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What Is “He Who Did Not Toil on the Eve of Shabbat, What Will He Eat on Shabbat” in the Work?

Article No. 07, Tav-Shin-Mem-Tet, 1988-89

Our sages said (Avoda Zara 3), “They said to Him, ‘Lord of the world, give us in advance and we will do it’ (give us the Torah now and we will observe it). The Creator said to them: ‘Fools, he who toiled on the eve of Shabbat [Sabbath] will eat on Shabbat. He who did not toil on the eve of Shabbat, from where will he eat on Shabbat?’”

We should understand this in the work: 1) What is the “toil on the eve of Shabbat”? 2) What is “Shabbat” in the work? 3) Why must we toil in order to obtain the quality of “Shabbat”?

It is known that Shabbat is called “the conclusion of the making of heaven and earth.” That is, the purpose of the creation of heaven and earth was for Shabbat. In other words, the revelation of His desire to do good to His creations, when it is revealed to all, is called “Shabbat.” It follows that He “ Shabbat [rested/ceased] from all His work” because there is great work to reveal to all that His guidance is in the form of good and doing good.

At that time, there is no more work to do in the quality of weekdays, since work means turning Hol[unholy/weekday] into Kodesh [holy]. Kedusha [holiness] means Kodesh, when he separates himself from any vessel of reception and does all this work with the aim to bestow, as it is written, “You will be holy, for I am holy.” This means that as the Creator is the giver, the creatures, too, should achieve equivalence of form.

In corporeality, we see that a person works only for sustenance. Sustenance means foods on which the body nourishes. This means that the foods are what he gives to the body, both corporeal life, called eating, drinking, and so forth, and spiritual nourishment, called honor, knowledge, power, governance, etc.

In order to acquire these nourishments, a person must toil. Otherwise, he will not get it. This means that the nourishments one yearns to receive in return for his work are like a meal, and the toil is like the preparation for the meal. Clearly, one who is unfit to toil does not receive corporeal nourishments or emotional nourishments. In other words, if someone wants to be given something, the giver will not give unless the conditions that the giver requires are met.

For this reason, in Kedusha, called “in order to bestow,” man was created with a will to receive for himself, but the Giver demands that he will work for Him, regarded as “All your works will be for the sake of heaven.” Otherwise, if the Giver gives to the receiver into vessels of self-love, everything will go to the Sitra Achra [other side], who robs the abundance from the KedushaKedusha means that what he does is for the sake of the Creator. If the intention is for himself, it is called “disparity of form,” and it is the opposite of Kedusha.

However, since it is against nature, both in mind and in heart, it is called “labor,” and this is the preparation for the meal. In other words, the fact that a person must aim to benefit the Creator and not himself in order to obtain the Kli [vessel] called “in order to bestow” is great labor and toil. This is called the “preparation for the meal,” and the “meal” is called “Shabbat.”

It follows that the work is considered “weekdays,” when we must toil in order to remove the secularity in man’s heart, and place Kedusha there instead. Kedusha means Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, and “secular” means separation from the Creator. All the work is to place over the will to receive the intention to bestow. At that time, a person adheres to the Creator, as was said, “You will be holy for I the Lord am holy.” For this, he obtains Kelim [vessels] that can receive what the Creator wants to give: the delight and pleasure called “the meal.” This is the Shabbat meal, and this is the meaning of “He who did not toil on the eve of Shabbat [before Shabbat], what will he eat on Shabbat?”

Baal HaSulam gave an allegory about working for the sake of the Creator and not working in order to obtain self-benefit, but to do everything for the sake of the Creator, or all the abundance will go to the Klipot. This is brought in the book A Sage’s Fruit (Part 1, p 158): “A great, benevolent king, who did not need any work to be done for him, wished only to delight his countryfolk. He sent out a decree to all the people in the country,none excluded, and dedicated a place in his palace for that purpose.

“He stipulated explicitly that it is forbidden to work outside the designated place, and their reward was with them in the place where they worked, where he prepared for them lush meals. When the work began, they thought that the king had prepared overseers to examine their work so as to know who worked for him and who did not. Yet, the king hid, and there was no supervision. But they did not know about the wondrous invention: He placed a sort of foul powder in the delicacies and confections, and as an antidote, he placed a healing powder in the workplace.

“By this, supervision happened by itself. Those who loved him kept the king’s commandments meticulously, as well as worked precisely in the designated place, and thereby inhaled the healing powder. When mealtime came, the taste of the confections was such that they had never before tasted. Naturally, they praised the king.

“But the lowly ones, who did not understand the king’s merit, for which they should love him, once they saw that there was no supervision, they did not observe the king’s commandments properly. When mealtime came and they tasted the confections, their mouths filled with a foul taste due to the abovementioned powder, and they cursed and vilified the king.”

Accordingly, it is impossible to feel the delight and pleasure found in Torah and Mitzvot[commandments/good deeds] because of the Tzimtzum [restriction] and judgment that were set up, so it is impossible to feel any light in vessels of reception. In vessels of reception there are only darkness and death, due to the disparity of form between the light and the Kli [vessel]. Therefore, when we want to feel taste in Torah and Mitzvot with vessels of reception, there is no taste there. In vessels of reception we can only feel taste in corporeal pleasures, where the sweetness is revealed when a person obtains the corporeal pleasures.

This was done on purpose, so that creation would exist, so there would be something to enjoy even before a person obtains vessels of bestowal, which are called “Kelim for unification with the Creator,” meaning that a person does not become removed from the Creator when receiving the pleasures. And in order to have something from which man receives vitality and pleasure, we learned that because of the breaking of the vessels, a thin illumination shines, a tiny illumination of Kedusha that shines within the Klipot [shells/peels], on which all of the corporeal pleasures feed.

Therefore, in corporeal pleasures, a person can have pleasure and high spirits. But as for feeling real pleasures, which is the primary intention in the desire to do good to His creations, there, there is the powder of concealment, and hiding, and darkness and bitterness, and there is no flavor in Torah and Mitzvot. That is, the hiding and concealment are the bitter powder that is placed there by the correction of the Tzimtzum.

He placed the healing powder in the labor in Torah and Mitzvot. That is, you find the healing powder precisely in labor in Torah and Mitzvot. And why specifically in the labor, and mere engagement in Torah and Mitzvot is not enough to receive the healing powder to cure a person from the bitter powder in the meal? To understand this, we must first know what is the powder that heals the bitter powder that the Creator placed in the meal, and what is the labor in Torah and Mitzvot by which we can find a place to obtain the healing powder.

It is known that the main labor is when we work against reason. That is, when a person does not know why he must work and he must work against his reason. This is very difficult, and it is called “labor in Torah and Mitzvot.” However, we should understand why a person must work in Torah and Mitzvot against reason, which is very difficult and not every person is capable of this, and why we cannot work in Torah and Mitzvot within reason, something that everyone can do.

The thing is that we must know what is above reason, which is called “labor,” that we must labor in engagement in Torah and Mitzvot. The point is that man was created with a desire to receive for himself. Since there was a correction on this will to receive so there would not be disparity of form upon the reception of the abundance but that even during the reception of the abundance he will remain in Dvekut, called “equivalence of form,” hence, a Tzimtzum and restriction were made.

This means that when a person wants to receive the delight and pleasure in vessels of reception, he sees no light at all, but only darkness, called “a space devoid of light.” However, one must fashion for himself vessels of bestowal, regarded as “as He is merciful, so you are merciful.”

How can we obtain these Kelim? It is done by labor in Torah and Mitzvot, when we engage in Torah and Mitzvot in order to obtain vessels of bestowal. This means that a person does not want to receive any reward for his work in Torah and Mitzvot, but his reward and payment will be that he will have the strength to do everything for the sake of the Creator and not for his own sake.

This means that if a person observes Torah and Mitzvot in order to receive reward, to obtain delight and pleasure for his own sake, this is called “observing Torah and Mitzvot within reason.” That is, the body does not object to this, since to the extent that he believes he will receive from this pleasure for his own sake, this is called “within reason.”

Maimonides says about this quality, “When teaching little ones, women, and uneducated people, they are taught to work only out of fear and in order to receive reward. Until they gain knowledge and acquire much wisdom, they are taught that secret little-by-little” (Hilchot Teshuva, p 60b).

From the words of Maimonides, we see that there are two aspects to observing Torah and Mitzvot: 1) For one’s own sake, which is in order to receive reward and not work above reason. To the extent that he believes in reward and punishment, since he takes everything for his own benefit, this work is called “the work of uneducated people,” which is within reason. In the work, this is not considered labor (although the general public does regard this as labor).

2) Labor in Torah and Mitzvot. That is, he engages in Torah and Mitzvot not in order to receive any reward for this. Rather, he works completely for the sake of the Creator. This is against reason, since reason obligates that the person will work for his own sake. Therefore, when he says he is observing Torah and Mitzvot in order to thereby receive power to work only for the sake of the Creator and not for his own sake, the body begins to resist with all its might, and yells, “What?‼ Are you crazy??? Are you trying to revoke yourself before the Creator? You tell me, what will you get out of it??”

This aspect is considered “great labor” because he must fight against his own body, when justice and commonsense side with the body, as this is its nature. It follows that this is called “labor,” since it is above reason and the body does not agree to work for the sake of the Creator.

This is regarded as engaging in Torah and Mitzvot as labor. That is, by his engagement in Torah and Mitzvot, he wants to be rewarded with the quality of bestowal, which can be obtained precisely by learning in the form of labor—when he engages in Torah and Mitzvot with the intention that our sages said, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice, because the light in it reforms him.”

This means that he sees that he has no love for the Creator, but rather self-love. He cannot do a single movement for the sake of the Creator because the body objects to it. Each time he overcomes, yet he is not progressing. Rather, it is to the contrary: After all his labor to overcome, he sees that he is regressing rather than progressing.

This labor gives him room to pray that the Creator will help him. It follows that each time he sees he is regressing, he is actually progressing in his prayer because as he sees it, he is far from the goal, and can therefore pray more wholeheartedly because he sees the place of danger.

This means that he is afraid that the bad might overcome him and make him think he should escape the campaign. That is, the body makes him think that this work was given to people with strong characters and not for the general public. Although now he has taken upon himself to walk on the path of truth, meaning for the sake of the Creator and not for his own sake, but since he is not succeeding and is regressing, he is afraid that the bad will overcome him and make him think within reason that the body is right, as he sees the reality, that he does not doubt what the body tells him, that this work is for a chosen few.

Hence, this makes him pray to the Creator from the bottom of the heart to save him from this danger of having to escape the campaign. He says, “Lord of the world, please help me now while I still have the strength to pray to You, since I don’t know what will happen later; there may be no one to ask You for help.”

For this reason, he says, “Lord of the world, help me while the soul is still within me, since I’m afraid that I might die later and decline to a place of separation,” which is despair, and there is no faith in the Creator there, not even a tiny measure, so as to make it possible to pray to the Creator.

A person who falls into a place of despair no longer asks for any help. As long as one has confidence that he will emerge from his state, he still works, as in, “Everything that is in the power of your hand to do, that do.”

It follows that the labor, the fact that he wants to work in bestowal, causes him labor. This, in turn, causes him to pray that the Creator will help him, and to believe in the sages, who said, “He who comes to purify is aided.”

It follows that the healing powder is found in the labor. That is, his labor in Torah and Mitzvot in order to achieve Lishma [for Her sake], the Lishma that he later obtains causes him to have the ability to enjoy the meal, called “delight and pleasure.” Since he already has vessels of bestowal, which remove the concealment and hiding that are on the meal, that concealment pushes away anyone who wants to taste the food, and he says about the meal that it tastes bitter.

By this we can interpret what our sages said, “Fools, he who toiled on the eve of Shabbat will eat on Shabbat.” We asked, What is the “Shabbat meal” in the work? We should interpret as our sages said, that while creating Adam HaRishon, the Creator said, “What is this like? It is like a king who has a tower filled with abundance but no guests.” The meal is called “a tower filled with abundance.”

This is called the “Shabbat meal.” This is after the completion of the work, which is obtainment of the vessels of bestowal, which is all the labor during the weekdays [Hebrew: also, “secular days”]. The week [secular] days are called “six days of action,” which is the making of Kelim that are capable of receiving the general meal for the whole of Israel. This will be at the end of correction, which our sages called “Israel,” as they said, that the creation of the world was for Israel, as it is written, “In the beginning [God] created, and there is no beginning but Israel,” as it is written, “the beginning of Israel.” In other words, the tower filled with abundance is for the whole collective.

Individually, the meal is when a person corrects his actions and comes into a state of “Israel,” called Yashar-El [straight to the Creator]. This means that all his actions are for the sake of the Creator, called El [God]. At that time he is rewarded with the “meal” individually. At the end of correction, all the individuals will come with Kelim that are suitable to receive the meal, as the Creator said, “He who toiled on the eve of Shabbat will eat on Shabbat,” as mentioned in the allegory about the healing powder. In other words, through labor in Torah and Mitzvot, there, in the labor, they will find the cure that revokes the Tzimtzum and concealment lying over the meal.

Accordingly, we should interpret what was presented in Masechet Shabbat (p 119): “The emperor said to Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah, ‘Why has the Shabbat dish such a fragrant scent?’ ‘We have a certain spice,’ said he, ‘called Shabbat, which we put into it, and that gives it a fragrant scent.’ He asked, ‘Give us some of it.’ And he replied, ‘To him who observes the Shabbat, it is beneficial, and to him who does not observe the Shabbat, it is of no use.’”

Although the literal meaning concerns he who observes Shabbat, but in the work, we should interpret “observing Shabbat” through the words, “And his father kept the matter.” That is, he sits and waits and says, “When will I be able to obtain the Kelim that can receive the Shabbat meal, whose scent is fragrant, since the Shabbat meal is called “delight and pleasure clothed in the 613 Mitzvot in the form of 613 deposits.”

As it is written in the Sulam [commentary on The Zohar] (Part 1), “In each and every Mitzva, a special light is deposited. This is regarded as the Shabbat meal. We can receive this specifically after the work and labor, as it comes by observing the 613 Mitzvot as counsels, meaning tips how to achieve the quality of ‘The light in it reforms him.’”

For this reason, the meaning of “one who observes” is observing the 613 Mitzvot in the form of counsels how to achieve bestowal, for precisely in vessels of bestowal can we enjoy the Shabbat meal, for then the Tzimtzum and concealment have been removed from the delight and pleasure. This is like the above-said allegory about the healing powder: The powder found in observing the 613 Mitzvot as counsels heals the bitter powder that lies over the delight and pleasure. For this reason, if we do not obtain the vessels of bestowal, found in Torah and Mitzvot, through the labor, the concealment over the delight and pleasure remains.

By this we can interpret what our sages said (Avot 2:21), “You can trust your landlord to pay you for your work, and know that the reward of the righteous is given in the future.” This is perplexing, since we must work not in order to receive reward. Thus, why do they say, “know that the reward of the righteous is given in the future”? Accordingly, we should interpret that our sages explain to us what is the reward of the righteous in the future.

That is, all the labor they give in order to receive reward, we are told what is their reward. It is in the future, meaning that they will be rewarded with working only so that “all your works will be for the sake of heaven,” which is vessels of bestowal. For this, they give all the labor, in order to obtain “in the future” in different Kelim than the ones they have now, which are vessels of reception. In the future, they will be rewarded with vessels of bestowal, and this is the meaning of “The reward of the righteous is in the future.”

Inapoi la pagina 1989 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link

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