Trumah: Chapter 47

"You shall make a table," part two


Rabbi Yesa begins this discussion by explaining that the table of acacia wood spoken of in scripture stands inside the Tabernacle and should never be left empty of food, even for a moment. This is because blessing and food come out to all the other tables of the world, which are therefore blessed because of it. The table that is set above, we are told, always has the words of Torah spoken over it, and a table that is not blessed by the words of Torah is unclean.

Rabbi Yesa next tells us that a happy person is one who has two things on his table, the words of Torah, and a portion of food for the poor. The person can be called 'happy' because he gains great merit from these things.

Rabbi Jacob then speaks about Saul, who was chosen for kingship but not for prophecy, since the two gifts are never given together, except in the case of Moses, who alone merited both titles. However, Samuel, we are told, also seemed to merit both titles, and yet he was only a prophet and judge, and this was why the children of Yisrael requested a king. Since kingship settles only upon arousal of the Holy Spirit, we learn, Saul had no prophecy when he ascended to kingship. He had only the awakening of the spirit of understanding with which to execute a true Judgment. As long as he was among the prophets, the prophecy dwelled upon him, but not afterward.

Rabbi Jacob next speaks about the table being more important than the bread on it, comparing the table, as the root from which bread can also be said to emerge, to the world, which gives forth plants and fruit and food. He explains why the table is placed on the left, or north, side. The text then speaks of the cleanliness of the body and the intestines, of the need to give the dirty finger bowl water to the Other Side. We learn that the secret of the shewbread is the twelve faces that are in Zeir Anpin. It is Malchut that draws out food and sustenance from those internal faces.

Rabbi Elazar next tells how God created every person in the similitude of supernal glory. The glory of below was constructed above only by the righteous actions of the people of this world, we learn. The rabbi speaks of the 32 paths of Chochmah and Glory, the three levels of spirit, and the three worlds. The supernal glory, we are told, has within it Briyah, Yetzirah, Asiyah, and so does Man here below. "Let your garments be always white, and let your head lack no oil," means that oil of anointing will never be withheld from Man, for his actions are constantly being whitened. Finally, we hear that a person merits delight in the supernal Eden by giving delight to the souls of the poor through the food upon his table.


Supernal blessings fall upon the tables of all mankind as our eyes fall upon this rich passage. Our thought to share the blessings from this Book of Splendor with the impoverished, at last, removes poverty from the landscape of human civilization while it warms the hearts of the destitute. The Light of prophecy and kingship illumines our souls, elevating our consciousness so that we foresee the future consequences of all our present actions. We receive wisdom to judge others with compassion, with decency, and with the sweetest mercy. We acquire courage to judge ourselves with truthfulness and stringency. Finally, sustenance and livelihood come to our world through the words of wisdom that adorn this passage. Poverty is vanquished from our midst and all the world experiences the delights of the supernal Eden.