Why Daven?

Why Daven?

Likkutei Torah: Parshas Chukas

Vaya’as Moshe

Part Three: Why Daven?

וְזֶהוּ עִנְיָן הַתְּפִלָּה שֶׁבְּגוּף הָאָדָם בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶה,  

What is the point of davening? As  a soul in a body? In this world?

שֶׁהַנְשָׁמָה בְּתוֹךְ הַגוּף סוֹבֶלֶת צָרוֹת וִיסוּרִים, שֶׁרְצוֹנָה לִידָבֵק בְּיוֹצְרָהּ וְהַגוּף אֵינוֹ מַנִיחָה,

In this world, the soul in the body goes through hardship and pain, when all she wants is to attach herself to her Maker and the body won’t let.

וּכְמוֹ גָלוּת הַשְׁכִינָה שֶׁמוּכְרֶחֶת לַהַחֲיוֹת גַּם הַרְשָעִים,

The soul is forced into exile, like the Divine Presence who is forced to provide life to evil.

כַּךְ הַנְשָׁמָה מוּכְרֶחֶת לְהַחֲיוֹת אֶת הַגוּף, וּכָל כַּווָנָתָהּ אֵינָה בִּשְׁבִיל עַצְמָהּ, רַק בִּשְׁבִיל לְהַעֲלוֹת הַגוּף מֵעָפָר,

The soul too is forced to sustain the body, but her only intent is to uplift the body from the dust.

Being that the soul is within the body, it experiences life as the body does, which is rather uncomfortable for the soul. Although this may seem very inconvenient for the soul, it’s actually an opportunity for the soul to inspire the body with spiritual clarity via prayer. 

וְצָרִיךְ לְבַרְרוֹ כְּכֶּסֶף בְּיַד הַצוֹרֵף, כָּל מַה שֶׁיֵשׁ תַּעֲרוּבוֹת, יוֹתֵר צָרִיך לְבַרֵר וּלְלַבֵּן בְּלַהַב אֵשׁ הַיוֹתֵר גָּדוֹל, כֵּן צָרִיךְ לְבַרֵר הַגוּף מֵהַיֵצֶר הָרַע, וּלְהַבִיאוֹ אֶל שָׁרְשׁוֹ כְּמָשָׁל בֶּן הַמֶלֶךְ עִם הַזוֹנָה הַנִזְכָּר לְעֵיל, וְכָל מַה שֶׁיֵשׁ תַּעֲרוּבוֹת רַע בְּיוֹתֵר צָרִיךְ לְהַפְרִיד עֲל יְדֵי אֵשׁ יוֹתֵר גָּדוֹל וְחָזָק בְּתְּפִלָּה לְדָבֵק בְּקוֹנוֹ (וְעַיֵין מַה שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּפַּרְשׁת אֱמוֹר עֲל פָּסוּק ״וְנִקְדַשְׁתִּי).

The body needs refining like silver in the hands of the smith: the more impurities the silver has, the more refinement it needs. It needs to be fired with increased flame until the silver becomes white hot. The same applies to the body: it need to be refined of the impurity which is the negative impulse that has become integrated into the body.

כְּמָשָׁל בֶּן הַמֶלֶךְ עִם הַזוֹנָה הַנִזְכָּר לְעֵיל, וְכָל מַה שֶׁיֵשׁ תַּעֲרוּבוֹת רַע בְּיוֹתֵר צָרִיךְ לְהַפְרִיד עֲל יְדֵי אֵשׁ יוֹתֵר גָּדוֹל וְחָזָק בְּתְּפִלָּה לְדָבֵק בְּקוֹנוֹ (וְעַיֵין מַה שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּפַּרְשׁת אֱמוֹר עֲל פָּסוּק ״וְנִקְדַשְׁתִּי).

Similar to the crown prince and the harlot, as well, the body needs to be brought back to its source. The more impurities the body has picked up throughout its life, the more fire is necessary to refine it—the fire of davening and attaching oneself to our Owner.

Like everything in life, the body is intrinsically good and pure, but in order for it to be perceived that way, like unrefined silver, it needs to be purified with “fire” – the Soul. We fire up the soul, i.e. develop passion for G-d, through prayer. 

וְלָכֵן בְּבַּיִת רִאשׁוֹן, שֶׁלֹא הָיָה הָרַע הַרְבֵּה, לֹא הָיוּ צְרִיכִין לְתְּפִלָּה בְּהִתְלַהַבוּת, כִּי אִם, כָּל מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם הָיָה לְהָבִיא הָרַע וְהַדִינִים אֶל שָׁרְשָׁם עֲל יְדֵי הַקָרְבָּנוֹת הָיָה דַיָים,

That’s why there wasn’t such a need for fiery davening during the first Beis HaMikdosh. There wasn’t as much evil within the people to refine, and the evil that there was, was uplifted by bringing sacrifices and that was enough.

Prayer brings out our passion for G-d. However, during the era of the first Beis HaMikdosh their passion was more natural due to the Devine Presence which was easily accessible and felt, and therfore, organized prayer wasn’t necessary. 

אַבָל בְּבַּיִת שֵׁנִי הִתְחִילוּ לְתַקֵן הַתְּפִלָה וְהָיְתָה קְצָרָה לְפִי עֶרֶךְ הִצְטַרְכוּת הָאֵשׁ וְתַּעֲרוּבוֹת הָרַע שֶׁהָיָה בְּקִרְבָּם. וַאֲנַחְנוּ צְרִיכִים לְהִתְפַּלֵל יוֹתֵר וְיוֹתֵר בְּהִתְלַהַבוּת מְאֹד.

However, during the second Beis HaMikdosh, the Anshei K’nesses HaG’dola began establishing fixed davening—a relatively short one, relative to the amount of refinement needed which was relative to the amount of evil that had made its way into the people.

Us, however, need the davening even more and it needs to be fiery.

וְכֵן בְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר לְמַטָה, צָרִיךְ לְהִתְפַּלֵל בְּהִתְלַהֲבוּת גְּדוֹלָה, וְלֹא כִּי אַכַּשֵׁר דְרֵי, אֲדְרַבָּה, מִפְּנֵי גּוֹדֶל הָרַע אֲשֶׁר נִתְעַרֵב וְנִתְרַבֶה בְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר צָרִיךְ לְהַפְרִידוֹ עֲל יְדֵי אֵשׁ חָזָק בְּתְּפִלָּה וּלְבַרֵר הָרַע אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבּוֹ וּלְהַבִיאוֹ אֶל שָׁרְשׁוֹ כְּמָשָׁל בֶּן הַמֶלֶךְ עִם הַזוֹנָה הַנִזְכָּר לְעֵיל, שֶׁיַחֲשׁוֹב הַחֲיוּת שֶׁל הָרַע הַמְחֲיַיְהוּ, אֵיךְ יֵשׁ לוֹ חֲיוּת מֵהֲקָדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כִּי בַּלְעֲדוֹ, לֹא הָיָה יָכוֹל לַחֲיוֹת וְהַקָדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מְחֲיַיְהוּ עֲל דֶרֶךְ הַנִזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

The same applies to every later generation: the need for an increased and fiery davening and not when the generation is “worthy.” On the contrary, the greater the impurity that becomes mixed into us, the more the impurities increase, the more the need exists to daven with fire in order to separate ourselves from them. The need to refine ourselves through a fiery davening and uplift the body to its source increases. We’ll see the need for this when we think about the metaphor of the crown prince and the harlot; how the life-force comes to evil from the Holy One Blessed Be He. Without Him, evil wouldn’t exist; it only exists because of His abounding goodness, like we said earlier.

Meditation

שֶׁיַחֲשׁוֹב הַחֲיוּת שֶׁל הָרַע הַמְחֲיַיְהוּ, אֵיךְ יֵשׁ לוֹ חֲיוּת מֵהֲקָדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כִּי בַּלְעֲדוֹ, לֹא הָיָה יָכוֹל לַחֲיוֹת וְהַקָדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מְחֲיַיְהוּ

…think about the metaphor of the crown prince and the harlot; how the life-force comes to evil from the Holy One Blessed Be He. Without Him, evil wouldn’t exist; it only exists because of His abounding goodness, like we said earlier.

In which case, there isn’t any evil at all, nor is there such a thing as hardship in this world at all; because when we think about it, we’ll realize evil is just too much good. No one will deny that there is actual pain in this world, but if we daven properly and align our mindset with reality, we’ll realize what these painful situations really are.

וּכְעִנְיָן נָחוּם אִישׁ-גַּם-זוּ, גַּם כָּל הַצַדִיקִים הָיוּ עֲל דֶרֶךְ זֶה, רַק נָחוּם אִישׁ-גַּם-זוּ הָיָה יָכוֹל לְשַׁנוֹת הַמְשָׁכָה מִלְמַעֲלָה לְמַטָה שֶׁהָיָה נִרְאֶה בֱּאֱמֶת לְמַטָה שֶׁהוּא טוֹב בְּגַשְׁמִיוּת. וְלָכֵן נִקְרָא ״גַּם-זוּ״ שֶׁהוּא מוּשָׂג (וע’ בע”ח שער לאה ורחל פ”ה בענין גם, ובמה”ב שם והנה הגם מאיר כו’ והוא המשכה מעלמא דאתכסיא לעלמא דאתגליא הנק’ זו, וע’ עוד מענין גם בע”ח שער א”א פי”ד ועמש”ל בד”ה וזה מעשה המנורה בענין ואנכי אעלך גם עלה דהיינו שבחי’ גם יהיה לו ג”כ עליה ומזה הוא ענין נחום איש גם זו).

This is the idea behind Nochum Ish Gam Zu and all tzaddikim for that matter. It’s just that Nochum Ish Gam Zu was able to actually change the flow from on High to our physical existence; he was able to change physical reality, that it should be experienced as good down here also. That׳s why he was called “Gam Zu,” “also this,” because he caused that the goodness should be experienced internality.

אַבָל כָּל הַצַדִיקִים, אֲפִילוּ שֶׁהָיָה מַחֲשְׁבוֹתָם עַל זֶה הַדֶרֶךְ, הָיָה נִשְׁאָר לְמַעֲלָה כַּךְ כְּמוֹ שֶׁהָיָה בְּתְּחִלָה בְּלִי מוּשָׂג הַטוֹב הַהוּא.

However, all the tzaddikim— even if they had the right mindset—weren’t able to change physical reality. The channels to this too much good remained just as they were, and naturally weren’t able to be experienced as actual good.

וְזֶהוּ עִנְיָן נָחָשׁ הַנְחֹשֶת שֶׁהָיָה צָרִיךְ לְהַשִׂימוֹ עֲל הַנֶס, שֶׁהָיָה צָרִיךְ לָהּ לְהַגְבָּהֲת הַנָחָשׁ לְמַעֲלָה וּמִסְתַּכְּלִים כְּלַפֵּי מַעֲלָה כְּלוֹמַר, שֶׁלֹא יַחְשׁוֹב שֶׁהַנָחָשׁ נִפְרָד, אִם כֵּן, הוּא רַע מַמָשׁ וְנִשְׁאָר רַע. אַבָל כְּשְׁיַחֲשׁוֹב אֶת הַנָחָשׁ בְּהַגְבַּהֲתוֹ לְמַעֲלָה בְּשָׁרְשׁוֹ, שֶׁאֵינוֹ נִפְרָד מֵאִתּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ וְחֲיוּתוֹ מִשָׁם הוּא עֲל דֶרֶךְ מָשָׁל הַזוֹנָה עִם בֶּן הַמֶלֶךְ הַנִזְכָּר לְעֵיל, אִם כֵּן אֵין רַע יוֹרֵד מִלְמַעֲלָה, וְלָכֵן הָיָה נְחשֶׁת שֶׁמִשְׁתַנֶה לְכַּמָּה גַוְונִין עֲל יְדֵי אַיִן. וְהַמֵבִין יָבִין.

This is the whole reason why the copper snake had to be placed on a pole: the snake needed to be uplifted for the people to gaze upwards at it. Meaning to say, that the people shouldn’t see the snakes with their venomous bite as a separate entity from G-d; then the experience would remain bad. However, if the people would perceive the snake from its source—when it’s uplifted—something which isn’t separate from G-d—that its life-force is from Him; then it wouldn’t be experienced as evil at all. This all fits with the metaphor of the crown prince and the harlot; should the prince realize that she works for his father and all he has to do is realize that it’s just a test from the goodness of his father.

Prayer is not just about asking G-d to be good to us, it’s about developing a relationship with Him in our own consciousness, so we can perceive reality as objectively good.

 How the Mechanics Work

The sweetening of the judgments from on High—in this case the fiery snakes happened through the copper snake put on a pole. The copper snake is tiferes of klipas nogah of Atzilus: when the good within the copper snake overcomes the bad within itself, it becomes a “holy” tiferes. Through Gazing upwards—to uplift klipas nogah to its source in the world of Tohu—the goodness within takes over, then its evil—in its source—doesn’t descend. Now, when the copper snake has been “goodened” in its source, on its way down through Hishtalshelus, beginning with Atzilus, the snake becomes attached to the holiness of the klipas nogah of tiferes of Atzilus.

Through the tiferes in Atzilus becoming refined, it causes a “sweetening” of the judgements which are in holiness with the “kindnesses” on High. Which means: the “kindnesses” on High overpower the judgments creating peace on High (famalia shel ma’ala, i.e., Atzilus). This is the idea the Alter Rebbe brings in Iggeres HaKodesh on the verse, “And the action of tzedaka is peace…” see there how he explains the process of actions here Below creating chain reactions of G-dly revelation from the Top down. From this action of tzedaka, peace descends below (famalia shel mata, i.e., peace descends into B’riah until Asiya) and goodness overpowers judgments and hardship.

 Application

All this happens with the copper snake and perceiving it correctly—through gazing upwards at the copper snake—, and giving our hearts to our Father in Heaven.

By davening with passion and enthusiasm, and contemplating reality for what it really is—goodness—then we transform ourselves (our bodies and our animalism) and the physical world around us (klipas nogah).

  

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