"....then shall the land keep a Shabbat to G‑d," truly a Shabbat to G‑d.

Again, Rabbi Elazar opened [his discourse by explaining the verse]: "If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years..." (Ex. 21:2) as every son of Israel who is circumcised [and is therefore connected to the sefira of yesod] and possesses the holy mark, has rest on the Sabbatical Year [which has its root in malchut]. This Sabbatical Year is his to rest in [since he represents yesod, malchut is the place for him to deliver all the other sefirot/”years”, too]. It is referred to as the Shabbat of the land [lower malchut called land, rests] and surely contains freedom. In it, there is rest, just as Shabbat is rest for all, so the Sabbatical Year is total rest - rest for the spirit [in the aspect of yesod] and body [in the aspect of malchut].

Come and see: Hei [of G‑d's Name that contains two Hei’s: Yud - Hei - Vav - Hei] refers to rest for those on high and those below [as the very pronunciation of the letter Hei is a simple and relaxing expulsion of breath – like the letter “h” in English]. Thus, an upper Hei and a lower Hei, represent rest for the supernal beings [represented by the first Hei in G‑d's name, and] rest for those below. The upper Hei [the Jubilee year] is seven years seven times[representing the 49 gates of understanding/bina, all-inclusive consciousness]; the lower Hei [representing malchut] is merely the seven years. 'The [source of the] Sabbatical Year' [relates to the lower Hei, malchut] and the upper [Hei] is called 'Jubilee' [and relates to bina].

When one looks at these things, they are all the same. [Both the first Hei and the final Hei are the same pronunciation and form, reflecting the fact that the power of bina-consciousness is carried out in malchut, so the Sabbatical Year is a branch of the Jubilee. Thus also the Sabbatical Year represents freedom like that of the Jubilee.] Therefore "then shall the land rest/Shabta" (Lev. 25:1) for when the land is at rest, the servants are at rest. This is why, "in the seventh [year], he [the Jewish servant] shall go out free." [The Jewish servant represents Zeir Anpin but he has lost status to become a servant of malchut and only She can set him free to regain his previous status.] What is [the meaning of] "no charge/chinam"? Could it mean that he pays his master nothing? [But that we learn from the previous word 'chofshi/set free'.]

Rather, this is the secret. We learned that it is written: "We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt for no charge/chinam," (Num. 11:5) [meaning] without [being required to make] a blessing, as we did not [yet] have a heavenly yoke in Egypt [since we were bound as slaves to a physical master – Pharaoh].

Come and see: slaves are exempt from accepting the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven [by saying the Shema prayer], and so they are exempt from the commandments. What is this, the "yoke" of the Heavenly Kingdom? It is like an ox upon which they first place a yoke in order to work with him and draw benefit from him for the world. If he does not accept that yoke, he can’t be used for work at all. So man must accept upon himself the yoke first, and then he will toil with it all that he needs. However, if he does not accept this yoke upon himself first, he cannot work [i.e. serve G‑d by doing the mitzvahs].

Thus it is written: "Serve G‑d with fear" (Psalms 2:11) [fear meaning accepting the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven].

BeRahamim LeHayyim: What does this mean to you, and why is it revealed now?

We left Egyptian slavery and became servants to G‑d. This analogy worked really well for the Generation of the Desert that did not know freedom previously. But does it still work with us? What does it mean to do the will of our Master?

If we do not accept the yoke of G‑d's commandments, we are not serving Him.

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
Copyright 2003 by KabbalaOnline.org, a project of Ascent of Safed (//ascentofsafed.com). All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, unless with permission, in writing, from Kabbala Online.