It is written (Ps. cii. 17), "He will regard the prayer of the
destitute," and it is not written, "He will hear." What else can the
term "regard" mean than that there is a distinction between the prayer
of an individual and the prayer of a community? For when a community
prays, their prayer enters before the Holy One--blessed be He!--and He
is not particular to regard and criticise their works and their
intentions and thoughts, but receives their prayers immediately. But
when an individual prays, the Holy One--blessed be He!--regards and
scrutinizes his heart, whether it be devout and whether he be a
righteous man. Therefore, one should always pray with the community, and
this is why the text (Ps. cvii. 17) ends with the words, "And not
despise their prayer." Although there are some of the community whose
prayers, on account of their evil deeds, deserve to be despised, He,
nevertheless, does not despise their prayer.
THE KABBALA, _Kitzur Sh'lk_, fol. 51, col. 1.