Question: If a prayer is a plea for correction, rather than elimination of suffering, why is it written that one should pray for the latter?
Answer: It is written that one should pray to reduce suffering because in the place where I am feeling it, the flaws of my egoistic desires are revealed to me. They are what I am praying about, meaning that I may discern what is wrong in me and how I can correct that area in order turn it to bestowal.
If we are speaking about a normal person, he prays to feel good, to get to an open faucet that pours abundance from Above into his hands. His pain is material, meaning within the desire to receive pleasure. This is what he is seeking fulfillment for. Therefore, his prayer is corporeal and naive.
He doesn’t view his pain as the means to come to the Creator. He simply wishes to calm it down, subdue it, fill the internal void. This is how most people usually pray, be they secular or religious folks. All of them strive to feel good, which makes them willing to pray for it. All they do is beg: “Give me, give me, give me” because their ego is suffering, and it has to be pacified.
A true prayer is when I say: “There is none else besides Him.” He created the egoistic desire in me, “the evil inclination,” and I have to find out what it is. If my desire to enjoy is hurting, I need to use prayer as a remedy. After all, the Creator created this desire. He is responsible for the pain I am feeling and nobody else. I feel the pain in the place where I haven’t become complete by unifying with the Creator, but I must.
Let’s say I am in the first grade. They gave me homework to do, but I didn’t do it. I didn’t prepare for the exam and failed it. Now, I have to take the consequences. I suffer, but this suffering is appropriate for my age, for the first grade.
In the same way, every person feels pain in the area where he didn’t pass the exam, didn’t correct himself, didn’t keep up with the Creator’s “curriculum” toward the goal, the state of correction. Therefore, he should thank the Creator, the upper Light, who instills in him this sensation of pain. It is a symptom of illness that is given to you so that you go to get the treatment for it, and then you will be well.
Hence, don’t look for ways to make the Creator ease your pain; rather, seek how to cure it. In fact, if you simply shut it down, then tomorrow, you will wake up with a much greater pain. Today, you took a painkiller, stopped feeling the pain, and are happy to be seemingly okay. But you are deceiving yourself. Tomorrow it will be worse!
In other words, there are those who treat all their pains and daily problems with any drug, any painkiller there is, just to get rid of suffering. They pray to be granted neither suffering nor a reward for it. Others pray to let there be suffering if it points out to them where they need to correct themselves in order to gradually reach the Creator’s degree. For that, they are willing to accept it and thank the Creator equally for what is bad and what is good. After all, these sensations are there to wake us up and guide us on the path.
These are two very different methods. There are those who cry: “Save me, give me my peace!” This is the way of the masses. However, those who say “No, we will use all this pain in the most efficient way” are the Creator’s workers. After all, we wish to do His work since we desire to be His partners. If He is awakening us, we are willing to wake up.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/9/2011, Shamati No. 113