Askmoses-A Jews Resource
Why do many religious Jews dress only in black?
Browse our archives

The Scholar is ready to answer your question. Click the button below to chat now.


Scholar Online:

Type in your question here:

Click the button below to either CHAT LIVE with an AskMoses Scholar now - or - leave a message if no Scholar is currently online.

CHAT or LEAVE A MESSAGE

The Wild Horse: Meditation and Prayer

by Rabbi Laibl Wolf

  

Library » Daily Life » Prayer | Subscribe | What is RSS?


PRINT EMAIL COMMENT

The dualistic self is not a pleasant experience. While the higher self, the Nefesh Elokit, strives to grow, improve and adopt compassion as its norm, the ego self, Nefesh Behamit, seeks self-indulgent behaviour and pleasurable titillation. This is the challenge of "right knowing" and "right feeling" -- the processes of sechel (intellect) and middot (emotions) as Kabbalah explains.

All of us need to set aside time, protected and expansive, to train our consciousness to flow through our higher self. Such personal retreats are a sine qua non for the spiritual "mover" - the person who dismisses self-satisfaction and smugness and prefers spiritual motion. Some people retreat formally each year or even twice a year. Others set aside a monthly half-day in their homes, but removed from phone, computer, people and "busy-ness"

The word "prayer" is an antiquated English term, a Shakespearean-like request or entreaty. The Hebrew word, teffilah, has quite a different connotation
The Jewish spiritual pathway of Chassidism demands even more. It asks each of us to designate time each and every morning to engage in this process. That time is poorly defined as "prayer". The word "prayer" is an antiquated English term, a Shakespearean-like request or entreaty. The Hebrew word, teffilah, has quite a different connotation. The word is an amalgam of introspection and ego-abnegation. The time set aside for this activity is sacred and elevated, because this is the time when the inner duality seeks reconciliation. The higher-self asserts itself while the lower-self is "broken in", like a wild horse, becoming a valuable servant of higher consciousness. A physical body that is pure of intention and emotionally wise can well serve the spiritual world of ideals, aspirations, and mastery.

That is why the daily period of teffilah is referred to by the masters as the time for "waging war". The truer and higher self, Nefesh Elokit, literally wages war against the Nefesh Behamit -- our temptations and poor habits. To fight this inner battle successfully the spiritual aspirant has to be fully aware of his/her shortcomings. This requires a clear and courageous scanning of the communication and behaviour patters. In the process it has to subdue and convert the strong pulls and tugs of mundane pleasure and self-seeking reverie. The "monkey-mind", forever restless and antic-ridden, has to strive for focus. The emotions' infatuation with the experiential have to be redirected into energetic expressions of wisdom and other-centeredness.


ADD A COMMENT

Please email me when new comments are posted (you must be  logged in).

COMMENTS

Meditation and Tefilah

Posted by: Moe Chile, London, Canada on Sep 16, 2006

I enjoyed the article on meditation and tefilah very much. The authors description is as valid as any that I have heard. I daily practice this type of introspection and have seen amazing results from it.

RELATED CATEGORIES

Torah » Kabbalah » Meditation
Mitzvot » Prayer » About

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Chabad
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
Chassidic
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) A follower of the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).
Kabbalah
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.