How the Prayer Word Bestirs

The following text by Reb Zalman is for this week’s Torah portion, Shabbos Chaye Sarah. (Click here for Hebrew/English version).   Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor

And before I had finished lidaber / speaking to my heart, behold, Rebecca came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder.” (Genesis 24:45).

The “speaking to my heart” refers to the previous line, where Eliezer, the servant of Abraham said, (ibid, 42), “And I came this day unto the well and said, havaye God of my lord Abraham, etc.’”  And the prayer there was described here as a dibbur / speaking to the heart, i.e. that havaye dwells within the inside of the heart. 

As explained by the holy Rabbi, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel of Apt, on the section of Leviticus 26:12,”And I will walk among you,” in the holy book, Ohev Yisrael, on section bechukotai, expounding on the text, “v’hit-halachti / and I will walk,” here’s what he says: 

“For on the level of a human’s inner-space is the holy neshamah.  And inside the neshamah is its source and its root which comes from the holy supernal world, which is the level and secret of the holy garden as is known [by Kabbalists] and it is the category of Yesod hamluchah hakadosha haelyona  / the foundation of the holy supernal kingdom.”  (End of quote, cf. there for the rest).

And [speaking to the heart / speaking to God] was explained in this great reference, i.e., how it is possible to speak to havaye as though S/He is outside of a person.

On the other hand, if one worships without speaking one to an other, as an ‘I’ to a ‘You,’ then the prayer is only a thought within a person and will not effect a bringing about of God’s awe and mercy.  In this case, it will be only as a heart feeling that does not fly toward on high. 

So while the words are being spoken, at the same time, the intending must be in the heart, and this is how the prayer word bestirs.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
from Yishmiru Daat (2009 revision),
Parashat Chaye Sarah,” p. 31

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