of singular heart

It's not enough to be a cardiac jew. (To love God in your heart.) You need to give wings to that love, you need to pour it out of your mouth.

That's what Rebbe Nachman tells us in Likkutei Moharan I:31. HaShem wants our prayers. He explains that the letters of our speach are just letters. The love that infuses them creates the nikkudoth. (vowels) The nikkudoth are what give the letters the ability to move. [The very beginning of the Zohar mentions that the letters are the soldiers the צבאות of God's name; and that the nikkudot and the ta'amim make them march] Rebbe Nachman explains that the letters are just bodies, the nikkudoth are the souls (נפש - nefesh) that give these bodies life. Our love of God is the spirit that fills the lifeless bodies of the words of our prayer. [This, he explains, is the secret of נקודות הכסף in Shir HaShirim.]

Rebbe Nachman goes on to explain that the way to this deep love of God that pours out through our words is only accessible via the emunah (faith) of Shabbath. (and Brit Milah, but it's out of the scope of this little post.)

I learned that last Shabbath, but this morning I learned in the Maor Eynayim on our weekly parashah (כי תשא) that HaShem constricted himself into the letters of the Torah. And it is through speaking these letters with דעת - while connecting to HaShem, that we truly draw HaShem out through the letters. This is why it was on Shabbath, when we have complete דעת, that we received the Torah. (and all its letters) [He explains that the word היכל hints at this: ה"י כ"ל - the ה (ie. 5) different sounds that our mouths make, ie. our speech draws out the כל - everything, ie. God]

Now, we the little people, can tie this all together and see that, through Shabbath, we can come to the proper emunah and da'ath such that we elevate our words to God through deep love of God, which exposes the godliness hidden in the letters of creation. All of this is connected to the Beit HaMikdash, (היכל) in the deepest sense because God says about the Beit HaMikdash כי ביתי בית תפילה - my house is a house of prayer. The Beit HaMikdash is a place to go when we want to connect to God through our prayer.

Even greater, we can go even a level deeper and understand this passuk to mean that God's house is a בית - word of prayer. God's most profound dwelling place in this world is in the heart-felt prayer of the Jewish soul. (For a better explanation of בית meaning word see this post on houses for dwelling)

[not coincidentally, the Tanya today talks about this very idea, that the Shechinah is a fire that burns on the wick of the Jewish soul--but it can't burn without the oil created by the performance of the mitzwoth, in this case the speech of the prayer.]

We find that Rebbe Nachman, The Maor Eynayim (Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl), and the Baal HaTanya (Shneur Zalman of Liadi) all are urging us to unify our mouth and our heart.

It seems to me that we need to be אחד בפה ואחד בלב. (Normally this means: to think one thing and say another, but litterally it means to be one in mouth and one in heart.) The אחד of our Kriat Shema needs to be in our heart the same time it is in our mouth.


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