Inapoi la pagina 1988 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link

What Is the Preparation on the Eve of Shabbat, in the Work?

Article No. 25, Tav-Shin-Mem-Het, 1987-88

Our sages said (Masechet Avoda Zarah, p 2), “In the future, the Creator brings a book of Torah and places it in His bosom. He says to those who engaged in it, ‘Come, take your reward.’ Promptly, idol-worshippers gather and come. The Creator says to them: ‘In what did you engage?’ The Creator says to them, ‘All that you did, you did for yourselves.’ They say to Him: ‘Master of the world, give us in advance, and we will do.’ The Creator says to them: ‘Fools, he who toils on the eve of Shabbat [Sabbath], eats on Shabbat. He who did not toil on the eve of Shabbat, from where will he eat on Shabbat?’”

There are many explanations in the literal. But in the work, what is the toil on the eve of Shabbat, from which to have what to eat on Shabbat? We see that Shabbat is called a “gift,” and not Tzedakah[almsgiving/charity/righteousness], as our sages said (Beitza 16), “To know that I the Lord sanctify you. The Creator said to Moses: ‘Moses, I have a good gift in My treasury; its name is Shabbat. I want to give it to Israel; go tell them.’”

The Gemara brings evidence from here, that one who gives a gift to his friend should notify him. There are two things to understand here: 1) What is the reason that we should notify when giving a gift, whereas concerning Tzedakah, we learn the opposite, that Tzedakah should be in concealment, as it is written, “Giving in concealment subdues anger.” 2) Why is Shabbat called “a gift,” whereas faith is called Tzedakah [righteousness/charity], as it is written, “And he believed in the Lord and considered to Him as righteousness,” and not a gift?

We should understand what is a gift and what is Tzedakah, in the work. Normally, one gives Tzedakahout of pity, and not out of love, as our sages said (Baba Batra 9), “One does not check with nourishments.” It is so because Tzedakah is not given out of love, when we should check if we should really give the Tzedakah or not. In Tzedakah, the pity determines whether or not to give.

Since one who says he has no food—meaning nothing with which to sustain himself—evokes pity, they said there, “We do not check with nourishments,” to see if he is an honest person or a crook. This is what he said there, “Rav Yehuda says, ‘We check clothes and do not check with nourishments.’” RASHI interprets “clothes” as “He came naked and said, ‘Cover me.’” Then, he is examined to see if he is not a crook, since clothing does not evoke any pity because a person can live without clothes, but he cannot live without food.

Conversely, a gift is something we give specifically to those we love. The value of the gift is measured by the measure of love for that person, and by the importance of that person. Normally, one who wants to show his love to another, expresses it by giving a gift. According to the value of the gift, so appears the measure of love.

However, there is another value to a gift. If the sender is an important person, the love cannot be measured according to the gift, since with an important person, even a small gift is valuable. With an important person, the gift is measured by the importance and greatness of the giver.

Now we can understand the difference between Tzedakah and a gift. With a gift, when he wants to show his love for his friend or his teacher, or his parents or children, if the giver does not notify him that he has given him the gift, how will the receiver find out about the giver’s love for him? This would make giving the gift pointless, in vain.

However, there is another condition about a gift. The thing he gives must be an accessory and not a necessity. Usually, we do not say, “I sent this poor man a gift of bread and fish for Shabbat.” We also do not say, “I sent the groom a gold watch as a Tzedakah.” Rather, a gift is specifically an accessory, and a Tzedakah is a necessity and not an accessory.

But sending him accessories, to which the other one has no necessity, why did he send it? It is in order to show him his love. It follows that if he does not notify him that he has sent him, what is the point of the gift? This is why our sages said, “He who gives a gift to his friend must notify him.”

He does not have to notify him that he has sent him the gift, but also the value of the gift, since according to the value of the gift, so is the measure of the love revealed between them, since to the extent that the receiver is impressed by the gift, so is his measure of gratitude, and by this, the connection of love between them forms.

But with a Tzedakah, there is no matter of love, since Tzedakah concerns only the giver, and he has no connection to the receiver. There, it is to the contrary: If the receiver thanks the giver, then the giver is no longer giving Tzedakah, but there is room to grip onto the Tzedakah, which is Lo Lishma[not for Her sake] and receive gratitude from him. Hence, evidently, a Tzedakah must be in concealment, meaning only for the purpose of Tzedakah, and not that the poor will give him some pleasure in return.

Concerning giving in concealment as in the Mitzva [commandment/good deed] of Tzedakah, we should discern two manners: 1) The first is simple—the receiver of the Tzedakah does not know the identity of the giver. 2) The giver, too, does not know to whom he gives. This is giving in concealment, both on the part of the giver and on the part of the receiver.

Now we can understand the meaning of a gift and Tzedakah in the work. Faith means going above reason. This is regarded as not seeing, and it is called “in concealment.” Faith is also called Tzedakahbecause the person giving the Tzedakah does not want the poor to give him anything in return. A person who has nothing, which is why he is poor, cannot give anything to the giver of the Tzedakah, but he could return him gratitude for the Tzedakah. This is why they said, “Tzedakah that is in concealment is real Tzedakah,” since the poor one does not know whom to thank.

Therefore, one who takes upon himself the kingdom of heaven, called “faith in the Creator,” should try to make it giving in concealment, so that the person will not know with his intellect, regarded as not knowing for whom he works, but he is rather working above reason. However, here the matter is to the contrary, since when the poor man receives Tzedakah, the receiver does not know who gave him the Tzedakah, but the giver does know.

However, there is another manner, too, where the giver also does not know to whom he gives. Conversely, with faith, which is called Tzedakah, it is as it is written, “And he believed in the Lord and considered to Him as Tzedakah [righteousness]” (Genesis 15:6). This is the complete opposite. Malchut, which is called “poor and meager,” as it is written in The Zohar, that Malchut is called “Poor and meager because she has nothing of her own except that which her husband gives her.” That is, Malchut has nothing of herself except what her husband gives her.

It follows that the person giving Tzedakah to the Creator, which is called “faith,” does not know to whom he gives. But the Creator does know who is the giver, meaning from whom He received the Tzedakah. That is, the poor knows, and the giver, namely the person, does not know to whom he gives. This is called “the kingdom of heaven,” and it was said about it, “and he believed in the Lord and considered it to Him as Tzedakah.” In other words, the faith must be as Tzedakah, which is giving in concealment. Otherwise, it is not considered faith, but knowing, meaning knowing in the intellect.

Now we should interpret what the interpreters ask about the words, “and he believed in the Lord and considered it to Him as Tzedakah.” The question is that we do not know who thought to whom. According to the rule we learned, “He alone does and will do all the deeds.” Hence, the question is, What does a person do with his choice? If the Creator does everything, where is there room for choice, which is man’s work?

Baal HaSulam said in the name of the Baal Shem Tov, that before the fact, a person should say, “If I am not for me, who is for me?” since everything depends on man’s choice. But after the fact, he should say, “It is all under the Creator’s guidance,” and he must not say, “My strength and the might of my hand have gotten me success.” Rather, even if he did not prevail, he would still do it because it was the Creator who did it. This is regarded as a person having to believe in Private Providence.

Therefore, we should make two discernments in faith in the Creator, which is called Tzedakah: 1) A person overcomes and takes upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven and makes Tzedakahto the Creator by believing above reason. This is called “giving in concealment.” It is also called Tzedakah because no reward is requested from the poor when the Tzedakah is given to him. The poor does not know who gave him so it could be said that the giver of the Tzedakah to the poor can expect any reward, since the giver does not know to whom he gave. Here, with faith, when a person assumes the kingdom of heaven not in order to receive reward, it is like a poor man. Accordingly, this means that when Abraham believed in the Lord, he gave Him Tzedakah.

2) We should note that the Creator made a Tzedakah to Abraham. That is, after the work of overcoming, a person should say that the Creator “does and will do all the deeds.” It follows that the Creator gave Abraham the power to overcome above reason, which is called Tzedakah. This Tzedakah, for Abraham to have the strength to give the Tzedakah, is regarded as the Creator giving the Tzedakah to Abraham.

The words, “We do not know who considered to whom” mean that initially, Abraham thought that by believing, he is giving Tzedakah to the Creator. After the fact, he said that the Creator considered giving the power of faith so he could believe in a manner of Tzedakah. The Creator contemplated giving him the strength; hence, he had the strength to believe.

By this we will understand why faith is called Tzedakah, and Tzedakah is named after both. It follows that in the work, a “gift” means Torah. It is called matanah [gift], as it is written, “From Matanah to Nahaliel.” Also, Shabbat is called a “gift,” as was said that the Creator said, “I have a good gift in My treasury; its name is Shabbat; go tell them.”

We should understand why Torah is called a “gift,” and Shabbat is called a “gift,” as well. It is known that the purpose of creation is to do good to His creations. For the purpose of Dvekut [adhesion], a Tzimtzum [restriction] was made, so the delight and pleasure illuminates only to vessels that have equivalence with the light, meaning vessels that work in order to bestow. This matter was done since there should be equivalence of form. Without it, the receiver becomes remote from the giver, to the point that the creatures that descended to this world due to disparity of form became removed from the root and do not know their origin. That is, the creatures must believe that they come from the Creator, but they do not know from where they come.

This is as it is written in the essay “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah” (Item 10): “Thus, you find that this Nefesh [soul], the light of life that is dressed in the body, extends from His very essence, existence from existence. As it traverses the four worlds ABYA, it becomes increasingly distant from the light of His face until it comes into its designated Kli [vessel] called Guf [body]. This is considered that the Kli has completed its desirable form. And even if the light in it has so diminished that its origin becomes undetectable, through engagement in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds] in order to bring contentment to the Maker, one cleanses one’s Kli, called Guf, until it becomes worthy of receiving the abundance.”

Thus, by observing Torah and Mitzvot in order to bestow, they receive Kelim [vessels] of bestowal, where there is a place capable of receiving the light called “His desire to do good to His creations.” This is called a “gift.” That is, faith is regarded as a person giving by overcoming the thoughts in the body and believing in the Creator. This is why it is considered that the person is giving, and why faith is called Tzedakah. But a gift is when a person takes what the Creator gives him. Tzedakah is the complete opposite—that a person gives Tzedakah to the Creator and the Creator is the receiver.

As we explained above, a gift is called “accessory.” That is, the person can live without the gift, too. But a “Tzedakah for the poor” means precisely necessity, since without food it is impossible to live. For this reason, since it is impossible to be Jewish without faith, it follows that faith is regarded as “necessity.” However, it is possible to be Jewish without Torah, although you would be considered “uneducated,” meaning one who has not been rewarded with the Torah, called “the names of the creator,” where the delight and pleasure called “His desire to do good to His creations,” is clothed.

Also, it is written, “A soul without knowledge is also not good.” Our sages said, “There is no good but the Torah,” and as it is written, “For I have given you a good lesson, My Torah [law]; do not leave it” (Berachot 5a). Nonetheless, he is already considered “Israel.”

Now we can understand why the Torah is called a “gift.” The Creator is the Giver, as it is written, “I have given you a good lesson, My Torah [law]; do not leave it.” Also, it is regarded as accessory, meaning that it is possible to be Jewish without the Torah, too, as long as one is rewarded with faith, which is Tzedakah, for without faith it is impossible to be Jewish. For this reason, faith is called Tzedakah, and Torah is regarded as the Creator being the Giver of the gift.

Also, Shabbat is called a “gift,” as well, as our sages said, “Shabbat is a similitude of the next world (The ZoharBeresheet), and as they also said, “Shabbat was given to Israel for Kedusha[holiness/sanctity], for pleasure, and for rest, but not for sorrow” (Midrash Tanchuma, Chapter 18:1).

Now we can understand what we asked, “What is the preparation on the eve of Shabbat in the work? Normally, only Tzedakah is asked for, and one does not check with food, but rather anyone who stretches his hand is given. We explained about this that faith is called assuming the burden of the kingdom of heaven, that anyone who stretches out his hand is given. It is as it is written (in the closing prayer), “You lend a hand to the transgressors, and Your right is stretched out to welcome the returning.” This is because concerning necessity, our sages said (Sanhedrin 37), “Anyone who sustains one soul from Israel, it is as though he has sustained a whole world.”

This is not so with a gift. Usually, people do not ask for gifts. Instead, when we love someone and want to express the love, so it becomes known to the other that we love him, so we send him gifts. Also, the value of the gift reflects the measure of love, meaning the value of the gift is as the measure of the love.

For this reason, when a person wants his friend to send him gifts, he must exert to do things that his friend will like, so he will love him. Love does its thing and by this he will receive gifts from his friend. However, it is not accepted to ask for a gift.

By this we will understand what we asked, “What is the trouble on the eve of Shabbat in the work?” It is that a person takes upon himself the kingdom of heaven. But for the kingdom of heaven, called Tzedakah, a person must ask the Creator because there was a Tzimtzum and concealment so we do not feel the Creator within reason, but must accept the faith above reason. And since the body disagrees to what the reason does not mandate, a person is in exile within self-love, and cannot understand how he can emerge from this exile.

This is called the “exile in Egypt.” It was said about this, “I the Lord your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt.” Only the Creator Himself can change our nature and deliver us from self-love to love of the Creator, and only then can we observe, “And you shall love the Lord your God.”

This request that a person makes, to be given the power of faith, is called Tzedakah. It is as we pray (written in the prayer, “As today…” that we say in the Musaf [supplemental prayer] of Rosh Hashanahafter “Today You Strengthen Us”), “It was said, we shall have Tzedakah because we will observe and do all of this Mitzva before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.”

Also, Baal HaSulam said about “One Mitzva” or about “This Mitzva,” that it pertains to the Mitzva of faith. Thus, it means that we say to the Creator that if we have the strength to do all of this Mitzva, that it will be Tzedakah on the part of the Creator if He gives us the power of faith above reason, which is called an “act,” because it is above our reason, it is called an “act.”

It follows that the work that a person should do and toil on the eve of Shabbat so as to have what to eat on Shabbat means that it is known what is customary in the world, that a person troubles himself only to obtain things that give him delight and pleasure. For example, we see that there are people who work two jobs, or work extra hours beyond what they have to work according to the days and hours that the state has determined. Each one earns a salary according to his hours and his skills. Yet, some work more than others. Clearly, by this he wants to obtain something he wants, and this is the reward that gives him the energy to work.

That is, according to the measure of reward that he expects, so is his energy to work. Our sages said that it is like the work and the meal. The meal is regarded as the reward. Therefore, they said, “He who did not toil on the eve of Shabbat,” which is the time to prepare the ingredients of the meal, and did not prepare the ingredients of the meal, “from what will he eat?” as the ingredients are certainly labor and toil.

It therefore follows that since Shabbat is a gift, call a “meal,” and it is customary that one who is having a meal invites only those he loves, the “ingredients of the meal” will mean preparations so as to be invited to the meal. This is so because from the perspective of the Creator, a person does not give to the Creator any help with the meal. Instead, what a person can do to prepare the meal is to have himself invited. He can do this in only one way: by doing good deeds that the Creator will like, so the Creator will love him.

As we say, “Who chooses His people Israel, with love.” This means that the Creator chooses His people, Israel. But the question is, What is Israel? It is taking upon oneself faith. This is called “Israel,” and all the preparation is the labor to become Israel.

Inapoi la pagina 1988 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link

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