The Book of Zohar. Chapter “Raising a Prayer” – 1
The Zohar speaks about the prayer which every person offers his Creator. This inner action of man constitutes his greatest and most valuable work in making efforts for the Creator’s sake.
We can change only under the influence of the Creator’s Light, by receiving His properties from Him. Hence our only task is to cultivate a desire to change. As soon as this true desire appears within man, the Creator will immediately give him the strength needed for its realization. So the problem is not how to realize a prayer; it is, rather, how to attain it, how to formulate one’s request for the strength to become like the Creator!
A prayer is a sensation, a desire in one’s heart. A person is not completely aware of it and cannot describe it, for the sensation in one’s heart is not subject to any control and conscious correction – it cannot be “created” by one’s own will.
One who observes the Commandments because he has faith in reward and punishment believes in the Creator, His Torah, and His governance, but simply uses it for his own benefit. By observing the Commandments with such an intention and remaining in it all of his life, he does not grow spiritually. And one who does not grow in our world is called “still” (inanimate), since we divide all of nature into the following levels: still, vegetative, animate, and speaking (human). Therefore, such people are regarded as spiritually still (Domem de Kedusha), but they are already “spiritually” still, as opposed to those who observe mechanically, by force of habit.
In Kabbalah, the word “body” implies desire. A desire or a body can be egoistic or spiritual (altruistic). The gradual passing of the egoistic body and its replacement with the altruistic one is called one’s “spiritual birth.”
Man’s spiritual growth is designated by an increasingly growing intention to observe the Commandments only because such is the Creator’s desire. Man observes it only for His sake, completely selflessly, as if no reward of any kind will ever be given to him in return, not even in the form of his own self-content. It is as though the Creator does not know who fulfills His desire, as though man himself is uncertain of whether or not he observes the Commandments. Yet, he does it anyway, for such is the Creator’s will.
An essential part of our spiritual ascent is a special process that requires that, on discovering a greater evil within us, we ask the Creator to grant us the strength to overcome that evil. We then receive strength in the form of a greater spiritual Light. This continues until we actually reach the original level and size of our souls. At that point, our egoism is completely corrected and filled with Light.
When we are distracted by outside thoughts, we feel that thoughts obstruct us from ascertaining the spiritual, because our strength and minds are wasted on extraneous concerns, while our hearts become filled with petty desires. At times like this, we lose faith in the fact that only Kabbalah contains the true life.
Once we overcome this condition, we come out of our state and move into the Light, receiving a Higher Light that helps us ascend further. In this manner, our extraneous thoughts work to help us in our spiritual advancement. We can overcome obstacles only with the help of the Creator, since man can only work on something if he perceives some personal benefit in the task.
However, our bodies, hearts and intellects do not understand what benefits can result from altruism. Therefore, as soon as we try to make even the slightest altruistic move, we lose all strength of the mind, heart and body. We are left with nothing else but to turn to the Creator and ask Him for help. In this way, unwillingly and without any free choice, we advance toward the Creator until we merge with Him completely.
The lower half of the Higher spiritual object is found within the Upper half of the lower spiritual object (GE de Elyion are within AHP de Tachton). In the lower object, the screen is found in the eye area (Masach ve Nikvey Eynayim). This is known as “spiritual blindness,” (Stimat Eynayim) because in such a state even the Higher object has only one half – GE. Hence, it turns out that the screen of the lower spiritual object conceals part of the Higher spiritual object.
The Higher spiritual object drops its screen to the lower one, and it then reveals itself to the lower object, which in turn begins to view the Higher object as the Higher one views itself. As a result, the lower object receives the state of fullness (Gadlut). The lower object then sees that the Higher one is in a “great” state, and realizes that the Higher object’s prior concealment and apparent manifestation as the “small” state (Katnut) was done exclusively for the benefit of the lower one. In this way, the lower object could become aware of the importance of the Higher one.
Article on The Zohar – “Raising a Prayer”