Arise and Shine


“One who delights the Shabbat is given an unbounded domain, as it is said, ‘Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will make thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and I will feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father,’ etc.. Unlike Abraham, about whom it is written, ‘Arise, walk through the land in the length of it,’ etc.. And not as Isaac, as it is written, ‘for unto thee and unto thy seed I will give all these lands,’ but as Jacob, about whom it is written, ‘and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south’” (Shabbat, 118).

It is difficult to understand this Gemarah as it is. Should every one of Israel be given the whole world, an unbounded domain?

We should begin with the words of our sages: “In the future, the Creator will take the sun out of its sheath and will darken. The wicked are judged by it, and the righteous are healed by it, as it is written, ‘For behold, the day cometh, it burneth as a furnace; and all the proud, and all that work wickedness, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall set them ablaze, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch,’ neither a root in this world nor a branch in the next world.” The righteous are healed by it, as it is written, “‘But unto you that fear My Name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings.’ And moreover, they are refined by it” ( Avoda Zarah (Idolatry), 3b).

And we need to understand the riddle of the sages, what is a sun and what is a sheath, and whence does this oppositeness come. Also, what is “neither a root in this world nor a branch in the next world”? And what is “moreover, they are refined by it”? He should have said, “healed and refined by it”; but what is the “moreover” that he said?

Now we can understand the words of our sages: “Israel count by the moon and the nations of the world, by the sun” ( Sukkah 29). Thus, the sunlight is an epithet to the clearest knowledge, as it is written, “clear as the sun.” And the nations of the world, who did not receive the Torah and Mitzvot, as it is written that the Creator brought it to every nation and tongue, since they did not want to delight in the Light of the Torah, considered “the moon,” which receives from His Light, being the light of the sun, that is, the common Light. Yet, they do have craving and desire to study in the Name and to know Him, Himself.

But Israel count by the moon, which are the Torah and Mitzvot, where the sunlight is clothed within them. Hence, the Torah is the sheath of the Creator.

It is written in The Zohar that “the Torah and the Creator are one.” This means that the Light of the Creator is clothed in the Torah and Mitzvot, and He and His sheath are one. Hence, Israel count by the moon, to complement themselves in Torah and Mitzvot. Therefore ,they are naturally awarded the Creator, too. Yet, since the nations of the world do not keep the Torah and Mitzvot, meaning the sheath, they do not have even the Light of the sun.

This is the meaning of “in the future, He brings the sun out of its sheath.” And they said, “ Shechina (Divinity) in the lower ones; a sublime need.” This means that the Creator craves it and yearns for it.

This is the meaning of the six days of action, meaning the work in Torah and Mitzvot, since “The Lord hath made every thing for His own purpose.” And even the work on the six days is still the work of God, as it is written, “He created it not a waste, He formed it to be inhabited.” This is why it is called “a sheath.”

And the Shabbat is the light of the sun, the day of rest in the eternal life. That is, He has prepared the world in two degrees: 1) that His Divinity would be revealed through the Torah and Mitzvot in the six days of action; 2) that He will be revealed in the world without the Torah and Mitzvot.

And this is the meaning of “in its time; I will hasten it.” Rewarded—I will hasten it, meaning through Torah and Mitzvot. Not rewarded—in its time. This is because the evolution of creation through the increase of the suffering brings the end and the redemption to humanity, until the Lord places His Divinity in the lower ones. And this is called “in its time,” evolution over time.

By Rabbi Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag, "Baal HaSulam"
From the book "Shamati" ("I Heard")

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