For the Sake of HaShem

Everyone must know that the essence of Divine service is to serve HaShem in truth. At every moment, examine and investigate all of one’s actions, even the good things and mitzvot that one does. If one finds in them (G-d forbid) any mixture of intent, pointing in any other direction (G-d forbid), or whether it be enjoyable, to the honor of oneself; we see that (such a one’s) intent of Divine service is not for the sake of HaShem’s holy, honorable, and awesome Name. All such a one’s actions are not for the sake of HaShem alone, in truth, and with a pure heart.

Devekut-Bonding with G-d: The Ba’al Shem Tov’s Insights into Receiving the Spirit of Prophecy, by Ariel Bar Tzadok

Praying Well

If you can pray well, even once, you can uplift all the lost prayers, those prayed without emuna and cleaving to Hashem, that were previously left below. Together, all your prayers will be perfected and rise to the realm of Supernal Desire.

Tiferes Shlomo, Shabbat Teshuva

From Heart of Prayer: Baal Shem Tov, by Tzvi Meir Cohn

Praying to reach new levels of understanding

The primary way to advance to new levels of understanding is to study Torah and pray with all of your strength. Then, you attach yourself to Hashem, may He be blessed, that dwells within the letters of Torah and prayer. This infusion of Divine light subdues any physical inclination, and you can experience the abnegation or divestiture of your physical being. Then, you will enter the Supernal worlds and constantly rise to new levels of understanding and clarity.

Toldos Aharon, Shelach

Heart of Prayer: Baal Shem Tov, by Tvi Meir Cohn

 

Bonding with G-d

D’vekut, bonding with G-d, requires us to begin to travel into a supra-rational world. Thus, the things of the world are perceived differently here. It is these spiritual insights that are real, whereas the insights from our physical selves are not.

It is of no wonder that the Sages of the Talmud have called this physical world “Olam HaSheker,” a world of lies. By d’vekut, we are entering the realm of true reality, G-d’s reality. It is very different from what we know now, so we must proceed slow, and take it easy, progressing at that pace which is uniquely right for each of us, as we are guided from G-d within.

Adapted from Devekut-Bonding with G-d: The Ba’al Shem Tov’s Insights into Receiving the Spirit of Prophecy by Ariel Bar Tzadok

G-d is with Us

We pray to the King of Kings daily, pronouncing the same liturgy three times a day. That is, every day we pray the exact same Amida — morning, noon and night. Therefore, to us, our prayers become old or even boring. What does the King of the World do about this? Each day, He puts us into different situations requiring His help. Then, G-d sends us subtle hints and messages throughout the day that He is with us. Usually, He does this in the extraneous thoughts that come to us. Of course, we must know how to interpret these thoughts. When we believe that G-d is with us, we can arouse in our heart a feeling of deep love and attachment to G-d.

Adapted from Heart of Prayer: Baal Shem Tov, by Tzvi Meir Cohn