A true prayer is “the prayer of eighteen blessings.” They are nine Sefirot of the Direct Light and nine Sefirot of the Reflected Light not in Malchut, the desire to receive pleasure, but in Yesod, which is above the egoistic desire. In other words, it implies the intention to employ Malchut to bestow. From here derive 18 types of our relationships with the Creator: nine from the Direct Light and nine from the Reflected one.
To use Yesod in the place of Malchut means to act on the side of “mercy” since we are seeking the property of bestowal, striving to become equivalent to the “first nine Sefirot” (Tet Rishonot), which descend from the Creator to the created being, Malchut, the 10th Sefira. And our sole desire is to reveal these nine Sefirot, the properties of the Creator, meaning to take them in, absorb, and become similar to them in our nine Sefirot of the Reflected Light.
Thereby, a true prayer forms within us. After all, because of my desire to get equivalent to the first nine Sefirot, I engage my nine Sefirot of the Reflected Light and ask to utilize them in order for Malchut to become totally identical to the nine properties of the Creator who enters it. Thus, my nine Sefirot of the Reflected Light become the vessel (Kli) accepting the nine Sefirot of the Direct Light, and I receive the Light into my prayer right then and there.
If we know how to pray like this, then we engage the upper Light in the right way by seeking how to receive mercy and the force of bestowal from it, and afterwards, by dressing in our Reflected Light from below upwards. Thus, the prayer will be an act that contains absolutely everything within itself, revealing the first nine Sefirot in Malchut, perceiving them as the nine upper properties in it, and the ascension of the Reflected Light from Malchut downward upwards, which becomes “garments” for the Direct Light as it gets calculated and received in the Reflected Light. All of this is accomplished through the prayer of “eighteen blessings.” Hence, “the prayer of 18 Sefirot” is the key prayer in spiritual work.
If “ascension of the worlds” occurs during the spiritual work, such states as the “Sabbath” (Saturday), a special “holiday,” it results in the “prayer of 18 Sefirot” being altered because a more powerful Light descends from Above which makes the work below it, in the nine Sefirot of the Reflected Light, change in order to contain the entire Light coming to us during the holidays. This is the way we arrange our spiritual work.
This is why it is written that “Anything is done by the power of prayer” and “Contemplate Him day and night,” since prayer is an act that contains all stages of making the spiritual Partzuf: entering of the upper Light, followed by the calculation in the Partzuf’s head, its interaction-by-striking with the Light (Zivug de Hakaa Be Rosh), and the expansion of the Light downward. All of which implies the entire process undergone by the Partzuf in its development: conception, nurturing, maturity (Ibur, Yenika, Mochin). All of this is contained in the prayer of the 18: the nine Sefirot of the Direct Light, which dress in the nine Sefirot of the Reflected Light.
And this all occurs while I keep the intention to be transformed rather than trying to alter the upper Light, which is at absolute rest and always radiates at its fullest in the infinite measure in the head (Rosh) of each spiritual degree. A person who is only beginning his or her spiritual work must take time to examine their attitude to the upper force as unalterable, which fills the entire creation, meaning it isn’t subject to change.
After all, the upper one is totally open to us and radiates all its Light, while the changes occur solely in the one that receives. Therefore, my prayer is not a plea for the upper one to change, but rather a search for the right desires in me that will help me to connect with the upper force and gradually nurture myself in becoming identical to Him.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/9/11, Shamati #113
The Prayer Of The Stony Heart
What To Ask From The Creator?
Leaving The Evil And Reaching For The Good