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The Way of G-d

Part 4: "Divine Service"
Ch. 6: "The Sequence of the Day"
Paragraph 14

Now, just as there are four metaphysical universes there are likewise four prayer "universes", so to speak -- four areas our morning prayers concentrate on. The first is the order of sacrifices, the second is the praises of G-d known as "Pesukei D'zimra", the third is Sh'ma Yisroel and its blessings, and the fourth is Sh'mone Esrei (see 4:6:10).

We'll soon tie them in with the four universes, but the point is that each one of us acts as a conduit of G-d's intentions for each universe when we pray, and we enable things to happen in each one by reciting specific things. It thus becomes clear that our prayers aren't only petitions and pleas to G-d to fulfill our hopes and dreams; though they certainly do that, too. Our prayers also act as the mechanisms by which we help facilitate things in the cosmic mix and by which we act as G- d's "partners" on some recondite level.

So we're taught that we uplift and purify the physical universe by reciting the readings centered on the sacrificial order (since they touch upon animality, food and drink, sin, etc.); we do the same to the universe of the angels when we recite G-d's praises (since angels praise G-d all day long); and we do that to the universe of The Throne when we recite Sh'ma Yisroel and its blessings (since the themes layed-out there are so transcendent).

We can't be said to uplift and purify the G-dly dimension, which we affect when we recite Sh'mone Esrei, since it's inherently lofty and pure. So, what we actually do when we recite it is get close enough to that dimension to draw spiritual sustenance down from it and nourish the other realms.

Our morning service ends with another short series of prayers and recitations ("Ashrei", "Uva Le Tzion", "Aleinu", and "Shir Shel Yom") which continue to allow G-d's blessings to reach the lower realms and further establish G-d's sovereignty.


Text Copyright 2005 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org.


 

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