THE HEART OF PRAYER – 10th Av, 5769
The Baal Shem Tov’s Teachings on Prayer
4.b3 Prayer sweetens the judgment of Malchus so that G·d’s decree can be changed from bad to good.
Nachmanides asks about the nature of prayer: How can it improve a Divine decree? Can G·d’s Will be changed? If a person were praying for themself, we could understand how His Will can be changed. For just as they changed their own behavior from bad to good, so G·d’s decree can be changed from bad to good. But this principle should not apply to prayers offered on someone else’s behalf.
The Baal Shem Tov explained, in the name of his Heavenly teacher, Achiya HaShaloni, that prayer sweetens the judgment of Malchus, which is called Din , in its root in Binah. When you pray in this way for a friend, you bind them to their Supernal root, and they become a different person.
To explain this further, it is known that the Divine decree is a drop of seed in the womb of Malchus, and that it is composed of letters. As the Talmud says: “Betzalel knew how to combine the letters that went into the creation of heaven and earth.” Now, the King of Kings surely does not carry out His decrees Himself. He appoints an emissary, who makes use of the word-combinations that convey the decree. However, the emissary can rearrange the first letters of the words so that they imply something else.
Now, the Tzaddik is the emissary of the Shechinah, who knows how to sweeten the judgments and bind the drop that is in Malchus to Binah, thus transforming it into something else.
Katones Passim, p. 47b
Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Shore
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