338. AND REGARDING THE AMIDAH PRAYER, IT WAS SAID: 'The study of the Divine Chariot may not be expounded before one person,' because he who expounds to a single person, is not THAT PERSON NOW with him during the exposition, and they are two. And he must not make sound there in his prayer, but "only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard" (I Shmuel 1:13). And in this lies the secret of the verse: "and the stranger that comes near shall be put to death" (Bemidbar 3:38). And so it is with prayer: everyone should pray quietly in such a way that his prayer is not heard by his neighbor, THIS BEING WHAT THEY REFERRED TO WHEN THEY SAID: 'THE STUDY OF THE DIVINE CHARIOT MAY NOT BE EXPOUNDED BEFORE ONE PERSON.' It is just as one who is expounding to his fellow and he wants to whisper the words to him, SO THAT HE SHOULD NOT HEAR; he does not have to do anything other than speak in silence, and then his fellow will not hear. All this is why the sages taught: 'One who says the prayer so that it can be heard is of small faith.'
339. And this is why the heavenly living creatures of fire speak as the branches of the tree, WHICH ARE THE MINISTERING ANGELS who assemble there at the wedding feast. And where is this to happen? At the unification of the reading of Sh'ma, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF THE WEDDING CANOPY, for there IT IS SAID: "I heard the noise of their wings" (Yechezkel 1:24), FOR THE LOWER UNITY, YUD-ALEPH-HEI-DALET-VAV-NUN- HEI- YUD, IS NOT YET THERE AND THEY ARE THEREFORE SPEAKING. And there are 64 for each of the four wings. THAT IS TO SAY: THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES, EACH COMPOSED OF FOUR, MAKE SIXTEEN LIVING CREATURES. EACH LIVING CREATURE HAS FOUR WINGS, MAKING A TOTAL OF 64 WINGS. BUT THE WINGS ARE INTERWOVEN AND THERE ARE FOUR WINGS IN EACH WING, THUS 64 HAS TO BE multiplied by four, making 256, and this is: "Sing (Heb. ronu = 256) with gladness for Jacob" (Yirmeyah 31:6). And when will this be? After he has wreaked vengeance on those who hate him and burnt their deities, as it is written: "but when the wicked perish, there is jubilation (Heb. rinah)" (Mishlei 11:10) WHICH HAS THE NUMERICAL VALUE OF 256, TOGETHER WITH THE ONE THAT REPRESENTS THE WHOLE.
340. And the 64 are derived from eight TIMES az (Eng. 'then' = 8); FOR AZ INDICATES THE EIGHT LETTERS OF THE UNITY, YUD-ALEPH-HEI- DALET-VAV-NUN-HEI-YUD, and thus the 64 is DERIVED from eight TIMES az. AND WITH THE 64 ON each of the four corners, the total is 256. And when he reaches heart (Heb. lev = 32), which is four times az, which is four times the letter Chet, Yud is joined with them on each side, making 'Hashem lives,' NAMELY THAT YESOD WHICH IS CALLED 'LIVING' JOINS WITH YUD HEI VAV HEI in the eighteen blessings of the prayer, in which Yud Hei Vav Hei appears eighteen times, for a total of 72 LETTERS. At the moment Yud Hei Vav Hei is joined with Adonai by the 18 worlds, namely Yud-Aleph-Hei Dalet-Vav-Nun-Hei-Yud IS FORMED BY YESOD, WHO IS CALLED 'LIFE OF THE WORLDS.' Immediately, the living creatures of fire fall silent, FOR AT THE TIME OF THE UNIFICATION THEY ARE QUIET. What is written about them? "When they stood, they let down their wings" (Yechezkel 1:24), THE MEANING OF WHICH IS: When Yisrael stand in prayer, THIS BEING THE TIME OF THE UNIFICATION, they let down their wings, that their presence should not be felt, until that time NAMELY THEY FALL SILENT.
341. And this is the meaning of "Only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard," where lips refer to the wings of the living creatures. For the electrum was PREVIOUSLY living creatures of fire who were speaking, while NOW they are silent. And this is why silent prayer was ordained, and thus the study of the Divine Chariot is without sound, for he speaks there to himself in a whisper. Three prayers were ordained and in each one Yud Hei Vav Hei is ENUNCIATED eighteen TIMES, making 72 letters in each prayer, in the CONCLUDING SENTENCES OF EACH OF THE eighteen blessings, AND 3 TIMES 72 makes 216 LETTERS that are included in Chesed. AND THREE TIMES 72, together with the 32 paths OF CHOCHMAH comes to 250 minus two, NAMELY, ADDS UP TO 248, WHICH IS CHESED, that are included in the Central Column, WHICH IS CHESED.
342. From what is said about sacrifices, we can learn about prayer, and prayer is deduced from the sacrifices. Just as it is said ABOVE ABOUT PRAYER, "I heard the noise of their wings" (Yechezkel 1:24), so with regard to the Cherubs, WHICH ARE THE SECRET OF SACRIFICE, NAMELY OF THE UNIFICATION OF YUD HEI VAV HEI AND ADONAI THAT IS ATTAINED THROUGH THE SACRIFICE, AS IT IS SAID: "Then he heard the voice speaking to him" (Bemidbar 7:89). AND SO WE DEDUCE ABOUT PRAYER FROM THE SACRIFICES. ABOUT THE LATTER IT IS WRITTEN: "THE VOICE SPEAKING" WHICH HINTS AT BOTH VOICE AND SPEECH, WHICH ARE YUD HEI VAV HEI AND ADONAI. SIMILARLY, ABOUT PRAYER IT IS SAID ONLY: "I HEARD THE NOISE OF THEIR WINGS," WITHOUT SPEECH BEING MENTIONED IN THIS CONTEXT. NEVERTHELESS, SPEECH IS ALSO INCLUDED THERE. Just as with the ramp OF THE ALTAR, on which sacrifices and burnt offerings ascend and descend, so in the prayer two angels ascend and two descend. And so it was at Mount Sinai, where Moses and Aaron ascended the mountain and descended, NAMELY two went up and two came down. And all the precepts of the Torah are implied in this precept OF PRAYER.
343. Thus, when Rabbi Akiva started to discuss the study of the Divine Chariot, his mouth was Sinai and his voice was a ladder on which angels ascended and descended. With every speech of his, the angel Metatron would ride on it. He is a vehicle of the Shechinah, for included in him are the Sfirot of the Central Column, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, which is Yud-Vav Dalet, Hei-Aleph, Vav-Aleph-Vav, Hei-Aleph. They are inside, while the Shechinah, which is composed of ten Sfirot, is outside OVER HIM. And the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Shechinah are rechev (Eng. 'vehicle,' masc.) and Merkavah (Eng. 'Chariot,' fem.). The Central Column is a vehicle to the Cause of Causes, WHICH IS THE ENDLESS LIGHT, while His Shechinah is a vehicle for the Central Column. And the Cause of Causes, WHICH IS THE ENDLESS LIGHT, is the All uniting and the All arranging and the All illuminating. His light passes through the soul and body and apparel, and He is unchanging, and without partnership, or account or picture or likeness of any Chariot or vision or likeness that the MIND'S eyes can summon up. The upper and lower steps are a vehicle and Chariot to Him, but none ride on Him.
344. The rainbow (Heb. keshet - Kof Shin Tav) stands for initials of T'kiah, Sh'varim, T'ruah and they are a sign for the patriarchs' Chariot. T'kiah is Abraham, Sh'varim Isaac, and T'ruah is Jacob, about whom it is said: "And the trumpet blast (Heb. t'ruah) of a king is among them" (Bemidbar 23:21). And in it three colors are visible: white, red, and green. From the side of Gvurah it, YESOD, is called "The bows of the mighty are broken" (I Shmuel 2:4), and from the right side, WHICH IS CHESED, IT IS CALLED "As the appearance of the rainbow that is in the cloud in the day of rain" (Yechezkel 1:28). When it appears on a rainy day, Mercy is visible, but when it appears when there is no rain, Judgment is visible. And when it is blended in between rain and sun, this shows that Mercy and Judgment are joined. And this is the letter Shin of Shadai (Shin-Dalet-Yud), THAT TEACHES ABOUT the three branches of the patriarchs, namely: Yud Hei Vav Hei, Our Elohim, Yud Hei Vav Hei, these being the three names that parallel the three branches of the patriarchs, WHICH ARE CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET. AND THESE THREE NAMES contain Yud Dalet (= 14) letters, which form the Dalet Yud of Shadai. AND SHADAI IS YESOD OF ZEIR ANPIN, and the apparel of Shadai IS Metatron, which has the same numerical value as Shadai. End of Ra'aya Meheimna(the Faithful Shepherd).