Wednesday, August 22, 2007

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Secrets of Shema

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

...and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. - from Shema Yisroel, the key prayer of Judaism, and Devarim 6:7.

One of the most amazing entries in HaYom Yom, the sefer From Day to Day, compiled from the writings of the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe by the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe, reads like this (entry for the 13th of Av)...

"Speak of them when you sit..."

Our sages [Yoma 19] explain that "speak of them" refers to words of Torah. However, in Torah-study itself there are many gradations, which we explain here:

"When you sit at home," - refers to the soul's occupation with Torah when it is in the trove of souls, before its descent to this lowly world.

"When you go on the way," - refers to the time during which the soul descends from world to world, from plane to plane, until it comes below to this lowest world to be invested in a physical body. There the soul "goes in the way" of this world until the time of old age, until...

"When you lie down," - when man's appointed time (to leave the physical world) arrives. Then, too, the Torah will protect him, as explained in Chapter Six of Avot, [Mishna 9] until...

"When you rise up," - as it is said, "When you awaken (it shall be your discourse)." [Mishlei 6:22, a reference to the time when the dead will return to to life].

and the referred to Pirke Avos, 6:9 -

At the time of a man's passing from this world, neither silver nor gold nor precious stones nor pearls accompany him, but only Torah and good deeds, as it is stated: "When you walk, it shall guide you, when you lie down, it shall watch over you, and when you awake, it shall speak for you. (Mishlei 6:22)"

"When you walk, it shall guide you" - in this world.
"When you lie down, it shall watch over you" - in the grave.
"And when you wake, it shall speak for you" - in the World to Come.

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