Vayak'hel: Chapter 12

A fire on Shabbat eve


Rabbi Yitzchak says there is a very high secret why "You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations on the Shabbat day," and talks about the shining star that comes from the north and strikes another seventy stars, until all seventy become one and the star expands into a blazing flame that extends across a thousand mountains. We are told that the storm wind that Elijah saw is that star that swallowed up the others. It is called a storm wind because it disturbs everything above and below, and it came from the north, since "out of the north the evil shall break forth." We read of the "great cloud," the cloud of darkness that hides the light. The "fire flaring up" refers to the fire of judgment, "and a brightness was about it"; this means that although it is from the side of defilement a man should not treat it with contempt because there is a brightness about it. Rabbi Hamnuna Saba (the elder) disagrees, saying that it should indeed be treated with contempt because inside it is "the form of Chashmal," that can be translated as 'beasts of fire muttering'. But now we hear from Rabbi Shimon the secret mystery of how these meanings are symbolized in the circumcision of the foreskin, that allows the light to be revealed. Rabbi Hamnuna Saba (the elder) says that the snake seduced Eve with the brightness of that star that was spoken of earlier. Finally, then, we are told why people must not kindle another fire from those that are hidden.