Sunday, November 12, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 16 - The Neshamah Yeseira, the Primordial Light

From Shabbos: Taam HaChaim Balak 5764. For more inspirational thoughts on Shabbos and other topics, please visit
In Parashas Balak, we find many ideas that distinguish the Jewish People from the nations of the world. For instance, Bilam declares: for there is no divination in Yaakov, and saw no perversity in Israel. Hashem his G-d is with him, and the friendship of the King is in him. The prime distinction, that we have Shabbos, does not seem to be alluded to anywhere in the parasha. The Sfas Emes writes that the concept of a curse finds its source in the sin of Adam Harishon. Even blessing is somewhat tainted by curse. Bilam was able to curse people because nothing in this world is perfect. The Jewish People, however, merit blessing from the Torah, the Tree of Life. The original light that Hashem concealed for the righteous is the light of Shabbos, when a Jew receives the neshama yeseira, the extra soul that provides spiritual nourishment on this holy day. This idea led Bilam to proclaim: How can I curse? G-d has not cursed. How can I anger? Hashem is not angry. For from its origins, I see it rock-like, and from hills do I see it. Bilam alluded to the idea that the Jewish People preceded creation, and they benefit from the original light of creation. This light has no influence from the evil forces and from any type of curse. It is said: for His anger endures but a moment; life results from His favor. Bilam was aware of the moment when Hashem got angry, but life results from His favor. The Jewish People are a part of this favor, as Bilam said: and the friendship of the King is in him. This favor is manifested in Shabbos, of which we recite in Kiddush on Friday evening: Blessed are You, HaShem, our G-d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, took pleasure in us…. May we merit realizing that Shabbos is a day of favor that is unique to the Jewish People. When the Shabbos arrives, she unified herself in Oneness and divests herself of the Other Side [any trace of evil], all harsh judgments are removed from her, and she remains alone with the Oneness of her light.