Rabbi Hiya arose one night to study Torah. The young Rabbi Yosi, who was still a child, was with him. Rabbi Hiya opened the discussion saying, "Go your way, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart, for G‑d has already desired your works". (Ecclesiastes 9:7) What did Solomon see that caused him to say this passage?

All the words of Solomon were said with wisdom. "Go your way, eat your bread with joy" is that G‑d brings close to Him a person who goes in the ways of G‑d and gives him tranquillity and repose. Then, he eats and drinks the bread and wine with a joyful heart because G‑d has desired his actions.

That boy said to him, "If so, then you have said that all the words of Solomon were with wisdom, so where is the wisdom here?" He said to him: My son, cook your food and you will understand this passage. The boy said to him: Before I have cooked, I already know. He said to him: How do you know?

The boy said to him, I heard a voice from my father who used to say about this passage: Solomon cautioned people to crown the Congregation of Israel [the Shechinah] with joy, which is the right side [i.e. to do positive mitzvahs which are from the side of chesed, on the right], and this is bread, so it [the Shechinah] would be crowned with joy [as the secret of bread is also from the side of chesed]. Afterwards it shall be crowned with wine, which is the left side [through the doing of negative mitzvahs; wine is the secret of gevura on the left].

When you will be in [malchut, which is] the faith of all, complete joy will be to the right and left [for joy is the secret of complete unification of chesed and gevura]. When you will be between both of them, all the blessings will dwell in the world. All this occurs when G‑d is satisfied with the deeds of people as written: "For G‑d has already desired your works". (Ecclesiastes 9:7) Rabbi Hiya approached and kissed him. He said, I swear my son that I left this for you. And now I know that G‑d wishes to crown you with Torah [which stands for tiferet].

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Hida choose this passage? What are we to learn?

Bread and wine. White and red. Right and Left. Lovingkindness and severity. When all is joined in joy, in balance, in harmony, then a crown descends from above. This is the Torah of truth, the unifying point of our existence. How can we bring apparently disparate things together? How can we see oneness surrounding us? It is our job here to KNOW this unity through saying the Shema Yisrael, through learning Torah, through uniting G‑d in our mind. "Come together, right now..."

What does the above mean to you, and why is it revealed to you now?

[Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries]