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Thoughts for Shabbat: The Parable of Bread & Interpretation


from the Zohar:

There was a man who lived in the mountains. He knew nothing about those who lived in the city. He sowed wheat and ate the kernels raw.

      One day he entered the city. They brought him good bread. He said, “What is this for?” They said, “Bread, to eat!” He ate, and it tasted very good. He said, “What is it made of?” They said, “Wheat.”

      Later they brought him cakes kneaded in oil. He tasted them and said, “What are these made of?” They said, “Wheat.”

      Finally they brought him royal pastry made with honey and oil. He said, “And what are these made of?” They said, “Wheat.” He said, “I am the master of all of these, for I eat the essence of all of these: wheat!”

      Because of that view, he knew nothing of the delights of the world; they were lost to him. So it is with one who grasps the principle and does not know all those delectable delights deriving, diverging, from that principle.

– Zohar 2:176a-b, in The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism, translated & edited by Daniel C. Matt, 134