February 12, 2010


Translated by Dovid Sears

Rabbi Elimelekh of Lizhensk, No'am Elimelekh (Likkutei Shoshanim, 105b)

"Fortunate are those who dwell in your house..." (Psalms 84:5). "Fortunate is the people unto whom are such [blessings]" (ibid. 144:15). [The latter verse could also be translated homiletically as: "Fortunate is the people that calms down / subsides unto Him" -- but I'm not sure if this reflects the author's intention. DS]

It seems to me that concerning the Gemara's remark: "The early Chasidim (pietists) used to meditate for one hour [before prayer]..." (Berakhos 4b), their intent was to purify and clear their minds in order to bind themselves to the higher worlds (cf. Noam Elimelekh, Korach, 79d) -- to a degree that approached transcendence of the physical, as mentioned in the Shulchan Arukh (Hilkhos Tefillah, 98).

However, afterward during prayer, the holy speech of their prayer automatically became garbed in their prior [exalted] state of consciousness. This is the meaning of the Gemara's [teaching], "God combines a good thought with action" (Kiddushin 40a). That is, the "good speech" of prayer is considered action when compared to thought.

During prayer, they also would contemplate the supernal worlds and cleave there, as if they no longer existed in this world. Thus, [the verse] is self-understood: "Fortunate are those who dwell in Your house" -- meaning, who dwell in the higher worlds -- "they will praise you all the more, sela" (ad loc.), that is, even while engaged in their prayers.

"Fortunate is the people unto whom are such [blessings]..." For the Holy One, blessed be He, endowed the righteous with the power to cancel Heaven's decrees and to mitigate harsh judgments [by virtue of their spiritual ascents during prayer].