commentary by Rabbi Yehoshua Gross
This Lesson Presents the Text of Rebbe Nachman’s Own Words
Rebbe Nachman opens with the verse, “Hashem said to Moses, Speak to the cohanim, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: None shall defile himself for the dead among his people” (Leviticus 21:1).
The straightforward meaning of this verse is that Hashem told Moses to caution the cohanim not to defile themselves by coming into contact with a corpse. At the end of this lesson, Rebbe Nachman will explain the meaning of this verse in accordance with this lesson.
We learn in Sifra Ditzni’uta, a Kabbalistic work that forms part of the Zohar, “From the nostril [literally, ‘the orifice of the nose, the pardashka’], a spirit of life is drawn to the Messiah” (Zohar, Terumah, Chapter 2, p. 177a).
There exists a partzuf, a spiritual structure, called Erech Anpin in the upper worlds (corresponding to the highest of the ten sefirot, keter.) This partzuf possesses an element called chotem, the “nose.” From its left nostril, a spirit of life descends to the lowest sefirah, malchut.
When the Messiah will come to redeem Israel, he will receive that spirit of life, which will imbue him with the strength to redeem the Jewish people.
Having introduced the idea that the Messiah derives his energy from the “nostril,” Rebbe Nachman now explains the concept of the chotem, the “nose,” and the nature of the power of the Messiah.
1. The principal weapon of the Messiah who will battle against the power of evil in the world in order to destroy and overcome it is prayer. With his prayer to Hashem, he will nullify the power of evil in the world.
This is because it—prayer--is on the level of the chotem, from which the Messiah receives his power.
This link is derived as follows. As the verse states, God addresses the nation of Israel: “For the sake of My name, I will defer My anger and for My praise I will restrain [echetam, related to chotem] [My anger] for you, so as not to destroy you” (Isaiah 48:9). Rashi explains the phrase, “and for My praise I will restrain” as follows: “I will close My nose so as not to allow smoke to come forth from it—[meaning,] so as not to get angry and destroy you.” Thus, this verse links praise—which, more generally, refers to prayer—with chotem.
Since the Messiah receives his strength from the level of the chotem, and the chotem corresponds to prayer, the principal strength of the Messiah to conquer the world and nullify the evil in the world comes about through prayer.
And this constitutes the essence of his vitality. The Messiah’s principal life-force and existence come about by means of prayer.
And all of his fighting that he will engage in and all of the victories that he will accomplish in order to conquer the nations of the world and bring the world to a perfect rectification so that Hashem will be King over all the earth all come from there—from the level of prayer.
As we saw, the Zohar states that Messiah derives his strength from the level of the chotem. That is based on a verse as is written in Isaiah regarding the king Messiah: “He will be enlivened [v’haricho] by the fear of Hashem, and not by the sight of his eyes will he judge and not in accordance with what his ears hear will he rebuke” (Isaiah 11:3).
The Hebrew word for “he will be enlivened”--v’haricho—can be translated as “and he will smell” (the grammatical root of this word, rei’ach, means “smell”).
Thus, our Sages read this verse as stating that when people come before the Messiah to be judged, his great fear of heaven will make it possible for him to know by smell alone who is innocent and who is guilty.
This corresponds to chotem, since a person smells with his nose. Thus, since the Messiah will possess the level of “smell,” he will possess the level of chotem, which in turn corresponds to prayer.
And not only will the Messiah possess the level of prayer, but that prayer will be his principal weapon.
As the verse states, when Jacob blessed Joseph and his sons, he told Joseph: “I have given you one portion more than your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow” (Genesis 48:22). Rashi interprets this to mean, “I am giving you the first-born status that I took from the hand of Esau my brother with my prayer and pleas to God that your sons may take two portions in the land of Israel.” And Rashi explains that “my sword and my bow” refers to “my prayer and pleading.”
And an additional proof text that “sword and bow” refers to “prayer and pleading” may be found in the fact that, as a verse states, King David said to Hashem, “For not in my bow do I trust and my sword will not save me … in God we have praised” (Psalms 44:7,9). This means that the power of the tzaddik comes about not through his fighting with a weapon such as a bow but through his prayer (which is associated with “praise”).
Thus, we learn that the “sword and bow”—the principal weaponry of the Messiah—will be prayer and pleading.
That is the level alluded to by the verse, “And for My praise I will restrain [My anger] for You,” from which we learn that prayer corresponds to the chotem, and that Messiah, who will possess the trait of the chotem, will possess the level of prayer.
Just as the Messiah will nullify the evil in the world by means of prayer, which constitutes his principal weapon, so too the principal weapon of every Jew to overcome and nullify his own evil inclination is prayer—whether in the form of the three daily prayer services or in the form of his prayers in his own words.
After having taught that prayer is the principal weapon with which a person nullifies the power of evil in the world and within himself, Rebbe Nachman now explains how a person attains perfect prayer.
2. And regarding this weapon of proper prayer, it must be received by Messiah as well as every individual via the level of Joseph, that being “the guarding of the covenant.”
A person must guard the “sign of the holy covenant”—i.e., his sexuality—perfectly and not blemish it.
“Joseph” corresponds to the trait and sefirah of yesod, which in turn corresponds to the sanctified male organ, the “sign of the holy covenant.”
When a person sanctifies himself by guarding his covenant and not defiling himself, then he can pray properly, truly clinging to Hashem. And then God accepts his prayers.
As the verse states, King David tells the tzaddik who is learning Torah, “Gird your sword on the thigh” (Psalms 45:4). Rashi explains the straightforward meaning of the verse as meaning that the tzaddik must prepare himself to engage in vigorous debate with his colleagues—to wage the wars of Torah.
In accordance with the idea of the importance of guarding the covenant in order to pray correctly, this verse may be understood as follows,. “Gird your sword” refers to prayer, which is a Jew’s sword. “On the thigh” means that a person’s prayer should be bound to the realm of the thigh, which is in the vicinity the “covenant.” It thus alludes to the guarding the covenant.
When a person attains the level of “thigh,” of guarding the covenant, then he will “gird his sword to his thigh”—his prayer will be connected to the level of guarding the covenant.
And then he will be able to make proper use of the sword—he will be able to pray properly.
And there is another proof text that indicates that as a result of guarding his covenant a person attains prayer.
As the verse states, God promised King David, “Those from the fruit of your belly will I place upon your throne” (Psalms 132:11). The kings of Israel will come from the seed of David, including Messiah himself.
Therefore, that verse is alluding to the level of Messiah, which is the level of prayer—for, as we learned earlier, the principal life force of the Messiah is prayer.
And the subsequent verse explains how King David merited that Messiah would come forth from his seed: “If your sons guard My covenant”—that is to say, by means of the level of Joseph, the level of “guarding the covenant.”
After having taught that a person can attain prayer by means of guarding the covenant, Rebbe Nachman now explains that Joseph in particular attained prayer as a result of guarding the covenant.
And Joseph, who guarded the covenant, took the first-born status.
Joseph “guarded the covenant” in two instances. First, he resisted the wiles of the wife of Potiphar. And second, when he rode in a royal parade upon the occasion of his becoming viceroy, he refused to look at the Egyptian women who strode upon the wall and threw golden jewelry before him to attract his attention.
As a result, he “took the first-born status.” Jacob gave Joseph the first-born status, which meant that his offspring would receive a double portion of the territory of the land of Israel.
That first-born status corresponds to the service of prayer.
The reason that the first-born status, consisting of a double portion of the inheritance, and prayer are associated with each other is that prayer too is on the level of a double portion. This is because prayer is a double portion insofar as that phrase literally means “double mouth” (pi shnayim: pi means “mouth” and shnayim means “two”).
Prayer is recited with the mouth and it has a double quality, in that they—prayers--possess two aspects: praise of God—a person praises the Creator for His greatness and for His deeds--and pleading for the fulfillment of one’s needs—a person asks the Creator to attain his needs.
And it—prayer—therefore corresponds to a phrase found in Psalms: “The high praises of God are in their throat and a double-edged [pipiyot—literally, ‘double-mouthed’] sword in their hand, to carry out vengeance against the nations, chastisements against the peoples” (Psalms 149:6-7).
The double-edged sword is a sword with two blades. That is to say, “the high praises of God”—a reference to prayer—are like a double-edged sword, the level of “two mouths.” Prayer is compared to a sword of two blades in that it is on the level of a double portion: the praise of God and the request for fulfillment of one’s needs.
And so the first-born status and prayer belong to the same category. The first-born status is “a double portion” in that the first-born takes a double portion compared to his brothers, and prayer is a “double portion” in the sense of a “double mouthful”: the praise of God and the request for the fulfillment of one’s needs.
And in order to attain the first-born status and prayer a person must guard the covenant.
And so, because Joseph attained the level of prayer, which is the level of “for My praise I will restrain [My anger]”—i.e., the level of the life-force drawn from the orifice of the nose [pardashka] [see above, where Rebbe Nachman explained that prayer is on the level of chotem, since it is drawn from the level called “the nostril of the chotem” in the partzuf of Erech Anpin], he is therefore called “Joseph … a charming [porat] son,” which is the level of the 686 spiritual lights, since 686 is the numerical value of the word porat.
That total of the 686 lights consists of seven Divine Names: AV, SaG, MaH, BaN (the four expansions of the name Havayah), and K’SA, K’NA, K’MaG (the three expansions of the name Ekyeh). These altogether have the numerical total value of 686, which he—Joseph--receives from the nostril of the pardashka—from the level called the nostril of the chotem, for Joseph attained the life-force that is drawn from the nostril of the chotem, which is the category of 686 lights. This is because pardashka has the numerical value of 686. Therefore, the level of the pardashka contains 686 lights.
And since Joseph merited to receive these 686 lights, he is called “Yosef … a charming [porat] son.”
And it—the first-born status--was taken away from Reuben, Jacob’s first-born son, because he defiled his father’s bed.
Jacob was married to two sisters, Leah and Rachel, and had as concubines their respective handmaids, Zilpah and Bilhah. Each of these four women had her own tent. Leah was the mother of Jacob’s first-born son, Reuben. However, Jacob favored Rachel, and he thus kept his bed in her tent. When Rachel passed away, Reuben expected Jacob to move his bed to the tent of his mother Leah. When Jacob instead moved his bed to the tent of Bilhah, Reuben was outraged and took Jacob’s bed and placed it in Leah’s tent.
This act possessed a trace of a blemish of the covenant.
And so, since it-–the first-born status--is dependent upon guarding the covenant, after Reuben committed an act commensurate with violating the covenant, the first-born status was taken away from him and given to Joseph, who guarded the covenant.
After having described the great power of prayer and having taught that a person attains it by guarding the covenant, Rebbe Nachman now explains that after a person has attained prayer he must know how to make use of it.
3. And a person who has attained this sword of prayer must know how to fight with the sword, so as not to turn it to the right or to the left.
A person should not turn his prayer too much to the right—which is the side of lovingkindness—by asking for compassion on behalf of someone who does not deserve it. Nor should he turn his prayer too much to the left—which is the side of stern might—by asking God to send a person more punishment than he deserves.
And he should hit the mark and not veer astray. This phrase echoes a verse that describes a person using a slingshot to strike a hair.
A person must know how to reach the proper target with his prayer without veering to the right or left.
There is an alternative explanation of the meaning of veering too far right or left in one’s prayers.
When a person asks Hashem at length to help him overcome his lusts and evil traits, yet he is not answered and, to the contrary, his lusts and confusions grow even stronger, he might mistakenly think that his prayers were uttered in vain. That corresponds to veering to the left—as though Hashem is cruelly stern and does not heed prayers. Instead, this person should constantly engage in a great deal of prayer and believe that not a single word is lost, that his every petition makes an impression. Each prayer contributes to building a spiritual structure. When that structure is completed, then Hashem will have compassion on him.
Conversely, when a person prays and Hashem rescues him, he should not mistakenly think that he brought this about with his prayers and good deeds. Rather, he should know that this was due solely to God’s lovingkindness. But he should not mistakenly think that there is no need for him to engage in a great deal of prayer but that he should rely on Hashem’s lovingkindness alone. Such thinking corresponds to veering to the right, in relying solely on Hashem’s lovingkindness.
Rather, each person must do his part and engage in a great deal of prayer, even though he is aware that in truth his prayers can only have an effect when Hashem bestows His kindness upon him.
And this matter of not turning prayer to the right or to the left, can come about only via the concept of judgment. This is because judgment is the “middle pillar.”
Judgment is the middle pillar between the sefirot of chesed (“lovingkindness”) on the right and gevurah (“might”) on the left. The middle pillar is the trait, or sefirah, of tiferet, which is composed of a combination of chesed and gevurah.
A person exercises his judgment on how to use the chesed and gevurah together, without veering too much to the side of chesed or to the side of gevurah.
That is to say, he uses his weapon of prayer to reach the necessary place, without veering right or left but remaining in the middle. And when a person attains this level of judgment, he can pray properly and direct his prayer to the middle.
And that is the level alluded to in the verse: “He balances his words with [proper] judgment” (Psalms 112:5). This verse indicates that a person must properly balance and conduct his words of prayer by employing judgment.
And so it is specifically from Jacob that Joseph received the first-born status. The verse states that Jacob told Joseph: “And I have given you one portion more than your brothers” (Genesis 48:22). There is a stress on the word “I,” referring to Jacob, the level of judgment. Jacob is the level of tiferet, which is the level of judgment. (This fits into the well-known association of Abraham with chesed, Isaac with gevurah, and Jacob with tiferet.)
And this is alluded to in the verse, “For it is a law for Israel” (Psalms 81:5). This verse alludes to the idea that “law” is associated with the level of the covenant. As is written in the blessing recited at a circumcision, “Who sanctified the beloved one from the womb, and placed a law in his flesh.” The covenant is a law that God gave to the offspring of Abraham.
And the verse, “For it is a law for Israel,” ends with the words, “a judgment for the God of Jacob.” That is to say, the level of the covenant is perfected by means of the level of judgment. When a person attains the level of the covenant and therefore attains prayer, he immediately requires the trait of judgment so that he may direct his prayer properly.
That is to say, Joseph, who is the level of the covenant, must receive this sword of prayer (which is the level of the first-born status) from the level of judgment, so that he may weigh his words with judgment.
Therefore Joseph had to receive the first-born status in particular from Jacob, so as to also receive the trait of judgment.
And this is what King David said: “God, give Your judgments to the king and Your charity to the son of the king” (Psalms 72:1).
That is to say, King David prayed that the King Messiah, whose principal strength inheres in prayer, will receive energy from the level of judgment so that he may utilize the power of prayer properly.
After having taught that by guarding the covenant a person attains prayer and that in order to pray properly he requires the level of judgment, Rebbe Nachman now explains how a person attains the level of judgment.
4. And by what means does one attain the level of judgment, so that he might direct his prayer to the proper location? By means of giving charity.
By means of giving charity, we grasp the trait of judgment. As it is written regarding Moses, “He performed the tzedakah [‘righteousness’ or ‘charity’] of Hashem, and His judgments with Israel” (Deuteronomy 33:21). The straightforward meaning of this verse is “that Moses our teacher conducted himself with righteousness and judgment” [quote from where?]. But in the context of this lesson, this verse indicates that because Moses performed the mitzvah of charity, he attained the trait of judgment, and with that he was able to judge Israel properly.
And in addition, it is written that King David said to Hashem: “You performed judgment and charity in Jacob” (Psalms 99:4). The straightforward meaning of this verse is that “the righteous judgments of the Torah are the works of Your hands.” But in the context of this lesson, this verse alludes to the idea that charity and judgment are connected to each other.
And by giving charity we attain the level of judgment, because charity is given by means of judgment. As it is written: “God is judge; He lowers one and raises another” (ibid. 75:8)—meaning that by means of the trait of judgment God impoverishes one person and grants wealth to another. He judges what is suitable for each person.
And similarly, when a person gives charity, he is on the level of “lowering one,” in that he reduces his own money, and on the level of “raising another,” in that he grants wealth to the poor person. Thus, in this way he grasps the trait of judgment.
Since this person performs an act of judgment, he attains the level of judgment. Then he is able to direct his prayers to the proper location, without allowing them to veer to the right or to the left.
And because of this, the Gemara and the Shulchan Aruch teach that a person must set aside charity before praying (Bava Batra 10a and Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 92:10).
The reason is so that he may weigh his words of prayer with judgment, and therefore hit the mark and not miss it, tending neither too much to the side of chesed nor too much to the side of gevurah. This is because (as was explained previously) when a person gives charity he attains the trait of judgment.
After having taught that Joseph received the first-born status and the ability to engage in prayer from Jacob, who is the level of judgment and who passed on the ability to engage in judgment to Joseph, and now having taught that a person attains judgment as a result of giving charity, Rebbe Nachman now explains that Joseph too attained judgment because he gave charity.
And this is related to what our Sages said: “Why did Jacob give the first-born status to Joseph and not to his other sons, so that Joseph’s offspring received two portions of the land of Israel? It was because Joseph supported him when he was in Egypt. This may be compared to a householder who raised an orphan in his home. With the passage of time, the orphan grew wealthy and he said, “I will assist the householder from my possessions.” So too Joseph (corresponding to the householder) supported Jacob (corresponding to the orphan) in Egypt. In the end, Jacob grew wealthy, for he got back the first-born double portion that should have gone to Reuben, which Jacob took away from him because Reuben had defiled the bed of his father. And Jacob said, “I will assist Joseph from my possessions and give him the first-born status” (Bava Batra 123a).
Thus, we see that Joseph attained the first-born status (which, as was explained above, is the level of prayer) by means of the charity that he performed on behalf of his father and on behalf of his brothers.
And there is an additional proof of the matter as well. As it is written: “Joseph supported his father and his brothers … with bread, according to the young children” (Genesis 47:12). Rashi explains the straightforward meaning of the final phrase, “according to the young children,” as meaning: “in accordance with what all of their family members needed.”
But in the context of this lesson, that phrase—in Hebrew, l’fi hataf—can be associated with speech, as God told the prophet Ezekiel in the verse, “Preach [hateif] to the south” (Ezekiel 21:2). The straightforward meaning of this verse is, “Speak facing Jerusalem, which is in the south” [source?]. But in the context of this lesson, the word hateif, “preach,” may be associated with the word hataf, “the young children,” which is thus also an expression of speech.
That being the case, the phrase l’fi hataf may be translated as “according to the speech”—which is to say, in accordance with the words of prayer. That is to say, his—Joseph’s--prayer was “smooth in his mouth,” meaning that he knew how to direct his prayer properly so that it would not tend right or left. He accomplished this by means of the charity that he performed on behalf of his father and brothers.
And so the verse may be read: “Joseph supported”—he performed charity. As a result, he attained “according to the speech”—his prayer was proper. And thus, as a result of the charity that he—Joseph--performed, Jacob, who is the level of judgment, gave him the first-born status, which is the level of prayer. This is because, as a result of having given that charity, Joseph was worthy of receiving the level of judgment. And as a result of having guarded the covenant he was worthy of receiving the level of prayer.
Therefore, he received the first-born status and prayer from Jacob, who is the level of judgment.
And the fact that Joseph had to receive the first-born status specifically from Jacob, who is the level of judgment, is explained in the following verse, as it is written that Jacob told Joseph when he blessed him: “I have given you one portion more than your brothers”—which is the first-born status. “I,” in particular, which is the level of judgment. [?] As was explained above, Jacob is the level of tiferet, the level of judgment.
After having taught that when a person guards the covenant he attains prayer, that in order to pray properly he requires the trait of judgment in order to direct his prayer to the middle, and that he attains that trait of judgment by giving charity, Rebbe Nachman now explains that if a person’s trait of judgment is impaired, his prayer in turn is damaged, because the two are interdependent.
5. And judgment and prayer are interdependent, since a person can only direct his prayer properly by means of the level of judgment. Therefore, the essence of foreign thoughts that come to a person when he is praying are a result of damage to his level of judgment.
This is because judgment is associated with eyes. As it is written: “They came to Ein Mishpat” (Genesis 14:7). The straightforward meaning of this verse is that Kedarleomer and the kings in allegiance with him came to a place called Ein Mishpat, the Well of Judgment. But in the context of this lesson, this name may be translated as the “Eye of Judgment.” This verse indicates a connection between eyes and judgment.
This is the level of Moses blessing the Jewish people: “Israel shall dwell in security, ein Yaakov alone” (Deuteronomy 33:28). The straightforward meaning of this verse is that “Israel will dwell alone in security, exactly as Jacob [blessed them],” in which ein Yaakov means “exactly as Jacob.” However, in the context of the present lesson this phrase can be read as “the eye of Jacob.” As such, this verse indicates that there is a connection between the level of eyes and the level of Jacob, which in turn corresponds to the level of judgment.
And thus, since judgment and the eyes are equivalent, when a person’s judgment is damaged, that causes damage to the eyes. As it is written: “Bribery blinds the eyes of the wise” (Deuteronomy 16:19). When a person takes a bribe, which indicates damage to his ability to judge, that blinds his eyes.
And that damage to the eyes is the level of foreign thoughts in prayer, which are called “clouds that cover the eyes.” These are the “husks” (negative spiritual energies) of Esau and Ishmael, which generate the foreign thoughts that come to a person when he is praying. If a person does not properly repair his trait of judgment, he causes these husks to gain strength, and as a result foreign thoughts insert themselves into his prayer.
As it is written, the prophet laments: “You have covered Yourself in a cloud so that prayer may not pass” (Lamentations 3:44). The Targum Yonatan translates this as, “You covered the heavens in clouds so that prayer will not make its way to You.” Thus, this verse indicates that there is a level of “clouds” that prevent a person’s prayer from rising upward to God.
And that occurs when people sin and thus strengthen the husks of Esau and Ishmael, which constitute the “clouds” that cover a person’s eyes and insert foreign thoughts into his prayer. And that in turn arouses “clouds” on a heavenly level, insofar as that God covers heaven with these clouds to keep prayer from rising to Him.
Why do these “clouds” insert foreign thoughts into a person’s prayer? As was explained earlier, in order for a person to attain proper prayer, he requires the level of judgment. If a person’s judgment (which corresponds to the level of eyes) is imperfect and damaged, these clouds have the power to cover it. And when they cover judgment, they also cover his prayer, which is dependent upon judgment—and that causes foreign thoughts to enter into his prayer.
At this time, when we are in exile, the level of judgment remains damaged. And therefore foreign thoughts enter into a person’s mind when he prays.
Earlier we learned that when a person gives charity he attains the level of judgment, and now we have learned that when a person’s level of judgment is damaged that causes foreign thoughts to enter his prayer. From this we may conclude that giving charity before praying helps a person avoid experiencing foreign thoughts in his prayer.
And in the future, when the Messiah will come, when the level of judgment will be rectified, as is written: “Zion will be redeemed with judgment” (Isaiah 1:27)—Zion will be redeemed as a result of the level of judgment being rectified--then the clouds that cover the eye, which correspond to judgment, will pass away and disappear. As it is written, “For eye to eye will they see Hashem returning to Zion” (ibid. 52:8). People will attain clear sight, because the level of the eyes will be rectified. Then judgment will be proper, and automatically a person’s prayer too will be proper, without any foreign thoughts.
And when the level of a person’s eyes will be rectified, then the level of the supernal “eyes” of God will also be rectified, as a result of which the supernal clouds that prevent prayer from rising will disappear. Consequently, that will bring about the level of “eye to eye”: the rectification of man’s eye and, as it were, of God’s eye.
And therefore Joseph is called “a son charming to the eye” (Genesis 49:22). Rashi explains the straightforward meaning of this phrase as that “his charm attracts the eye of those who see him.” In the context of the present lesson, this phrase indicates that Joseph attained the level of eyes. He did so insofar as he attained the level of prayer and, in particular, the level of judgment, since judgment is the level of the eyes.
After having taught that in order to attain prayer a person requires the levels of guarding the covenant and judgment, Rebbe Nachman now tells of an additional condition that a person must fulfill in order for his prayer to function properly.
6. And in addition to that which we learned earlier—that in order to attain prayer a person must attain the levels of guarding the covenant and judgment—there is an additional requirement that he must fulfill in order to attain prayer that will function properly.
And that is that every individual must have in mind in his prayer—when he stands to pray--that he is binding himself to the tzaddikim of the generation.
This is because every tzaddik in the generation is on the level of Moses, who is on the level of Messiah. As we find, the tzaddikim call each other Moses. As is stated in the Talmud, one sage addressed his colleague, “Moses, have you spoken well?” (Shabbat 101b)—meaning, “You who are in your generation as was Moses in his generation, have you spoken well?”
Thus, the tzaddik is called Moses.
And Moses is the level of Messiah. As it is written, “Until the coming of Shiloh” (Genesis 49:10). Rashi explains that “Shiloh” constitutes a term for the Messiah, and the Zohar explains, “that is Moses Messiah” (Genesis 25b)—i.e., Moses and Messiah are equivalent— for “Shiloh” has the numerical value of “Moses.” Thus, Moses and Messiah are inextricably linked with each other.
And since the tzaddik of the generation is called “Moses,” he is on the level of Moses and of Messiah.
And every single prayer that everyone--every Jew--prays is a level of a limb of the Shechinah. Those limbs constitute the components of the tabernacle. In its inner being, the structure of the tabernacle mirrors the structure of the Shechinah.
And the structure of the tabernacle, which is the structure of the Shechinah, is built by the prayers of the Jewish people.
And because no Jew can insert any component into another component of the structure of the tabernacle, each component in its place, except for Moses alone, therefore he—each person--must bring and bind all of his prayers to the tzaddik of the generation, who is on the level of Moses, who will raise that prayer to its proper place in the structure of the Shechinah.
As it is written, when the Jews built the tabernacle, no one could raise it. Then “they brought the tabernacle to Moses” (Exodus 39:33), and that was because he knows how to insert component into component and make it a complete structure. This was because Moses not only set up the tabernacle in its the physical aspect but in its spiritual aspect as well. As it is written: “Moses raised the tabernacle” (ibid. 40:18).
After having taught that in order for a person’s prayer to arrive at its proper place and have its proper effect, he must connect it to the tzaddik of the generation, Rebbe Nachman now explains an additional effect that is attained as a result of a person connecting his prayer to the tzaddik of the generation.
And in all of the Torah that a person learns in order to keep and perform the mitzvot, all of the letters are sparks of souls.
There are six hundred thousand letters in the Torah and six hundred thousand souls of Israel, and every soul has a letter in the Torah that corresponds to it. And so every soul has a root in the Torah.
And these sparks of souls, whose root is in the letters that a person learns, are clothed within the prayer that he prays, and are renewed there in the sense of gestation. That is to say, just as a fetus grows and develops during the time of gestation, so too do these souls grow and become purified by means of this person’s prayer.
As is brought in the Ari’s Gilgulim [more correctly, Shaar HaGilgulim] that when Adam sinned, all souls—which at that time existed within him—fell into the depths of the husks. Whenever their time arrives to enter the world, they first enter within the level of malchut on the level of gestation and are renewed there and purified of the defilement of the husks. Only afterwards can they come to the world.
So too the sparks of the souls that correspond to the letters of the Torah that a person learns must be clothed within his prayer—which is the level of malchut—in order to be purified and renewed.
And that is alluded to by the words: “The heavens tell the glory of God” (Psalms 19:2).
The heavens are composed of fire and water. That is to say, in that respect they parallel the Torah, which is compared to fire and water, as in the verses, ”Is My word not like fire?” (Jeremiah 23:29), and “Whoever is thirsty, go to water” (Isaiah 55:1).
That Torah is on the level of souls, who are rooted in the letters of the Torah that a person learns.
And these sparks of souls enter into a person’s prayer.
That prayer is on the level of “the glory of God.” We see that prayer is on the level of “the glory of God,” insofar as it is written that King David said of God: “Sing the glory of His name, make glorious His praise” (Psalms 66:2). The straightforward meaning of this phrase is, “Praise Him with the glory that is fitting for Him.” In the context of the present lesson, this phrase indicates that praise—i.e., prayer—is on the level of “glory.” This puts glory on the same level as the elements referred to in the verse, “For My praise I will restrain [echetam, related to chotem] [My anger] for you”, which was quoted in section 1. That verse links prayer with the level of the chotem. Here we see that praise, or prayer, is also the level of “glory.”
And these souls have a mutually reinforcing relationship with prayer.
It—prayer--is called “glory” because it clothes us. It clothes our souls. As we just learned, souls are clothed in the prayer. We see the connection between glory and clothing because the Talmud teaches that Rabbi Yochanan would call his garments his “glory,” since they imparted glory to him (Shabbat 113a). Thus, a garment is called “glory.”
And as a result of this correspondence, it—prayer--is called “the glory of God” in the verse quoted above, because it acts as a garment for a person’s soul.
And they—souls and prayer--illuminate each other. Souls, whose root is in the letters of the Torah that a person learns, illuminate the prayer.
They do so on the level of “raising the feminine waters.”
That is to say, prayer corresponds to the Shechinah (as we learned earlier, prayer is the structure of the Shechinah), which has a feminine character, and is thus associated with the phrase, “feminine waters.”
Then, after making these souls new and purifying them, the Shechinah raises them to the Holy One, blessed be He, and takes pride in them. In doing so, the Shechinah reveals her will to receive abundance from the Holy One, blessed be He. As a result, she arouses the Holy One, blessed be He, to unite with her and He then pours abundance down to her.
And so prayer—corresponding to the Shechinah--shines upon these souls on the level of renewal, for she renews them in the manner of gestation, in that she raises and purifies them.
In accordance with this, the verse above may be interpreted as follows.
“The heavens” are the level of the Torah and the souls in it. They “tell.” The Hebrew word for “tell,” m’saprim, is associated with the word sapir—“sapphire.” They shine and radiate like a sapphire stone onto “the glory of God,” which corresponds to prayer, and are illuminated as well by that “glory of God.”
And when a person binds his prayer to the tzaddik of the generation, then the souls that are clothed in the prayer that are brought to the tzaddik of the generation are on the level alluded to in the verse: “With embroidered garments she will be led to the king; maidens in her train, her companions, will be brought to you” (Psalms 45:15). The straightforward meaning of this verse is that in the future all people will come to the king Messiah—among them, every woman with her maidens and servant girls will come and receive his sovereignty. In the context of the present lesson, this verse teaches that the souls that are clothed in prayer, which were previously on a low level and which were raised by means of a person’s Torah learning and prayer that are brought to the tzaddik of the generation, also possess this character, since the tzaddik of the generation is on the level of Messiah (as we learned earlier).
Now Rebbe Nachman explains how everything that we learned above regarding binding one’s prayer to the tzaddik of the generation is alluded to in the following story of Rabbah bar Bar Chana, and he explains another aspect of the function of prayers during the time of exile.
The Talmud relates: “Rabbah bar Bar Chana said: One time we were traveling in a ship. We saw a fish whose back was heaped with sand, and grasses were growing upon it—the sand. We thought that this is dry land, an island, and we went up and baked and cooked upon its back. And when its back turned hot, it turned over. And had the ship not been close by, we would have drowned” (Bava Batra 73b).
And this is the meaning of what Rabbah bar Bar Chana said.
“We saw a fish…” This indicates the following: that in our exile, the Holy One, blessed be He, as it were, hides the Divine face. As it is written: “You hid Your face, I was bewildered” (Psalms 30:8).
That is to be understood in the sense that the “face” indicates the level of compassion, the level called the “illumination of the face.”
And He—the Holy One, blessed be He—has turned the back, which is the level of judgment, to us. God is angry at us, as it were, and does not even want to look at us.
And all of our prayers and pleadings during the time of exile are in regard to the fact that He turned his back to us, and we plead that He will again turn His face to us and treat us with compassion and not with judgment. As it is written: “Turn to me and be gracious to me” (ibid. 86:16), and as it is written: “May Hashem cause His face to shine” (Numbers 6:25)—meaning, we ask to attain the illumination of God’s face, and that He will treat us with lovingkindness and compassion.
And when we see the length of the exile, and every day we cry out to Him and we are not saved, there are among our nation of the children of Israel those who mistakenly believe, heaven forbid, in their hearts that all of their prayers are for nothing, for they see that their prayers have not been answered.
But in truth, in regard to all of the prayers, the tzaddikim in every generation raise them and set them up. As it is written, “Moses set up the tabernacle”—and the tzaddik of the generation is on the level of Moses. And they raise every component of the tabernacle to its place and build the structure of the Shechinah, which is the structure of the tabernacle, little by little, until the measure of its structure will be completed. And then the Messiah can come.
Every blemish and sin damages the structure of the Shechinah. That is the cause of all judgments and suffering. That gives evil its power.
Conversely, every prayer builds and completes the structure of the Shechinah. And when the structure of the Shechinah is complete, all blemishes will be repaired. And then we will again attain the illumination of God’s face and He will treat us with lovingkindness and compassion.
Then Messiah, who is the soul of Moses will come, and he will complete it and raise it completely.
Although every tzaddik corresponds to the level of Moses, Messiah and Moses come from the root of a single soul. Therefore, Messiah has the principal power to complete the structure of the Shechinah. Even before he comes, the measure of this structure will be completed. But its complete perfection and setting up will come about by his hand.
Therefore, although we pray for the complete rectification to come when we will attain complete compassion, and we still see that there is at times God hides His face and expresses His trait of judgment, we must believe that every prayer adds to the rectification of any blemish in the Shechinah, and that when the necessary amount of prayers is completed, the complete rectification will come.
Therefore, we must continue to engage in a great deal of prayer even when we do not see that our prayers are being answered.
And we must also connect our prayers to the tzaddik of the generation, so that with these prayers he will build the structure of the Shechinah and bring the complete rectification close.
And that is the meaning of Rabbah bar Bar Chana’s narrative.
“We saw a fish.” That is the level of the tzaddik of the generation, who is called “fish,” as is taught in Kabbalah texts. And the tzaddik of the generation--that is the level of Moses Messiah.
“Whose back was heaped with sand.” “Sand”--that is to say, prayers. As the verse states, “Moses pleaded [vay’chal] before Hashem his God” (Exodus 32:11). The verb for “pleading,” vay’chal, is related to the word for “sand,” chol.
The reference to the “back” means that we pray regarding the fact that, as it were, He—God--turned His back to us.
The phrase “was heaped” indicates that the sand (the prayers) lay on the fish (the tzaddik of the generation). The responsibility for them is incumbent upon him. That is to say, “they brought the tabernacle to Moses.” This is because it is necessary to bring and bind the prayer to the tzaddik of the generation.
“And grasses were growing upon it—the sand.” The grasses—that is to say, these are the souls that come with the prayer, the level of “maidens after her, her companions….” As we learned earlier, souls are clothed in a person’s prayer. The link between grasses and souls exists because souls are called “grasses.” As it is written, “I caused you to increase, I made you like a plant of the field” (Ezekiel 16:7). The straightforward meaning of this verse is that the Jews in Egypt were as many as the grasses of the field. In terms of the present lesson, this teaches that the souls of Israel are called “grasses.” And they grew upon the “sand”—i.e., upon [they were sustained by] the prayer.
“We thought that this is dry land.” That is to say, they thought that their prayers are not bearing fruits, that they were not having any effect, that they were like dry ground that does not bear fruits.
But in truth that is not so. Rather, “we went up and baked and cooked.” That is to say, all of one’s prayers go up and rise and are effective.
And the more that we engage in a great deal of prayer, the Shechinah, which is the sefirah of malchut, is built more and prepares itself for union with the level of Zeir Anpin, which comprises the six sefirot above malchut (chesed, gevurah, tiferet, netzach, hod and yesod), which is the unification of the Holy One, blessed be He and His Shechinah.
This unification will be complete at the time of the coming of the Messiah, when the structure of the Shechinah will be completed and its blemishes will be rectified.
And that is alluded to in the words, “we … baked and cooked.” That is because baking and cooking constitute preparation for eating--i.e., for the level of union, which is called “eating.” As it is written: “And he knew nothing about what was with him, except for the bread that he ate” (Genesis 39:6). Our Sages state that this means that Potiphar gave Joseph everything except for his wife, for “the bread that he eats” is a euphemistic reference to marital relations. Thus we see that union is referred to as “eating.”
And when the structure of the entire Shechinah is completed—which is to say, as a result of one’s great amount of prayers, God’s compassion will be stirred and the trait of judgment will be transformed into the trait of compassion. And then the unification of the Holy One, blessed be He, and the His Shechinah will be complete.
And that is referred to in the words, “When its back grew hot”—that is to say, when God’s compassion is stirred, because heat represents compassion.
“It turned over.” His back will turn. That is to say that the trait of judgment will be transformed into the trait of compassion, and the face of Hashem will turn to gaze upon us, and He will not turn His back to us.
Rabbah bar Bar Chana continues: “And had the ship had not been close by”—that is to say, this is in line with the verse, “For My sake, for My sake I will do this” (Isaiah 48:11). The meaning of this verse is discussed in the Midrash, which addresses another verse, “Who has given Me anything beforehand that I should pay him?” (Job 41:3) and illustrates it with the words, “Who made Me a mezuzah before I gave him a house…?”
That is to say, we do not deserve to be rewarded for performing the mitzvot, because a person can only keep the mitzvot when God first gives him all of the physical objects that he requires in order to do so.
That is the meaning of the verse, “For My sake, for My sake I will do this”—i.e., God brings the redemption for His own sake and not in the merit of our deeds.
Thus we find that all of our good deeds and all prayers are all from Him, and it is not fitting for a person to think to receive reward for anything that he has accomplished. Even when it comes to prayer, we can only pray because God gives us the ability to do so. Thus, all of the reward that we receive for performing the mitzvot comes from Hashem’s lovingkindness.
And even though it appears that the redemption will come about as a result of our prayer and our Torah learning, we nevertheless require God’s lovingkindness—that He will redeem us with His lovingkindness.
And that is alluded to in the words of Rabbah bar Bar Chana’s story: “And had the ship had not been close by.” That is, the ship corresponds to the level of lovingkindness. Thus, our Sages stated, “Most sailors are pious” (Kiddushin 82a), since they sail into dangerous places, as a result of which they are fearful for their lives and break their hearts [in prayer] before God. The Hebrew word for “pious” is chasid, which is related to the Hebrew word for “lovingkindness,” chesed. Therefore, “ship” alludes to the level of lovingkindness.
If not for God’s lovingkindness, “we would have drowned,” heaven forbid, in the exile.
Thus, although we must beseech God at great length to bring the redemption, and our every single prayer brings the redemption closer, we must remember that we always require Hashem’s lovingkindness to redeem us, for our deeds and prayers alone will not suffice to bring the redemption.
Now Rebbe Nachman explains how everything that we learned earlier about how guarding the covenant leads us to attain prayer and about the importance of binding our prayer to the tzaddik of the generation is alluded to in the verse, “Speak to the cohanim.”
And this is the meaning of the verse, “Speak to the cohanim, the children of Aaron, and say to them: None shall defile himself for the dead among his people.”
“Speak” indicates the level of prayer in the sense of praise. As it is written: “You have praised [ha’amarta] Hashem today” (Deuteronomy 26:17), in which the Hebrew word for “praised” is ha’amarta, the root of which, amar, means “speak.” Here speech is understood specifically in the sense of the speech of “prayer.”
“Cohanim” is the level of Torah, which corresponds to the level of souls, which are rooted in the letters of the Torah (as taught above). As it is written: “For the lips of the cohen will guard knowledge, and Torah will they seek from his mouth” (Malachi 2:7). From here we see that the cohen corresponds to the level of Torah.
“The sons of Aaron” is the level of judgment. As it is written, “Aaron will carry the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart” (Exodus 28:29). Aaron attained the level of judgment. Therefore, Aaron alludes to judgment.
As we learned earlier it is necessary to bring all of our prayers to the level of Moses, Messiah.
And then he will raise the tabernacle by means of these prayers.
And that is what Rashi explained regarding the repetitious language: “Speak … and say.” Rashi explains that this comes “to admonish the adult cohanim to be responsible for the minors.” The adults must warn the children not to contaminate themselves by coming into contact with a corpse.
In accordance with the present topic, Rashi may be interpreted as follows. First, the Hebrew word for “to admonish,” l’hazhir, may be related to the Hebrew word zohar, “radiance,” and thus translated as “to shine.” And second, the Hebrew words for “adult” and “minors”--gedolim and ketanim—literally mean “large” and “small,” and may be applied to other “large” and “small” entities—in particular, to the sun (the “large light” [Genesis 1:16]) and the moon (the “small light” [ibid.]).
That is to say, the tzaddik of the generation, who is on the level of Moses, the “large light,” who is on the level of the partzuf Zeir Anpin (a spiritual structure that is composed of six sefirot, chesed, gevurah, tiferet, netzach, hod and yesod), radiates and shines forth prayer, which is the level of the “small light,” on the level of malchut, the last and lowest of the ten sefirot.
That is to say, when a person binds his prayer to the tzaddik of the generation, he brings his prayer to that tzaddik, and then the tzaddik causes it to shine and raises with it along with the structure of the Shechinah, which is the sefirah of malchut.
And “none shall defile himself for the dead among his people”—that is to say, a person will not defile himself by means of guarding the covenant (as above).
As the Zohar teaches (see Zohar Vayikra p. 15b), “The essence of the evil inclination has to do with sexual matters, and that is the principal essence of defilement.” Thus, “none shall defile himself” alludes to guarding the covenant.
And when one guards the covenant, he attains the level of prayer (as above), and he attains the level of “for My praise I will restrain [echetam, related to chotem] [My anger] for you.” As we learned above in Section 1, the praise of God and prayer are on the level of the chotem.
And by guarding the covenant a person attains prayer, which is the level of chotem.
This is because the essence of scent—associated with the chotem--is dependent upon purity. As our Sages state: “When purity was annulled, scent was annulled” (Sotah 48a). Rashi explains: “When purity ceased from Israel, the good scent of fruits ceased. But when [the Jews] had been pure, then the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself would purify their fruits so that it would not [possess] any evil scent.”
And as is explained in a story in the Talmud, “He—Rabbah--said to his father Rav Huna, who had succulent dates in his tunic: I smell the smell of succulent dates. He—Rav Huna--said to him, ‘My son, you possess purity’” (ibid. 49a). He could sense this scent because he had not lost the sense of smell.
And since a person attains a good sense of smell by means of purity, by guarding the covenant, which is the level of purity and holiness, he attains prayer, which is the level of the smell, the level of the chotem.
Therefore the verse may be explained as follows:
“Speak”—that is the level of prayer. Prayer renews souls that were raised up by means of “the cohanim”—the level of Torah.
In order to attain prayer properly, there is a need for “Aaron”—the level of judgment.
And there is also a need for “none shall defile himself for the dead among his people”—the level of guarding the covenant.
And besides this, a person must bind his prayer to the tzaddik of the generation. That is the level of radiating the light of the “large light” onto the “small light.”
 Many of the lessons presented in Likutei Moharan are reconstructions of Rebbe Nachman’s discourses. This teaching, however, is the transcription of a text written by Rebbe Nachman himself.
 There are ten principal conduits of spiritual energy and abundance, which are called the ten sefirot (singular, sefirah). From the highest to the lowest, these are keter (“crown”), chochmah (“wisdom”), binah (“understanding”), chesed (“lovingkindness”), gevurah (“might”), tiferet (“beauty”), netzach (“victory”), hod (“glory”), yesod (“foundation”) and malchut (“sovereignty”).
These ten sefirot can be classified in terms of spiritual structures called partzufim (literally, “lineaments”; singular, partzuf). Keter is the partzuf of Erech Anpin (“Long Face”); chochmah is the partzuf of Abba (“Father”); binah is the partzuf of Ima (“Mother”); chesed, gevurah, tiferet, netzach, hod and yesod are the partzuf of Zeir Anpin (“Small Face”); and malchut is the partzuf of Nukva (“Female”).
 Cf. Zohar, Nasso (p. 130b) and the commentary, Matok Midvash, ibid.
 Rashi, ibid.
 Biur Halikutim explains the link between the straightforward meaning of this verse (that God will restrain His anger) and Rebbe Nachman’s explanation (that the chotem is associated with prayer) as follows.
Further on in this lesson, Rebbe Nachman teaches that during the period of exile the Jewish people must possess a tremendous amount of patience. Even if it appears that their prayers are not being answered, they must continue to pray and believe that their prayers are effective.
That arouses God, as it were, to act on His own volition—with “an awakening from above”—to implement His patience and withhold His anger—that patience being associated with the chotem—so that even during the exile, which is a time of judgment, He does not destroy us entirely.
Thus, the verse phrase, “and for My praise I will restrain [echetam, related to chotem] [My anger] for you,” may be read as, “I will extend My patience and tolerance to you.” Therefore, prayer is in the realm of chotem.
 In accordance with Section 6 below, we may add that a person’s every spiritual blemish damages the structure of the Shechinah (the light of God that dwells in this world), which makes possible the dominion of evil in the world. Conversely, a person’s every prayer to some degree raises and rectifies the totality of the Shechinah, until Messiah will at last come and raise its structure entirely.
Therefore, Rebbe Nachman writes here that the principal strength of the Messiah is prayer, because he takes the prayers of all the people of Israel and with them erects the structure of the Shechinah. Then automatically the power of evil in the world will be nullified. (Messiah will also engage in physical wars—in which area as well he will prevail with the power of prayer.)
 Cf. Sanhedrin 93b.
 Actually, the rendering of “my sword and my bow” as “my prayer and pleading” appears in the Talmud (Bava Batra 123a). However, Rashi interprets this verse to mean, “my wisdom and my prayer.”
 This indicates that a righteous person relies on prayer, not on a weapon (Bava Batra 123a).
 Kitzur Likutei Moharan.
Likutei Halachot (Hilchot Tefilat Haminchah 7) writes that “only the great tzaddik attains perfect prayer.” He continues:
“The majority of Jews—even those who are worthy, and certainly …—are nevertheless certainly far from [attaining] this weapon of prayer. Rather, all of their strength comes through this tzaddik, who by means of [this weapon] gathers them together as people engaged in repentance. As a result, they receive the power to battle on behalf of Hashem … even though in and of themselves they do not possess the weapon of perfected prayer.”
Rebbe Nachman describes prayer as a weapon in order to inspire every individual to be strong in his prayers at all times. Mei Hanachal explains that when a person thinks of prayer as a weapon, that makes it certain that he will pray with vigor, because he considers that with a weapon he can conquer everything. Thus, should a person find himself unable to pray properly, he should imagine himself to be a simple soldier who is issued a weapon and trained in its use.
 This is the rendering by Targum Yonatan and Targum Yerushalmi of the verse, “Joseph is a charming son, a son charming to the eye; the daughters strode upon the wall… ” (Genesis 49:22). See also Bereishit Rabbah, Vayichi 98:23.
 Likutei Halachot (Hilchot Nachalot 4) offers a deeper explanation of the connection between the double portion of the first-born status and prayer with its two aspects. See the appendix.
 The following passage appears in the original text in a sidebar, set in smaller type.
 The name Havayah is usually referred to as “Hashem.” It is composed of four letters: yod, hey, vov and hey (י, ה, ו, ה).
It may be expanded in that one may write it by spelling out each of the letters. By way of example, one may expand the word “tree” by spelling out the letters as follows: “tee ar ee ee.” Or one might expand this word with a differently spelling, such as “tea ar ea ea.”
Kabbalistically, the Name Havayah may similarly be expanded, with four variations.
First, one may expand it using a preponderance of the letter yod: יוד, הי, ויו, הי. This has the numerical value of 72, which in Hebrew letters is written עב, AV. (The letters are capitalized to denote that they correspond directly to the Hebrew letters.)
Second, one may expand it using the letters yod and alef: יוד, הי, ואו, הי. This has the numerical value of 63, which in Hebrew letters is written סג, SaG.
Third, one may expand it using a preponderance of the letter alef: יוד, הא, ואו, הא. This has the numerical value of 45, which in Hebrew letters is written מה, MaH.
Fourth, one may expand it using a preponderance of the letter hey: יוד, הה, וו, הה. This has the numerical value of 52, which in Hebrew letters is written בן, BaN.
 The name Ekyeh (“I will be…” [Exodus 3:14]) is composed of four letters: alef, hey, yod and hey (א, ה, י, ה).
It may be expanded with three variations, as follows.
First, one may expand it using a preponderance of the letter yod: אלף, הי, יוד, הי. This has the numerical value of 161, which in Hebrew letters is written קס"א, K’SA.
Second, one may expand it using a preponderance of the letter hey: אלף, הה, יוד, הה. This has the numerical value of 151, which in Hebrew letters is written קנ"א, K’NA.
Third, one may expand it using a preponderance of the letter alef: אלף, הא, יוד, הא. This has the numerical value of 143, which in Hebrew letters is written קמ"ג, K’MaG.
 It should be pointed out that the numerical value of these seven names actually comes to 687.
In the system of gematria, in determining the numerical value of a word one may add the number 1 for the word itself (called the kollel, or “totality”). Thus, porat can be made to equal 687 by taking the value of its letters (686) and adding 1 for the word itself.
As for the word pardashka, it has the numerical value of 685. But when the word itself is counted as 1, the number comes to 686, the numerical equivalent of the word porat.
 B’abei Hanachal. The author adds that the tzaddik who has attained perfect prayer can kill and give life with his prayers, and he must therefore exercise great care when he prays.
 Cf. Judges 20:16.
 Likutei Halachot (Hilchot Nachalot 4).
 Cf. Shabbat 137b.
 Metzudat Dovid ibid.
 Cf. Berachot 4:3.
 Rashi, ibid.
 Cf. Zohar, Raya Mehemna, Pinchas 252a.
 See below, Lesson 16.
 This appears to be the correct explanation, in accordance with the straightforward meaning of the term, “foreign thoughts”—i.e., trivial or troublesome thoughts.
However, Biur Halikutim presents an alternative explanation, in accordance with the idea (which was presented in Section 3 in the name of Likutei Halachot) that not veering to the right or to the left in prayer means that a person should not think that his prayers have no effect, nor should he think that he may rely on Hashem’s kindness without needing to pray.
Likutei Halachot (Hilchot Nachalot 4) explains that these two approaches constitute the husks of Esau and Ishmael.
The husk of Esau misleads a person to believe that prayer is ineffective. And the husk of Ishmael misleads a person to believe that he can rely on the kindness of Hashem, so that once his prayer has been accepted, he no longer needs to pray.
Rather, the truth is that a person continues to require salvation and a great deal of compassion until he escapes his exile entirely.
In light of this, Biur Halikutim explains that the “foreign thoughts” referred to here are these two incorrect ideas, which discourage a person from praying. These thoughts are caused when a person’s judgment is damaged. But when a person has a healthy sense of judgment, he knows that he should not veer right or left but that he should believe in the efficacy of prayer.
 Kitzur Likutei Moharan.
 Alternatively, Targum Yerushalmi and Targum Yonatan ben Uziel translate this phrase to mean that Joseph is like a grapevine with strong roots planted alongside wellsprings. And because Joseph had such internal strength, when he rode in the viceroy’s chariot and the Egyptian women stood upon the wall and threw jewelry and precious stones in his direction in order to attract his attention, he did not raise his eyes to see them.
 We learn in Sichot Haran (passage 296): “At the time of prayer, a person must bind himself to the tzaddikim of the generation, as explained in [Likutei Moharan,] Lesson 2 and Lesson 9, and elsewhere. Therefore, [Rebbe Nachman] directed his followers to recite the following [formula] before engaging in prayer: ‘Behold, I bind myself to all of the tzaddikim in our generation.’”
And Avaneha Barzel (passage 62) states: “Someone once asked Moharanat [Rabbi Natan]: ‘Who is greater, a person small in stature who is close to the tzaddik, or a person great in stature who is not close?’ He told him: ‘In the days of Moses, if someone made something of considerable value for the tabernacle but did not bring it to Moses, it would certainly be of no consequence. But if someone made something small and brought it to Moses, it would certainly be very important.’ And he then mentioned the statement in Likutei Moharan I 2 that it is precisely Moses who can put together the parts [of the tabernacle].”
 The Shechinah is the light of the Holy One, blessed be He, that dwells in this world. It is the sefirah of malchut.
 This will be explained further on in Likutei Moharan 14:3.
 This passage appears in the original text in a sidebar, set in smaller type.
 Yalkut Shimoni, Bereishit 1:3.
 Metzudat Dovid, ibid.
 Biur Halikutim.
Likutei Halachot (Hilchot Nachalot 4) teaches:
All of the Torah that a person learns enters into [his] prayer, and [the two] strengthen each other. Therefore, a person who wants to attain true life needs both Torah learning and prayer, for they enhance each other.
And that indicates the great power and worthiness of turning Torah teachings into prayers. That is because all of the Torah that a person learns enters into his prayer and is renewed there, and [the two] strengthen each other.
That is the case even when the Torah that a person learns has no apparent connection to [his] prayer. For instance, he is learning monetary laws and he afterwards pray regarding Sabbath observance and the like.
And certainly it is higher and stronger when a person makes a prayer out of the specific Torah that he is learning, for then the Torah and [his] prayer are truly bonded together, and then they strengthen each other and illuminate each other more and more.
Therefore, the matter of turning Torah teachings into prayers is exceedingly precious, and it brings about great, incomparable heavenly delights, as [Rebbe Nachman] explained in his holy words. In this way, a person unites Torah and prayer with a wondrous union until they become a complete unity and they strengthen each other with especial strength.
 Likutei Halachot (Hilchot Nachalot 4) teaches:
That which applies to all of Israel applies specifically to each individual: that whoever has entered even somewhat into the service of Hashem and has engaged, whether a little or a great deal, in hitbodedut and prayers and pleadings and requests that he may merit that Hashem, be He blessed, will turn His face to him and bring him close to His service and redeem him from his lusts and evil traits, and he sees that he has not yet been answered, for he is still very far from Him, be He blessed, as a result he may mistakenly believe, heaven forbid, that all of his prayers and words were in vain, heaven forbid.
But in truth that is not the case, for not a single word is lost. Rather, every prayer and conversation makes a strong impression.
And the true tzaddikim gather all of these prayers and [holy] conversations and build from them wondrous buildings, corresponding to the tabernacle.
And everyone must strengthen himself a great deal in such prayer and [holy] conversation constantly, however things may be, until as a result of the amount of his prayers the structure [set up by] the tzaddikim who engage in gathering, binding and raising these prayers will be completed.
And then the compassion of God, be He blessed, will be stirred, and He will return to this person and have compassion on him.
 Cf. Likutei Torah of the Ari (Parshat Vayichi) and Kehilat Yaakov, the entry on Dag (“fish”). They write that Joseph the tzaddik is referred to as a “fish.” (Thus, Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons, who are an extension of Joseph, “May they multiply like fish” (Genesis 48:16).
The Hebrew word for “fish,” dag, is composed of two letters: dalet and gimel, whose respective numerical values are four and three. Corresponding to that, Joseph attained the four names of Havayah (AV, SaG, MaH and BaN) and the three names of Ekyeh (K’SA, K’NA and K’MaG), which total 686, as a result of which he is called “charming,” porat, which has the same numerical value. Cf. Biur Halikutim.
See also Kehilat Yaacov and Meorei Ohr, entry on Dag, which teach that the fish corresponds to the sefirah of yesod, and it is well-known that the tzaddik is on the level of yesod. And as we learned at the beginning of this lesson, as a result of guarding the covenant (which is associated with the tzaddik and yesod) a person attains prayer.
 Bereishit Rabbah 86:6.
 Rashi ibid.
 Cf. Zohar Pekudei (138b) and Matok Midvash ibid.