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As Divided for a Leap Year
Tanya For 29 Cheshvan
As to what is stated in [the Zohar,] Parshat Pekudei,  [that prayer without proper intent is repelled] "into the lowest heaven," [indicating that it is allowed to rise at least to that point], whereas in [the Zohar,] Parshat Vayakhel,  the implication is that "only if it is a seemly word, [i.e., prompted by the proper intent], do [the appointed angels] ascend with it to the atmosphere of the heaven above...."
[How does this latter passage accord with the previously quoted statement in Pekudei, that even when the prayer is without proper intent it still ascends, at least to the lowest firmament?]
This [seeming contradiction] presents no problem.
For the expression in Pekudei, "the lowest heaven of the heavens that govern the world," refers to Malchut of Asiyah, whereas in Parshat Vayakhel, the reference is to Za of Asiyah, as is written in Etz Chayim, Shaar HaShemot, chapter 3, in reference to Za of Asiyah; see there.
[It could be argued that the above question presupposed that the "lower heaven" of Pekudei was of the same level as the "heaven above" of Vayakhel, for the "lower heaven" too is "above the sun."
By the same token, the answer refers to two distinct levels of "heaven".
Pekudei refers to Malchut of Asiyah, while Vayakhel refers to Za of Asiyah, to which prayers ascend when they are "seemly".
From this level they ascend yet further, to the G-dliness of the Ten Sefirot of Yetzirah and Beriah.
The main point here is, however, that when a prayer is not "seemly" it is not elevated even to Za of Asiyah, but merely to Malchut of Asiyah.
It could be explained that when prayer without proper intent is elevated to the "lower heaven," its elevation does not bring about that which prayer should effect.
For in order for a prayer to have its proper effect, such as the fulfillment of its requests, there must be drawn down into this world a degree of Divine influence that transcends the world, thereby healing the sick, or providing the year's blessings, and so on.
When, however, a prayer is repelled to Malchut of Asiyah, i.e., to that level from which all worldly things derive their life-force, then this level obviously cannot provide for whatever the world is lacking.
But when a properly-motivated prayer reaches up to Za of Asiyah, from there an efflux can be drawn down into the world to provide whatever the world lacks, thereby fulfilling the individual's petitions.]
As to the apparent implication in Parshat Pekudei that even invalid prayer - [prayer whose intent is confused by alien thoughts] - ascends to the First Chamber, whence it is hurled down, and this [Chamber] is in Za of Beriah, this presents no difficulty, for even palpable sins, minor and grave, ascend there, even as far as the Fourth Chamber, as is written [in the Zohar] on page 252a.
[It would thus seem that even an invalid prayer is at first elevated to Za of Beriah.]
It is thus certain that in essence the [above] ascensions are not identical, and there is no comparison or similarity between them except for the common name.
This will suffice for the discerning.
[The elevation of good actions means that they are actually uplifted to higher degrees of holiness, where they accomplish whatever they are intended to accomplish.
With regard to sins, however, their "elevation" to the higher worlds brings about a blemish there.
So, too, when we say that an "invalid prayer" ascends to the First Chamber, we are not at all speaking of the kind of elevation that takes place when a prayer is offered with the proper intent.]
This will also enable us to grasp the statement [in the Zohar] on page 247, that in the Second Chamber [there is to be found] the one appointed over the garments that clothe the soul as a result of the performance of mitzvot.
[The bracketed Hebrew text here offers several variations]:
Even though [the mitzvot performed, and by extension, the soul's garments that are fashioned thereby], are in the Lower Gan Eden in [the World of] Asiyah, as stated there [in the Zohar] on page 210.
[How, then, do we say that the one appointed over - or alternatively, the garments of - the performance of the mitzvot are to be found in the Second Chamber of the World of Beriah?
However, as explained earlier, the above elevations are essentially dissimilar.
Thus, though the mitzvot performed are located in the lower Garden of Eden of the World of Asiyah, the soul nevertheless ascends to the Second Chamber of Beriah and receives from there the garments that result from the performance of mitzvot.
For the elevation of the soul to the level of Beriah in order to receive its garments is utterly different from the elevation of the mitzvot themselves to the lower Garden of Eden of the World of Asiyah.]
- (Back to text) P. 245b, quoted above.
- (Back to text) P. 201b, quoted above.
- (Back to text) Brackets are in the original text.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "Rather than `one'."
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "Rather than `appointed over the garments.'"
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "The expressions `is found' and `are housed' both relate [these garments] specifically to the Second Chamber.
There is, however, some difficulty here, for it would seem that an even stronger statement is made there - that the garment is actually fashioned in this Chamber through the performance of the mitzvot."
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