Prayer Skills-Vaeira-Joyful Prayer
When you perform a mitzvah for the sake of heaven, to fulfill the wishes of God, Who spoke and His will was done, you will arouse all the worlds, from the lowly, compound world of Assiyah, through the countless worlds of Yetzirah, Beriah, and Atzilut, up to the Supernal Will (Keter). For God, in His simple will, chose to create the worlds for the sake of Israel, who were called “the beginning,” because they accepted the Torah and the yoke of His kingdom, and as a result the descent of the worlds took place, bringing about the fulfillment of the practical mitzvot.
When you perform a mitzvah with all your strength and emotions, even including joyous inspiration in fulfilling the mitzvah, you will arouse all the worlds with this joy, adding strength to the heavenly family, so to speak, and elevating all the worlds, including yourself, up to the Supernal Will. From there you return, bringing down grace from world to world, all the way to this lowliest and nethermost of worlds.
The Rabbis said: “One must not rise to pray in sadness, only in the joy of performing a mitzvah (Berachot 31a).” Man’s loftiest quality is the spirit of joyfulness. If joy is derived from doing a mitzvah, it produces a “unification” that is superior to everything else.
Prayer, as is well known, is called the Soul of David, which is the Divine Presence. That is why prayer is associated with Nefesh, as in, “I poured my Nefesh before the Lord (I Samuel 1:15).”
The saying of the sages that “the Divine Presence down below serves a purpose up above (Megillah 29a),” obviously means the following: Since His Kingdom is sovereign everywhere, even in the outermost parts of the worlds, if you petition or pray for something that you need, your only intention should be to fulfill the desires of the Divine Presence, not your own, inasmuch as it is simply unfitting for something to be missing from the King’s Palace. Prayer of this kind is a mitzvah; it is the prayer of the pious.
The general rule is this: When a man performs a mitzvah with the proper motivation and sanctifies himself below, he arouses all worlds up to the most high. And then he is hallowed up above, by means of his bringing down the divine outpouring via the descent of all the worlds awakened by his joyfulness in serving God.
This is the meaning of, “I will run the course of Your commandments and, for You in large my heart (Psalms 119:32) to see,” meaning, the pathway produced by the joy of performing a mitzvah turns into a paved highway where travel was fast, since there is no obstacle or resistance. A Mitzvah performed for the sake of God “Who spoke and His will was done,” is, in fact, His will, thus dispersing all the forces of evil, the shells, for they have no place in the realm of the divine Will. (Peri Eitz, Emor)
“When I leave the city I shall spread out my hands to God (Exodus 9:29).” Moshe could not pray inside the city. Although Rashi teaches that Moshe could not pray there because of all the idols in the city, I suspect that there was an added element, which was this sadness that pervaded the Egypt because of the plagues. Moshe could not pray in an environment of sadness.
This would mean that we should make a special effort to always pray in a place and environment of joy.