Week 3: Ana Bekoach
Day 16: Line 2
- 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 second line of the prayer focuses on the condition of the people with relation to acceptance of the prayer. Within this is a further request of the ‘awesome one’ to purify us. All of these aspects relate to the Sefirah of Gevurah, which is concerned with restriction, strength and awe.
GEVURAH – These 42 letters are associated with 42 stages in the process of our spiritual development. These stages are the secret of the 42 places mentioned in the Torah where the Nation of Israel camps during their years in the Sinai Desert before entering the Land of Israel. There are 42 words in the 1st paragraph of the Shema, as well as 42 lines in each column of the Torah scroll paralleling this process. This journey of 42 is reflected in the story of our exodus from Egypt, a place of constriction and limitation. The etymological root of the Hebrew word for Egypt, Metzrayim, is metzar/constriction. In Metzrayim, the Israelites were literally slaves who were then given freedom. Internally, they were enslaved to their lower selves; leaving Egypt represents a movement into genuine freedom. Before they were able to reach their full freedom, to enter the promised land, they were engaged in 42 journeys. These are known as the 42 journeys which, according to the Baal Shem Tov, represent 42 stages a person goes through in life.
INSIGHT ON 42
The Midrash Rabbah (also connecting to Shir haShirim) seems to relate the 42-stage journey to the Shekinah, robbed of her desire to enter the land of Israel.
Midrash Rabbah – The Song of Songs 1:41 – MY MOTHER’S SONS, the sons of my nation, namely the spies, WERE INCENSED AGAINST ME: they attacked me, they filled the Judge with wrath against me. THEY MADE ME KEEPER OF THE VINEYARDS: because I stayed in the wilderness journeying forty-two stages, I was not able to enter the land of Israel. Hence, MY OWN VINEYARD I DID NOT KEEP.