And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Send men, that they may spy out the land”
It states in the Zohar (Numbers 159a): There are three worlds of the Holy Blessed One
- The world that is hidden and not known at all
- The world that is continuously manifest
- The world that is known and not known
When prayer cannot help a person at all, this is called the world that is not known at all, for in relation to this person God withdraws His presence above.
The world that is continuously manifest, this is a person for whom God is a constant source of support and help, even in the absence of her prayers, and thus does not need to pray.
The world that is known and not known, this is the individual who gets no assistance without prayer, but by praying she is answered. And the desire to pray wells up in her heart. But concerning the first two [worlds/paradigms], there is no internal desire to pray. The one who walks constantly with divine assistance does not need to pray, and the one that no amount of prayer can help, she has not one iota of stirrings to pray.
Therefore, when a person has no desire to pray, she needs to understand why there is no desire. Is it because it will not help, or she simply does not need it?
And this is what we learn concerning the spies, that prayer could not help them at all, so they had no desire to pray.
Caleb needed to pray, so he prostrated himself on the graves of his fathers and prayed.
Joshua didn’t need to pray, for he always walked with God, as it is written (Zohar Numbers 158b), “For Moses blessed him with divine assistance.” Thus he did not need to pray.
The Ishbitzer wants us to take seriously our feelings/desires. When I don’t want to pray, is it because it is hopeless, or because it is superfluous? Investigate that (lack of) feeling, and never deny it. Could be terrifying, or I could find out that everything has been OK all along.
But also know that a person can occupy both of these places (ie. The world that is known/not known). We can feel alone and abandoned, as if God is hiding from us. That nothing is going right for us. But we can pray. We can call out and step into the place of knowing God, where God assists and helps us. But it requires our taking that first step forward. We have to reach out and believe in the answer. Because if I’m feeling ANYTHING at all, any amount of hope, that “yeah, things are bad now, but you never know…,” then I’m already there! I’m in the world where a little bit of desire and action is met with infinite assistance and assurance.