Breaking All Barriers
The explanation of the matter is as follows.
Rabbi Yosef Gikatilla wrote, that a person praying is like someone traveling through perilous territory: one's prayer has to pass from earth to Heaven through spiritual legions and hordes, some full of mercy and lovingkindness, others (beneath them) impure creatures who seek to detract and do harm. Some are for peace and some are for war, some warrant good and others evil, some are for life and others death. If a person is worthy, no harm comes to one's prayers; and if one is not worthy, the destructive spiritual forces along the way will be numerous and formidable.
Therefore, David HaMelech, peace be upon him, initiated Tehillim (Psalms) to clear the way so that one's prayers can ascend unimpeded. In particular, these psalms are called Zemirot, and are recited during Shacharit (the daily morning service), prior to the Shema and Shemoneh Esrei. As it is written, "Your laws are a 'source of strength (zemirot) to me wherever I dwell (Tehillim 119:54)."
Thus the Tzemach Tzedek concludes, "Know that zemirot of Tehillim shatter all barriers, they ascend higher and still higher with no interference; they prostrate themselves in supplication before the Master of all worlds, and they effect and accomplish with kindness and compassion."
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