"Get you, out of your country..." (Gen. 12:1) Rabbi Aba began [his discourse, to show the reason why Avraham merited more than any of his generation to be spoken to directly by G‑d] by quoting the verse "Hearken to me, you stout-hearted, that are far from righteousness"; (Isaiah 46:12) how hard are the hearts of the wicked, who see the paths and the [inner] ways of Torah, yet do not observe them. And the hearts of the wicked are stout, as they do not repent and turn back to their Master. They are called stout-hearted [for they do not fear G‑d in their hearts].

The verse, "that are far from charity," [means] they keep themselves far from Torah [called charity, for G‑d granted the Torah to the Jews as charity]; Rabbi Chizkiyah commented [on the verse: "that they are far from charity"], they keep far from G‑d [Who sustains all as an act of charity], therefore they remain far away from Him [and G‑d also removes his Divine Presence from them and hides His face from them] and because of this, they are called stout-hearted. They "are far from charity." They do not wish to come closer to G‑d [they stay far away from receiving the bounty of tiferet called "charity"] and because of this, they "are far from charity." Because they are far from charity, they are also far from peace - they can have no peace as it is written: "There is no peace, says G‑d, to the wicked." (Isaiah 48:22) And why is that so? Because they "are far from charity."

Come and see! Abraham indeed succeeded in his desire to get closer to G‑d, as it is written: "You love charity and hate wickedness"; (Psalms 45:8) because he loved righteousness [malchut] and hated wickedness [the external negative forces], he therefore came closer to charity. Therefore, it is written: "Abraham my beloved." (Isaiah 41:8) Why is he "my beloved?" Because it has been said about him, "You love righteousness." This is the love toward G‑d, whom Abraham loved more than anyone else of his generation, who were "stout-hearted" and "far from charity," as has already been explained.

Rabbi Yosi opened [his discourse] by quoting: "How lovely are Your dwelling places, G‑d Tzva'ot" (Psalms 84:2) How important it is for people to observe the service of G‑d [which sustains the world]! All people do not observe and are not aware of what keeps the world in existence. Nor are they aware of what keeps them in existence [that sometimes just one act can bring the world to the side of merit]! As G‑d created the world, He made the heaven from fire [gevurot, the secret of Fire] and water [chasadim, the secret of Water, and mixed the two together]. At first, these elements mingled together without solidifying. Only later, by means of the Supernal Spirit did they coagulate and solidify.

Then, He planted the world [malchut] to be established upon supports [the other sefirot] and the supports stand only by the help of the Spirit [i.e. spirituality]. When that Spirit is gone, the supports are loosened and they [all the worlds of Beriya, Yetzira, and Asiya] quake, and the world is shaken. This is the meaning of, "Who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble". (Job 9:6) And everything is established upon Torah, for when Israel are busy with Torah, then the world is established, and the pillars and the supports are perfectly situated in their places.

Come and see! When midnight is aroused and G‑d enters the Garden of Eden to enjoy the company of the righteous, all the trees in the Garden of Eden sing and praise Him, as it is written: "Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy at the presence of G‑d". (I Chronicles 16:33)

BeRahamaim LeHayyim:Why did the Ari and Chida include this selection? What do they want us to learn?

Perhaps it is all about sensitivity. Not right and wrong. Not observant or lax. Not about the current different flavors and schools of Judaism. Just sensitivity. To Divine Energy flow from below to above, and above to below. The above Zohar is a manual of spiritual science, and sensitivity to that energy is revealed in the simple laws and paths of serving G‑d. May the learning of this inner wisdom open more channels of communication. May you find your path of righteousness and turn away from wickedness. Amen

What does the above mean to YOU?! Why are you reading it NOW?!


Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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