"The heavens and earth were finished along with all their hosts." (Gen. 2:1) [In order to explain this verse] Rabbi Elazar [the discussion by citing the verse:] "How great is your goodness which you have laid out for those who fear you. You have wrought for them who put their trust in you, before men." (Psalms 31:20) Come and see! G‑d placed man in the world. He gave him the abilities to perfect himself in serving Him and to correct his ways [i.e. man was created with free choice to be able to perfect his service in the world] so as to merit the supernal light that G‑d saved for the righteous. Thus it is written: "No eye but Elokim has seen [what awaits the righteous in the future]." (Isaiah 64:3) And how can one merit this light? Only through Torah [which is referred to as light: "For a commandment is a candle, and the Torah is light" (Prov. 6:23)]

He who occupies himself with Torah every day [to purify his materiality] merits a place in the World to Come and it is considered as if he had built worlds for, through Torah, the world was built and completed as it is written, "G‑d founded the earth with [the Torah's] wisdom, He established the heavens with understanding". (Proverbs 3:19) And it is also written, "And I will be a 'amon' [lit. nurseling, here interpreted as 'craftman's tool', from the verb 'oman'] with him, and I will be his delight every day." (Proverbs 8:30). Thus, whoever strives to learn Torah completes and preserves all the worlds.

Come and see! G‑d made the world by a breath and by the breath of the mouths of those who study Torah it is preserved. It is preserved even more by the breath of the children learning in school. "How great is your goodness" refers to the hidden good [the light which Elokim saw and said it was good and hid for the use of] "those who fear you".

"You have wrought for them who trust in you." What is the meaning of "wrought?" It refers to the works of Creation [that were wrought on man's behalf]. Rabbi Aba said that it refers to the Garden of Eden, which G‑d crafted on earth in the image of its supernal shape for the righteous to strengthen themselves [and become accustomed to the supernal light Above]. The works are "wrought for them who put their trust in you, which you had laid out for those who fear you before men," because it [the earthly Garden of Eden] is for humans and the other one is only for the supernal holy beings. Rabbi Shimon said that [even though] the supernal Garden of Eden is [in the heavens] Above, but even so it is "before men." For there are righteous who do the will of their Master [throughout their lives] who gather there [immediately upon their death].

"And they were finished" [in plural form] indicates that all the work that was to be done, both Above and Below, was finished, for the "heavens" represent all Above [that is within the heavens] "and the earth" represent all below [that is within the earth]. Rabbi Shimon said that this ["And they were finished"] represents both the works and craftsmanship of the Written Torah and the works and craftsmanship of the Oral Torah. "All their hosts" refers to the details of [the mitzvot of] the Torah and its "faces", the seventy alternative aspects of Torah [[i.e. the varied ways the Torah can be interpreted, which correspond to the 7 lower Sefirot of Zeir Anpin and Nukva, for each one includes 10 Sefirot, 7 x 10 = 70, and another interpretation for] "And they were finished" that details and alternative aspects of both [the Written Torah and the Oral Torah] can coexist and complement each other. The Heavens and the earth represent the particular and the general [the particular referring to the Oral Torah, which explains all the particulars of all the mitzvot and the general referring to the Written Torah, wherein all the mitzvot are written in a general form]. "And all their hosts" are the secrets of Torah and its purity, the rules of cleanliness and uncleanness in Torah.

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section in Hok LeYisrael? What are they trying to teach us?

More fundamentals are stressed, namely the importance of the Torah study in general, and the secrets of the Torah in particular, and we will ideally wrestle with the GaN (53) parshiot of the Torah.

Man cannot live by bread alone, but rather all that comes from the mouth of G‑d — the Torah messages of all levels of PaRDeS. Just because this selection helps us to satisfy our need to delve into hidden mysteries does not relieve us of our required work to build a vessel to receive such teachings.

This "cup" is the Oral Torah, and it is the receptacle of all "Above" it. Just like the Sukkah is a receiver of blessings [Sukkot has the letters Kos (cup) [tiferet], meaning the Sukkah is like a cup that gets filled with blessings from G‑d], so too should we mold ourselves to be Mekubalim, those that receive from sacred sources.

As we begin this adventure of learning these important Zohar's, it befits us to prepare the Bride ['HaKalah/the bride' is the same letters as 'Halakhah/law' or legal path to follow] and engage in the learning from the other areas (Scripture, Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash, Musar, Jewish Law] from the wealth of Jewish sources.

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

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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