The Fourteenth Commandment
247. The fourteenth Mitzva is to observe Shabbat, which is a day of rest from all the actions of creation. There are two Mitzvot here: to observe the day of Shabbat and to adorn its holiness, namely to receive Ohr Hochma, called “holiness;” and to observe Shabbat as a day of rest for all the worlds, in which all actions are multiplied and realized even before this day is sanctified.
Shabbat is a state of the spiritual worlds where the Light descending from Above elevates ZA to AA, Nukva to AVI, the worlds of BYA to YESHSUT, and ZON of the world of Atzilut. As a result, man’s NRN (whoever has it, whoever is spiritually present in the worlds of BYA) also ascends to Atzilut with the worlds of BYA, and there receives Ohr Haya.
It follows that there are two Mitzvot: to refrain from working and carrying things from one household to another. This is so because when all the worlds are completely freed from the impure forces, we must guard against the impure forces, so they do not return and mingle with the holiness of Shabbat. And he who works causes the impure forces to mingle with the pure ones.
The second Mitzva is to adorn the day of Shabbat: through the pleasures of Shabbat (the ascent of the worlds of ABYA), man receives (in his spiritual desires existing in the world of BYA) the Light of the world of Atzilut from Above. This Light of Atzilut is called “holiness” (Hochma); hence, man becomes sanctified by it.
All purifications and corrections take place only in our work and struggle with the impure forces, preventing us from drawing nearer and merging with the Creator in our properties. It is precisely in the wars with the impure forces that we extract the sparks of the Light that they swallowed up, and each extraction of a spark of the Light from the impure forces and its ascent to the world of Atzilut is defined as independent, individual work.
In the beginning, these sparks were sorted and extracted from the impure forces by the Creator Himself. This is described in His actions in the six days of creation. And when all the extractions of the Light sparks ended, the work was considered finished, and the corrected state, called Shabbat, arrives; and it is the day of rest, for there is nothing else to correct.
Hence, Shabbat is the day (the state when the Light shines in the worlds) when all the correction work in all the worlds ceases. For every Shabbat (the state of ascent in the spiritual worlds to the level of correction of all the impure forces), the same state of the perfection of creation’s first Shabbat returns and brings rest to all the worlds of ABYA. All the impure forces become detached, remote, and return to their place (Tehom Raba – great abyss), and all the worlds ascend to the world of Atzilut, defined as perfect unity. And we are destined to receive this holiness, the Light of the world of Atzilut; it descends upon us through our observance of the two Mitzvot: REMEMBER AND GUARD THE DAY OF SHABBAT.
248. Because that day was sanctified, the creation of bodiless spirits was to be completed. Asks: “Was the Creator unable to delay the sanctification of that day until the bodies for those spirits were created?” And answers: “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil contained an evil side that wanted to govern the world. And many spirits separated and went forth, armed, to clothe in the bodies of this world.
Because that day was sanctified, the creation of bodies for the spirits was to be completed. This means that the day had been sanctified before the Creator had time to create bodies for those spirits. It is written about this on the first Shabbat of creation: “And on the seventh day the Creator finished His work, which He has made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work, which He has made.”
This passage from the Torah is unclear. For if the Creator completely finished all His work by Himself, then He left nothing for us to do. After all, He finished everything Himself. However, the Creator sorted the Light sparks and separated the pure forces from the impure ones precisely to enable us to do, i.e., to complete this work by making our own efforts in the observance of the Torah and Mitzvot.
And the rest that is mentioned here refers only to what the Creator Himself had to do. Therefore, the Torah says that the Creator finished His work, for He has completed all the preparations for us, and nothing else is required of Him, for the rest HE HAS MADE for us to do. This enables us to do and to complete creation.
Hence, it is written that the Creator did not have time to create bodies for the spirits before the arrival of Shabbat. These bodiless spirits constitute all of our impure and evil forces that drive man to transgressions. And the Creator intentionally left them this way, for it is precisely because they are present within us that we have freedom of will in our work with the Torah and Mitzvot.
As a result of Adam’s sin in Malchut, called “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil,” pure and impure forces were mixed. At that, the impure forces wished to rule over the forces of good in the world, so the forces of good would never prevail over them. Thus, a number of armed spirits went forth, intending to attack the bodies, capture them, and clothe in them.
Two points merged in Malchut: one was corrected by receiving the properties of Bina, mercy, and the other is the strictness of judgment, the result of restrictions within Malchut herself. When Malchut is united with the pure forces, her property of restriction is concealed, and the point of mercy is revealed (item 123). Then man is said to merit only goodness.
However, if man transgresses, he attacks the good point and thereby reveals the point of restriction in Malchut. Thus, the forces that wish to harm and destroy the corrected part and to rule over man become revealed, and this is evil.
However, if he merits for the point of mercy to reveal itself and dominate, he can elevate Malchut to Bina, thereby causing Supernal mercy and Light to descend. However, if he does not merit, and the point of restriction is revealed in Malchut, not only does he thereby harm Malchut, but he also harms the point of Bina that unites with Malchut. Thus, this point turns from good to evil, from mercy to judgment, as restriction is revealed in Malchut herself, and every revealed property dominates.
This is why the point of judgment was revealed in Malchut after Adam’s sin. By this, Adam damaged the point (property) of Bina that united with Malchut, too, turning it from mercy to strictness, judgment. Yet, the correction of Malchut is possible only with the help of this point, for it is called “goodness.” And when this point of Bina is revealed within her, Malchut is called “goodness,” too.
But now that the very point of Bina in Malchut was damaged and turned from good to evil, the impure force thought that the time has come for it to dominate the world and clothe human bodies, meaning Adam and his sons (spiritual Partzufim). In other words, the body (desires) of the impure force inherits the place of Adam’s body. Thus, the correction of Malchut from the good point becomes impossible, for no more goodness comes to Malchut from Bina, and this property has become evil, strictness, and judgment, due to the restricted reception in Malchut.
And many armed and destructive impure forces went forth to attack so as to clothe human bodies (desires) in this world, and rule over them. For the impure force thought that nothing could protect and save the pure forces from it because of the harm that Adam’s sin brought to the system of governance and the point of mercy in Malchut.
249. However, as the Creator saw this, He roused the wind from within the Tree of Life, ZA, and struck the other Tree, Malchut. And the other, good side was awakened, and the day was sanctified. For the creation of bodies and the awakening of spirits on that night of Shabbat stem from the good side, and not from the evil one.
Since the Creator saw the strengthening of the power of judgment and the impure forces, their ability to clothe the bodies in this world (completely excluding the possibility of correcting the world in the future), He roused the wind within the Tree of Life and struck the other Tree (made a Zivug with it), Malchut. Due to this Zivug, the Tree of Life passed the spirit of life to the other Tree, Malchut, thus enabling Malchut to tear away from the impure forces.
As a result, the good side reappeared in Malchut, as it was prior to Adam’s sin, and the sanctity of Shabbat descended to the world. That is, although the impure forces had the strength to clothe in bodies, and were more powerful than the pure forces, and, according to the law, they were supposed to prevail, at that moment the Creator intervened, disregarding the destruction caused by Adam’s sin.
Consequently, ZON (the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good) united in a Zivug, as before Adam’s sin, and the Light of sanctity of Shabbat descended into the world. This action of the Creator caused Shabbat (the Light of Shabbat) to descend into the world, and the impure forces lost the opportunity to clothe in human bodies in this world. The impure force remained as a bodiless spirit, which enables man to draw closer to the Creator (with his properties). This is referred to as his return (Teshuva).
The creation of bodies and the arousal of spirits on that night of Shabbat stems from the good side, and not from the side of the impure forces, for the Creator’s action remains in creation forever. Just as on the first Shabbat of creation, the Creator completely disregarded the damage of Adam’s sin, instead compelling ZON to make a Zivug, and the day was sanctified as before the sin, for He destroyed all the power of the impure forces, despite the fact that they had the strength to rule.
The same applies to all Shabbatot (plural for Shabbat) – the spiritual ascents for those who exist in the worlds of BYA – during the 6,000 years. Although man is still full of impurity, for he has yet to correct the sins of the Tree of Knowledge, when he makes a Zivug (of the Light with a screen) on the night of Shabbat (in a spiritual state of that name), the impure forces (of man) have no power over him (his altruistic desires). In this Zivug, man assumes the body and spirit of a newborn, as though he was unharmed by Adam’s sin, as though he himself corrected the Tree of Knowledge.
And despite the fact that man has yet to merit liberation from his egoism, the impure forces have no power over him on that night. Thus, he can receive the bodies and spirits in his Zivug on the side of the Tree of Good, but not from the impure forces.
250. And had he hastened on that night to put forward the other side, before the good side came forward, he would not have been able to withstand it for even an instant. But the Creator provided the remedy in advance. And He sanctified the day beforehand. And He warned to appear before the other side. And the world exists. And that the opposite side thought to rule in the world, i.e., in defiance of it, the good side was created and strengthened on that night. And the good, holy bodies and spirits were created on that night from the good side. Therefore, the delight of sages who know this spans from Shabbat to Shabbat.
251. However, when the other (impure) side saw that what it had planned to do was already done by the holy side, it started to check its own forces and properties, and saw all those who perform a Zivug naked and in the candlelight. Therefore, all of the sons born from that Zivug are enslaved by the spirit of the other side. And these naked spirits of the wicked are called “harming,” and they are ruled and killed by Lilit.
252. And since the day was sanctified, and holiness rules in the world, the other side diminishes itself and hides on each Shabbat day and on each Shabbat night. With the exception of Asimon and his group, who walk secretly in the candlelight, to observe the naked Zivug. And then they hide inside the cave, called Tehom Raba (the great abyss). And as soon as Shabbat ends, many hosts fly and prowl in the world. As a result, everything is corrected by the song of the sufferers, “He who dwells in concealment,” to prevent impurity from governing holiness.
According to the law, the impure force was supposed to rule in the world, for it was stronger than the pure one, and it was to clothe in human bodies. But then, the earth would have been given over to the wicked, and all the generations in the world originating from man would have stemmed from the side of the impure forces. And there would have been no chance of correction, for impurity would have dominated over all the generations to such an extent that there would have been no opportunity to get hold of the good side even for a moment.
However, the Creator provided a remedy, thereby forestalling the defect, for He elevated Shabbat and removed the impure forces, which caused the Light of peace and rest to be revealed in all the worlds. And all the impure forces were thrown into Tehom Raba (the great abyss). Thus, the world was revived, as this enabled the creation of bodies and spirits from the pure side in a Zivug of the Shabbat night, and the world advances toward the desired goal.
So what does it mean to forestall the defect via a remedy? The whole of creation is based on a cause and effect sequence, and all that transpires not according to the worlds’ development is called “forestalling” (skipping several degrees, bypassing some of the causes and effects in this chain).
And since the sanctity of Shabbat came as an awakening from Above, from the Creator’s desire, without any desire or request from below, for Adam had yet to make any corrections and draw closer to the Creator in order to merit Shabbat (when the Creator Himself prevented the defect by providing a remedy for the correction of the world), this action on the Creator’s behalf is called “forestalling.”
Just as the impure force planned to assume power over the world, the good side forestalled its actions on that night. For this night that followed the sin in the Tree of Knowledge was given entirely to the impure forces. Hence, they thought that they would obviously rule over the world. However, the opposite had happened – sanctity took their place: pure bodies and spirits were created on that night by the good side. This is because such a preparation took place that all the Zivugim on that night created bodies and spirits from the good side, without any participation of the impure force. In other words, what transpired was exactly the opposite of the impure force’s expectations.
Therefore, the time of sages who know this spans from Shabbat to Shabbat – for at this time, bodies and spirits are created from the pure, good side. And when the impure force sees that what it wanted to create was created by the opposite side, it collects its evil powers and searches through the whole world, and sees all those who make a Zivug in the candlelight, exposing their naked bodies. And ill sons are made from this Zivug. The impure side sends these sons its evil spirits of the wicked, called “wreckers.” As a result, they are ruled and killed by Lilit. Garments refer to Ohr Hassadim,the garments of Ima,the intention “for the sake of the Creator.”
When the sanctity of Shabbat comes into the world, and Shabbat rules in the world, the power of the impure force dwindles and hides on the night and on the day of Shabbat. Hence, this is the time of sages.
And only the wreckers, called “Asimon and his group,” walk secretly in the candlelight, to observe those who expose their Zivug. Afterward, they hide in the Nukva of Tehom Raba. Thus, although Asimon has the power to see the Zivug in the candlelight and on Shabbat, he cannot do harm on Shabbat, but must immediately return to the Nukva of Tehom Raba. Only after Shabbat is over can he resume causing harm.
Rabbi Shimon felt the difficulty of explaining the words regarding Shabbat being the time of sages. For each day (not only on Shabbat night), starting at midnight, the Creator walks around the Garden of Eden and makes Zivugim with the sages. The Zohar asks the same question (Veyikahel, item 194), and answers that there is a difference between a Zivug on a week night and one that is made in the candlelight on Shabbat. On weekdays, the impure force has the power to inflict maladies on the newborns, and Lilit has the power to kill them.
However, on Shabbat nights, although the wrecker Asimon and his group are present, he has not the power to harm, but only after Shabbat is over. However, opposite his opportunity to cause harm after Shabbat there exists a correction, called Havdalah, the separation of Shabbat from the weekdays through a blessing, a prayer, and a cup of wine, which completely annul the power of this wrecker. Hence, there is a significant difference between a Zivug on a week night and a Zivug on the night of Shabbat.
The thing is that there is a source of Light, ZA, Supernal unity, and a source of fire, Malchut, lower unity (item 209). Also, there are three details in the candle flame (this refers to a spiritual candle, designated in corporeality by a wick floating in olive oil):
White Upper flame;
The coarse part – wick and oil, supporting the lower flame.
This lower flame is called “devouring flame.” It designates judgment, the power of restriction in the candle. Thus, it devours everything below it, the wick and the oil. And the Upper white flame signifies mercy contained in the candle, for white means mercy.
And he who makes a Zivug in the candlelight will see his children damaged, and Lilit will be able to kill them, for the candle contains the strictness of judgment, and the impure forces can therefore cling to such a Zivug. Due to the strictness of judgment, their bodies (the impurities contained in the bodies that participate in a Zivug, each of which finds what suits them) become revealed.
Therefore, a Zivug is permitted only at midnight, i.e., only in the darkness, when there is absolutely no Light, when Malchut is said to “awaken at night,” and mercy is revealed. However, if there is some candlelight, it reveals the impurity in the bodies, and the impure forces cling to them.
In the candlelight, the impure force sees impurity in the bodies of those making a Zivug, and it informs on them and clings to their bodies. However, all the restrictions of strictness and judgment disappear on the night of Shabbat, and the coarse lower flame becomes like the white Upper flame. This means that even candlelight is permitted. Moreover, under the influence of the sanctity of Shabbat, all the impurity disappears from man’s body, hence there is no fear to reveal the body in the candlelight.
Yet, even on Shabbat, when the coarse flame turns white and the judgment of restrictions disappears, the white flame of the candle nonetheless requires the light’s coarse part, so it would act as foundation. And the coarse foundation designates an indispensable presence of judgment and restrictions, for coarseness constitutes restriction.
Nevertheless, these restrictions do not appear on Shabbat. This resembles a coin without any image, so its denomination is unknown. Therefore, the wrecker, this coarse, detrimental part of the candle that supports the white flame, is called Asimon (Hebrew, Token), signifying a coin without image.
The coarse part of the candle secretly ascends along with the white candlelight, as the candle cannot burn without it. Hence, this coarse part sees the exposed Zivug and can therefore do harm after the end of Shabbat. Although the revelation (exposure) of bodies does no harm on the night of Shabbat (the impurity of the body remains concealed during Shabbat), as soon as Shabbat is over, the impure force can reveal itself and harm.
And since, after Shabbat, Asimon and his group return to their forms (properties) and rise up from the Great Abyss (Tehom Raba) to the place of settlement, they soar above the world and can cause harm. There is a song: “He who sits in the shadow of the Supernal One,” for man saves himself from harmful forces by praying and returning to the Creator:
“He who sits in the shadow of the Supernal One (dwells under the shelter of the Supernal One) dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord: ‘my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings will you find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked…” (Tehilim, 91:1-8).
253. What places do they visit on the night of the end of Shabbat? When they come out in haste and wish to govern the holy nation, they see it standing in prayer and singing this song: “He who sits in the shadow (concealment) of the Supernal One,” first separating Shabbat from the weekdays in his prayer, and then over a cup of wine, these forces flee thence and fly away to the desert. May the Merciful One save us from them and from the evil side.
Here the question concerns only the night of the end of Shabbat, but not the night of weekdays, as the night of the end of Shabbat still contains some force of the sanctity of Shabbat. Hence, although the impure forces rise from Tehom Raba and fly to conquer Israel, when they see Israel’s actions in song of prayer and in the blessing over a cup of wine, they fly away to the wasteland, an unpopulated place. Thus, people escape their reach.
It follows that impure forces dwell in three places:
On Shabbat, they dwell in Nukva of Tehom Raba and have no power to cause harm;
When Shabbat is over, they are kept in the wasteland with the help of prayer, Havdalah, separation of Shabbat from weekdays, and the blessing over a cup of wine. They have the power to cause harm, but can’t, as they are in an unpopulated place;
On other nights they are also present in populated places.
254. The three that cause evil to themselves: a) he who curses himself; b) he who throws away bread or bread crumbs bigger than an olive; c) he who lights the candle at the end of Shabbat before Israel attains sanctity in the prayer, “And You are holy.” And the light from that candle ignites hellfire.
255. There is a place in hell for those who transgress Shabbat. And as they are punished in hell, they curse him who lit the candle before its time, and they say to him, “Behold: the Creator will thrust you about with a mighty throw, and He will seize you firmly. He will violently roll and toss you like a ball into a large land; there shall you die” (Yeshayahu, 22:17-18).
One wrecker is called the “evil eye.” And he loves cursing, as it is said; “Yea, he loved cursing, and it came unto him; and he delighted not in blessing, and it is far from him” (Tehilim, 109:17). When man curses himself, he thereby empowers the evil eye to love cursing, and it rules over him – thus, man brings harm to himself.
There is nothing in this world that does not have an Upper Root Above. Especially bread, on which man’s life depends, has its own special root Above. Therefore, he who neglects his bread brings harm to the root of his life Above. Everyone understands this, but only to the extent of the portion that satiates him, giving him life.
However, if a piece of bread and crumbs are smaller than an olive, there are those who neglect and throw them away, as such amount cannot satiate man. Yet, the sages instructed us to bless as a meal even an olive-sized amount of bread, obliging us to treat such portion as satiating, so we have no right to neglect such an amount. And he who neglects it brings harms to himself.
The reason for this is explained in the Talmud: “They asked the Creator: Master of the world, it is said in your Torah that one should not turn his face and accept bribes. Yet, You turn Your face to Israel…” The Creator replied: “How can I help turning my face to Israel if they observe the law ‘down to the size of an olive…’” (Berachot, 20:2). In other words, by accepting an olive-sized bread crumb as a satiating meal, we merit revealing the Creator’s face, even though we are unworthy of it. Therefore, those who neglect the amount of bread the size of an olive and do not consider it a satiating meal do not merit revealing the Creator’s face; hence, they bring harm to themselves.
He who lights the candle at the end of Shabbat before Israel has reached sanctity in the blessing, thereby ignites hellfire. This is because prior to that moment, it was Shabbat; its sanctity prevailed, and hellfire has no power on Shabbat. Hence, he who transgresses Shabbat and lights the candle prematurely, ignites hellfire and brings harm to himself, for the transgression of Shabbat is regarded as the gravest transgression. Hence, there is a special place in hell for those who transgress Shabbat. And they who are punished in hell curse the sinner for igniting hellfire prematurely.
256. For he should not light the candle at the end of Shabbat before Israel separates Shabbat from the weekdays in their prayer and over a cup of wine, as until that time, it is still Shabbat, and the sanctity of Shabbat still rules over us. And during the separation by means of blessing over a cup, all those hosts and legions that the rulers appointed to govern the weekdays return each to their place to resume the work for which they are responsible.
The main prohibition remains in effect only until the blessing in the prayer. Nevertheless, one should beware of lighting a candle before the actual separation of Shabbat from the weekdays in the blessings over a cup, as it is still Shabbat. Of course, one can light a candle for the actual separation of Shabbat from the weekdays, i.e., for the blessing over a lit candle.
257. As soon as Shabbat starts and the day is sanctified, holiness awakens and rules over the world; the power of weekdays disappears and returns only when Shabbat ends. However, although Shabbat is over, other forces do not regain their power until Israel says the prayer, “He who separates holiness from the weekdays.” Only then does holiness disappear, and the legions that govern the weekdays awaken and return to their places, each to its above-appointed post.
258. Nevertheless, the impure forces do not assume control until the flame of the candle is lit, for they all come from the root (element) of fire, from which everything originates, and they descend to rule over the lower world. All this happens if one lights the candle before Israel has finished the blessing in the prayer.
Malchut is called the “pillar of fire” (item 209), and the forces that exist in the candlelight are the restrictions in Malchut. It is impossible to use these forces before the candle is lit.
259. Yet, if he waits until they complete the blessing, the wicked in hell justify the Creator’s justice over them, and they bring upon him all the blessings, recited by the congregation: “Therefore, the Creator gives you of the dew of Heaven,” “Blessed shall you be in your town,” and “Blessed shall you be in the field.”
By reciting the blessings, we evoke the descent of the great Light, and its power saves us from hell. And since the wicked in hell see this, they regret committing their sins and justify the Creator’s judgment brought upon them by seeing their punishment. And since man evoked such justification of the Creator’s judgment, all the blessings, recited at the end of Shabbat by the congregation become fulfilled in him.
260. “Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Creator will deliver him in the day of disaster” (Tehilim, 41:2). What do the words “in the day of disaster” mean? This refers to the day when evil gains power and wants to take his soul away from him. The word “poor” alludes to someone very sick. “He who considers” refers to one who realizes the need to be cured from transgressions before the Creator. Another explanation is that this is the Day of Judgment in the world. “He who considers” signifies one who knows how to save himself from it, as it is written: “The Creator will deliver him in the day of disaster,” meaning that on the day when the judgment against man dominates the world, the Creator will deliver him.
“The day of disaster” is a state when the impure forces, called “evil,” govern man and take his soul away. “He who considers the poor” is one who tells the sick to return to the Creator to correct himself. It is him who the Creator delivers from the rule of the impure forces.
The Zohar continues by saying that there are three sources of evil for the soul of a man that attracts it onto himself. Hence, it advises one who considers and is compassionate to the poor, to appeal to the sick man’s heart (he who feels sick in his own evil, egoism) to return to the Creator. Then the Creator will cure him. And on this day of disaster, which man caused to his soul, the Creator will deliver him through this reward.
Even if judgment dominates the world, the Creator will deliver him, for he taught the sick to return to the Creator and explained to them the need for correction. And the difference in the explanations is that the first refers to an individual who discovers evil within himself, and the second refers to the evil of the entire world. And here, the Creator, too, will deliver man as a reward for fulfilling this Mitzva.