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|The Arizal on Prayer|
|Written by The Arizal|
|Monday, 05 December 2011|
It is forbidden to pray when one is depressed. If a person does so, his soul cannot receive the celestial light that descends upon him during prayer.
However, during vidui (confession), especially when enumerated his sins, sorrow is appropriate. But everywhere else in his prayers, depression will cause him great harm. It is important to be as exceedingly joyous as possible, like a servant who happily serves his master. For if a servant were to serve in a depressed fashion, his service would be despised by the master. To a very great extent, all of a person’s spiritual ascent and wholeness, and the attainment of Divine Inspiration, depend on being joyous, whether at the time of prayer, or during the performance of any other mitzvah.
Before a person begins his prayers in the synagogue, from the portion of the “Akeida” of Yitzhak and onward, he should accept upon himself the mitzvah of loving his neighbor as himself, by having the intention to love every Jew as himself, for in this way his prayer will rise up with all of the prayers of Israel, enabling it to ascend higher and higher and produce a fruitful response. This love should especially be directed to his companions, the scholars of the Torah who learn together with him. Every person should see himself as if he is connected, body and soul, to these companions, and if there is someone amongst them who is in difficult straits, all of the others should lend him a hand, and pray on his behalf.
When entering the synagogue, one should be very careful to pause for a moment at the entrance before entering, and feel reverence and fear, as if overwhelmed to enter the inner chamber of the King of the World. This is most beneficial in a person’s striving for perfection and in advancing his spiritual attainments.
Also, I (Rabbi Haim Vital) saw that my teacher of blessed memory (the Arizal) was exceedingly careful, to the upmost degree, not to converse at all in the synagogue, even when the congregation wasn’t at prayer. Even when it came to matters of repentance, reprimand, and mussar (ethical admonishment), he did not want to speak, in order that no profane words leave his lips in the synagogue.
(Extracted from the beginning of “Shaar HaKavanot”).
|Last Updated ( Monday, 05 December 2011 )|
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