Pesukei d’Zimrah: Yesod v’Shoresh ha-Avodah: Toward Heaven
The 18th of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Alexander (ben Moshe) Ziskind, the Yesod v’Shoresh ha-Avodah. From The Third Gate – The Gate of Song Chapter One: We must have clarity regarding the beauty of Serving God before we begin studying Pesukei d’Zimrah. We begin with the idea of raising one’s hands in prayer, thanks, and praise of the Creator, Blessed is His Name. The value of such service is beyond measure and description, as is explained in the Holy Zohar (Volume II, 67a):
“Ten rulers who were in the city (Kohelet 7:19),” are the Ten Angels Appointed over those who raise their hands toward Heaven. They receive the prayer of the blessing, and they empower it further, to give honor to the Holy Name, and they (the prayer and blessing) are blessed (expanded) below. When the one reciting the blessing reaches up to Heaven, his words are expanded above, and are honored from all sides (Sefirot).
“These ten Angels collect all the (expanded) blessing created in Heaven by the words, and shower it over the one praying, as the verse says, “And I will bless them (Bamidbar 6:27).”
“Therefore, a person should be careful to only raise his hands while praying or reciting a blessing, for the Ten Angels carefully examine all words and actions of those raising their hands, and will curse empty words recited with upraised hands; words that could have been overflowing with blessing that we treated as empty shells.”
Once you have washed your hands in the morning, preparing them to be raised toward Heaven, use Pesukei d’Zimrah to practice uttering only holy words with upraised hands that connect you below to a life that is in the Heavens.
Spread your fingers, right hand raised slightly higher than the left, and follow your hands and fingers with your eyes, as your prayers ascend to be collected by the Ten Angels.