Shal-Om - Hitbodedut
1 א

(ו) והפרישות במנהגים הוא התבודדות וההבדל מן החברה המדינית לפנות לבו אל העבודה וההתבוננות בה כראוי, ובתנאי שלא יטה גם בזה אל הקצה האחר, שכבר אמרו ז"ל (כתובות י"ז א): לעולם תהא דעתו של אדם מעורבת עם הבריות, וכן אמרו (מכות י ב): "חרב אל הבדים ונואלו", חרב על שונאיהם של תלמידי חכמים שיושבים בד בבד ועוסקים בתורה, אלא יתחבר האדם עם הטובים זמן מה שמצטרך לו ללמודו או לפרנסתו, ויתבודד אחר כך להדבק באלקיו ולהשיג דרכי היושר והעבודה האמיתית.

The attribute of separation 'hitbodedut' in the context of customs means seclusion and separation from society to turn one's heart to the service of Hashem and to contemplate about it properly, on the condition that he not turn too far to the opposite direction, for the Sages says that a person should always be engaged with society, and the Sages said that there is a sword upon Torah scholars who learn alone, but rather one should spend time with others as necessary for learning and to earn a livelihood, and then seclude oneself to connect to Hashem and to attain the straight path and the true service.

2 ב

(א) הַהִתְבּוֹדְדוּת הוּא מַעֲלָה עֶלְיוֹנָה וּגְדוֹלָה מִן הַכֹּל, דְּהַיְנוּ לִקְבֹּעַ לוֹ עַל־כָּל־פָּנִים שָׁעָה אוֹ יוֹתֵר לְהִתְבּוֹדֵד לְבַדּוֹ בְּאֵיזֶה חֶדֶר אוֹ בַּשָּׂדֶה, וּלְפָרֵשׁ שִׂיחָתוֹ בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין קוֹנוֹ בִּטְעָנוֹת וַאֲמַתְלָאוֹת, בְּדִבְרֵי חֵן וְרִצּוּי וּפִיּוּס, לְבַקֵּשׁ וּלְהִתְחַנֵּן מִלְּפָנָיו יִתְבָּרַךְ, שֶׁיְּקָרְבוֹ אֵלָיו לַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ בֶּאֱמֶת. וּתְפִלָּה וְשִׂיחָה זוֹ יִהְיֶה בַּלָּשׁוֹן שֶׁמְּדַבְּרִים בּוֹ, דְּהַיְנוּ בִּלְשׁוֹן אַשְׁכְּנַז (בִּמְדִינָתֵנוּ), כִּי בִּלְשׁוֹן־הַקֹּדֶשׁ קָשֶׁה לוֹ לְפָרֵשׁ כָּל שִׂיחָתוֹ... וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר עִם לְבָבוֹ יָשִׂיחַ וִיסַפֵּר לְפָנָיו יִתְבָּרַךְ, הֵן חֲרָטָה וּתְשׁוּבָה עַל הֶעָבָר, וְהֵן בַּקָּשַׁת תַחֲנוּנִים לִזְכּוֹת לְהִתְקָרֵב אֵלָיו יִתְבָּרַךְ מֵהַיּוֹם וְהָלְאָה בֶּאֱמֶת, וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה כָּל חַד לְפוּם דַּרְגֵּהּ. וְיִזָּהֵר מְאֹד לְהַרְגִּיל עַצְמוֹ לְהַתְמִיד בָּזֶה מִדֵּי יוֹם בְּיוֹם שָׁעָה מְיֻחֶדֶת כַּנַּ"ל, וּשְׁאָר הַיּוֹם יִהְיֶה בְּשִׂמְחָה כַּנַּ"ל... וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם לִפְעָמִים נִסְתַּתְּמִין דְּבָרָיו, וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִפְתֹּחַ פִּיו לְדַבֵּר לְפָנָיו יִתְבָּרַךְ כְּלָל, אַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן זֶה בְּעַצְמוֹ טוֹב מְאֹד, דְּהַיְנוּ הַהֲכָנָה שֶׁהוּא מוּכָן וְעוֹמֵד לְפָנָיו יִתְבָּרַךְ, וְחָפֵץ וּמִשְׁתּוֹקֵק לְדַבֵּר, אַךְ שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל, זֶה בְּעַצְמוֹ גַם־כֵּן טוֹב מְאֹד, וְגַם יוּכַל לַעֲשׂוֹת לוֹ שִׂיחָה וּתְפִלָּה מִזֶּה בְּעַצְמוֹ. וְעַל זֶה בְּעַצְמוֹ יִצְעֹק וְיִתְחַנֵּן לְפָנָיו יִתְבָּרַךְ, שֶׁנִּתְרַחֵק כָּל־כָּךְ, עַד שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל אֲפִלּוּ לְדַבֵּר... וְדַע, שֶׁכַּמָּה וְכַמָּה צַדִּיקִים גְּדוֹלִים מְפֻרְסָמִים סִפְּרוּ, שֶׁלֹּא בָּאוּ לְמַדְרֵגָתָם, רַק עַל־יְדֵי הַנְהָגָה זוֹ.

"Hitbodedut" is the highest level of all, which means to set aside an hour or more to seclude herself in a room or in a field, and to have express herself in dialogue with her Creator, with claims, words of favor, and to request and supplicate before G!d that G!d should bring her close to G!d's service. And this prayer should be in one's native language which is German (in our country), because in Hebrew it is hard to express oneself, and the heart isn't drawn after such words... And she should speak what is in her heart, whether it be regret and teshuva on the past, or supplications to merit to come close to G!d in truth from that day on, and similar things, each according to her level. And she should be accustom herself to do this every day at a designated time, and the rest of the day she should be happy. And even if sometimes she doesn't have anything to say, she should speak to G!d about not having anything to say, and she should cry out to G!d, that she is so far away that she doesn't even know what to say... And you should know, that many righteous people said that they only reached their level because of this practice.

3 ג
דַּע, כְּשֶׁהָאָדָם מִתְפַּלֵּל בַּשָּׂדֶה, אֲזַי כָּל הָעֲשָׂבִים כֻּלָּם בָּאִין בְּתוֹךְ הַתְּפִלָּה, וּמְסַיְּעִין לוֹ, וְנוֹתְנִין לוֹ כֹּחַ בִּתְפִלָּתוֹ.

Know! when a person prays in the fields, all the flora enters into the prayer, helping her and strengthening her prayer. This is the reason prayer is called SiChah (conversation), the concept of “SiaCh (shrub) of the field” (Genesis 2:5). All the shrubs of the field empower and assist her prayer.

4 ד
(סג) וַיֵּצֵ֥א יִצְחָ֛ק לָשׂ֥וּחַ בַּשָּׂדֶ֖ה לִפְנ֣וֹת עָ֑רֶב וַיִּשָּׂ֤א עֵינָיו֙ וַיַּ֔רְא וְהִנֵּ֥ה גְמַלִּ֖ים בָּאִֽים׃

(63) And Isaac went out 'LaSuaCh' meditating/walking/speaking in the field toward evening and, looking up, he saw camels approaching.

5 ה
יצחק תקן תפלת מנחה שנאמר ויצא יצחק לשוח בשדה לפנות ערב ואין שיחה אלא תפלה שנאמר תפלה לעני כי יעטף ולפני ה׳ ישפך שיחו
Isaac instituted the afternoon prayer, as it is stated: “And Isaac went out to converse [lasuaḥ] in the field toward evening” (Genesis 24:63), and conversation means nothing other than prayer, as it is stated: “A prayer of the afflicted when he is faint and pours out his complaint [siḥo] before the Lord” (Psalms 102:1). Obviously, Isaac was the first to pray as evening approached, at the time of the afternoon prayer.
6 ו

Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom #16.

You can shout loudly in a "small still voice"… Anyone can do this. Just imagine the sound of such a scream in your mind. Depict the shout in your imagination exactly as it would sound. Keep this up until you are literally screaming with this soundless "small still voice."

This is actually a scream and not mere imagination. Just as some vessels bring the sound from your lungs to your lips, others bring it to the brain. You can draw the sound through these nerves, literally bringing it into your head. When you do this, you are actually shouting inside your brain.

7 ז

(ב) וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר לָבוֹא לִידֵי בִּטּוּל, כִּי־אִם עַל־יְדֵי הִתְבּוֹדְדוּת, כִּי עַל־יְדֵי שֶׁמִּתְבּוֹדֵד וּמְפָרֵשׁ שִׂיחָתוֹ בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין קוֹנוֹ, עַל־יְדֵי־זֶה הוּא זוֹכֶה לְבַטֵּל כָּל הַתַּאֲווֹת וְהַמִּדּוֹת רָעוֹת, עַד שֶׁזּוֹכֶה לְבַטֵּל כָּל גַּשְׁמִיּוּתוֹ, וּלְהִכָּלֵל בְּשָׁרְשׁוֹ.

(ג) אַךְ עִקַּר הַהִתְבּוֹדְדוּת הוּא בַּלַּיְלָה, בְּעֵת שֶׁהָעוֹלָם פָּנוּי מִטִּרְדַּת הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. כִּי בַּיּוֹם, עַל־יְדֵי שֶׁרוֹדְפִין הָעוֹלָם אַחַר הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, הוּא מְבַטֵּל וּמְבַלְבֵּל אֶת הָאָדָם מִלְּהִתְדַּבֵּק וּלְהִכָּלֵל בְּהַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרַךְ. וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם הוּא בְּעַצְמוֹ אֵינוֹ טָרוּד, אַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן מֵאַחַר שֶׁהָעוֹלָם טְרוּדִים אָז וְרוֹדְפִים אָז אַחַר הַבְלֵי הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, עַל־יְדֵי־זֶה קָשֶׁה אָז לָבוֹא לִידֵי בִּטּוּל:

(ד) וְגַם צְרִיכִין שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הַהִתְבּוֹדְדוּת בְּמָקוֹם מְיֻחָד, דְּהַיְנוּ חוּץ מֵהָעִיר בְּדֶרֶךְ יְחִידִי, בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין הוֹלְכִים שָׁם בְּנֵי אָדָם, כִּי בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁהוֹלְכִים שָׁם בְּנֵי אָדָם בַּיּוֹם, הָרוֹדְפִים אַחַר הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, אַף־עַל־פִּי שֶׁכָּעֵת אֵינָם הוֹלְכִים שָׁם, הוּא מְבַלְבֵּל גַּם כֵּן הַהִתְבּוֹדְדוּת, וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִתְבַּטֵּל וּלְהִכָּלֵל בּוֹ יִתְבָּרַךְ. עַל־כֵּן צָרִיךְ שֶׁיֵּלֵךְ לְבַדּוֹ בַּלַּיְלָה, בְּדֶרֶךְ יְחִידִי, בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין שָׁם אָדָם, וְשָׁם יֵלֵךְ וְיִתְבּוֹדֵד, וִיפַנֶּה לִבּוֹ וְדַעְתּוֹ מִכָּל עִסְקֵי עוֹלָם הַזֶּה, וִיבַטֵּל הַכֹּל, עַד שֶׁיִּזְכֶּה לִבְחִינַת בִּטּוּל בֶּאֱמֶת.

(ה) הַיְנוּ, שֶׁבַּתְּחִלָּה יַרְבֶּה בִּתְפִלּוֹת וְשִׂיחוֹת בְּהִתְבּוֹדְדוּת בַּלַּיְלָה בְּדֶרֶךְ יְחִידִי כַּנַּ"ל, עַד שֶׁיִּזְכֶּה לְבַטֵּל זֶה הַדָּבָר, דְּהַיְנוּ לְבַטֵּל מִדָּה וְתַאֲוָה זֹאת. וְאַחַר־כָּךְ יַרְבֶּה עוֹד בַּהִתְבּוֹדְדוּת הַנַּ"ל, עַד שֶׁיְּבַטֵּל מִדָּה וְתַאֲוָה אַחֶרֶת. וְכֵן יִנְהוֹג זְמַן רַב בְּהִתְבּוֹדְדוּת, בַּזְּמַן הַנַּ"ל, וּבַמָּקוֹם הַנַּ"ל, עַד שֶׁיְּבַטֵּל הַכֹּל. וְאַחַר־כָּךְ עֲדַיִן נִשְׁאָר מִמֶּנּוּ אֵיזֶה דָּבָר וְכוּ', וְאַחַר־כָּךְ מְבַטְּלִין גַּם זֶה, עַד שֶׁלֹּא נִשְׁאָר מִמֶּנּוּ כְּלוּם.

(2) And the only way to attain bitul (ego-nullification) is through hitbodedut. By secluding herself and speaking at length with her Master, through this a person merits negating all her physical desires and bad character traits to the point where she merits negating all her corporeality and is encompassed in the Source.

(3) But the main [time] for hitbodedut is at night, when people are free of the preoccupations of this world. For during the day, because people chase after the things of this world, this disturbs a person and prevents her from cleaving and being encompassed in G!d. Even if she herself is not preoccupied, still, since most people are preoccupied then and are chasing after the vanities of this world, as a result it is difficult to attain bitul then.

(4) In addition, the hitbodedut should take place in a special place—i.e., away from the city, on a secluded road, in a place not frequented by people. For a place frequented during the day by people who chase after this world, even if at present they are not there, nonetheless disturbs the hitbodedut and he is unable to attain bitul and be encompassed in God. Therefore a person has to go alone at night on a secluded road, in a place where no one else is, and there engage in hitbodedut, emptying his heart and mind of all worldly matters

8 ח

(א) עוֹד אָמַר לְעִנְיַן הִתְבּוֹדְדוּת, שֶׁהָיָה דַּרְכּוֹ זַ"ל לְזָרֵז מְאֹד בָּזֶה לִהְיוֹת רָגִיל מְאֹד בְּהִתְבּוֹדְדוּת, לְפָרֵשׁ שִׂיחָתוֹ לִפְנֵי הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרַךְ בְּכָל יוֹם וָיוֹם.,וְאָמַר: שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ כְּשֶׁאֵין יְכוֹלִין לְדַבֵּר כְּלָל, אֲפִלּוּ כְּשֶׁמְּדַבְּרִין רַק דִּבּוּר אֶחָד, גַּם־כֵּן טוֹב מְאֹד.,וְאָמַר: שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ אִם אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְדַבֵּר רַק דִּבּוּר אֶחָד, יִהְיֶה חָזָק בְּדַעְתּוֹ, וִידַבֵּר אוֹתוֹ הַדִּבּוּר כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה פְּעָמִים בְּלִי שִׁעוּר וָעֵרֶךְ, וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם יְבַלֶּה כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה יָמִים בְּדִּבּוּר זֶה לְבַד גַּם זֶה טוֹב. וְיִהְיֶה חָזָק וְאַמִּיץ, וְיַרְבֶּה לְדַבֵּר אוֹתוֹ הַדִּבּוּר פְּעָמִים אֵין מִסְפָּר, עַד שֶׁיְּרַחֵם עָלָיו הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרַךְ, וְיִפְתַּח פִּיו, וְיוּכַל לְפָרֵשׁ שִׂיחָתוֹ.

(1) Rebbe Nachman said more on the topic of hitbodedut. The Rebbe, of blessed memory, avidly encouraged the regular practice of hitbodedut, speaking with God each and every day.,He said: Even when one cannot speak at all, or says only a single thing—it is also very good!,He also said: Even if a person can only say one thing, she should be resolute and say that thing over and over again, endlessly. And even if she spends many, many days saying nothing but this thing—that, too, is good! She should be strong and courageous, and continue to say that thing countless times until God takes pity on her and opens her mouth, enabling her to elaborate her words.

9 ט

On Personal Prayer in the Amidah

Ḥiddushei ha-Rashba on Berakhot, 11a.

When it comes to the remaining text [other than language explicitly mentioned in the Talmud] of the blessings, the rabbis never gave a measure saying that a person must say an exact number of words, no more and no less! And they never told us how many words must be said in a blessing in order for it to be called “long” or “short.” And not only this, but they explicitly said that in the eighteen blessings of prayer, if one wants to add something to any blessing in accordance with its topic he may do so (Avodah Zarah 8a). And this is true even if the words of his addiction are more than the main part of the blessing, and although those blessings are “short” ones [but he makes them long]… And even though… the blessing ha-zan is called “long” in the Tosefta and the Yerushalmi, it is nevertheless concluded later (Berakhot 40b) in case of Benjamin the shepherd that even if he said “Brich Raḥamana Mareih de-hai pitta” [Aramaic: “Blessed be the Merciful One, the Master of this bread”] he has fulfilled his obligation! And the gemara there implies that this is even lekhateḥillah [=fully permissible] as it cites in this context: “These are said in any language…”—which is even lekhateḥillah, and the same thing is also implied about this in the Yerushalmi (Brachot 6:2).

10 י

Shulchan Aruch Orach Hayyim 119

If one wants to add to any of the middle blessings (of a weekday amidah which is where the requests are found), one can add them. How? If one is sick he can ask for compassion in the blessing Refa’einu (heal us). If one needs sustenance, one asks for this is in the blessing Hashanim (which is about asking for rain for the land). There are those that say that if an individual is going to insert, that he should not be lengthy.