“וַיַּחֲלֹם, וְהִנֵּה סֻלָּם מֻצָּב אַרְצָה, וְרֹאשׁוֹ, מַגִּיעַ הַשָּׁמָיְמָה; וְהִנֵּה מַלְאֲכֵי אֱלֹהִים, עֹלִים וְיֹרְדִים בּוֹ”
” As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway.”
The night prayer is the aspect of Jacob’s ladder. It connects to the central column where the prayers go up and the Light comes down. The Zohar explains that it is the way to break the camps of the negative side that come out at night time.
” וַיִּוָּתֵר יַעֲקֹב, לְבַדּוֹ; וַיֵּאָבֵק אִישׁ עִמּוֹ, עַד עֲלוֹת הַשָּׁחַר”
” Then Jacob was left alone, and a man struggle with him until daybreak.”
The struggle with the negative side is through the Night. Our night prayer and meditations send ‘angels’ up and they come down with the Light that help us overcome the negativity as Jacob could overcome the angel of the negative side.
The Zohar (Chaye Sarah #242) explains that the prayer of the night , ערבית, Arvit, is optional. The reason is that when we make the morning connection to Chessed and the afternoon connection to Gevurah, we form the central column and the light flows throughout the day.
King David did not pray Arvit but he used to wake up after midnight when the Light begins to appear in the world to sing his songs and praise God for his Creation. This is the reason why we do not recite Psalms at night.
Rabbi Shimon didn’t pray Arvit because he would have brought balance to the entire spiritual system before the time of Mashiach. He was not allowed to do it.
We are not King David or Rabbi Shimon, so we need every opportunity to make a spiritual connection to remove negativity from our lives.