18. Meanwhile, an old person came to him and said: Faithful Shepherd, prepare a table for your Master, for Him and His Queen, with all kinds of delicacies, to fulfill in it: "this is the table that is before Hashem"' (Yechezkel 41:22). For until now, everyone was enjoying from the King's table, as it says: "Come, eat of my bread" (Mishlei 9:5). Bread is the Written Law, MEANING ZEIR ANPIN, and the wine of the Torah is the Oral Law, WHICH IS MALCHUT. IN MALCHUT, there are many dainties from the various sweet meanings of the Torah, and from all the victuals and delicacies in the world and of the King.
19. The Faithful Shepherd rose and began to speak: 'Aaron the priest, rise from your sleep to slaughter oxen and sheep and goats and lambs and fowl, and all the varieties needed for the King's feast. The shew-bread (lit. 'the bread of faces'), that is TWELVE, corresponding to the two tablets of Torah, "written on both their sides (lit. 'from this and this' (Heb. zeh))" (Shemot 32:15). Zeh IN NUMERICAL VALUE is the twelve faces, which are THE TWELVE LETTERS IN THREE TIMES YUD HEI VAV HEI IN THE VERSES: "Hashem bless you, and keep you; Hashem make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; Hashem lift up His countenance to you, and give you peace" (Bemidbar 6:24-25). The second zeh CORRESPONDS TO THE THREE TIMES ADONAI, WHICH CONTAIN IN THEM TWELVE LETTERS. They are the twelve living creatures about which it says, "and they four had the face of a lion, on the right side; and the four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle" (Yechezkel 1:10). THESE ARE THREE LIVING CREATURES, LION, OX, AND EAGLE, and it says about them: "And every one had four faces" (Ibid. 6). THAT IS, IN EACH CREATURE OF THE THREE, THERE ARE FOUR FACES OF THE LION, OX, EAGLE, AND MAN, AND THREE TIMES FOUR AMOUNTS TO TWELVE LIVING CREATURES. That is the meaning of, "And one (Heb. zeh) cried to another (Heb. zeh), and said" (Yeshayah 6:3), THAT IS, THE TWELVE FACES OF YUD HEI VAV HEI TO THE TWELVE CREATURES OF ADONAI. They also correspond to the 24 books in the Torah, THAT IS, THE 24 BOOKS IN THE BIBLE. This is the meaning of: "this (Heb. zeh) is the table that is before Hashem" (Yechezkel 41:22), BECAUSE A TABLE IS MALCHUT. "Zeh" IS THE TWELVE CREATURES THAT ARE IN ADONAI, WHICH IS MALCHUT. "THAT IS BEFORE HASHEM" REFERS TO THE TWELVE FACES IN YUD HEI VAV HEI. The vessels on the King's table are the sages of Mishnah, versed in prayer, which THE SAGES composed to correspond to the sacrifices.
20. He opened the discussion with the verse: "and you shall make a table of acacia wood" (Shemot 25:23). Come and behold: those present at the King's feast had goodly and comely customs to show they were members of the King's table. One was that the eldest would wash his hands FIRST. When they entered to sit for the meal, the oldest would sit at the head of the table. The second would be below him, and the third below the second. These are called the 'three beds,' BECAUSE THEIR CUSTOM WAS EACH TO RECLINE ON A BED, to correspond to the three Patriarchs, and to the priests, the Levites and Yisrael THAT ARE CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET. From here on, they had no special order, rather whoever came first was seated.
21. The second CUSTOM is that the house owner breaks the bread so that he may apportion it generously. He first completes THE BLESSING OVER THE BREAD, and then breaks it. The sages of the Mishnah have set it so that none of those reclining at the feast table are permitted to taste until the giver of the blessing has tasted first. The one who apportions is not permitted to taste until all present have finished saying Amen. And if he wishes to delegate honor BY GIVING TO ANOTHER TO BREAK THE BREAD, he may do so. In addition, it had been stated that the guest blessed THE BLESSING AFTER THE MEAL so he will bless the landlord.
22. In an esoteric interpretation, the landlord who breaks the bread is the central pillar, which is the Central Column, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN. On Shabbat, he needs to apportion from two loaves of challah bread, which are Hei-Hei OF YUD HEI VAV HEI. The house owner is Vav OF YUD HEI VAV HEI between THE TWO HEI'S. In order not appear a glutton, he may apportion to each one a piece the size of an egg. What is the size of an egg? It is Yud OF YUD HEI VAV HEI and Yud OF ADONAI, which are the dots of the Holy Name called crumbs the size of an olive, THAT IS, YUD OF YUD HEI VAV HEI IS THE SIZE OF AN EGG AND YUD OF ADONAI IS THE SIZE OF AN OLIVE. These CRUMBS correspond to drops of sperm. THEREFORE, poverty chases whoever belittles and disposes these crumbs in an inappropriate place, and he will constantly wander around. This is what is written: "he wanders abroad for bread, saying, where is it" (Iyov 15:23). Bread means Torah, and this verse implies that he cries out, looking for someone who will have mercy on him, but will find no one TO PITY HIM.
23. Crumbs the size of an olive belong to the Righteous YESOD, who presses these olives, WHICH ARE THE SFIROT, EXTRACTING OIL FROM THEM, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF ABUNDANCE. The guest (Heb. ore'ach) blesses, NAMELY THE RIGHTEOUS, as it is written: "but the path (Heb. orach) of just men is like the gleam of sunlight" (Mishlei 4:18), AND, "blessings are upon the head of the just" (Mishlei 10:6), the life of the world. Therefore, the guest, WHO IS THE RIGHTEOUS, NAMELY YESOD, makes the blessing.
24. As he was speaking, the Holy Luminary came to him, TO THE FAITHFUL SHEPHERD and said: Faithful Shepherd, one day I went along with the friends to an inn. There was a child there who rose and by himself prepared for us a lamplight and a table, as if he were twenty years old. Yet he was approximately five years old. He set that table up with different dishes and drinks and said, The sages have decreed that the house-owner breaks the bread and the guest makes the blessing. Yet, "I am young and you are very old; therefore, I was afraid and dared not declare my opinion to you" (Iyov 32:6), until I obtain permission from you. They said to him: Speak up my son, angel of Hashem.
25. He said to us: 'Do you wish for delicacies without warring for them, or food by means of war?' That is how the sages of the Mishnah decreed that the mealtime is a time of war. If you desire to battle over it, let no one eat. He who has won the battle shall eat first and apportion to the rest. The friends said to him: You are still small, my son, and you have yet to learn how mighty men wage war with a sword, with waving the sword, with a spear, with a bow and arrows, with a sling and stones.
26. He said to us: "Let not him that girds on his harness boast himself as he that takes it off" (I Melachim 20:11). It has been explained, regarding the reading of the Sh'ma, that whoever recites the reading of Sh'ma by his bedside is as if he holds a double-edged sword, as it is written: "The high praises of Hashem are in their throats, and a two-edged sword in their hand" (Tehilim 149:6). The waving of the sword needs to be done to the six directions, WHICH ARE CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET, NETZACH, HOD AND YESOD, as was explained, in order to make Him reign over the heavens, the earth, and the four corners of the world, WHICH ARE THE SIX DIRECTIONS. This Vav OF YUD HEI VAV HEI, THAT IS ZEIR ANPIN, is the body of the sword, and Yud OF YUD HEI VAV HEI IS the top of the sword. The two Hei's OF YUD HEI VAV HEI are the two edges OF THE SWORD. The sheath of the sword IS THE NAME Adonai, NAMELY MALCHUT.
27. The spear (Heb. romach, Resh Vav Mem Chet) is the 248 (Resh Mem Chet) words in the reading of the Sh'ma, and together with the six words in the unification SH'MA YISRAEL, they total romach, THAT IS RAMACH PLUS VAV. The shield (Heb. magen) is with the sword, THAT IS, THE THREE ANGELS, Michael, Gabriel and Nuriel, WHOSE INTIALS FORM MAGEN. They serve the three Patriarchs, CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET, AS MICHAEL IS CHESED, GABRIEL GVURAH AND NURIEL TIFERET. The bow shoots arrows, and any sperm that does not shoot forth like an arrow does not beget offspring. THIS ALLUDES TO YESOD. The sling refers to the reading of the Sh'ma, and the five sling stones ARE THE FIVE WORDS: "Hear, O Yisrael, Hashem our Elohim, Hashem," WHICH ARE THE SECRET OF CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET, NETZACH AND HOD, corresponding to the verse: "and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook" (I Shmuel 17:40). When he placed them into the sling, which is the mouth, BY READING THE SH'MA, which is the Shechinah, all five turned into one stone and killed the Philistine.