Kabbalistic prayer

ARIZAL writes in depth about kavanot (intentions) that one should have in mind during prayer. Each segment of a daily prayer corresponds to a specific Olam (world), to a specific Partzuf, to a specific Sefira, to a specific Divine Name.

There are many books out there that describe these Kavanot – the most known one is by CHIDA, but this prayer book requires such a high level that probably won’t work for majority of people.

I was able to find a solid siddur, composed based on commentaries of Matok Mi’Dvash – known authority in Kabbalistic texts. This siddur summarizes key kavanot, specifically focuses on  combination of YHV”H/ADN”I letters and spiritual worlds as they relate to each part of daily service.

The siddur is available both in Sefard and Ashkenaz. Highly recommend to anyone who tries to follow ARIZAL’s teachings.


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9 Responses to Kabbalistic prayer

  1. Tally Koren says:

    I am a singer-songwriter Tally Koren in this video I interview the Kabbalah teacher Janet Berenson. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDoO89bO-Jo&feature=channel_video_title I met Janet when I did my BA in the Leo Baeck college and I very much like her attitude and open practicality about the subject of Kabbalah. In this video she will explore the roots of the name ’72 names of God’ and how can we use it in daily life. For more information about Janet and to read her blogs please visit: http://www.berensontraining.webs.com

    I have launched my new single 72 Names (Hallelujah) and the campaign will last for 72 days. Over the campaign I’m exploring the significance of the number 72 in lots of different situations and I would like you to be part of it! Everyone who enters to my site gets a free download. To claim it go to http://www.tallykoren.com

    http://www.tallykoren.com / Facebook tallykoren / twitter @tallykoren / http://tallykoren.wordpress.com/

  2. Dear Tally Koren, I had a look at your appearance on your facebook and I find it nessesary to strongly recommend you to study something about the name of MEM”BET=42, because when the time will come to answer for all we dead, and what we presented by our presence in this world,I am afraid, that your knowledge of the meaning of the name 72,won’t help you.When we are in the process of correction the name72 helps and guieds us a lot ,it works u=as our Teacher in this world. By when you make your exam, your teacher can’t help you anymore because we are judged by the name of MEM”BET=42. All the best to you Tally, Shabath Shalom, and Hodesh Tov, may we see the days of the Third Temple built.

  3. Very intresting explanation is given by rav Shimon Leiberman on Oneness of G-d vs. the Ten Seffirot, very important point for those studing kabbalah and highly recomended for reading and understanding , the topic is discussed in the course called”What is kabbalah” chapter 3 out of 24, and is avalible for free on aish.com

  4. yehudith says:

    The universe was designed by God as a sensitive communications device that can transmit messages between man and God instantaneously. Man prays, God responds, man responds to God’s response, God responds to man’s response to His response, and so on. But like any other device, it only works if you plug it in and turn it on. Accepting the yoke of the commandments is the switch.

    by Rav Noson Weisz

  5. yehudith says:

    Tamid 33a-b – The Priestly blessingMay 18, 2012
    by Rav Adin Steinsaltz

    The Torah commands that the kohanim bless the people of Israel with a specific blessing (Sefer Bamidbar 6:22-17) –

    The LORD bless thee, and keep thee;
    The LORD make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee;
    The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

    The Mishnah on today’s daf (=page) teaches that there are differences between the blessing as it was performed in the Temple and as it is done outside of the Temple.

    They blessed the people with a single benediction:
    In the country (i.e. outside of the Temple) they recited it as three blessings; in the sanctuary as one.
    In the Temple they pronounced the Divine Name as it is written,but in the country by its substitute.
    In the country the priests raised their hands as high as their shoulders, but in the Temple right above their heads, all except the High Priest, who did not raise his hands above the tzitz (the head-plate).

    While the listeners respond “amen” to each passage of the Priestly Blessing outside of the Temple, inside it was recited as a single benediction, and, according to the Rambam, the audience responded “Blessed be the Name of the God of Israel forever.”

    Due to the sanctity of the four letter Name – the Tetragrammaton – it was pronounced only in the Temple, being replaced by the term “My Lord” outside of the Temple.

    According to the Ra’avad, if a kohen desires to hold his hands above his head while blessing the people outside of the Temple, he is permitted to do so. The Mahzor Vitri forbids it, however, arguing that it appears foolish to do so, and that it is done in the Temple only because God’s presence rests upon the hands of the kohanim performing the Priestly Blessing in the Temple, and it would be inappropriate for the kohanim to hold their heads higher than the presence of God.

    It should be noted that archaeologists in Jerusalem have found silver scrolls that contain the text of the Priestly Blessing dating to the First Temple period.

  6. yehudith says:

    Do you feel like you’re talking to a wall when you pray? Here are five key tools for getting your prayers answered.

    by Rabbi Noah Weinberg

    Let’s get one thing straight: God wants to answer our prayers. He is our Father in Heaven, and we are His children. He loves us unconditionally.

    So why does it seem that God ignores so many prayers? And if He already knows what we want, why is prayer necessary in the first place?

    The Infinite Love

    Even those who stay far from a synagogue intuit the existence of God. As the saying goes, there are no atheists in a foxhole. When a guy is dug in and the enemy is coming, he will cry out: “Almighty, get me outta here! I want to live!”

    What is he really saying?

    “Dear God: Although I have ignored You for all these years, denied Your existence, and not appreciated all You have done for me, I’m in trouble now. And I know You’re the only one Who can help.”

    To pray properly, you have to understand that not only God loves you, but His love for you is infinite.

    God has given you eyes, ears, intelligence, life itself! Every morning, a Jew recites blessings of thanks to God for all the gifts He has bestowed upon us. These blessings remind us of how deeply God loves us.

    If we appreciate what God can do for us, it is crazy not to stay in touch.

    Why Do We Need To Pray?

    When we pray, of course, we are not pointing out anything new to God. He does not need us to remind Him of our needs. So why doesn’t God just give without our asking?

    Because we need to pray. Prayer helps us refine and affirm what we want out of life. It’s a process of maturity.

    If a billionaire father handed over unlimited cash on a silver platter, his child would grow up spoiled and irresponsible.

    So too, if God gave us everything automatically, we may never define for ourselves what we want in life. True, life would be easy. But we would not grow.

    Since God has our best interests at heart, He wants us to earn it. Because that’s what will make us great.

    Why Do We Have Problems?

    God has all the right connections. He can find you the right spouse. He can solve your financial problems. So why in the world do we have all these problems?

    Because no matter how brilliant or powerful you are, you will never be able to live your children’s lives for them. In fact, part of genuine love for your children is to allow them to branch out on their own, to be independent.

    If we were just robots, mechanically following every instruction, the world might be neat and tidy. But life would have neither significance nor meaning.

    God wants us to be independent, to think and make our own choices.God wants us to be independent, to think and make our own choices.

    We have the “free will” to make decisions that are eternally meaningful. We can choose to move away from God ? and He will let us do that. Not because He wants that to happen, but because He wants us to have independence ? even at the risk of it being misused. We may suffer the consequences, but it keeps our independence intact.

    Answer To Your Prayers

    Have you ever had a prayer answered?

    Stop for a moment and consider the implications…

    You live in a small town in Midwestern America. There is an extremely large and unsightly pothole in front of your house. For the last four months the local municipality has ignored your insistent requests to have it fixed. Finally, in an act of frustration, you call the White House and ask for the president. (Hey, it’s worth a try.)

    To your utter amazement, the president himself gets on the phone. You quickly explain your problem. The president listens for a minute and then hangs up. You don’t really expect anything to be done about it.

    The next morning you look out your window and, lo and behold, the army corps of engineers is busy at work fixing your road. The President of the United States took your request seriously and sent in the troops to help!

    That is what it means to get your prayer answered.

    Now who is the one person who can always get through to the president?

    The president’s son, of course.

    That is our relationship with God ? Father and child. Just as a parent fulfills a child’s request, so too God answers prayers. The Infinite Genius Who created every molecule on this earth, can alter the course of existence in order to answer your prayer.

    To really talk to God, you need to know He is willing and able to do it all. Otherwise, you’re only talking to your finite concept of God ? and not to our true Father in Heaven.

    The Prayer of an Atheist

    Here is a true story about a young man who got his prayers answered:

    Many people who visit Jerusalem are tourists who come to get a sense of Jewish culture and history. One day, a young tourist named Jeff was brought in to meet me at Aish HaTorah.

    “What are you doing?” I asked him.

    “I’m working for my MBA at Harvard University. And I’m an atheist.”

    “Fantastic! A real atheist! Whoever was able to convince an atheist like you to speak to a rabbi like me deserves a medal.”

    “Nah,” Jeff says, “he doesn’t deserve anything. I’ll tell you how I came…”

    Jeff had been in Norway, visiting his Norwegian fiance. And he decided it was now or never: either he is going to come to Israel or he’ll never make it.

    So he headed for Jerusalem and the Western Wall. He figured he would stop by the Wall to see some old stones. Yet upon his arrival he was amazed. He felt something heavy. He was moved.

    Jeff stood before the Wall, and made up an atheist’s prayer. He looked at the stones and said:

    “God, I don’t believe in You. As far as I know, You don’t exist. But I do feel something. So if I’m making a mistake, I want You to know, God, I have no quarrel against You. It’s just that I don’t know that You exist. But God, just in case You’re really there and I’m making a mistake, get me an introduction.”

    Jeff finished his prayer, and one of the Aish HaTorah students who happened to be at the Wall, saw Jeff and thought, “Perhaps he’d be interested in learning some Torah.”

    Jeff whirled around: “What the blankety-blank-dash-bang do you want?!”He tapped Jeff on the shoulder, startling him so much that he jumped three feet in the air. Jeff whirled around and shouted,

    “What in the blankety-blank-dash-bang do you want?!”

    “I’m sorry. I just want to know if you’d like to learn about God.”

    That question hit Jeff like a two-by-four right between the eyes. He had just finished asking God for an introduction, and immediately someone was offering to introduce him to God.

    Jeff learned at Aish HaTorah for the next six weeks. He was a very serious student, and went back to the States with a commitment to continue learning. A year later, Jeff came back to Israel and told me the end of his story.

    During that previous summer he had been meandering through the cobblestone alleyways of the Old City when he saw a pretty, sweet, religious girl walk by. He said to himself, “Look at the charm of this Jewish woman. May the Almighty help me meet someone like this.”

    One Shabbos morning during the next year, Jeff entered a synagogue in Boston for prayer services. Standing there was the same young woman he had seen in the Old City. He made his way over to her and said:

    “Excuse me, but I believe I saw you last summer in Jerusalem.”

    She answered, “You’re right. I saw you, too.”

    They are now married and living in New Jersey.

    Remember Jeff’s prayer. If you know any atheists, you can teach it to them. Because when you are sincere with God, your prayers are answered.

    The Almighty is near to all those who call unto Him in truth. (Psalms 145:18)


    Tool #1: Expect The Good

    Anticipate that God wants to help you. Anything that you could ask Him for is infinitesimally small compared to what He has already given to you.

    If you don’t expect the good, God is not going to invade your space. He wants you to connect to your Father in Heaven. Yet He wants you to work for that understanding.

    By not answering you, God is telling you that you’ve got a problem, that you need to change. That’s doing us a big favor. Because if He wouldn’t do that, we’d just remain stuck in our illusions, unclear on the idea that God can do it all.

    You’re 22-years-old and driving through Manhattan in rush hour in the middle of July. Red lights… Gridlock… Honking… Summer heat… A-g-g-r-a-v-a-t-i-o-n.

    What if your father was in charge of all traffic lights in New York City and was able to track your location at any given time? He would arrange for green lights all the way! Green light! Zing… green light! Ding… green light!

    He would arrange for green lights all the way!The Almighty can arrange it for you. He created the universe. Traffic in Manhattan is not overly taxing for Him.

    So here you go. Green light, green light, green light, green light. You say to yourself: This is too good to be true. I don’t deserve this.

    Red light.

    If you don’t anticipate God’s help, then you have lost sight of God as your Father. So God breaks the flow in order to realign your focus.

    Focus on the fact that the Almighty wants everything good for you. When you do that, He’ll move mountains to answer your prayer.

    Tool #2: Be Shocked If You Don’t Get It

    Nothing God does is by accident. If things don’t go smoothly for you, your first reaction should be: “What’s going on? Why is God doing this? Why is He trying to get my attention?”

    An uncle wrote newsy letters to his nephew at college. After six months and numerous letters, the nephew hadn’t written back once.

    In the next letter, the uncle wrote his standard letter. But this time, he added a P.S.: “I’ve enclosed a hundred dollar check for you.” Then he deliberately mailed the letter without a check.

    The nephew received the letter and (of course) couldn’t find the check. As expected, the uncle immediately got a letter in return: “College is great… I like my dorm room… I’m taking physics. By the way, you forgot to enclose the check. Love, your favorite nephew.”

    The Almighty knows how to get our attention. When we forget that He loves us, He sends a red light to refocus us.

    But there’s one big difference between the uncle and God: God is not hurt when we ignore Him. We are. God has no needs and doesn’t need a relationship with us. It is we who need a relationship with Him. Our greatest pleasure is being in touch with God. That’s why He arranges small mishaps to get our attention. All for our own benefit.

    Tool #3: Listen To God’s Lessons

    If you are serious about a relationship with God, then you understand that God is always teaching you.

    When life is suddenly full of inconveniences thrown your way, stop and ask: Why is He trying to get my attention?

    When the problems are larger than minor inconveniences – i.e. an auto accident or financial stress, then God is calling out to you on a different level. There is something deep within yourself that you need to rectify.

    A young man came into Aish HaTorah to meet with me. “Rabbi,” he said, “I’ve got news for you. I don’t need a yeshiva. You see, God and I are very close. God does miracles for me.”

    I looked at him a little suspiciously. “Would you mind illustrating a miracle or two?”

    “Sure. Once I was riding my motorcycle up a winding mountain road. A truck came around a curve and swerved into my lane. My only choice was to either smash into the side of the mountain, or to go off the cliff. Next thing I know, I’m flying through the air with nothing but rocks beneath me. I screamed out, ‘God! Help!’

    “I hit the ground and it was a miracle. My bike landed between two rocks, which acted like shock absorbers and cushioned the impact. I was gently tossed off my bike into a hedge of bushes. I didn’t get a scratch! So you see, God does miracles for me.”

    I looked at him and said, “Tell me, my friend. Who do you think pushed you off the cliff?!”

    God is not Superman. He doesn’t wait until you stumble off a cliff so He can fly in at the last moment to save you. He controls everything in your life: the troubles and the solutions.

    Don’t wait for God to push you off a cliff and catch you.Don’t wait for God to push you off a cliff and catch you. Pay attention now and ask: “What do you want from me, God? What is the message? And if You want to get my attention, please do so without too steep a cliff!”

    Tool #4: Focus On What You Want

    To get our prayers answered, we have to be clear that what we are requesting is really the right thing ? and not just some momentary whim.

    When I was 8-years-old, the World’s Fair came to New York. My whole class decided they were going to play hooky one day and go to the World’s Fair. But there was one condition: Everyone had to bring a dollar. No freeloaders allowed. If you didn’t have a dollar, you couldn’t come.

    I didn’t have a dollar, and the only way I could get a dollar from my father was to learn a chapter of Mishna by heart. But there was no way I could pull off a whole chapter on such short notice. So I figured I might as well go to school that day. I’d be the only one there ? a hero!

    I started walking to school, when it suddenly occurred to me: Keep your eyes on the pavement, Noah, maybe you’ll find a dollar!

    I started looking. One block. No dollar. Two blocks. No dollar. I started to pray, “Almighty, a dollar bill… You have them around the street all the time. Just this one time, let me find a dollar bill.”

    Two more blocks, no dollar. I thought maybe God wants something from me. So I said, “Almighty, I’ll take out the garbage. And I won’t fight with my sister.” I was determined to strike a deal.

    No dollar.

    Finally, I round the corner and the school is in sight. The moment of truth. “Almighty, give me one dollar, and I’ll never, ever do anything wrong again for the rest of my life.”

    And then I caught myself. “Noah, who are ya kidding? If you find the dollar, you’re gonna play hooky!”

    Many times the Almighty sends us what we truly need, but we don’t recognize it because we haven’t done the work of clarifying our needs! God’s answer ? whether yes or no ? always tells you something important about yourself.

    So before you ask, make sure it’s good for you.

    Tool #5: Make An Effort

    Prayer is not an escape from personal effort or responsibility. It is a vehicle for us to refine our choices, and to realize that God is the source of all that we accomplish.

    Prayer focuses us on reality, and keeps us in touch with where our life is heading. It’s not just a pipe dream. You have to work for what you want. If you’re half-hearted, you’re not serious about it.

    When you pray, reevaluate every step of the way:

    Do I really want to accomplish this?

    How much am I prepared to sacrifice for it?

    Is it worth the price?

    Are my goals realistic and right for me?

    Am I getting there?

    The purpose of life is growth. Prayer is not a magic button to escape that process. By compelling us to make an effort, God gives us the means to truly grow.

    God is always waiting for your call. The lines are open. Toll-Free. Pick up the phone today.

  7. yehudith says:

    The Talmud says that a Jew is obligated to pray, based upon Deuteronomy 11:13: “serve Him with all your thoughts — Livavchem — and with all your soul.” Livavchem is a form of the Hebrew word Leiv, which is most often translated as the heart. In the Torah, however, we find that the first appearance of Leiv is Genesis 6:5 “Machshavos Libo” — thoughts of his Leiv (see also Proverbs 19:21). We do the same thing in English, referring to a person with a “warm heart,” while in reality we know thoughts are in the head. Be that as it may, the service of G-d in Deuteronomy 11, service “with all your heart,” is found in our thoughts. The Sages of the Talmud say that this is prayer, Tefilah.

    The word Tefila deserves further examination as well, because although we commonly translate it as prayer, the origin of the word is the root Palel, meaning to judge or decide (see Ex. 21:22). Jewish prayer, in fact, is a form of reflection and self-judgment. In the reflexive form, the verb L’hispalel, “to pray,” actually means to judge one’s self.

    Prayer is better understood as a service of the Al-mighty that takes place in our thoughts, which involves judging ourselves, making decisions, before G-d. We make judgments and decisions many times each day. The obligation to pray asks us to involve G-d in our thoughts and in the decisions we make. Formal prayer remains necessary, for it trains us to turn to Him periodically throughout the day — but the training should lead us to turn to Him whenever we need clarity and help, far beyond the synagogue.

    G-d loves us, and He asks us to love Him back. Sometimes more precious than hearing “I love you” is hearing “I was thinking about you.” The more He’s on our mind, the closer we come to Him. Also, let’s not forget that He’s the ultimate source of all goodness. He pulls the strings infinitely more effectively than any other resource in our network of friends or associates. Shouldn’t such a personal contact take priority over all others? (Based on a lecture by Rabbi Jonathan Rietti)

    Rabbi Mordechai Dixler

  8. Changing Places

    When Rav Hamnuna would ascend from the river on erev Shabbos, he would lift up his eyes to see the angels of the weekday departing and the angels of Shabbos descending” (Zohar, Terumah 136b). The Arizal infers from this that it is a mitzvah for a man to im¬merse himself in a mikvah on erev Shabbos. In doing so he receives his neshamah yeseirah, the extra portion of his soul (Shaar Hakavanos 62).

    Going to the mikvah on erev Shabbos elevates us out of the weekday mindset. The Arizal wrote that when going to the mikvah on erev Shabbos, a person should go under the water twice – once to remove the “garments” of the weekday and the second to “don the special clothing” of Shabbos. Immersing once again on Shab¬bos morning brings us fully into the domain of Shabbos, when the second half of the neshamah yeseirah descends (Shaar Hakavanos 62).

    The Maharal describes a similar phenomenon in regard to tefillah. In order to enter the realm of prayer one must first go through a door, exiting from the mundane trivialities of everyday living. After he has passed through this, he is ready to go through the second door, the entranceway into appropriate prayer (Maharal Nesivos Olam – Nesiv H’avodah 5).

  9. Practicing Sorcery

    “You should not eat on blood” (Vayikra 19,26). Rashi explains that this verse alludes to the prohibition of eating sacrifices before their blood has been sprinkled on the altar, as well as eating an animal before it dies (eiver min hachai). Chazal add that the Torah is also teaching us that a person should not eat before he has prayed to Hashem for his blood (Berachos 10b).

    After commanding not to eat on blood, the Torah proceeds with the prohibitions of performing witchcraft and necromancy. The Zohar explains that the Torah equates one who eats before tefillah with someone who performs sorcery. What is the connection between these two prohibitions? The Zohar continues, “When a person goes to sleep at night, his soul leaves his body. When he wakes up in the morning a spirit of impurity envelops him, which is removed when one washes his hands. Even after the elimination of that spirit, a person is dominated by his physicality [which the Torah refers to as ‘his blood’]. As soon as a person prays, his soul regains control.

    “However, by eating before praying, a person is reinforcing the physicality in his body, and in doing so he is similar to those who perform witchcraft and necromancy who would also draw from impure sources in order to perform their black magic” (Zohar, Terumah 115b). The Zohar clearly treats eating before tefillah as a very serious matter. Let us familiarize ourselves with the halachos of this topic, which shall enable us to avoid the spiritual dangers described in the Zohar.

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