The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Tag: manna

Bread of Shame

imageThe hater of gifts shall live (Proverbs 15:27).

“Before souls come to the world, they resemble one who eats the bread of the King without serving Him. And this is why the Sages say that it is good for man to have been created [see BT Eruvin 13b]…. Souls feel ashamed to eat the bread of the King without serving Him, and therefore they yearn to come to the world… so as to leave that shame; they seek to come to this world, to engage in Torah and mitsvot, to till it and watch it (Genesis 2:15) so that they may eat bread without shame” (Rabbi Yosef Karo, Maggid Meisharim, Bereshit; cf. Zohar 2:87a, Sava de-Mishpatim).

“One who eats from his friend’s food is ashamed to look at him” (JT Orlah 1:5, 61b).

“Two people eat from the same bowl, but each one tastes according to his deeds” (Avot de-Rabbi Natan §37).

“Rabbi Natan son of Abba further said in the name of Rav: He who is dependent on another’s table, the world is dark to him, as is said: He wanders for bread—where is it? He knows that the dark day awaits him (Job 15:23). Rabbi Ḥisda says: Also, his life is no life” (BT Beitsah 32b).

“I have the following tradition from my grandfather’s family: At all times shall one [rather] hire himself out to עֲבוֹדָה זַרָה (avodah zarah), idol-worship [lit., foreign worship], than be in need of [his fellow] creatures. He thought that עֲבוֹדָה זַרָה (avodah zarah), [meant] actual [idol worship], but it is not so, [the meaning being,] ‘work which is foreign to him;’ as Rav said to Rabbi Kahana: Flay a carcass in the street and earn a wage, and say not, ‘I am a great man and the work is degrading to me’” (BT Bava Batra 110a).

“One who supports himself from his own labor is greater than one who fears Heaven” (BT Berakhot 8a).

“Tanna debe Eliyyahu [taught]: Though Rabbi Akiva said, ‘Treat your Sabbath like a weekday rather than be dependent on men,’ yet one must prepare something small at home [in honor of Sabbath]. What is that [which even the poorest must prepare]? Rav Papa said: Fried fish. As we learned: Rabbi Yehudah son of Teima said, ‘Be as bold as a leopard, swift as an eagle, fleet as a gazelle, and as mighty as a lion, to do the will of your Father in Heaven’ (M Avot 5:24)” (BT Pesaḥim 112a).

“Rabbi Yehudah opened, ‘Is it not to share your bread with the hungry? (Isaiah 58:7). Come and see: Happy is one’s portion when he encounters a poor person! For a poor person is a gift that the blessed Holy One has sent to him. Happy is the share of one who receives that gift cheerfully!…’ Is it not to share your bread with the hungry? What is פָרֹס (paros), to share? לְמִפְרַס (Le-miphras), to spread, a tablecloth with bread and food to eat. Alternatively, Is it not פָרֹס (paros), to share?—as is said: פְּרֵס פְּרִיסַת (Peres perisat), פְּרֵס (peres)—has been divided (Daniel 5:28), for one should לְמִפְרַס פְּרִיסִין (le-miphras perisin), break pieces, of bread before him so that he will not feel ashamed, and one should break it before him generously” (Zohar 2:198a).

“Please, LORD our God, do not make us dependent on the gifts or loans of other people, but only on Your full, open, holy and generous hand so that we may suffer neither shame nor humiliation for ever and all time” (Birkat ha-Mazon).

“The Rabbis taught: It happened once that a man’s wife died and she left behind a child to nurse, and he did not have the wages [to pay] a wet-nurse. A miracle was performed for him and his breasts opened like a woman’s breasts and he nursed his child. Rav Yosef said, ‘Come and see how great a man this is that such a miracle was performed for him!’ Abbaye said to him, ‘On the other hand, how deficient a man this is that סִדְרֵי בְרֵאשִׁית (sidrei ve-reshit), the laws of nature, were changed for him! [if he was worthy he might have come into money, therefore, a miracle was really performed for the child].’ Rabbi Yehudah said, ‘Come and see how difficult [providing] a person’s food [is]: the laws of nature were changed for him!’ Rabbi Naḥman said: Know that miracles are evoked, but food is not created [from nothing; on blessing not appearing in an empty place, see BT Sanhedrin 92a, in the name of Rabbi El’azar; Naḥmaindes on Exodus 25:24; Zohar 1:88a–b, 240a, 250a; 2:63b, 67a, 87b–88a, 154b–155a, 157b; 3:34a]” (BT Shabbat 53b).

“A person should not embolden himself to say: ‘The blessed Holy One will save me,’ or ‘He will do this for me.’ Rather, he should place his strength in the blessed Holy One, to help him fulfill the commandments of Torah and walk in the way of truth, for as soon as one comes to purify himself, he is certainly assisted [cf. BT Shabbat 104a]. So should one fortify himself in the blessed Holy One—in order that He may help him—holding fast to Him, not placing his strength in another. So, whose strength is in You (Psalms 84:5)” (Zohar 1:142a).

Happy all who fear YHWH, who walk in His ways. When you eat of the toil of your hands, happy are you, and it is good for you (Psalms 128:2).

Like a Weaned Babe

original“Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai: What is the meaning of the verse, She opens her mouth in wisdom, teaching of kindness is on her tongue (Proverbs 31:26). To whom was Solomon alluding in this verse? He was alluding only to his father David who dwelt in five worlds and composed a psalm [for each of them]. He dwelt in his mother’s womb, and broke into song, as it says, Bless, O my being, YHWH, and everything in me, His holy name (Psalms 103:1). He emerged into the atmosphere of the world and looked upon the stars and constellations and broke into song, as it says, Bless YHWH, O His messengers, valiant in power, performing His word, to heed the sound of His word. Bless YHWH, all His armies… (Psalms 103:20–21). יֹנֵק מִשְּׁדֵי אִמּוֹ (Yoneq mi-shedei immo), he sucked from his mother’s breast, and looked on her bosom and broke into song, as it says, Bless, O my being, YHWH, and do not forget all His generous acts (ibid., 2) [connecting גְּמוּלָיו (gemulav), all His generous acts, with גְּמוּלֵי מֵחָלָב (gemulei me-ḥalav), weaned from milk (Isaiah 28:9)]. What is גְּמוּלָיו (gemulav), all His generous acts?—Rabbi Abbahu said: That He placed her breasts at the source of understanding [i.e., the heart, the seat of understanding, see Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 2:2, 10; Sefer Yetsirah §59b].

For what reason is this?—Rav Yehudah said: So that he should not look upon the place of nakedness; Rav Mattena said: So that he should not suck from a place that is foul. He saw the downfall of the wicked and broke into song, as it says, Let offences vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more. Bless, O my being, YHWH, Hallelujah! (Psalms 104:35). He looked upon the day of death and broke into song, as it says, Bless, O my being, YHWH! YHWH, my God, You are very great. Grandeur and glory You don (ibid., 1). How does this verse refer to the day of death?—Rabbah son of Rav Shila said: We learn it from the end of the passage, where it is written: When You hide Your face, they panic, You withdraw their breath and they perish… (ibid., 29)” (BT Berakhot 10a).

Taste and see that YHWH is good (Psalms 34:8).

And the manna was like coriander seed and its color like the color of bdellium. The people would go about and gather it and… make it into cakes. And its taste was like the לְשַׁד (leshad), creaminess, of oil (Numbers 11:7–8)—the taste of it was as the taste of a לְשַׁד (leshad), cake baked with oil. Rabbi Abbuha said: Just as the infant finds very many a flavor in the שָׁד (shad), breast, so also did Israel find many a taste in the manna as long as they were eating it. There are some who say: A שֵׁד (shed), demon; even as the demon changes into many colors, so did the manna change into many tastes [cf. Avot de-Rabbi Natan §37: ‘Two people eat from the same bowl, but each one tastes according to his deeds’]” (BT Yoma 75a).

“שְׁנֵי שָׁדַיִךְ (Shenei shadaikh), Your two breasts, are two fawns (Song of Songs 4:5). For in this chamber there is the spirit… [of love], and this living being issued two lights, one included in the other and unified, called, אֵל שַׁדָּי (El Shaddai). These two lights are called שַׁדָּי (Shaddai), and together with אֵל (El), of the chamber below, זְכוּת אֵל (Zekhut El), they join each other and intermingle to be called אֵל שַׁדָּי (El Shaddai), for they issued from the שָּׁדָיִם (shadaim), breasts….

Here lies the beginning of Abraham, who is of the right, called אַהֲבָה רַבָּא (ahavah rabba), Great Love, as we said. And he received the chamber called אַהֲבָה (ahavah), Love. Then, Your שָׁדַיִם (shadaim), breasts, were firm (Ezekiel 16:7), and filled with goodness to sustain and nourish all from here. And when the breasts were firm and filled by the רְחִימוּ עִלָּאָה (reḥimu illaah), supernal love, then this chamber was called אֵל שַׁדָּי (El Shaddai), as we said. And by this the world found supply when it was created, because when the world was created, it could not exist, and did not endure, until this chamber was revealed, that Abraham took. When Abraham was seen in this chamber, the world said דַי (dai), enough, for there is supply to sustain and nourish the world. It was therefore called אֵל שַׁדָּי (El Shaddai) [in whom there is] enough.

The blessed Holy One will fill and repair it in the future, as is written, That you may nurse, and be satisfied מִשֹּׁד (mishod), from the breasts, of her consolations; that you may drink deeply, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory (Isaiah 66:11). מִשֹּׁד (Mishod), from the breasts, of her consolations and the abundance of her glory are all in this chamber. Then, at that time, it is written, Who would have uttered to Abraham—‘Sarah is הֵינִיקָה (heiniqah), suckling, sons!’ (Genesis 21:7), for יְנִיקָא (yeniqa), sucking, depends upon Abraham” (Zohar 2:252b, Heikhalot).

But I have calmed and contented myself like a גָּמֻל (gamul), weaned, babe on its mother—like a weaned babe I am with myself (Psalms 131:2).