Sunday, February 21, 2016

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The recipe for Devei­kuth, the path to the highest worlds

by Reb Aharon Rubin, from Eye to the Infinite, shared with permission.

clip_image002One of the ways of redirecting and focusing the mind is through forming a periphery to one’s focus. The con­scious mind comprises two areas: the focus and the periph­ery – a space or ‘margin’ that serves to keep the mind centred. Con­stricting attention to the words of prayer whilst thinking of G-d auto­matically causes a meditative state, because the words form a periph­ery to one’s aware­ness, which is fo­cused on G-d.[1] Moving from one word to the next, your mind be­comes increasingly engaged with the idea of standing be­fore G-d’s Pres­ence.

The words of prayer form a spiral of peripheral thoughts that expedite the intensity of Divine-awareness and deveikuth (see fig. 8). This sin­gle-minded aware­ness of G-d binds the entire prayer, helping to avoid the straying of con­centra­tion due to over-familiarity with the lit­urgy. Another tool, based on the same principle, is to sway backwards and for­wards during prayer, referred to (in Yiddish) as shockeling.[2] This very physical expression of devotion also serves to direct the mind, acting as a periphery to one’s area of focus.

As mentioned earlier, prayer needs to be physically expressed. The combi­nation of intent, emotion, verbalisation of the holy words and the yearning to attach to G-d, lifts one’s aware­ness to the neshomoh-soul level. It is most im­por­tant there­fore to pray with emotion and feeling, specifically יראה – aware­ness and fear of G-d, and הודאה – thank­ful­ness (the emo­tions men­tioned above).[3]

Awareness of G-d brings about a sweet and captivat­ing awe craved by the soul, which, when combined with gratefulness and humility, opens the door to Heaven and draws the soul to G-d in loving embrace. This is the recipe for devei­kuth, the path to the highest worlds.


[1] Conversely, using the focus on G-d to occupy one’s conscious mind, one can enter the inner light of the words and letters.

[2] Some find a hint to this in Psalm 35, "All my limbs shall declare, 'O L-rd, who is like You?'

[3] See Psalm 100:4, “באו לפניו בתודה – Come before Him in thanksgiving”.

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