What Is a Prayer?
The essence of the [spiritual] work [on correction of the intention, the attitude toward the Creator] is the choice, meaning “Therefore choose life,” which is Dvekut (adhesion), which is Lishma (for Her name). By that, one is rewarded with adhering to the Life of Lives.
When there is open Providence, there is no room for choice. Hence, the Upper One [upper Partzuf] elevated Malchut, which is Midat ha Din (quality of judgment), to [its] Eynaim (eyes), which caused a concealment [in it with regard to the lower one], meaning that the lower one sees that the Upper One is deficient, that there is no Gadlut (greatness) in the Upper One. At that time, the qualities of the Upper One are laid down in the lower one, meaning they are lacking. It follows that those Kelim [of the Upper One] have equality with [the desires, properties of] the lower one: As there is no vitality in the lower one, [it seems to the lower one that] there is no vitality in the Upper qualities, meaning that the Torah and Mitzvot are tasteless, lifeless.
And [it is done purposefully by the Upper One because] then there is room for choice [the lower one has an opportunity to choose since he becomes independent from the Upper One], meaning that the lower one [should examine his sensations and thoughts and come to a conclusion that this state is given to him purposefully so that he wouldn’t follow his sensations, but rather increase the greatness of the Upper One through the group and rise above his sensations] should say that all of this concealment that he feels is because the Upper One [purposefully] restricted Himself for the sake of the lower one [for his sake]. This is called, “Israel that have been exiled, Divinity is with them,” meaning he declares the flavor that he tastes, and it is not his fault that he feels no flavor of liveliness, but in his view, there truly is no vitality in the Upper One.
And if one overcomes [goes by faith above reason and strengthens his connection with the Creator above any negative sensations] and says that he finds a bitter taste in these nourishments [fulfillment or emptiness in the desire] only because he does not have the proper Kelim (vessels) [intentions] to receive the abundance [to correctly comprehend and sense the Creator’s actions toward him], as his Kelim are to receive and not to bestow [he evaluates the Creator by the fulfillment he receives and not the goal], and regrets that [because of this] the Upper One had to hide Himself, thus enabling the lower one [him] to [involuntary] slander, this is considered that the lower one is raising MAN [pleading with the Upper One to help him not to relate to the Upper One badly regardless of any sensations in the desire].
By that [thanks to the lower one’s MAN], the Upper One raises His AHP—and ascent means that the Upper One can show the lower one the praise and delight in the Kelim of AHP, which the Upper One can disclose. Thus, with respect to the lower one, it is found that he raises the GE of the lower one [gives the lower one strength to feel pleasure and attainment along with the screen, to appreciate these fulfillments in the heart and the mind only for the sake of an even greater adhesion with the Upper One] by the lower one himself seeing the merit of the Upper One. It follows that the lower one rises along with the AHP of the Upper One. [The Upper One gives the lower one both fulfillments and sensations of emptiness and the opportunity to be or not to be above them.]
– Rabash, Steps of the Ladder, “Association of Mercy with Judgment”