[Prayer is discussed here since the first word of this Torah reading means "and he [Moses] entreated," a form of ardent prayer.]

It was explained that he who prays before his Master should stand [in the Amidah] like the supernal angels [with feet straight and together as one] and join those [angels] who are called 'those who stand , as written, "I will give you access among those who stand."1(Zachariah 3:7) One must concentrate his will before his Master and submit his petition.

Come and see: when man rises at midnight from his bed to engage in the Torah, a crier announces over him, saying, "Behold, bless G‑d, all you servants of G‑d, who stand by night in the house of G‑d." (Psalms 134:1) Now,
[in the morning] when he stands in prayer before his Master, the crier proclaims about him saying, "I will give you access among these who stand."

After finishing his prayer favorably before his Master, it was explained that it behooves him to give over his soul with a willing heart [in falling upon one's face, Nefilat Apayim2] to the required place [of malchut].

Man has much advice, regarding everything
[for the Torah gives much good advice to man through prayer and study]. When he is in prayer, all the words which emanate from his mouth in that prayer ascend above and break through atmospheres and firmaments until they reach wherever they reach. They are crowned upon the head of the King [Zeir Anpin], who makes them into a crown.

The colleagues explained that when a man asks G‑d in his prayer, he should meditate for it to be a prayer of supplication. Whence do we know that? From Moses, as written, "And I entreated G‑d." (Deut. 3:23) Such is a goodly prayer [and fitting to be received; Prayer here refers to the Amidah].

Come and see: whoever stands in prayer should straighten his legs, which has already been explained.3 He should cover his head as one standing before the king and cover his eyes so as not to behold the Shechinah. In his book, Rav Hamnuna Saba said that whoever opens his eyes during prayer or does not lower his eyes to the ground, the Angel of Death hastens for him. When his soul leaves him [at the time of his death], he [who was accustomed to stare at the place of the Shechinah] will not see the light of the Shechinah nor die by a kiss. Whoever treats the Shechinah lightly is treated lightly when he needs Her. This is the meaning of, "for them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me [by staring at the Shechinah during prayer] shall be lightly esteemed." (I Samuel 2:30)

[We referred to] one who looks at the Shechinah when he prays, yet how can he see the Shechinah? One must know that the Shechinah is surely before him [when he prays]. This is the meaning of, "Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall," (Isaiah 38:2) for that is where the Shechinah rested. For that reason there must not be [any] separation between a person and the wall [during prayer]. This has already been explained.

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section? What do they want us to learn?

It is recommended to say the silent standing prayer with one's eyes closed (or looking only inside the prayer book) to prevent staring at the Shechinah, which is always present during prayer. This too is the reason why when the traditional Kohen's blessing is given with their hands are covered. Moses' modesty at turning aside to not stare at the burning bush earned him a permanent place as the leader of our people.

It takes much strong willpower not to gaze where we are prohibited, whether places of immodesty such as barely dressed people or places of Holiness such as during the time of standing prayer. To circumcise the eyes means to reveal them only at the proper times. Then, and only then, will G‑d open up your eyes and to you can see His wonders (Psalm 119:18)

What does this mean, and why is it being revealed to you now?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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