Come and see! When the Shabbat day is sanctified in the evening [Friday eve] , a tabernacle of peace [the Shechinah, united with yesod] descends and spreads over the world. What is this tabernacle of peace? It is the [the Shechinah, called] Shabbat. On Shabbat, all the evil spirits, stormy spirits, demons, and the defiled hide inside the hole of the millstone of the great abyss [bina of the kelipot], for when the holiness [of Shabbat] spreads over the world, the spirit of defilement cannot be aroused; it runs from the other and the world is under supernal protection. There is no need to pray for protection, as when one says [the nightly Shema before going to sleep, which normally includes the blessing:] , "who protects his people, Israel, forever, Amen." This blessing was designed for weekdays when the world needs protection [from external forces] but on Shabbat a tabernacle of peace is spread over the world and protects it from all directions. Even the sinners of Purgatory are protected [and rest on Shabbat] and all remain in peace, both the upper and lower [worlds]. Therefore, upon sanctifying the day, we say, "He who spreads the tabernacle of peace over us and over all His people Israel and over Jerusalem" [instead of the usual weekday blessing].

Why [do we say:] "over Jerusalem"? Because it is the abode of this tabernacle [the Shechinah]. One should summon the tabernacle so that it will be spread upon us, dwell with us, and be to us like a mother protecting her children. One, therefore, fears nothing from any side. Therefore, one says, "who spreads the tabernacle of peace over us."

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this and what are they teaching us here?

Shabbat is completely comprehensive, a total envelopment in Holiness, if you listen to Her voice. The Divine Presence surrounds us with Her wings of peace. We are covered, and all negativity is brushed away for a short time.

How can we relish this sweetness? How can we surrender the bindings of the weekday, and bring on the totality of the experience? When we say the verse above, we acquire the highest soul of the Shabbat night, the level of the neshama of the Female face of Shabbat. With that intention, circle yourself with Her love, the love of a mother for her cherished children.

What does the passage mean to YOU?! Why are you reading it NOW?!


Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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