One of the mitzvot in this week's parasha is to pay a day worker his wages as soon as they are due so as not to cause him suffering. This humane requirement is interpreted to also hint at the way prayer is received and transmitted by the angel Meta‑tron (pronounced "Mattat" if read out loud). This discourse was delivered before the heads of the yeshivas in the Higher and Lower Garden of Eden.

You should pay the day laborer on the same day [that you hired him], nor shall the sun set [before you honor your obligation]; for he is poor, and needs it to sustain his soul [literally "Nefesh"], and he should not be made to cry out against you to G‑d which would be your sin. (Deut. 24:15) The angel Metatron is a day worker hired from the Lifegiver of the Worlds…

The Faithful Shepherd opened his discourse saying that the mitzvah that comes after [the commandment not to oppress a hired servant] is to give a worker his wages when they fall due [on the same day as he finishes his work] as is written: "On the same day you will pay him his wages, nor shall the sun set [on your obligation]." (Deut. 24:14) Come and listen, you heads of yeshivas in the Higher and Lower Garden of Eden: The angel Metatron is a "day worker" hired from the Lifegiver of the Worlds ["Chai Olamim", referring to the sefira of yesod of Zeir Anpin] in order to receive the eighteen blessings of the Standing Prayer three times each day.

We provide the prayers that Metatron gathers and raises up to yesod of Zeir Anpin. This causes union between Zeir Anpin and Malchut. We are "hired" with the reward of mitzvah for mitzvah, to provide a vehicle for the distribution of the divine abundance that flows from this union. Metatron is, in turn, hired as an agent to deliver our prayers to the next step on their ladder up in the spiritual realms. The three daily prayers rectify the sefirot of chesed, gevura and tiferet in malchut and the angel raises them from malchut to yesod.

This is the reason it is written, "On that day you shall pay him". ["That day"] refers to the Morning Prayer [that is said at the first opportunity on "that day", i.e. sunrise]. "Nor shall the sun set", refers to the Afternoon Prayer [that is said as the sun sets]. This is the meaning of the words in the Talmud, "If the day has finished, his sacrifice is nullified". (Berachot 26a)

Thus a person should always be careful about ensuring that he prays the Afternoon Prayer, Mincha, on that day, since he can't bring that prayer on the next day. The day worker wants his reward! The tzadik…has nothing to give from himself other than that which is given to him through prayer…

And [what is further written] that "he is poor" [relates to the sefira of yesod called "tzadik"] for the tzadik is certainly poor when he is in exile. He has nothing to give from himself other than that which is given to him through prayer. This is why prayer is "his" [because after receiving prayer he can then give the higher abundance to malchut], as is written "Prayer to the poor man when he is wrapped" (Psalms 102:1), meaning wrapped in tallit and tefillin.

Proverbs 10:25 states that "the righteous [in Hebrew, "tzadik"] is the foundation [in Hebrew, "yesod"] of the world. Yesod connects all the sefirot above it with the sefira of malchut that is directly below it. The Jewish people are called "righteous" (in Hebrew, "tzadikim") because we cause this union to happen through our fulfilling Torah and mitzvot in the physical world. When the higher sefira of yesod is not connected to the sefira of malchut, all the abundance it contains cannot be passed on. It is therefore poor, since it can't pour. This is the definition of a poor person - someone who can't give anything to someone else. Note that this definition may include some very "wealthy" individuals!

Since talit and tefillin are the reward of the poor man, i.e., yesod, the kabbalists are always careful to wear them both at the morning and afternoon prayers.

The words "And he needs it to sustain his Nefesh", refer to the Evening Prayer. These are like the limbs and intestines [of the offerings that were left to burn on the altar over night], the leftovers from the day sacrifices.

These are like the leftovers given to the poor that keep his Nefesh alive - or as the saying goes "to keep body and soul together".

These are similar to the gleanings of the vineyard and the corners of your field [that were the "left over" parts for the poor, as commanded in Lev. 19:9-10]. In respect of these we have learned (Sukkot 38a) that even the dispensable parts of a mitzvah prevent calamities. [These leftovers should be] abandoned in favor of the convert/stranger and the poor; this is the middle column that is called "a stranger" when it is out of its place. The soul of Moses spreads and influences the spiritual leaders of the Jewish people in exile…

The main part of prayer is not the wearing of talit and tefillin, these are like adornments around the mitzvah, but they are nevertheless beneficial.

In biblical times when the land was owned by the inheritors from the original tribes, a convert and a stranger would not have any free fields to cultivate and live from. The middle column of the Tree of Life is Zeir Anpin, and when there is no union it is called "poor" and a "stranger" since His field, Malchut, is estranged from Him.

Because of this I [The Faithful Shepherd, spiritually rooted in the sefira of tiferet], whose level is the middle column, called myself a stranger in the first exile, as is written: "I was a stranger in a foreign land." (Ex. 2:22) And now I am in exile for you[r benefit].

The first exile was when Moses ran from Pharaoh's sword. The second was that he was left buried outside Israel. The purpose of this exile is so that the soul of Moses spreads and influences the spiritual leaders of the Jewish people in exile and shares their suffering.

The Masters of the Mishna asked him, "Faithful Shepherd, these mitzvot [of leaving over the gleanings of the vineyard and the corners of the field] were performed by the People of Israel in the land of Israel [so how could you compare yourself to be like a poor stranger then?]. He replied [his exile] was in order to arouse mercy on those exiled from their place [and living away from Israel even in Temple times]. A person living away from his place is called a stranger, and even more so those souls that leave this world naked [of Torah and mitzvot] and come to this [physical] world in order to fix this [and through the merit of the Torah they learn and mitzvot they perform, earn "clothes" enabling them to enter Garden of Eden].

Zohar, Ki Teitze, Raya Mehemna, p.278a; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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