Prayer & Meditation


I have already explained in another place [in Gate 20, part I] that the intention behind the 'Aleynu is unlimited praise, and therefore it is fitting that one recite it after each of the three daily prayers, and not, as some are accustomed to do, only after the morning service.

The purpose of this praise is as follows: After we have set forth the entire order of all the worlds in all their details, and have raised them upwards from down below by the [end of the] 'Amidah, we then give [divine] influence to each and every world from the 'Amidah to this point. Then all the worlds are situated higher [than usual] as stated above. So here our intention should now be to bring down all the worlds into their [normal] places, in order that each world may divide its 'prey' among the 'children of its household' which it maintains, as it is written: 'The young lions roar for their prey (seeking their food from God)' (Psalm 104:21).

But here we are anxious that the 'shells' (kelipot) should not seize hold of this [divine] influence. Therefore we recite this 'Aleynuleshabbeach ('It is our duty to praise...'), for by means of it the 'outside forces' (chitzonim) are annihilated and are unable to seize hold of the illumination belonging to the [four] worlds.

Hayyim Vital, Pri 'Etz Hayyim ('Fruit of the Tree of Life'), Gate 13, Chapter 6 on the 'Aleynu prayer (Jerusalem: 1980), p.312.


On Saying the Four-Letter Name of God

Whenever you recite a blessing and allow the Tetragammaton to come out of your lips, be careful to unite in unity the two names, YH_VH and 'Ado_nai ('the Lord'). The [first] reason is this: Isn't it written as YH_VH but pronounced as 'Ado_nai? But more than that, it is fitting that you should have in mind the YH_VH every time that [that name] issues from your lips, wherever it appears. Don't forget to have this in mind! And the reason is that it is the connection between Malchut and Ze'eir 'Anpin ('The Impatient One') in this manner: It is written as YH_VH, and you should have in mind that the letters YH_V represent Ze'eir 'Anpin, while the last H in it represents Malchut. You should keep in mind that 'Ado_nai is produced in the [following] manner: One visualizes the name YH_VH while mentally relating the final H to Nukba, ('The Female'), 'Ado_nai, which is the final H of the YHVH.

Jacob Hayyim Tzemach (died after 1665), Nagid Umetzaveh ('The One Who Tells and Commands'), (Jerusalem: 1965), p.17.

'Ayn Kelohaynu

1. This verse corresponds to the World of Making ('Asiyah) and goes from below upwards. It includes all five partzufim ('faces') because Keter adheres to Hochmah in that it is mystically represented by the hook of the yod, as is well known.

'There is none' HeH 'like our God.'Malchut

'There is none' VaV 'like our Lord.'Tif'eret

'There is none' HeH 'like our ruler.'Binah

'There is none' YOD'like our saviour.' Hochmah

2. This verse corresponds to the World of Formation (Yetzirah). It includes all five partzufim, as stated above.

'Who' He' 'is like our God?' Malchut

'Who' Va'V 'is like our Lord?' Tif'eret

'Who' He' 'is like our ruler?' Binah

'Who' YOD 'is like our saviour?'Hochmah

3. This verse corresponds to the World of Creation (Beri'ah). It includes all five partzufim as stated above.

'We give thanks' HeY 'to our God.'Malchut

'We give thanks' Va'V 'to our Lord.' Tif'eret

'We give thanks' HeY 'to our ruler.'Binah

'We give thanks' YOD 'to our saviour.'Hochmah

4. This verse corresponds to the World of Emanation ('Atzilut). It includes all five partzufim, as stated above.

'Blessed is' HeY 'our God.' Malchut

'Blessed is' VaYV 'our Lord.' Tif'eret

'Blessed is' HeY 'our ruler.' Binah

'Blessed is' YOD 'our saviour.' Hochmah

5. This verse corresponds to the worlds from 'Atzilut upwards as far as the 'Ayn Sof so that some of the light of 'Ayn Sof may shine downwards through the [other] levels down to the World of 'Asiyah.

'You are our God.' 'Arich 'Anpin ('The Patient One')

'You are our Lord.' The beginning of 'Ayin ('Nothingness')

'You are our ruler.' 'Atika Kadisha ('The Holy Ancient One') the beginning of the Unknown.

'You are our saviour.' 'Adam Kadmon ('The Primordial Man'), including 'Ayn Sof.

Jacob Koppel ben Moses of Mezritch (died 1740), Siddur MeHaAri-Kol Ya'akov (Slavita: 1804), fol.104a-b.

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