227. Rabbi Shimon was walking to Tiberias with Rabbi Aba. Rabbi Shimon said, Let us go, because a man is about to come to us with new words of Torah. Rabbi Aba said, I already know that, wherever my master goes, the Holy One, blessed be He, sends flying angels to give him pleasure.
228. While they were traveling, Rabbi Shimon lifted up his eyes and saw a man who was running. They sat down TO WAIT FOR HIM. When he arrived, Rabbi Shimon asks him, Who are you? He responded, I am a Jew from the city of Cappadocia and I am going to the hiding place of the son of Yochai, THAT IS, TO HEAR HIDDEN MATTERS FROM HIM. The friends determined AND EXPLAINED certain things, and sent me to him TO KNOW WHETHER HE AGREES WITH THEM. Rabbi Shimon said to him, My son, talk. He asks, You are the son of Yochai? He told him, I am the son of Yochai.
229. The friends said that when a man prays nothing may come between him and the wall, as it is written, "Then Chizkiyahu turned his face toward the wall" (Yeshayah 38:2). When a man prays, no one may come within four cubits of him on every side. They said this means four cubits on every side except in front, AS IT IS FORBIDDEN TO COME BETWEEN HIM AND THE WALL. And they said that a man should not pray behind his Rabbi. They appointed me TO HEAR WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY about these matters.
230. THE JEW opened with the verse, "Hear my prayer, Hashem, and give ear to my cry; keep not silence at my tears" (Tehilim 39:13). HE ASKS, Why is it written "hear" (Heb. shim'ah) and not "sh'ma?"AND WHY is it written in one place, "Hear (Heb. sh'ma), Hashem, and be gracious to me" (Tehilim 30:11), and in another place, "shim'ah?" The reason is that it is written now Shma refering to the male, NAMELY TO ZEIR ANPIN, and now Shim'ah refering to the female, NAMELY TO THE NUKVA OF ZEIR ANPIN. For example, shim'ah is used in "Hear the right, Hashem" (Tehilim 17:1), WHERE THE RIGHT (HEB. TZEDEK) IS THE SECRET OF THE NUKVA OF ZEIR ANPIN. Sh'ma is used in "Hear (Heb. sh'ma) Hashem, and be gracious to me," AS HASHEM IS THE NAME OF ZEIR ANPIN. The masculine is also used in "Hear, Hashem" AS HASHEM IS THE NAME OF ZEIR ANPIN, "my son, hear (Heb. sh'ma) the instructions" (Mishlei 1:8) and "Take heed, and hearken (Heb. sh'ma)" (Devarim 27:9).
231. "Hear (Heb. shim'ah) my prayer, Hashem" REFERS TO THE NUKVA, which is the grade that receives all the prayers in the world. We learned that THE NUKVA creates a diadem from the prayers and puts in on the head of the Righteous the life of the world. This is the meaning of the verse, "Blessings are upon the head of the just" (Mishlei 10:6). Hence SCRIPTURE SAYS, "Hear (Heb. shim'ah) my prayer, Hashem."
232. "Hear my prayer, Hashem" refers to the silent prayer, NAMELY THE AMIDAH, WHICH WE WHISPER. IN CONTRAST, "And give ear to my cry" is a prayer cried out loud. A man raises his voice AND CRIES TO HASHEM in his trouble, as it is written, "And their cry rose up to the Elohim" (Shemot 2:23). What is the cry MENTIONED IN THE VERSE? It is the cry heard when one raises one's voice in prayer and lifts up one's eyes above, as it is written, "And a shouting to the mountains" (Yeshayah 22:5). This prayer breaks open all gates upon which he knocks to present his prayer BEFORE HASHEM. "Keep not silence at my tears," which enter before the King and cannot be stopped by any gate or turned away in vain.
233. There are three grades of prayer. They are prayer, crying aloud, and tears, AS IT IS WRITTEN, "HEAR MY PRAYER...GIVE EAR TO MY CRY...KEEP NOT SILENCE AT MY TEARS." These correspond to three other grades mentioned at the end of the verse, "For I am a stranger with you," then "a sojourner," and then "all my fathers" (Tehilim 39:13), who were the main founders of the world. A STRANGER CORRESPONDS TO A PRAYER, A SOJOURNER TO A CRY, AND ALL MY FATHERS TO A TEAR.
234. Come and behold, A man's prayer is done standing up, for a man can pray in two ways, sitting down or standing up, which two are one, corresponding to the two grades of prayers, the hand Tfilin and the head Tfilin, also known as day and night. THEY CORRESPOND TO THE GRADE OF ZEIR ANPIN, CALLED HEAD TFILIN OR DAY, AND TO THE GRADE OF THE NUKVA, CALLED THE HAND TFILIN OR NIGHT, AND THEY ARE ONE IN THEIR UNION. A prayer said sitting down, NAMELY THE PRAYERS OF "WHO HAS FORMED THE LIGHT" BEFORE THE AMIDAH, is for the sake of the hand Tfilin, NAMELY, FOR THE NUKVA, to fix her as one prepares a bride and adorns her for the Chupah (marriage canopy). Thus, THE NUKVA is decorated in the secret of the Chariots and the troops ALLUDED TO IN THE WORDS, "Who formed ministering messengers, ministers who all do stand aloft" and "the Ofanim (wheels) and the holy living creatures." THESE ARE FOR THE ADORNMENT OF THE NUKVA.
235. After the prayer said sitting down, WHICH IS THE DECORATED NUKVA, enters the presence of the Supreme King, ZEIR ANPIN, NAMELY, DURING THE AMIDAH PRAYER, and he comes to receive her, we stand before the Supernal King, BECAUSE THEN ZEIR ANPIN IS UNITED WITH THE NUKVA. For this reason, it behooves us not to stop between "redemption" and the prayer, as the prayer sitting down and the prayer standing up should be joined.
236. When a man stands before the Supernal King, he needs four cubits for his prayer. This is the length of a rope in "who forms all." In all that pertains to the side of the male, it behooves a man to stand up. In the same way, whoever kneels, kneels when pronouncing 'blessed,' WHICH IS THE SECRET OF THE NUKVA. Whoever stands up does so WHEN PRONOUNCING THE WORD 'Name,' WHICH IS THE SECRET OF THE MALE, to show the superiority of the male over the female.