Trumah: Chapter 79

Secrets of the blessing after the meal


The youth again opens the discussion and announces that one verse says, "And you shall eat before the Creator your Elohim" and another verse says, "And rejoice before the Creator your Elohim." These verses, we then learn, were fulfilled when the children of Yisrael dwelt in the Holy Land and appeared before God in the Temple. A person must give to the poor, we are told, even as God gives him food, and he should not be a glutton because gluttony is from the Other Side. During the meal, he should be occupied solely with Torah. Next, the young man speaks of the Cup of Blessing, a person should bless with it only with joy, in the presence of three people who have eaten together. We further read that we must aim the desire above, to God, when we say, 'And by whose goodness we live,' because the world is built by that goodness, as it is written, "For I have said, the world is built by Chesed" and is nourished by it.

When we read, "Who sustains the entire world with His goodness, with grace, with kindness (Chesed), and with Mercy" and, "Who gives bread to all flesh, for His steadfast love (Chesed) endures forever," it means that He provides food for the righteous and the wicked, this is called the Blessing of the Right, because Gvurah and Judgment are not included in the Blessing after the meal. Therefore, we are told, the left hand should not assist the right to hold the cup. The second blessing is the blessing of the Land. The spread of goodness is thankfulness. The young man then tells us of the right and left of Netzach and Hod, and how Hod is the result of the spread of Love; in this instance both Netzach and Hod come from the right. There is no left in the Blessing after a meal because the Other Side has no part in the food of Yisrael. After the Land of the Living is blessed and receives food, we ask for Mercy for everyone. On Shabbat when there is no Judgment, we say, 'May it please you to strengthen us.' We say who is good and does good, and the one who recites the Blessing after a meal receives the blessings before everyone else, and has a long life. Thus the right performs salvation from the Inciter. When the young man finishes speaking, Rabbi Yosi declares a feast and the rabbis gather everyone together for rejoicing, finally calling the young man's wife 'a Bride.'


On one level, "eat before the Creator your Elohim" pertains to the sparks of Light contained in the foods we eat. Blessing our food ensures that we receive both spiritual and physical nourishment, so that even the act of eating becomes a sacred tool for spiritual transformation. Hence, we are now connected to the Temple and to the Torah, which help us elevate holy sparks in the foods we consume.

We are inspired to give a portion of our sustenance to the needy, and our gluttonous cravings are subjugated. All the blessings and goodness derived from the eating of God's food, especially during the Sabbath, are summoned forth so that we may feast upon the Light, share it with others, and enjoy long, sumptuous sips from the Cup of Blessing.

The cumulative Light aroused from all the blessings and Torah study of the righteous throughout history, during and after their meals, ignites in this spectacular moment of meditation. All judgments are therefore annulled. Mercy envelops mankind. Poverty is at last purged from the landscape of civilization. And the angel Satan is deprived of sustenance, starved until he withers away, becoming nothing more than a long forgotten relic of the past.