The ninth commandment is to be merciful to the poor and give them food. As it is written: "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness". (Gen. 1:26) "Let us make man" is used in the plural, cooperatively, including Male [Zeir Anpin] and Female [Nukva] . "In Our image" refers to the rich [for Zeir Anpin is rich in bounty]; "after Our likeness" refers to the poor [like malchut, for She is the aspect of poor and needy]. From the aspect of the Male, come the rich; from the aspect of the Female [Nukva/malchut], come the poor. But as they are united as one [as Zeir Anpin and Nukva are partnered together] and show compassion to each other [as Zeir Anpin is compassionate to malchut] , share with each other [from the side of gevura which is rich (relating to the Shulchan, on the north side of the Holy Temple)], and give to each other [from the side of chesed, from where great abundance lies], so should man below behave. The rich and the poor should be united together as one, and should share with each other and give to each other [the rich give the poor money and the poor benefits the rich in other acts of kindness]

We have seen this secret in the Book of King Solomon, where it says that if a person has pity on the poor from all his heart [for the sake of Heaven, and not for the sake of his own pride], his image shall not be changed and shall remain forever as that of Adam [he will have the "image" of G‑d, and this will not be removed from him]. As a result of having the image of Adam, he shall rule over all creatures on earth by that image. As it is written, "And the fear and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the land". (Gen. 9:2) All have fear of that image and dread it.

This commandment [of charity] is above all the others [because by this precept a person is able to elevate himself and achieve the "image of man."] How do we know this? From Nebuchadnezzar! Because even though he dreamt that dream [that he will be troubled by people for seven years] as long as he had mercy upon the poor, the dream did not come true. But when he treated the poor selfishly , as the verse says: "While the word was in the King's mouth [to speak pridefully]" (Daniel 4:28) his image immediately changed [to that of a beast, and he was troubled by people, as is written: "At that time, the matter was fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar, and he was banished from man, he ate grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of the heavens, until his hair grew like [the feathers of] eagles and his nails like [the claws of] birds." (Daniel 4:30)]. This is why it is says "Let us make/do man". (Gen. 1:26) Here the term "to make" is used [instead of "create", "to do" hints at charity]. So in the verse it is written, "The man's name where I did today [charity] is Boaz". (Ruth 2:19) [The poor give to the rich more than the rich give to the poor; Boaz's giving charity to Ruth granted him the image of G‑d.]

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section? What do they want us to learn?

We move from Torah to acts of kindness and charity. We have learned that "charity saves from death." But did we also know how it effects us here below during our 24/7? Along with the Torah learning stressed in the previous days, we are told that such is not enough!

That is the image of G‑d, the image of the First Man, the image we can aspire to attain.

What does the above selection mean to YOU?! Why are you reading this NOW?!


Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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