Vayak'hel: Chapter 19

The luminaries of fire


We are told that at the end of Shabbat permission is given to the lower chiefs to govern the world, and a man must now separate the holy from the secular. At this time he must say the blessing over the light of fire. This fire is not the everyday fire but Shabbat's fire that comes from the fire of above drawn down to the altar, Malchut. When this fire is blessed by the benediction all the other fires are given permission to illuminate. Four Chariots appear (Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael), each in charge of a legion of angels that are shining with that blessed fire; they are called the lights of the fire. We are told of the fingers of the right hand, how they allude to the lights of the fire, how they are raised to demonstrate the supernal sanctity of the upper grades that rule over all, and how they are bent to point at the lower grades, the Chariots. At the end of Shabbat, Malchut lets out the luminaries of fire as if they were created anew at that moment, and they are assigned their place to rule. The higher grades are called the luminaries of light, that rule by day and shine by the supreme light, Binah.