“וַיִּשְׁלַח מַלְאָכִים אֶל בִּלְעָם בֶּן בְּעוֹר פְּתוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר עַל הַנָּהָר אֶרֶץ בְּנֵי עַמּוֹ לִקְרֹא לוֹ לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה עַם יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם הִנֵּה כִסָּה אֶת עֵין הָאָרֶץ וְהוּא יֹשֵׁב מִמֻּלִי.”
“So he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, at Pethor, which is near the River, in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people came out of Egypt; behold, they cover the surface of the land, and they are living opposite me.”
‘Pethor’ was the name of the place of Balaam as it says in Deuteronomy 23:5
“עַל דְּבַר אֲשֶׁר לֹא קִדְּמוּ אֶתְכֶם בַּלֶּחֶם וּבַמַּיִם בַּדֶּרֶךְ בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם וַאֲשֶׁר שָׂכַר עָלֶיךָ אֶת בִּלְעָם בֶּן בְּעוֹר מִפְּתוֹר אֲרַם נַהֲרַיִם לְקַלְלֶךָּ.”
“because they did not meet you with food and water on the way when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.”
In Mesopotamia, the food table was called ‘Pethora’ (Aramaic). Balaam and others were setting a table with food and drinks to make witchcraft and burn incense every day. Impure spirits would come and tell them all that they want to know. Magicians and wizards of the world were doing their impure spiritual connections in that place and for that reason, it was called ‘Pethora’.
“וְעָשִׂיתָ שֻׁלְחָן עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים אַמָּתַיִם אָרְכּוֹ וְאַמָּה רָחְבּוֹ וְאַמָּה וָחֵצִי קֹמָתוֹ.”
“”You shall make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long and one cubit wide and one and a half cubits high.”
“וְנָתַתָּ עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן לֶחֶם פָּנִים לְפָנַי תָּמִיד.”
“”You shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before Me at all times.”
God gave instructions to set in the Holy Temple a table with bread to be on a dedicated table at all times. It was done to draw a holy spirit from above to below to protect us from the ‘table’ of the impure side.
Balaam was setting a table with bread that was called ‘defiled bread’ because of the impure reasons attached to it. The prophet Malachi scold the people for their disrespect toward the Altar when they bring offerings with impure (polluted) consciousness.
“מַגִּישִׁים עַל-מִזְבְּחִי לֶחֶם מְגֹאָל”
“”You are presenting defiled (also ‘polluted’) bread upon My altar.’”
Because the other-side copy from the holy side like a monkey copy humans, we are told to stay on the pure side without actions so we won’t lose the special light that comes from the blessed food.
Every Shabbat 12 new Challot were set on the table in the Holy Temple. This bread was blessed and eaten by the priests. A miracle kept the bread fresh as if t was just came out of the oven during the entire week. One bite of it would make a person full and satisfied.
‘Bread’ ‘לחם’ has a numerical value of 78 that is equal to six times ‘Love’ ‘אהבה’ equal 13, also three times YHVH (26). It connects us to Yessod that is the ‘gate’ of sustenance. The first blessing on the bread before the meal has 10 words to connect us to the entire Tree of Life.
After ‘Mayim Acharonim’,’Final waters’ and before the blessings of the meal, ‘Birkat Hamazon’ we connect to the bread in the Holy Temple by saying the words from Ezekiel 41:22
“ וַיְדַבֵּר אֵלַי זֶה הַשֻּׁלְחָן אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵי יְהוָה….”
“…This is the table that is before YHVH.”
Because the bread in the Holy Temple was kept continuously during the week, it’s good to keep a piece of bread from the first meal of Shabbat on the table during the whole Shabbat.
Salt ‘מלח’ has the same letters and the numerical value of bread and it’s important to always keep salt on the dinner table.
Read more here: https://dailyzohar.com/daily-zohar-1284/