Welcome to our next chabura on Shabbos and the higher avoda of shabbos through the melachos, both in refraining on Shabbos as well as performing the melachos positively during the week, with the higher goal of building oneself as a mini-mishkan to reveal the Shechina more potently on a weekly basis and help to bring the world to its higher perfection.
We are going to a minute review to show the continuity and today we will do a broad based overview of all 39 melachos asking fundamental questions on its overall structure. Next week we will go into defining a melachain halachic, spiritual terms and the fourth shiur will be on the details of the inner anatomy of a melacha and how it works. After that we start the first melacha, plowing and how we build ourselves as a Shabbos seven day a week avoda.
On the sheet we sent everyone we have the 39 Melachos broken up into four basic groups, each one having their own part in building of the Mishkan. Why does Chaza,l based on the seder of the mishkan itself, subdivide the melachos into four categories. The first is to prepare the showbreads and sacrifices, 1 through 11, plowing through baking. The next group is the melachos having to do with the fabrics for the curtains in the Mishkan, 12 – 24, shearing through tearing. The third set of melachos has to do with with building the mishkan, to prepare the coverings from the hides themselves. These are the special covers used for different parts of the mishkan, melachos 25 trapping through 31 cutting. The fourth group is to subdivided into four mini subgroups with the positive and negative expressions of melacha, 32-writing to 39 carrying.
Those are the four groups.
With that we are going to ask a few fundamental questions. Last week we said these melachas are referenced in the Mishna Gemara on Shabbos 73a and there it talks about 40 minus 1. we have to come back to answer that question a little more deeply.
Question 2 is are we having a pneumonic to memorize the 39 melachos, maybe a little more, the different processes of creation. some were used to create from the flour, to create bread, the curtain and the like…there is a certain kind of outcome that was used for the melachos themselves. It would seem somehow to have to be greater than that. If the melacho itself doesn’t mean an action of work, it means a creative action and ultimately we are going to see not just a creative action but an action of creation, which we are going to get to in a few moments, then these have to be something much greater than pneumonics, a process for achieving an outcome, or even acquiring physical items to be made in the mishkan for its functioning. what exactly is going on? Very unusual.
Ultimately if yidden around the world were praying to eretz Yisrael, Yerushalayim, the old city, and as we get into the old city, the outer walls, the inner walls, the ezras nashim, all the way to kadosh hakadoshim, we are getting to the epicenter of creation itself. The very mikdash, the metzias of the mishkan is the epicenter of creation, that somehow we are tapping into these creative energies, then it must be, and I am saying must be, can’t be Shabbos is just about simply refraining like the shamor part of shabbos, but it also about performing during the week and not just performing the literal melachos of plowing, there has to be there are deeper creative energies involved and somehow it must be relevant, applicable and even directly applied to my life on a weekly basis. It must be. You can hear very powerful proofs and we will answer it up.
It goes as follows and it is really amazing. I am going to say it in a little higher way, a kabbalistic way, and then a creative way.
The Vilna Gaon brings down based on gemara on shabbos 49b that the word melacho fascinatingly is mentioned 40 times, except we count only 39 times. Interestingly itself the answer is that the melachos themselves were not acts, works, they were acts of creation, yeish meyeish, something from something in the physical world. but how about the 40th? it is yeish meayin, that is something only Hashem has access to and then blesses the world according to our toiling and how we create ourselves. Interesting. 40 already represents a higher number of shelamos, the yeish meayin, something from nothing itself. we have no access to that. Hashem does and He opens up that portal on Shabbos relative to how we create during the week. Very interesting way to look at it.
Another way – brought in a kabalistic format but it is the same thing. There are 10 utterances of the creation, 9 times shem elokim in bereshis, and the maimer tells that the first one that is the concealed realm of creation that is bereshis bara, tells us these utterances are the basis of creation. Ultimately the Rashbi and Arizal tell us there are four primary worlds, atzilus emanation, beriah creation, formation yetzera, and the world of action asiya. and each one of these worlds has the ten elements of creation that Hashem used to create the world so four times 10 is 40. The vilna gaon brings this as why 40 represents shelamos and the melachos are 40 minus 1 because Shabbos is the lower reality of the lower worlds folding into the higher world and all creation comes into a greater place of Divine unity. that is amazing. four worlds, 10 utterances is 40 and there are many endless references to 40 in the Torah. I will reference 2 that are tied to something special.
Aryeh Kaplan brings in a chapter on the mikvah and he talks about the mystery of the mikvah, why it is 40 units. He basically says that the mikvah is 40 units, 200 gallons of water, to teach us that when a person goes in, they are experiencing the toivel, tevila, tes, bais, lamed are the root letters. Turned around and it is bitul. Hisbadlus. And when we are going to the mikvah we are mevateling our own limited human existence, our own perceived independent identity, and we are going in and folding ourselves into HKB creation. We are saying, we don’t want to disappear and not exist as we do when we hold our breath and dunk (we are in a mini state of …), but we are also in a spiritual womb and we are being recreated in His reality. The mikvah represents renewal, rebirth, the change of one’s spiritual status, the transformation of one’s spiritual being and from there, ideally it is going to the reality of intimacy and elevating something of the experience of joining together, a deep form of intimacy and connection, unification, to express the higher unity we have with Hashem. That is the 40 units of the mikvah.
Another fascinating one is that the Gemara in nidda, we are talking about the process of creation itself, creating a fetus, which from our point looks like something from nothing but it is really yeish from yeish, a seed and an ova coming together joining over three trimesters creating life
How long are the three trimesters? So fascinatingly, just as Hashem looks into the Torah and creates reality, He looks into the word pregnancy and creates pregnancy. Says the Gemara, the word for pregnancy is, hei reish yud vav nun, gematria 271 and then the gemara says that is the number of days of pregnancy. Then the seed can stay within the woman’s womb for three days, and hold potentcy for creating life. After that time the seed doesn’t have koach anymore. So the most a pregnancy can be is 273 days.
If you divide 273 by 7, you get 39. Therefore, the gestation period of a woman creating new life is 39 weeks, which the midrashim in parshas tazria references the 39 melachos keneged the 39 weeks of pregnancy. why ispregnancy 39 weeks? Because of the melachos of Shabbos. Just as the woman is meant to create new life from nothing relatively speaking, and each week is to a specific week of development, so too each melacha is used to create spiritual life.
It comes out that another way of referencing, throughout the week we are using the 39 melachos to conceive of ourselves spiritually, the new you, to create a new spiritual status every week, 39 times 7 273, and in that, we create, and then comes Shabbos and we birth that new reality to the next world as it were, and we will see why 39 melachos are carrying, we are carrying ourselves from this limited world to a higher world and it is there that the dimension of 40 is born. That is yeish meayin, that is Hashem’s ultimate reality.
What is going on with these melachos? It is not just a categorical way to create processes to see the desired outcomes. These melachos are the very elements of creation itself and the 39 weeks are the weeks of creating life and the 39 melachos are the spiritual dimension of creating spiritual reality in this world.
40 minus 1 means we have to do our part to create and when we stop and turn ourselves back to Hashem and ask Him to bring us to a higher dimension in yeish meayin says the Gaon, that is the 40th melacha, the 40th time the word melacho is said, but we don’t count it, why? it is Hashem’s job. We count 49 days and He counts 50. We do the 39 melachos and He brings the 40 – 4 worlds times 10 utterances…everything comes to its greater place of completion and divine unity. Everything gets lifted up to its root level and that whole process of creation is being recreated each week in and of itself. in a sense we are creating and recreating our spiritual identity.
wow. isn’t that amazing? Who could not want Shabbos. Shabbos helps me to understand there is a highest purpose in creation and I habve a unique special role in the very fabric of creation itself to return it to its highest expression and by using the melachos positively to create ourselves as a mishkan, that is how we draw the shechina.
So what exactly are we creating?
So if we divide the relationships, there are three, to ourselves, to others and to Hashem. when we relate to ourselves the maharal the gaon, the chida, all reference a relationship to one’s nefesh. what are we relating to? What are we creating anew and how are we changing our status on a regular basis.
This is the Arizal eitz chaim, 50 main gates, shar beis perek aleph it talks about hiskalelus and hishkasrus. there he explains a wonderous thing of bein adom lnafshim is made up of? – this the chaim vital brings in shaare kedusha and reb wolbe in ale shor, it is core. what does it mean, not just middos, it means the very core elements that make up the nefesh. reb chaim vutal calls it nefesh yesodos. You have the four primary elements, earth water wind and fire. These four primary elements are the constituent parts of one’s unique spiritual identity on the level of nefesh. What essentially ben adom lnafish is you take the elemental parts of your identity and reconfigure them from the human expression to divine identity. It is a choice point, to reappropriate them from human expression to divine expression, and as we take those elements of fire, water wind and earth, we are taking the elements behind the middos and we are reshifting and recalubratug them back to the nefesh and using our choice point, our ability to actually choose our identity to realign our elements and to balance them – integrate them – to recreate the elokusdik identity to bein nafshi.
Where is that in the mishkan?
Tthe arizal says that all four levels of creation exist in our worlds. you have datzcham, inanimate, plant life, animal life, and speaking being a soul the human realm. datzcham is the acronym. The Arizal tells us that those four levels of creation in our world correspond to the four elements. Inanimate life is earth, physical stable world that does not move. Water, that corresponds to plant life that survives on water. animals that correspond to wind and finally the speaking spirit that using their seichel or the zohar says ohr seichel which is roshe teives aish, that is the fire. the speaking person is speaking truth into this world, it uses higher intellect, to perceive the divine reality. These four levels of creation, dfatzcham, are exactly parallel to earth water wind and fire. and therefore there is a symmetry between the elements of creation and the manifest levels of creation.
What does this have to do with the beis hamikdosh?
When we see the counting is already starting, in vayikra when we are starting shemos when we are starting the gathering for the mishkan, the 13 elements, the metals, is about the inanimate that build the vessels.
Then we have plant life, which is the first category, taking plants, breaking seeds, and using plant life for entire expression that we can sanctify and then mikadesh it on shabbos.
The inanimate is for the vessels to draw down the elokus. the plants are the first category of melacho.
Categores two and three are the animal realm, using curtains that have the wool and combing and dying. and category 3 is using the inside part, the skins, tanning it, cutting it down to size.
And the fourth category are four sets of pairs that have to do with the koach of an adomto write and erase, the building and destroying, to ignite fire and to extinguish and then make bapatsh. speaking. So the final category is medaber.
So what is the mishkan? It is taking the four levels of creation, inanimate, vegetable, animal and speaking, putting it to a process, having that process be an act of creation. The creative elements are used to take the very physical expression in the world, and show that there is a divine creation in the creational process and each of the 39 is going into the four levels of creation and showing that the levels of creation really connect back to Hashem Himself.
We said the four elements of creation itself are tied to the four levels of creation. Earth water wind and fire parallel the four levels of creation at an elemental level . Therefore the categories of melacha correspond to the four levels of creation and have four primary categories of something that is creative and they also have four elements of creation in the creative process itself which means we are tapping into the very basis of the reality of creation and reconstructing creation, to go back from from yeish to ayin.
The mishkan was that ultimate place that we reconfigure the world, that it should be a perfect manifestation of Hashem’s reality in this world and that we have our own role in creating ourselves as a mishkan.
The ultimate question what does this have to do with bein adom nafshe. Arizal says as follows. These four things, the four levels of creation, and the four elements of creation…do you know why that is? That is Hashem’s name signed into creation, shem havaya, My name is written into the natural world so that when it comes through the elements it is earth wind water and fire. but when it comes to the four levels of creation it is damzam. but in that elemental creational process, you want to know what it really is? It is shem havaya aish is yud, ruach is first hai, mayim is vav and afar is final hei The medaber is yud, animal is first hay, vav is vegetable and inanimate is earth.
To partner with Hashem in creation and go to the four levels of the world and unlock the secrets to creation – go to the melachos. those are my channels of creation. You do 39 in creating yourself and I will fill you up and bring you shelamos to yourself, to the world and to creation. our job is to build bein adom lnafeshi, to build ourselves as tzelem elokim to build shem havaya and to take the elements earth water wind and fire and realign our limited middos and our outer expressions and capacities back to the elemental level and bring them back to Hashem’s Name and go into various parts of creation in ourselves. such as wer have lethargy in ourselbes, ad we will get into that. The mind, the vitality, the ruach directional movement we go on our life, and aish the higher clarity and seichel, those air out. Hashem says go inside yourself, those levels of creation and find my shem havaya. that is bein adom lnafsho.
wow. You have to be kidding here. there is something called Sshabbos that is a seven day process. I gave you melacha. it is work, acts of creation, very elemental that I used to make creation itself and I am giving you the keys to that, to use during the week to create the nefesh yesodes, your elemental identity, your nefesh to eventually connect back to ruach all the way back. When you recreate yourself through your the activities, pursuits and challenges and difficulties during the week give us the reconfiduging your essential identity, realigning it elementally and structuraly and recreating shem havaya in you, yhashrus, proper inner alignment and the on shabbos we stop creating and we say I am giving my basic identity back to You, please fill up my spiritual identity, what I have toiled in during the week ,the 39 melachos and the 39 weeks of creation, the pregnancy. The 40th is ein olam haba, a taste of the future world where You revdeal from my neshama the higher part of the next world, the shelama base of what I create in this world. shabbos is the birthing of what we credated in vitro during the week through 39 elements of creation. that is bein adom lnafesh that is what we are toiling in during the week.
this gives the highest importance to yourself, the special purpose and mission you have in this world, how essential you are and how we are intimately connected to each other and how every week is truly important to the very fabric of creation. When we partner with Hashem, we want to be a mishkan, a place that You can dwell in us, we want to take our four levels of creation in us and we want to bring shem havaya in us and we are going to toil positively with the koach of pregnancy weekly and we will labor and birth ourselves when we mekable shabbos and go to the 40th realm where we experience the shelamos.
this is the secret to the overview of the four categories. The four categories are yud k vav k in reverse. The first category is the lower hai, seonc the vav, third upper hei and fourth higher yud. From lowest to highest, we are trying to reawaken Hashem’s ultimate expression through us, and that means our identity is a choice between remaining human and becoming divine. That is what shabbos is, that is what melachos is.
One of the names of the temple is called bais behira, on a simple level, the place Hashem chose. On a drosh level it says, what is beis hamikdosh, the house of choice the place we go in to see the essence of creation to see it shine within and it awakens our behira to choose to be a nefesh elokis and align our elements directly back to You and I want to take all the levels of creation and shine it back to you and into the wolrd as tzelem elokim for You and for creation. That is what the beis hamikdosh was. Since we don’t have that, we have Shabbos as a 7 day avoda, and the melacha are the very basis to labor in a gestational way, to labor. that is lechadodi, six paragraphs for six days of the week. then you go to shabbos, ten lechadodi’s , six days of the week, 10 elements of creatoin, we are returning our soul to You in labor and delivery and Shabbos is the birth of our tzelem elokim anew for the week.
40 is we have an obligation and responsibility, an opportunity and a higher striving to renew and recreate and rebirth ourselves at the most essential level of our identity through our strivings and yearnings weekly, and to trade it up. That is how much Hashem loves us, that is the koach of behira, that is the holiness of the weekday transitioning to the holiness of Shabbos. May we be zocheh to striving to live as tzeleme elokim and to renew our spiritual status to 39 and ask Hshem to complete us weekly and then through shelamos we traded up to reconvert to a higher level on a weekly basis.
We should be zocheh to living this and we have to help each other. This is an upgrade way of living Shabbos and as we go through the next two hashkafik discussions, the conditions that make a melacha, then we are going to go slowly, one melacha a week to begin to understand Hashem’s wonderful world of creation and our role of partnering in creation to return the world to its highest divine state and may we see and merit to have a hailic in the ultimate redempton. Thank you.