it is known tha the commandment of zizit is sometimes considered as precious as all the other commandments put together, since it constantly reminds one of God. When you look at the fringes at the four corners you are reminded of the One whose glory fills all the earth. Scripture also says: “You shall see it and remember all the commandments of the Lord” (Num. 15:39). This is an assurance: it is within the power of the zizit to remind a person that there is an infinite Creator and that “the whole earth is filled with His glory,” that in all the four directions there is no place devoid of Him. All this is because zizit are explicitly called “a reminder” in the Torah. He who merits will understand how this is true in an inward way. Trhough this commandment a person may be reminded of God and come to return to Him, being a throne for His glory. Zizit is related to the word for “peering” (meziz) as in “He peers through the lattice” (Song of Songs 2:9): it is a matter of looking. It is this act of looking that brings one to repent, to restore the infinite light upon one. This was the case with the one called “Nathan of zuzita,” for he was grabbed by the zizit of his head and brought to repentance. It was seeing that gave him the hold to reach repentance. It was the same with that one who sent four hundred coints to the prostitute but repented when he saw his zizit. Finally, they said, the beds she had once set out for him in a forbidden way she set out for him permissibly.4 We know that any illicit love a person feels has to be brought back to the good, that one must begin to love God with that very arousal one had felt improperly. Thus evil becomes a throne for the good. This is the meaning of the “beds” or “couches” in this story: By that very love in which evil had dwelt he was able to turn to God and become a seat for Hs presence; the forbidden couches now became permitted ones. All this because of zizit.
4. I.e., she became his wife. This well-known Midrashic tale is often quoted to show the moral power of the commandments.

13.5 Tallis

The four corners with strings denoted property in early cultures. In Judaism, metaphorically, it denotes the property of G-d. The Ashkenazi tassels have 7, 8, 11, and 13 windings. 7 + 8 are the gematria of Yod Heh while 11 is Vav Heh and 13 is Echad—the Lord is One. The Sephardic tassels add to 26 windings for the gematria of Yod Heh Vav Heh. (See 2.25.14 Psalm 104 The Tallis p.252)

Initially the tallis is wrapped around ones head. Another tradition is to cover ones head. As I learned from my son who loves to dart in and out from under a tablecloth, the purpose is for Hashem to ask ‘Ayeh’ – איה – “Where are you?” When we emerge, we do so with vigilance as if to say, “Here I am.” Hashem acknowledges, “Here he is” as an affirmation for our existence. This is the game of love of a parent and child of G-d and oneself.

Meditation 13-2: Setting the tombstone
I had a dream and the world had changed and crystals of ice were falling from the sky upon our heads, each potentially wounding. My father picked up a crystal as if to attack and I only wanted to hold him back until we cured him of this insanity. But the longer he stayed in that world the further gone he became, until only my brother stopped him. “Gather the family and set the stone in the winter before the shards of ice confuse my resting place.”

With the tallis we are wrapping oneself in the Shekhinah or immersing one in the clouds; nevertheless, I believe it is playing with Hashem that is the higher level. So next time you lift your tallis off your head, behold the beams of light on your smiling face.

In the later days ten gentiles from each nation will grab hold to the corner tzitzit of a Jew’s garment to attach to his or her hashgafah – providence.[1407] Ten from every nation are 10 x 70 = 700 on each corner, and they are 2800 righteous servants. They will work to establish—that is to build up the House of Israel—they will go up to the land and bring offerings to the Temple. How goodly are their yom vyom – each day of their lives, to establish the Jewish people in Israel.

13.6 Yarmulke

The custom of covering ones head in devotion to G-d is post biblical, yarei malka – ירמולקא – reverence for the Queen as G-d is feminine here. The above spelling is Yiddish, while the word has Aramaic and Hebrew origins. Another version kippah – כיפה or plural kippot – כיפות is a later form from ‘dome’, also related to kof for Yiddish head, Viennese kappl for hat.

13.7 Torah

A scribe writes a Torah scroll on parchment from a kosher animal. Since parchment does not absorb ink, it can flake off. This is similar to mezuzot or Tefillin scrolls and hence a scribe should routinely check these items. Scribes go through an apprenticeship where they learn to write mezuzah scrolls and work their way up.

The scribe aligns the letters with the top of ruler scratch guides in the parchment. A sewer sews the panels together with sinews. Each Torah has the same layout. The oldest Torah fragments are from the 7th century BCE, the time of Jeremiah.[1408]

13.8 Siddur [FIGURE]

Table 13-3: Order of Services
Kabbalat Shabbat
Welcoming Shabbat
Morning Blessings

Opening Blessing
Opening Psalms
L’chai Dodi
Closing Psalms

Closing Blessing

13.8.1 Blessings

During the reign of David a plague broke out that killed many of the people. David prayed for the cause and solution to the plague. He learned that the plague was due to the people not recounting enough of their daily blessings. Consequently, David mandated that everyone recite one hundred blessings a day. G-d in turn would increase their appreciation for life. The plague ceased.[1409] Right after the thirteen awakening blessings is the following commandment, which we remind, ourselves of, every morning:[1410]

äøéðé î÷áì òìé îöåú òùä ùì åàäáú ìøòê ëîåê
I hereby accept upon myself the commandment,
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself”
(Leviticus 19:18)

The recitation of this lesson reminds us that each day we must forgive any insult or harm that anyone has done to us, whether actual or perceived. The King of kings forbids us from holding a grudge against anyone.

Text 13-18: Speak truth in ones heart
A person should always be in fear of God privately as well as openly, [he should] admit the truth and speak truth in his heart – ודובר אמא בלבבו, and rise early and proclaim...[1411]

We should never bear false witness with words in the heart, since the heart wishes to fulfill the Torah. The brain makes calculations, but the heart knows what should be done.

“It is not sufficient to merely acknowledge the truth verbally but one must speak truth in his heart as well. Rashi on the Talmud (Makos 24a) cites the following incident as an example of how one should speak truth in his heart: A buyer once offered to purchase an article from Rav Safra while he was reciting the Sh’ma. Because he could not indicate his acceptance, the anxious purchaser increased his offer. Rav Safra refused the increment because in his heart he had already accepted the original offer.”[1412]

One of the morning prayers alludes to the soul G-d placed within us, She is pure, free of sin.[1413]
Text 13-19: Soul is pure
My God the soul you have placed in me She is pure – אלהי נשמה שנתת בי טהורה היא
You created Her, You formed Her, You breathed Her into me – אתה בראתה אתה יצרתה אתה נפחתה בי

The song goes:
“My G-d, my G-d, my G-d, my G-d;
She is my soul, She is my soul;
You have placed Her inside of me,
She is pure, She is pure.

You have created Her, You have created Her,
You have formed Her, You have formed Her,
You have breathed Her inside of me.”

13.8.2 Offerings – Asiyah – World of Doing

This first level of the morning service associates with the physical world. While the Temple stood, people brought karbanos i.e. offerings or sacrifices, as the principle means to come closer to G-d. Until the temple stands again, reading the pray book passages dealing with offerings, brings a merit in kind to the actual offerings. The word for ‘sacrifice’ – ‘karban’ has a similar spelling to the word for ‘close’ in Hebrew, i.e. ‘k’rov’. In Hebrew, words similar in spelling are connected in meaning.

Rabbi Chiya bar Abba said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan, “When a person relieves himself, washes his hands, puts on Tefillin, says the Shema and then prays, it is counted as if he built an alter and offered a sacrifice on it. (Talmud, Berachot 14b, 15a)[1414]

In addition to the prayer service when one studies the Torah it is as if he gives an offering.[1415] If he studies all five books, it is as if he offered all the sacrifices. If a person studies the Torah to know the laws he must keep, it is considered that he kept the entire Torah.

Table 13-4: Types of Offerings
Torah Book
Olah – burnt offering
Brought for atonement. Completely burnt on the alter and termed holocaust. Was an animal offering.
Mincha – meal offering,
Tamid or daily offering
Brought as a gift or if one is too poor to bring an animal, yet is just as precious in the eyes of G-d.

Chatath – sin offering
Brought for an inadvertent sin that is punishable by being cut off. Person involuntarily violated a command without injuring the property of another person. Would also serve as an atonement. Could be bull, goat, lamb, doves, pigeons, or flower.
Asham – ashamed (guilt) offering
Brought if one should sin in matters of holiness or articles belonging to the Temple. For restitution of stolen goods.
Shelamim – peace offerings, thanksgiving offerings
Brought out of joy for a communal celebration, Nazarite completion, or individual celebration. Mostly ate by the priests with a small portion fully consumed on the alter.

The Karbanot – Offerings service is vastly under rated. One should focus on reading these chapters carefully and rush Psalms, Shema, and Amidah instead. There is no substitute for this service and it ties us to our historical observance more than any other service.

Master of the Worlds, You commanded us to bring the Daily offering at its appointed time; and have the Kohanim perform their service and the Levites [sing and play music] on the platform and the Israelites at their Maamad.[1416]

You have said, “Let the offering of our lips replace bullocks.”[1417] Therefore let it be Your will Adonoy, our God, and God of our fathers that the parayer of our lips be considered, and accepted and regarded favorably before You as if we had offered the Daily offering at its appointed time, and stood in attendance (maamado) at its service.

The service of the Kohanim is only completed if there is a Maamad and without one, the service is not complete.

13.8.3 Psalms – Pseukei D’Zimra – Yetzirah – World of Formation

The 2nd level of the morning service consists of the recitations of various psalms and songs. The Psukei D’Zimra parallel the angels in the World of Formation who are forever singing songs to Hashem.

Rabbi Yose said, “May my portion be among those who complete the Praise (Hallel) each day.” How could he have said this? We have learned, “One who completes the Praise each day is blaspheming and degrading.” When he said this, he was speaking of the Verses of Praise (Pesukei Dezimra). [Rashi says that the Gemara refers specifically to two psalms, “Praise G-d from Heaven” (Psalm 148), and “Praise G-d in His Sanctuary” (Psalm 150).]

Psukei means passages. Zimra means pruned or cutting as an adjective. Hence the psalms are ‘cutting passages’. Cutting means short or to the point of prayer. They quicken ones path to G-d. Rabbi Yoseph Gikatilla explains in the Shaarei Orah:[1418]

There are troops of evil angels between earth and heaven, making the path between them a place of danger. When a person worships, his prayers must pass through these troops in order to ascend to heaven. If he has merit, they do not encounter these evil angels lying in ambush. But if one does not have merit, then they encounter many Destroyers and Intruders. This is why King David composed the Songs of Praise (Zemirot). They serve to clear the way for prayer, so that it can pass through all these troops. All these troops are like clouds, preventing prayer from ascending. They are alluded to in the verse, “You have covered Yourself with a cloud, so that no prayer can pass through”.[1419] King David composed the Songs of Praise, and when a person recites them, the Destroyers, Intruders and Vandals are banished. These songs are called Zemirot, from the same root as mazmer, meaning a “pruning shear”. With the Zemirot one cuts through these disturbing forces.

Berachos 4b says that if one recites Ashrei three times a today he is assured of a place in Olam Habah. This is because of the passage, “thou openest thy hand and satisfieth everything that is living.” This passage contains the concept that we accept entirely our portion from Hashem. We accept that Hashem has given us everything we need to survive. This is also the reason that many religious people throw themselves into Torah study instead of planning their livelihood. The morning service contains Ashrei twice. The afternoon service contains Ashrei once.[1420]

The Gemara goes on to discuss a similar benefit to connecting the concept of redemption (Goel Israel) with prayer (the Amidah).[1421] If we begin the Amidah with a focus on our redemption from Egypt, we realize again that Hashem gives us all we need to survive. This is the reason that we attempt to connect the Redeemer of Israel with Adonay in the Amidah.

Overall, the Gemara is teaching us that we can throw our burden onto Hashem and be His servants doing His will.[1422] This is the way to Olam Habah (The World to Come). We realize that everything Hashem has given us is for His service. Our money, our spouse, our children, our material possessions, our bodies, and our souls are for loving G-d. The burdens we throw on Hashem are in the category of offensive pursuits. These may include luxuries, pleasantries, business expansions, or warfare for material gain. However, for defensive pursuits we apply ‘histradlus’, an effort by man stimulating in kind an effort by G-d on our behalf. In this category we have physical conditioning, pursuit of a spouse, supporting a family, and on a larger scale national security and self-defense. G-d does not want us to relinquish moral responsibilities.

13.8.4 Shema – Beriah – World of Creation

The World of Creation contains the Throne of G-d. Part of the reason we sit when reciting the Shema is to emulate the descent into the Throne Room, where G-d’s presence rests. We experience the presence of God sitting on a throne as we sit correspondingly in our chairs.

The first two verses of the Shema consist of twelve words and forty-nine letters:
So, when a person accepts upon himself the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven with these verses, through which his soul is encompassed in the Twelve Tribes of G-d, he separates his soul from the soul of the mixed multitude,...[1423]

Rabbi Nachman explains that there are 49 letters in the spelling of the twelve tribes of Israel as well as the first two lines of the Shema. Saying the Shema with ones eyes closed alludes to the faithful woman of God, Sarah or the Shechinah, who follows her spirit rather than the desire of her eyes.

To turn the mind away from the promiscuous woman, we recite the Shema with great concentration binding us to the Twelve Tribes of G-d and turn our mind to the faithful woman, the Torah woman, or the wonderful woman.
By accepting the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven <with the two verses that are> an aspect of the sea of Shelomoh, he disengages from the souls of the mixed multitude/evil maidservant/promiscuous woman, and is encompassed in the souls of the Tribes of God, an aspect of “a God-fearing woman.”[1424]

13.8.5 Amidah – Atzilut – World adjacent to G-d

Before the Amidah, the cantor recites the Kaddish, the Sanctification prayer:[1425]
One who responds with “Amen, Yehei Shmei Raboh...” (“His great Name shall be blessed forever and for all eternity”) with all of his strength (of concentration and aloud) nullifies any evil decree that may have been pending against him for the next seventy years. (Shabbas 119b)

The Amidah consists of 18 principle blessings and is the core prayer in Judaism. This is the reason that its older name is the Shemone Esrei that means 18. Nevertheless, Rabbi Gamliel instituted a 19th blessing against heretics in his time. The 18 blessings allude to the recitation of the name of G-d 18 times consisting of 72 letters.[1426] Rabbi Nachman says that the 18 blessings allude to Chai or life. He associates this with the phrase Mother Nature or Mother of all that Lives, Im Kol Chay, claiming that this prayer changes the forces of nature.[1427] Similarly, he states the 19th blessing overcomes the forces of the spies – the menim – המינים.[1428] These are the forces of those one confides in, but who become informers to ones enemies. The 19th blessing also teaches that one should not encourage one to become an informer even to improve the security of the Land of Israel. This applies to Jews and non-Jews living in other countries. If critical information is needed in life and death situations, then one can employ technology or use a spy to acquire that specific information; but one cannot seek willy-nilly private information from individuals or nations. The use of informers is the quality of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who came to Lavan and asked about his guests with the intention of maligning them.

As the service approaches the Amidah, one recites, “True and Certain is our G-d” which leads to the blessing of “G-d who redeems Israel.” The word for redeem in Hebrew is Ga’al – גאל and associates with Yesod, Hashem’s righteousness. When we begin the meditation before the Amidah, we say, “Adonai, open my lips so that I may declare thy praise.” The Shaarey Orah suggests that we have the intention to bind the redeemer Ga’al with our Master Adonai – אדני that is to bind the righteousness of Yesod to the Kingdom of G-d Malchuts.

Malchuts also represents the feminine presence of G-d that is the Shechinah so there is a binding of the masculine redemptive energy of G-d with the feminine presence of G-d. From the feminine, the redeemer becomes a throne for the Queen and when the Queen sits upon the throne, the redeemer supports her and she does not flee from him; and then she bestows all the blessing of the Amidah on the land and the people of her kingdom. If she should flee his presence, has vshalom then she will go into exile and join with foreign rulers who do not appreciate her great worth.[1429] From the masculine, the redeemer becomes a throne for the Queen and when the Queen sits upon the throne the redeemer supports her instead of fleeing from her presence; and then she bestows all the blessing of the Amidah on the land and the people of her kingdom. If the redeemer should flee her presence, has vshalom, then she will go into exile and join with foreign rulers who do not appreciate her great worth.[1430] Open my lips

The verse before the Amidah states:

G-d, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise.

In the introductory verse, we prepare our lips for prayer and in the verse following the Amidah we protect our lips from slander. The final verse of the Amidah states the result if we follow this way:[1431]

Let peace reign from on high, He makes peace upon us and all of Israel, and let us say Amen. Let the dew descend

Some include this prayer during the Amidah after Passover to Shemini Etzeret. Tal refers to the rains of spring and summer that result in droplets of moisture that arise on the grasses, small plants and other herbs in the morning. Recognizing that the dew falls is to recognize that it is like rain from heaven. Guard my tongue

My G-d, guard my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking ‘bitterly’ – מרמה[1432]; and to such as curse me let my soul be dumb, yea, let my soul be unto all as the dust. Open my heart to thy Torah, and let my soul pursue thy commandments. If any design evil against me, speedily make their counsel of no effect, and frustrate their designs. Do it for the sake of thy Name, do it for the sake of thy power, do it for the sake of thy holiness, do it for the sake of thy Torah. In order that thy beloved ones may be delivered, O save by thy power and answer me. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before thee, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. He who makes peace in his high places, may he make peace for us and for all Israel, and say ye, Amen.

This prayer is recited at the conclusion of the Amidah and reminds us not to mutter negative thoughts of others. Instead, we should focus on the positive and be “dumb” to the negative so that we do not remember the faults of others. By reciting this prayer meticulously at the end of every Amidah, one will overcome negativity towards others.

13.8.6 Concluding Prayers Reciting a Verse with Ones Name

This is done in order that one embeds ones own name into ones soul. There is a teaching that the fear that a person experiences at the time of death may cause someone to forget ones name. And G-d will ask the person in the next world what his name was and this will help us remember. Tahanun

The Tahanun is a prayer of supplication and confession for a soldier going off to battle.[1433] By supplicating ourselves before Hashem, one strengthens his position against his enemies. Similarly Balak sought to destroy the children of Israel by demonstrating his zealousness in rising before dawn and saddling his donkey to gain an upper hand with Hashem by making himself appear righteous. In truth the children of Israel had their ancestor Avraham who was the source of this teaching and Balak had only adopted it from the children of Israel.

“The desire of the woman produces the soul of a female, the desire of the man produces the soul of a male.”[1434] Feminine waters before masculine draw a male soul. Masculine waters before feminine draw a female soul. The goal of the prayer service is to elevate the feminine waters first drawing the masculine waters in response. The main prayer that does this is the Tahanun meaning “falling on one’s face.” This is the quintessential feminine prayer and draws the masculine bounty of G-d into this world.[1435] Alenu

Tradition holds that Joshua composed the Alenu before conquering Jericho.

Joshua recited Alenu seven times, backward and forward, and thus broke down the walls of Jericho. It is therefore beneficial for all things, helping for whatever trouble may occur. (Rabbi Moshe ibn Makhir of Safed, Seder HaYom p. 12d)[1436]

We recite Alenu while standing before the King with strength for the unification of all creation under one G-d:

I found a manuscript relating a tradition that one should recite Alenu with awe and reverence.... All the hosts of heaven hear it, and the Blessed Holy One and His heavenly family rise and respond, “Happy is the one who has all this ...” (Rabbi Moshe Mat, Mateh Moshe)[1437] Kaddish

We recite Kaddish in Aramaic, which is the language of Gevurah and the Other Side. The Kaddish with its praises to G-d breaks Gevurah’s barriers releasing mercy and kindness throughout the world.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: If one responds, “Amen, may His great Name be blessed” with all his might, then all decrees against him are torn.... (Talmud, Shabbat 119b)[1438]

This [Aramaic] language is certain to subjugate the Other Side and break its strength, elevating the glory of the Blessed Holy One. It breaks the powerful locks, fetters, chains and all evil Husks. G-d then remembers His name and His children. (Zohar 2:129b)[1439]

13.8.7 Dancing

On Shabbat it is a mitzvah to save ones life by dancing before Kiddush. So that triglycerides do not harm the heart, we exercise before the meal. Ideally we should do this before all meals with the help of Hashem.

13.8.8 Kiddush and meal

That we separate the prayer service, Kiddush is recited on Shabbat and holidays. The meal should be accompanied by song for physical and mental healing. Song like levity increases the blood flow and reduces heart disease.

13.8.9 Bedtime

Sleep is so important to proper health that there are many blessings to speak before going to sleep each night. The vast majority of psychosis is merely symptoms of insufficient sleep, i.e. hallucinations, obsessions, paranoia, etc. Amongst the prayers we recite upon the bed are the Shema, a protection prayer of the angels that guarded the bed of Solomon, and a prayer of forgiveness for anyone who may have offended us.

I forgive anyone who has wronged me today. (Mishnah Brurah 239:9)[1440]

R. Nehunia b. ha-Kaneh was asked by his disciples: In virtue of what have you reached such a good old age? He replied: Never in my life have I sought respect through the degradation of my fellow, nor has the curse of my fellow gone up with me upon my bed, and I have been generous with my money. ‘I have not sought respect through the degradation of my fellow’, as illustrated by R. Huna who once was carrying a spade on his shoulder when R. Hana b. Hanilai wanted to take it from him, but he said to him, If you are accustomed to carry in your own town, take it, but if not, I do not want to be paid respect through your degradation. ‘Nor did the curse of my fellow go up on my bed with me’. This is illustrated by Mar Zutra, who, when he climbed into his bed said, I forgive all who have vexed me. ‘I have been generous with my money’, as a Master has said, ‘Job was generous with his money; he used to leave with the shopkeeper a perutah of his change’. (Talmud Megilah 28a)

13.9 Requests

13.9.1 Bypassing Obstacles

(see Prayer on Rosh Hodesh Av)

13.9.2 Calling out to God

“In the way that a man wants to go he is led”. Tractate Makkos teaches that G-d commanded Baalim not to leave with Balak’s messengers to go and curse the Jews. However Baalim wanted to go so G-d said, “Go”.[1441]

When we ask G-d what to do, G-d tells us his truth, but if has vshalom, we refuse to listen then G-d tells us what we want to hear and this becomes the word of G-d. In the first approach, our prayers and longings manifest white angels and in the second approach, has vshalom, our prayers manifest dark angels.

13.9.3 “Amongst the Grasses”

Isaac went out to pray amongst the grasses

Rabbi Nachman teaches that G-d wants us to defeat Him with our prayers. One way to do this is to increase our numbers, to pray with the grasses. Another is to be ‘happy’. When we are happy G-d is more benevolent. Everything in nature has its own prayer to G-d. Goats pray with their rock climbing. Flying birds pray with their dance in the wind. Ground birds pray with their walking dance.

The trees pray with the wind blowing through their leaves.[1442] Rocks pray in silence. One may descend to the river and hear its babbling prayers. One may watch the dance of fires in their offering to G-d. We can walk in the woods and pray with the wrestling leaves. We may stand amongst the rocks and pray in their silence. We may go down to the river and contemplate our life in the babbling. We may watch the flames and elevate our eyes to the starry night of G-d’s infinitude.

Table 13-5: Elements of Prayer
Form of Prayer in Nature
Babbling brooks
Wind blowing through leaves
Dancing of flames or the starry night.

When Isaac went into the field to pray, he went to pray amongst the grasses, which also pray to the Blessed Holy One – Hakodesh Baruch. Every element of nature prays to G-d in its own special way.

13.9.4 Morning Prayer Answers

One can ask Hashem questions while praying. Yet one may ask, “How can I bother Hashem with small questions?” A Breslov Rabbi responded, “You are not bothering him; he wants to be bothered. Tell Him all your smallest concerns.”[1443]

Meditation 13-3: Prayer Q&A
Here are some answers to some peculiar questions.[1444] Each of us may ask G-d for answers to any question.
  1. Prayer for guidance on Shabbas observance revealed that Shabbas is the time of the Shechinah descending into our world. It is not a time to be alone. I saw two pigeons eating near each other from the window. Shabbas is a time for an elegant meal to make and delight the Shabbas Queen and the lady of the home.
  2. The mitzvah of tefillin should be done even if one doesn’t have time to recite all of the morning prayers, even if none are said; it is still a mitzvah of value to be done.
  3. A metal covered siddur should be kept by the bedside. Modeh [I thank ...] should be recited upon arising in the morning.
  4. Forbidden scoffing includes if you disparage someone’s actions even without intending to offend the person herself. Causes of scoffing: You think that your opinion is superior to others.
  5. The Shema should be recited three times a day; reciting the first line, even alone fulfills the mitzvah.
  6. Sleep with water close to one’s bed in order to perform n’tilats yadayim [the washing of the hands] upon awaking.
  7. showing discontent for a decision that will help others. Be positive and of cheerful countenance.

13.10 Shechinah

The Maggid of Mezritch, Rabbi Dov Ber, teaches that one should pray for the need of the Shechinah, the feminine divine presence over one’s personal needs.[1445],[1446]

Text 13-20: Praying for the Shechinah
One should not pray concerning one’s own needs, but one must always pray for the blessed Shechinah,[1447] that She be redeemed from Her exile. Thus all prayer must “be mercy and supplication,” meaning that one must always supplicate the Lord for the sake of the Shechinah, who is called “Space,” Makom, as it is well known. Thus the Zohar calls those who pray for themselves, and not for the sake of the Shechinah, by the name of “dogs with harsh souls.” For they are ever screaming, “Give me, give me.” And this is the intention of the sentence “One thing have I asked from the Lord, only Her [female form of ‘this’ from Hebrew Otah] do I seek.” In other words, for the sake of the Shechinah do I seek this and so I pray before Thee—to correct the injury that has been done through sin.

Praying for the restoration of the Shechinah is a tikkun for marriage (see 13.2.2). There is a great mystery here. Why is the Shechinah [1448]xile?1448 Why is the King disappointed with her? Why is she hurt? Why are her feelings hurt? How can this loss be restored? The secret to the mystery is multifold. While the King desires the divine presence to manifest in Torah rich Judaism—nurturing, children, and animals move Her as well. The source of the separation is perfection. The more we seek perfection the further the Shechinah goes into exile. When we realize all people are imperfect including ourselves, how can we continue to be angry at each other? How can the King continue to be angry with the Shechinah? Furthermore how can the Shechinah continue not to understand the King? We are all the Shechinah and we are lost from the King. God recognizes our imperfections and still accepts us back.

13.11 Kabbalat Shabbat Service

The kabbalists of Tzfat instituted the service during the 16th century when they would go out into the fields with song to welcome the Sabbath.

Text 13-21: Psalm 95
1. O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.
3. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4. In his hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the mountains are also his.
5. The sea is his, and he made it; and his hands formed the dry land.
6. O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
7. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Even today, if you will only listen to his voice!
8. Do not harden your hearts, like you did at Meribah, and like you did in the day of Massah in the wilderness;
9. When your fathers tempted me, and tested me, even though they had seen my deeds.
*10. For forty years I loathed that generation, and said, They are a people who err in their heart, and they do not know my ways.
11. Therefore I swore in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

In the first psalm of the service, versus 10-11, recount our history from when we were out of favor with the Lord.[1449] In a similar way when we begin to pray we start from a similar position. This is the Jewish way of beginnings. When Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah, this is a time for reflection and repentance not rejoicing. Similarly, the beginnings of holidays are often preceded by a fast day or period of repentance as in the Counting of the Omer before Shavuot of the Fast of Ester before Purim. We do not brazenly enter the house of prayer esteeming our virtues, but instead enter modestly with a sense of worthlessness.

After a difficult period in history Israel entered a favored state and we sing a new song on Shabbat:

Text 13-22: Psalm 96
1. O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; announce his salvation from day to day.
3. Declare his glory among the nations, his wonders among all the peoples.
4. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
5. For all the gods of the nations are idols; but the Lord made the heavens.
6. Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the people, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
8. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts.
9. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.
10. Say among the nations that the Lord reigns; the world also is established so that it shall not be moved; he shall judge the people with equity.
11. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and all that is in it.
12. Let the field be joyful, and everything in it; then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy.
13. Before the Lord; for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth; he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his faithfulness.

13.12 Short Service

Often, reciting the entire morning service is too much for most of us to handle. There are various abbreviated paths set by our elders when time is short. Nevertheless, today the prayer service is also a learning path. Let Hashem guide you to the prayers you need to emphasize at this point in your life. A few examples are included here:

13.12.1 Short Prayer Service

The morning service is lengthy to insure that each person find at least one prayer that is a source of inspiration. Part of the strength of a minyan is that each individual supports the group during his inspirational prayer. Siddur means order and while one may not necessarily say every prayer completely he should aim to follow their order. If one is short in time Hashem will reveal the prayers one needs to recite through the divination of turning pages. Here is an example service:[1450],[1451]

Text 13-23: Example Service
  1. Put on morning Tefillin and Tallis
  2. The preliminary service Shema – p. 12
  3. Recite the ‘What Preciousness is Your Kindness’ prayer which is normally said after putting on the Tallis – p. 21
  4. Recite Psalm 100, ‘A Thankful Song which Rises to the Lord of all the Land’ – p. 28
  5. Recite the Yishtabach – p. 60
  6. Blessings before the Shema – p. 64
  7. Shema
  8. Blessing after Shema for the Redeemer of Israel – p. 74
  9. Amidah
  10. Alenu – p. 134
  11. Psalm of the Day – p. 137
  12. The Thirteen Articles of Faith (last 4) – p. 153
  13. I believe, with a perfect faith, that the Creator, blessed be his name, takes cognizance of all the deeds of human kind, as well as of their thoughts; as it is said: He who fashioned all their hearts , understands all their actions
  14. I believe, with a perfect faith, that the Creator, blessed be his name, recompenses those who observe his commandments, whilst he punishes those who transgress them.
  15. I believe, with a perfect faith, in the coming of the Messiah, and though he tarry, I will daily await his appearance.
  16. I believe, with a perfect faith, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, when such shall be willed by the Creator, blessed be his name, and exalted his memorial for ever and to all eternity.

13.13 Group

Praying in a group strengthens ones prayers. Praying with a congregation – rwbyxb enables ones prayers to slide into heaven. The gematria of tzibor – rwbx is 298 and this is the same as the gematria for mercy - \ymjr.[1452] Tzibor stands for tzaddikim – righteous ones, ben amim – average people, and rashanim – wicked people. When one prayers in a congregation of all types of Jews, prayer is particularly effective releasing Hashem’s mercy upon everyone.

13.14 Poems

Praying with poetry is concise and moving. Here are a few samples:[1453]


Lord of the universe, who reigned
Ere earth and heaven's fashioning,
When to create the world he deigned,
Then was his name proclaimèd King.

And at the end of days shall he,
The Dreaded One, still reign alone,
Who was, who is, and still will be
Unchanged upon his glorious throne.

And he is one, his powers transcend,
Supreme, unfathomed, depth and height,
Without beginning, without end,
His are dominion, power, and might.

My God and my Redeemer he,
My rock in sorrow's darkest day,
A help and refuge unto me,
My cup's full portion, when I pray.

My soul into his hand divine
Do I commend; I will not fear,
My body with it I resign,
I dread no evil; God is near.

Here is a short 7/27/2005.

Text 13-25: Winter Hope
In the mountains, evergreen trees
Snow below me, fallen leaves
Yet, my hope does ever rise
To the light blue shining sky

Wisps of clouds, forgotten dreams
Light cool breeze, and deep cool springs
So our hope is rooted below,
Upon the earth below the snow

13.15 Song

A person who prays in a Bet Knesset benefits from song as it is said, “Hakodesh Baruch Hu hears in a place of song and prayer”.[1454] Song is a beautiful way to present a pray to the Holy one. Rashi comments that the harmony raises prayer to God. To pray together is often done with song. One can sing alone, but better yet, one can enlist the plants, animals, and even rocks around as part of ones choir.

Recording songs and poems helps manifest ideas to improve oneself and the world.

If you want to be free,
Open your heart to what you need[1455]
Like calls to like and G-d sends the rain right down,
G-d sends the rain pouring down.
Rain on me, good rain on all my friends right now,
Like calls to like and rain pours down[1456]

Song Hopes of Tomorrow:

You can dream, you can dream of life’s greatest things, and these are the hopes of tomorrow.
To see the point lights in the midst of the night is to glimpse the truth of the morrow.
To travel this world, on roads just unfurled is to live our hope of the morrow.
To see the beauty of the one that you love is good for the soul and brings grace to this world
and hope in the future of our lives, so take someone and make h/er/im your life, have children or travel the world.
Learn the Torah, reveal the sweet words of life, practicing them is even sweeter.
In all this great world, with his glory unveiled, is to bask in the thoughts of tomorrow.

13.16 Women’s Psalms

Writing ones own psalms is possible with inspiration. Below are a collection of psalms written by Samantha Grier MSW, and founding executive of “Caring for Children” San Francisco, CA. Samantha’s inspired writing could be canonized. Her masterful way of seeing God in nature, attaching to God, and expressing a longing for God, reveals her spiritual genius.[1457]

13.16.1 PSALM I

God is the sunshine of my life
the weather matters not
The day is always sunny
when we hold God in our heart

The storms of life are many
We can struggle if we please
But with acceptance
troubles fall away like autumn leaves

Our lesson is to know God’s love
is with us all our days
although obscured it is truly there
to guide us through our daze

We need to see more clearly
what is in our hearts and know
what matters is not the tests or lessons
but our courage, and willingness to grow

13.16.2 PSALM II

I see God in the sunshine
I see god in the rain
I feel God when I’m happy
I feel God in my pain

It’s clear that God does love me
and naught is good or bad
but rather lessons for my soul
and not to make me sad

So sleep is sweet no matter what
the day may have been
for when we live with open heart
there’s no way that we can sin

13.16.3 PSALM III

God is my protector and
God is my friend
my shepherd and provider
His bounty has no end

God is my Father
and God is my peer
my lover and my playmate
with God there is no fear

Although the meaning is obscure
my life is God’s to mold
for what may seem like mud to me
God can turn to gold

We can never know God’s plan for us
It’s only ours to trust
to seek the truth and
hold the faith

And when the veil lifts
revealing our purpose and our destiny
We will finally understand and accept
God’s ultimate mystery

13.16.4 PSALM IV

Oh Lord lead me to the light
let your love illumine my path
guide me with your loving ways
Sustain me when I fall

Oh lord please lead me forth from
this barren plain of failed desires
free me from attachment to all but you for
I long for your tender touch
your gentle guidance

Thou art my rock and
my redeemer and the
restorer of my soul
your presence comforts and sustains me
your light shall lead the way

13.16.5 PSALM V

Lord, you are my source and my salvation
your love surrounds me when awake
and covers me when asleep

Your glory is in all things
large and small
insignificant moments and
chance encounters that are not so after all

Your profundity invites my soul
to taste the depth of your essence.
Please Lord, bless me and all my enterprises,
my goings and my comings
and all the affairs of my heart

13.16.6 PSALM VI

God of my fathers and my mothers
hold me in Your holy hand
surround me with your goodness
protected by your love

Although I am but a speck of dust
a spot of earth’s horizon
a flower that fades, a dew drop that falls
I have a soul and a purpose in this world

May your light illumine the corners of my life
so that I may clearly see and gladly do
all that thou hast created me for

My soul submits to
Your wisdom and Your will
and welcomes Your sheltering presence

13.16.7 PSALM VII

Of God of all Creation, I surrender
to your wisdom and magnificence
Thy will be done

In vain I ponder Your divine plan
I sacrifice my ego to serve you
show me the way to
open my heart and my eyes

Welcome me into Thy dwelling by night
and Thy arms by day
know that I am devoted to Your will
I surrender all to follow the path that Thou
has laid out before me

Thy power and the glory fill the universe
and show me the way to come home

13.16.8 PSALM VIII

Oh Lord of nature’s beautiful bounty
I view your marvelous creation with awe but
allow petty distractions to consume my piety so
I see not that the bush burns unconsumed

Your wonders surround me
every moment of every day;
If I would but lift up my head
I would see your Glory

Still my frantic heart with peace,
slow my hurried pace so that I can see that
wondrous treasures lie all around
and all my heart’s desires
are fulfilled

13.16.9 PSALM IX

The violence all around us
profoundly shakes our calm;
Could it be our inner turbulence
that badly needs the balm?

For this world of lessons
and games for us to play
teaches us that peace comes with forgiving
and loving whatever comes our way

Our true home is God’s Kingdom
We never can get lost
our souls are in his keeping
there never is a cost

13.16.10 PSALM X

Sometimes in the darkness
when life seems hard and bleak
the path unclear
the way obscure
God’s voice begins to speak

You can hear His words by listening
to the quiet deep inside
It tells you all you need to know
and helps you loosen pride

Love is the salve that heals our wounds
calms our fears
and makes us strong
to fight the doubts and frights
and gives us courage
to bring them to the light

13.16.11 PSALM XI

Sometimes I’m lonely
Sometimes I’m sad
Sometimes I’m angry and feel very bad

These moments of blindness are closing my eyes
to God’s loving presence and all that I prize

I try to remember that what I now feel
isn’t what’s true and isn’t what’s real

The truth is God’s glory, his light and his love
and knowing I am protected by heaven above

13.16.12 PSALM XII

Sometimes in the shadows
When I’m down and feeling blue
divine light manifests to help me see anew

there are no skies of grey
only passing clouds
that cover bright and sunny days

So when illusions cover truth wit
cloudy thoughts of doom
remember all the good thoughts
that would fill our mind
if only there were room

13.16.13 PSALM XIII

When I sit and watch the sea,
I note the ebb and flow,
I see the moon move slowly and
glistening stars peeking out at me

Then morning sun bursts through the sky
Like a baby being born
a new day’s promise
accompanies the coming of the dawn

In any moment each of us can be born anew
and manifest our heart’s desire
If we accept God’s purification
and baptism by fire

Our souls direct us
we cannot fail
with faith, hope and clarity we can all

Nature moves us forward
We can always reach our goal
If we hold fast to God’s gift
and thank him for our soul

13.16.14 PSALM XIV

Blessed with inner vision
We no longer need be blind
nor miss the abundance of God’s gifts in
all the sparkling beauty that abounds

To smell a flower, watch a bird,
hug a child is to honor
God’s gifts

His will be done

13.16.15 PSALM XV

We find God in the strangest places
with friends, strangers and smiling faces

in hearts that are open and arms welcoming wide
love creeps in bearing treasures that nest deep inside

Lovers, honor each other,
be noble and true
be faithful and honest
and create joy anew

For we are all siblings,
children of God’s light
resting on our mother’s breast
nurtured with delight

Our family is forever,
We never have to mourn
for nothing is ever lost
it only changes form

If we love without attachment,
offering integrity and hearts that care
Our gifts will be community
with compassion always will be there

13.16.16 PSALM XVI

We often overlook the simple things
bearing hidden gifts galore
If only we recognized these treasures
We would never ask for more

We know not what we really want
moving blindly through our lives
like mindless bobbing reeds

Yet we can reclaim our riches,
when we look down deep inside
and see the peace and love
where all God’s gifts reside

13.16.17 PSALM XVII

We know God in the sunshine
in the glories of our lives
but also in the shadows
and the sorrows of our mind

We overcome with love and faith
Knowing the light will lead the way;
Even though the path is steep,
and many obstacles slow us down each day

But with each new step we build new strength
until we can honestly say
Thank You God for all your gifts
It was the challenges that taught me how to pray

13.16.18 PSALM XVIII

Fill your heart with love
Open your arms to the Lord
Know that s/he is there for you
at all times and in all ways
you only need to be ready to receive

Know you are loved and cherished,
supported, guided, and protected,

Remember that you are led to the right place
at every moment in time
even the difficulties, challenges, losses, obstacles
bear their gifts

So open your eyes wide
See that all is love and light
and peace in our hearts
These are God’s gifts to us,
To carry in our hearts,
So we can transform the world

13.17 STAM

Ketav STAM – כתב סת"ם includes the writings of Sifrei Torah, Tefillin, Mezzuzot and the Five Megillot; the last two group together. Hence, the term is used to refer to these writings, while the Sofer Stam is one who performs them. Writing is done with a feather and D’yo ink onto a parchment called a Klaf.[1458] The parchment should not be coated with a white paint, which would cause the letters to break when the parchment is folded, i.e. although they are kosher before folded. There is a tendency of the scribes to excuse themselves with this technicality in order to meet the price point of the customer.[1459]

If inspected the majority (80%) of mezuzot do not meet these requirements.[1460] Scribes are not available to check mezuzot except in a few places. The ‘orthodox’ groups who spurn the legitimacy of Reform and Conservative Judaism and especially their converts complicate the problems. Until such a time as the legitimacy of Jews accepting other Jews is adopted, we cannot judge harshly the legitimacy of mezuzot, midah cneged midah. The same applies to circumcision, ketubot and marriages, as well as gittim and divorces, where STAM availability is limited—so important is the principle of love the neighbor as thyself.

[1375] Midrash Rabbah Deuteronomy 8:1, Soncino addition, pp. 147-148.
[1376] The Midrash suggests that the prophet Micah is quoting Cain teaching also that we learn from the repentence of sinners.
[1377] World of Prayer, Elie Munk, Vol. 1, page 129.
[1378] See 2.25.8 Psalm 34 p.233
[1379] Introduced in Berachos 59 of the Talmud.
[1380] April 8th 2009,
[1381] has recently recognized the halachic knowledge of Jewish women.
[1382] Pesachim 117a
[1383] Rabbi Nachman’s Tikkun, Avraham Greenbaum, ch. 5, pp. 44-53.
[1384] The “Ten Types of Song” do not necessarily correspond to the psalm numbers in the rows.
[1385] San Francisco Jewish Bulletin, “Women seeking basherit? Prayer, mitzvoth might help”, 6/28/1996 issue.
[1386] The Other Wind, Ursula Le Guin, page 174. Dragonfly, Ursula Le Guin p. 355 in Legends edited by Robert Silverberg for other interesting quotes on women by a woman.
[1387] Zohar Shemot 2:94a
[1388] see Amidah – Atzilut – World adjacent to G-d
[1389] Soncino Zohar, Vayikra, Section 3, 12b-13a
[1390] Exodus 12:29
[1391] “This was the Editor of the Mishnah, R. Judah, the Prince.”—Soncino Midrash Rabbah Exodus
[1392] Tehillim, Avraham Davis, pp.213-214
[1393] Tehillim, Avraham Davis, p.115
[1394] Shaarey Orah, Gates of Light, Joseph Gikatillia, trans. by Avi Weinstein, Sacred Literature Series, pp. 12-13
[1395] See Footnote 142 p.315
[1396] Email from Steven Jay Spiegel, 2/11/1998.
[1397] Zohar Raya Mehemna (notes), 43A-B
[1398] Rabbi Nachman of Breslov is at the level of Av in this supernal world.
[1399] The hidden saint is Dan Black who lives in Salt Lake City.
[1400] Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, 237b-238a
[1401] L’havdil, Halloween precedes Christmas in American society with echoes of multiple deity worship and paganism.
[1402] This does not preclude that the teachings were recorded years later by Moshe de Lion.
[1406] “The Light of the Eyes”, Menahem Nahum of Chernobyl, The Classics Of Western Spirituality, trans. Arthur Green, p.128.
[1407] See text to fn.206
[1409] Yalkut Me’am Lo’ez Genesis I, trans. Aryeh Kaplan, pp. 172-173.
[1410] Metsudah Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, 12:2, p.134.
[1411] The Metsudah Siddur, Daily Prayers, trans. R. Avrohom Davis, p.23.
[1412] Ibid. footnote 3
[1413] The Metsudah Siddur, R. Avrohm Davis, p. 11.
[1414] A Call to the Infinite, Aryeh Kaplan, pp. 65-66.
[1415] Meam Loez, The Torah Anthology, Rabbi Yaacov Culi, trans. Aryeh Kaplan, page 19.
[1416] “All of Israel was divided into twenty-four divisions. Representatives of each division—in rotation—spent one week at a time in Jerusalem in attendance upon the services of the daily offerings, which were offered in behalf of all Jewry. Each such group or maamad represented all the Israelites the services.” Metsudah Siddur p.40
[1417] Hosea 14:3
[1418] Call to the Infinite, Kaplan trans. Shaarei Orah 1, Maznaim press, p.67
[1419] Lamentations 3:44
[1420] The morning service is Shachris. The afternoon service is Mincha.
[1421] The Amidah is the quintessential prayer and is referred to as Tefillah.
[1422] Berachos 4b.
[1423] Likutey Moharan #36:3, Vol. 5, page 153
[1424] Ibid, page 155.
[1425] Ashrei, Moshe Goldberger et. al., Staten Island Yeshiva, page 4.
[1426] See the also the 72 Letter Name
[1427] Likutey Moharan #216, Vol. 11, page 101
[1428] Spies, heretics, or atheists during the time of Rabbi Nachman
[1429] This lesson also applies to Jewish women that they should seek out and cling to a Jewish husband for the same reasons.
[1430] This lesson also applies to Jewish men that they should seek out and cling to a Jewish wife for the same reasons.
[1431] Trac_Ron presented this idea based on her Talmud studies of Berachot.
[1432] MiRMaH is mistakenly translated as guile, but really means bitterly that is to speak with spite that discourages others. We should show happiness before our parents so that they feel successful in what they have given us.
[1433] Rabbi Feinberg, Ahavas Torah, San Jose, CA.
[1434] Likutey Moharan #31:14 Vol. IV, page. 387 quoted from the Zohar I, 85b.
[1435] Ibid. page 391.
[1436] A Call to the Infinite, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, page 76.
[1437] Ibid. Aryeh Kaplan quotes this from Eliahu Rabbah 132:3, Beer Hetiv 132:3.
[1438] Ibid.
[1439] Ibid. pp. 77-78.
[1440] Love Your Neighbor, Zelig Pliskin, p. 84.
[1441] Aryeh Rosenfeld, Eyn Yaacov Makos 2 audio tape.
[1442] Aryeh Rosenfeld, tape 30
[1443] Breslov Tape from Los Angeles. January 21, 1994 at 9 AM.
[1444] Revealed with the name Adonay Tzavaot, the name of G-d associated with the sefira of Netzah. Netzah is the higher source for prophecy and revelation in this world. Moses, our teacher, epitomized the midos of Netzah.
[1445] Dov Baer of Mezritch, Maggid D’varav L’Ya’akov quoted in Wrapped in a Holy Flame, R. Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, p.49
[1446] See p.315 fn.106
[1447] L’havdil see 26.6.17 Catholicism p.315 where there is some similarity in the importance of the feminine in God’s relationship.
[1448] Zohar
[1449] Michael Walton, March 28th, 2003
[1450] Siddur Avodat Israel, English Translation, Sinai publishing
[1451] Jan. 15th 1997
[1452] Rabbi Aryeh Rosenfeld, Kings 2:3-4 lecture.
[1453] The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, Vol. IV: Religious poetry: Later Poets, 1917, Anonymous or unknown author at this time.
[1454] Berachos Daf 6.
[1455] Free – Sept. 4, 2000
[1456] Bringing Rain – Feb 18, 1996, having the astrological sign of Pisces is like water calling for rain
[1457] Psalms for a Sunny Day, Samantha Grier, self-published, 1992: I met Samantha at a Jewish retreat led by David Zeller in the Aptos Hills near Santa Cruz. The Jewish community made use of the “Land of Medicine Budda” retreat center.
[1459] The labor cost is 2-3 hours of work.

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