Thursday, October 14, 2010

Go deep inside of you before Prayer


Devekut (concentration) in prayer doesn't only come by itself. One has to work on himself until he is fiannly able to climb up the ladder leading to higher and higher prayer levels.

So, you are standing there with your Siddur and you are about to start praying. How do you actually do this ? It is time to pray or you feel like getting closer to G - d and here you are. Should you just open the Siddur and start reading the verses. Meaning: Praying.

The Chabad Rabbi Mordechai Siev said in a lecture this morning that prayer needs preparation because we are getting our three soul levels (Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama) involved.

Remark: I am not going into the subject of the other two higher soul levels Chaya and Yechidah.

We start our prayer here in the present material world and only afterwards try to climb a little higher. The lowest soul level (Nefesh) stands for the natural (animal) soul within us. Meaning: Running after our wordly desires such as food, drinks, sex, movies, money, etc. Moreover, Nefesh is connected to the Wold of Action and, thus we advance prayer by getting up, saying blessings, washing our hands and learning some Torah.
This way we are getting into a prayer mood and arising our emotions. Emotions, on the other hand, stand for the second world, the World of Emotions meaning the next soul level RUACH. The third soul level is Neshama and we are influencing the level of our Neshama with the actual prayer.

A prayer has the task to influence our behaviour and actions after the prayer in a positive way. However, first we have to prepare ourselves on different levels until we finally climb up the level ladder.

The best way for meditation is actually taking a Sefer and starting to study some Torah, a commentary or some spiritual writings. What one should not do is starting his whole path into Yiddishkeit only with spiritual matters. You can fly around as much as you like but ask yourself what you are actually doing. Our material world is the world of action. G - created us because He wants us to deal with this world including worldly matters. The question is how we combine our Jewish identity into our daily life.

Rabbi Siev gave a great practical example:
A newly married couple is going through all the Sheva Berachot after the wedding. For seven days, the groom is treated like a king and the bride is treated like a queen. However, after those seven days of celebrations are over, suddenly the queen is telling the king to take out the garbage. Then the real marriage work has begun and nothing is only spirituality, love and romance but reality and daily life.

Everything may sound so "terribly" Chabad but let me tell you, hardly any other Orthodox Rabbi would tell you something different.

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