Rabbi Elazar said to his father: How are those three meals prepared [how do the 3 meals correspond to the sefirotic configurations]? Rabbi Shimon replied: About Shabbat eve it is written: "And I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth." In this night the Matron [malchut] is blessed and the whole field of apples [the worlds that delight in malchut] are also blessed, and the man's table is blessed and he receives an additional soul.1 This night signifies the rejoicing of the Matron, and therefore a man should rejoice and partake in the meal of the Matron.

Concerning the second meal of Shabbat day, it is written: "Then shall you delight yourself above G‑d." Most assuredly "above G‑d" [meaning above Zeir Anpin/tiferet, for the Holy Ancient One corresponds to Keter] for at that hour Atika Kadisha [above Zeir Anpin] reveals Himself and all the worlds are in joy and complete. And we, in participating in this meal, contribute to that joy and completeness of Atika [the Ancient One] for, assuredly, this is His meal.

Concerning the third meal of Shabbat, it is written: "And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father." This is the meal of Zeir Anpin [related to Jacob] who is then in perfection, from which all the six days receive their blessing. [The six days relate to the six sefirotic components of chesed through yesod, and they are blessed, ensuring blessing for the entire week] Therefore, a man must rejoice in these meals and complete his meals, for they are meals of the perfect Faith of the holy seed of Israel, the supernal Faith, which is theirs and not that of the heathen nations. Hence, it is written: "It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel" (Ex. 31:17) [for there is an exclusive relationship between Israel and Shabbat.]

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
What is this "exclusive relationship" related in the "VeShameru" prayer said on Shabbat day: "It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel." Can't, and should not, all partake in the Shabbat? After all, lehavdil, do not our sincere Christian friends celebrate their Sabbath on Sunday, and our Muslim friends observe Friday as their special day of ceasing? The simple answer is "No." Their days of rest do not resemble our Shabbat observance.

Not only that, but according to traditional Jewish law, a non-Jew who fully observes the Sabbath without converting first deserves the death penalty [!]

How can this be?

There is a sacred bond, a marriage, between Shabbat and the Jewish people. The Midrash notes that each day has its partner {Sunday/Wednesday, Monday/Thursday, Tuesday/Friday}, and Shabbat is our beshert. For others to "intrude" into this union is tantamount to adultery, which is heavily punished.

All of these meals are Seudat Mitzvah Chatan veKalah [feast of a bride and groom], festive obligations to celebrate our marriage with G‑d. Which is why the above Zohar requires us to be joyous in them, to give joy to the Groom and Bride. For as we Israel are the "groom" to Shabbat, so too are we Israel the "bride" to Hashem.

Much "food for thought" for our Shabbat meals.

What does the above mean to you, and why is it being revealed to you for this Shabbat?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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