|Keter Shem Tov-259|
|Written by Bentzion of Medziboz|
The Baal Shem Tov taught: One should pray as if he were awakening the dawn, and not the dawn awakening him. This means that one should toil diligently and gradually in the preliminary prayers until reaching Baruch She’Amar. This first section is parallel to the world of Assiyah, which is the lowest, the home of the kelipoth. Then, one should intensify one's concentration from Baruch She'Amar until Yishtabach, and this section is parallel to the world of Yetzirah, in which the kelipos are few. Then, from Yishtabach until the Silent Shemoneh Esreh Prayer, one should concentrate yet further. Finally, in the Shemoneh Esreh, which represents a state of embrace and union, one should be completely detached from all physical sensation.1
If one follows this path, then one has first created mayin nukvin,2 and only afterwards are the mayin dikhrin aroused, which gives "birth" to a "male."
However, if a person is aroused spontaneously his prayer might be rejected. The way to rectify when such spontaneous arousal comes over a person is to arouse deep regret and fear, and to then pray from the depths of one's heart.
This is meaning of the verse, "One who finds a woman"[the mayin nukvin*] - first - "has found good," and then, "will obtain favor from G·d."3
1Orach Chaim #98
2 Toldos Tazriyah 1; the "elevation of mayin nukvin" - the arousal of the "feminine waters" that serve as the recipient of the efflux of the "male waters." Tanya: Igeret HaKodesh - Chapter 08
3 Proverbs 18:22
Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Yehoshua and reprinted with the kind permission of the Baal Shem Tov Foundation. Please visit www.baalshemtov.com
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*This may be understood in the light of what is written in [Etz Chayim,] Shaar Ma'n Uma'd, (2) that first, [before the Supernal Union takes place], there must be an elevation of mayin nukvin [i.e., an arousal initiated by the recipient] from the nukva [i.e., the feminine element] of Za, [iz., Malchut], and the mayin nukvin of nukva [is the state of action], as explained there, in Tanya chapter 1.
[In other words: The things of this world, whose source is the Sefirah of Malchut (which is the nukva of Za) must be elevated to their source in holiness.
This can be accomplished only through mitzvot whose fulfillment requires actions performed with the material components of the world.
This alone makes possible the Supernal Union which reveals Divinity within this world.
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