Week 3: Ana Bekoach
Day 15: Line 1
- We implore you, by the great power of Your right hand, release the captive.
- Accept the prayer of Your people; strengthen us, purify us, Awesome One.
- Mighty One, we beseech You, guard as the apple of the eye those who seek Your Oneness.
- Bless them, cleanse them; bestow upon them forever Your merciful righteousness.
- Powerful, Holy One, in Your abounding goodness, guide Your congregation.
- Only and Exalted One, turn to Your people who are mindful of Your holiness.
- Accept our supplication and hear our cry, You Who knows secret thoughts.
The first line of the prayer is preeminent and is concentrated upon in time of extreme stress or danger. Accessing the power of unconditional love and redemption. The term, “Ana Bekoah” is interesting in that the word “ana” is Aramaic for ‘please’ and ‘koach’ is Hebrew for power or strength. ‘Gedulat’ repeats the plea for ‘strength,’ all of which emanates from the ‘right hand’ of Chesed. The accumulated sins are bound together forming a barrier that prevents our prayers from ascending to the Throne of Glory. We ask the Creator Before Time to ‘untie the bundle’ or ‘release the captive.’
This the appeal to the mercy (Chesed) of G-d for help, includes the aspect of Gevurah (Bekoach & Gedulat) within it:
Song of Songs 2:6 – “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me.”
CHESED – There are 42 words in the Ana Bekoach prayer. The initials of these words create what is called the ‘42-letter name of G-d.’ This Divine name is connected with creation and the first verses in the Torah that speak of creation. This is a name very closely associated with the weekly unfolding of time, the six days of the week and Shabbat. The word “letter” in Hebrew (‘oth’) is understood as related to “energy” or “vibration”. It was the energy of each individual Hebrew letter or vibration that brought the universe into being.
INSIGHT ON 42
For Day 1, we examine very first verse of the Zohar, which is commenting on Genesis 1:1. The text immediately turns to a discussion regarding Israel and its relationship to G-d, from the ‘beginning.’ A connection is made to the 42 stages of their journey from Egypt to Sinai, each viewed as a ‘copulation’- a moment of connectivity. This in turn relates to the ’42-letter name of G-d,’ and the “Name being One,” as the Shekinah, the Bride (=’7’) is in a state of union with the Groom (=’6’). The chibur (‘joining,’ the mathematical product) being 42.
Zohar 1:1 – “Rabbi Hizkiah opened his discourse with the text: As a lily among thorns, etc. (Song of Songs 2:2). What, he said, does the lily symbolize? It symbolizes the Community of Israel. As the lily among thorns is tinged with red and white, so the Community of Israel is visited now with justice and now with mercy; as the lily possesses thirteen leaves, so the Community of Israel is vouchsafed thirteen categories of mercy which surround it on every side. For this reason, the term Elohim (God) mentioned here (in the first verse of Genesis) is separated by thirteen words from the next mention of Elohim, symbolizing the thirteen categories of mercy which surround the Community of Israel to protect it. The second mention of Elohim is separated from the third by five words, representing the five strong leaves that surround the lily, symbolic of the five ways of salvation which are the “five gates”. This is alluded to in the verse “I will lift up the cup of salvation” (Psalm 116:13). This is the “cup of benediction,” which has to be raised by five fingers and no more, after the model of the lily, which rests on five strong leaves in the shape of five fingers. Thus the lily is a symbol of the cup of benediction. Immediately after the third mention of Elohim appears the light which, so soon as created, was treasured up and enclosed in that covenant which entered the lily and fructified it, and this is what is called ‘tree bearing fruit’ wherein is the seed thereof: and this seed is preserved in the very sign of the covenant. And as the ideal covenant was formed through forty-two copulations, so the engraven ineffable name is formed of the forty-two letters of the work of creation.”