Parashat Vaetchanan begins with Moses' description of how he pleaded with G‑d to let him enter the land of Israel:
"And I supplicated to G‑d at that time, saying…." (Deut. 3:23)

Know, that there is an angel appointed over prayers, who elevates them from earth to heaven, this being a journey of five hundred years.

Note: "From earth to heaven is a journey of five hundred years; from one heaven to the next is a journey of five hundred years; and the width of each heaven is a journey of five hundred years." Also, "The height of the hooves of the heavenly beasts is also a journey of five hundred years." (Chagigah 13a; Pesachim 94b; Jerusalem Talmud Berachot 9) The significance of the five hundred years is understood to be the five principle sefirot of the middot (chesed, gevura, tiferet, netzach, and hod) as they each inter-include ten sub-sefirot and each of these ten sub-sefirot inter-include ten sub-sub-sefirot (5 x 10 x 10 = 500).

He elevates them with the power of the divine name Y-ah, which G‑d used to form the worlds.

One leg is enough….

Isaiah (26:4) is usually translated: "Trust in G‑d forever, for in Y-ah, [who is] G‑d, is the everlasting rock." However, the prefix translated here as "in" can also mean "through" or "by"; and the divine name Y-ah is spelled yud-hei, the word for "rock" (tzur) can also be taken as a verb meaning "to form", and the word for "everlasting" ("olamim") can be taken to mean "worlds". Thus, the verse can be mystically translated as: "Trust in G‑d forever, for with the letters yud and hei G‑d formed the worlds." Based on this (and other verses), the Sages say that G‑d created This World with the letter hei and the World to Come with the letter yud. (Menachot 29b) Thus, it follows that G‑d "used" the divine name Y-ah, i.e. the two letters yud-hei, to create the two worlds: this world and the next.

Concerning these angels that elevate prayers, it is written, "Their legs are a straight leg." (Ezekiel 1:7)

Angels in general are depicted has having one, straight leg. Since angels are personified divine attributes or facets of consciousness, they are static; they do not grow, develop, or progress in any way. (If they would, they would cease to be what they are and turn into a different angel.) So, they therefore have no need for any means of walking, and their "leg" serves only as a pedestal to stand on. Thus, one leg is enough, and they have no knee to bend it since they do not need to move it.

The numerical value of the word for "straight" [in Hebrew, "yeshara" = 515] is equal to 500 plus the numerical value of the name Y-ah [15], corresponding to the 500-year journey [from earth to heaven] and the name Y-ah [used to take the prayers on this journey].

"Yeshara" is spelled: yud-shin-reish-hei = 10 + 300 + 200 + 5 = 515.

"Y-ah" is spelled: yud-hei = 10 + 5 = 15.

This is why [Moses] chose to describe his prayers with the word "and I supplicated" [in Hebrew - "va-etchanan"], for its numerical value is the same as that of the word "straight".

"Vaetchanan" is spelled: vav-alef-tav-chet-nun-nun = 6 + 1 + 400 + 8 + 50 + 50 = 515.

Elsewhere, Moses describes his prayers using the usual verb for prayer, "l'hitpalel". The exceptional use of the verb "to supplicate" ("l'hitchanen") thus invites homiletical interpretation.

Meaning to say, "I entreated the angels to elevate my prayer [through the process alluded to by the number 515] the value of the word 'va-etchanan'." The numerical value of the word for "prayer" ["tefilla"] is also 515.

"Tefilla" is spelled: tav-pei-lamed-hei = 400 + 80 + 30 + 5 = 515.

The next words in the verse, "at that time", thus refer to the time when the angels elevate the prayers via the name Y-ah.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sefer HaLikutim and Likutei Torah, parashat VaEtchanan; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."

Reprinted with permission from Chabad of California. Copyright 2004 by Chabad of California, Inc. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, without permission, in writing, from Chabad of California, Inc.