Lesson No. 5: Prayer of Many
1. One who desires to serve the Creator in Truth, must include himself with all creation and unite himself with all the souls, be incorporated in them and they in him. Meaning, that one should not have anything remaining in him except what is necessary for him to connect with the Shechinah. To reach this, we must come closer to each other and be connected with many people, since according to the number of people who serve the Creator, the more light of the Shechinah will be revealed to them. For this one must include himself with all people and all creation, and until everything rises to its root, for the correction of the Shechinah.
—A Banner over the Camp of Ephraim, “Parashat BeShalach”
2. 284) Wherever a person prays his prayer, he should incorporate himself in the public, in the manifold public, as it is written about Shunammite when Elisha told her, “Would you be spoken for to the king…?”
285) And she said, “I dwell among my own people.” In other words, she said, “I have no wish to be mentioned above, but to put my head among the masses and not leave the public. Similarly, man should be included in the public and not stand out as unique…
—Zohar La’am, “VaYetze,” 284-285
3. My teacher of blessed memory warned me, and all the friends that were with him in the society, that prior to the morning prayer we should accept upon ourselves the positive commandment to “love your friend as yourself” with the intention to love all Israel as our own soul. And thus his prayer will rise together, with the prayer of all Israel, and achieve the correction above.
And concerning the love of friends among us, each and every one of us must include himself and feel as if he is an organ inside of his friends. And my teacher warned me greatly, concerning this matter.
—Chaim Vitale, “Gate of Reincarnation,” Introduction 38
4. One should not stand alone without the others, asking for himself, even if it is in order to bring contentment to his Creator, except for the entire collective, because the one who asks for his own soul does not build, but rather, he brings damnation to his soul…
So it is also in the work, when one prays alone, he removes himself from the collective and destroys his soul. There was no individual awakening for anyone of the Children of Israel, to request anything separately, since no one had a lack, because they did not feel themselves separated, and this was their strength when they came out of Egypt with an outstretched arm.
Every person must use all his strength to join with the collective of Israel, in all his requests to the Creator, in prayer and in the work… and be included in that single unit, the root of all Israel.
—Baal Hasulam, “Pri Chacham” on the Torah, “It Is Not Yet Time to Gather the Flock”
5. 514) Indeed, all the prayers in the world, prayers of many, are prayers. But a solitary prayer does not enter before the Holy King, unless with great force.
515) Hence, one should pray one’s prayer in the collective, since He does not despise their prayer, even though they are not all with intent and the will of heart, as it is written, “He has regarded the prayer of the destitute.” Thus, He only observes the prayer of an individual, but with a prayer of many, He does not despise their prayer, even though they are unworthy.
—Zohar La’am, “VaYechi,” 514-515
6. When a person prays for himself, it is not eternal. …For this reason the Creator prepared the world and its fullness, as the sages said, “One should say, the entire world was created for me” (Sanhedrin 37:71), meaning that he should pray for the whole world… This is a great rule, that only man was called “created being,” namely he alone, and beside him is the Behinah (state) of the Holy Shechinah. It follows that when one prays for the collective it means that he prays for the Holy Shechinah who is in exile, who needs all the salvations, and this is “eternal”, and this is precisely how the Light of Rachamim (mercy) is revealed.
When one awakens Rachamim (mercies) upon himself, he is engaging in the state of receiving for himself. And the more he increases in prayer, not only he is not preparing a vessel of equivalence; instead, sparks of reception are woven in him.
Thus he is going in the wrong direction, meaning that while he should be preparing vessels of bestowal instead, he is preparing vessels of reception.
It follows that only when one prays for the collective, he finds himself preparing vessels of bestowal, and the more he prays this way, he builds vessels of bestowal, upon which the Light of Bestowal can be revealed.
—The Writings of Rabash, Vol 3, “Dargot HaSulam,” Article, “Run Away My Beloved”
7. With that we can interpret the words of The Zohar. It advises those people with an inner demand, who cannot accept the state they are in. …The advice is to ask for the whole collective. In other words, everything that one feels that he is lacking and asks fulfillment for, he should not say that he is an exception, meaning that he deserves more than what the collective has. Rather, “I dwell among my own people,” meaning I am asking for the entire collective because I wish to come to a state where I will have no care for myself whatsoever, but only for the Creator to have contentment. Therefore, it makes no difference to me if the Creator takes pleasure in me or can receive the pleasure from others.
In other words, he asks the Creator to give us such an understanding, which is called, “entirely for the Creator.” It means that he will be certain that he is not deceiving himself that he wants to bestow upon the Creator, that perhaps he is really thinking only of his own self-love, meaning that he will feel the delight and pleasure.
Therefore, he prays for the collective. This means that if there are a few people in the collective who can reach the goal of Dvekut with the Creator, and this will bring the Creator more contentment than if he himself were rewarded with nearing the Creator, he excludes himself. Instead, he wishes for the Creator to help them because this will bring more contentment above than from his own work. For this reason, he prays for the collective, that the Creator will help the entire collective and will give them that feeling—that they receive satisfaction from being able to bestow upon the Creator, to bring Him contentment.
—Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “Prayer of Many”
8. One must always pray for his friend, because (praying) for himself it is not very effective, since ‘one cannot free oneself from prison’. But for his friend he receives an answer quickly. And so, each one should pray for his friend, this way one helps the other and both are helped. About this it was said, “Israel Arevim (responsible) one for the other. The meaning of Arvut comes from the word “pleasant,” and implies ‘sweetening’, …because they sweeten each other with their prayers when they pray for each other, and thus they are helped.
—Rabbi Noah Elimelech, Likutei Shoshana
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