234. אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר, עִקְבֵי הַצֹּאן – אֵלּוּ תַּלְמִידֵי בֵּית רַב שֶׁאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאִים בָּעוֹלָם וּמוֹצְאִים תּוֹרָה בְּדֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה וְדֶרֶךְ פְּתוּחָה, וְעַל זֶה הֵם מְחַדְּשִׁים דְּבָרִים עַתִּיקִים בְּכָל יוֹם, וְשׁוֹרָה עֲלֵיהֶם הַשְּׁכִינָה וּמַקְשִׁיבָה לְדִבְרֵיהֶם, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלאכי ג) וַיַּקְשֵׁב ה’ וַיִּשְׁמָע. אָמַר רַבִּי אַבָּא, כָּךְ זֶה בְּוַדַּאי, וְהַכֹּל דָּבָר אֶחָד.
(Songs 1:8) “אִם לֹא תֵדְעִי לָךְ הַיָּפָה בַּנָּשִׁים צְאִי לָךְ בְּעִקְבֵי הַצֹּאן וּרְעִי אֶת גְּדִיֹּתַיִךְ עַל מִשְׁכְּנוֹת הָרֹעִים.” “If you do not know, O fairest among women, Follow in the footsteps of the flock, And feed your little goats Beside the shepherds’ tents.”
Isaiah 28:9 “אֶת מִי יוֹרֶה דֵעָה וְאֶת מִי יָבִין שְׁמוּעָה גְּמוּלֵי מֵחָלָב עַתִּיקֵי מִשָּׁדָיִם.” “Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts?”
The ‘little goats (kids)’ and those who ‘drawn from the breasts’ are the righteous people after they pass away. They find the ‘shepherds’ tents’, which is the Yeshiva of Metat- in heavens. It’s where the strong, the infants, and the shepherds who are the scholars, leaders in this world, study the laws of the Torah that the people need to know.
Rabbi Elazar explains that the ‘footsteps of the flock’ are the students from Torah schools that go out to the world and follow the righteous and open ways of the Torah. They reveal deep secrets and the Shechina listens to their studies.
Malachi 3:16 “אָז נִדְבְּרוּ יִרְאֵי יְהוָה אִישׁ אֶל רֵעֵהוּ וַיַּקְשֵׁב יְהוָה וַיִּשְׁמָע וַיִּכָּתֵב סֵפֶר זִכָּרוֹן לְפָנָיו לְיִרְאֵי יְהוָה וּלְחֹשְׁבֵי שְׁמוֹ.”
“Then those who feared YHVH spoke to one another, And YHVH listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear YHVH (with awe) And who meditate on His name.”
The voice of Torah studies ascends from Malchut to Zeir Anpin and creates a unification that draws the Shechina to support us.
Studying the Torah laws connects us to wisdom, Chokmah, and for that reason, the sages say that those who study the Torah laws everyday merit the world to come.
The full spelling of the word חכמה reveals the connection between Chokmah and the study of the Torah laws. The Daily Zohar study every Zohar paragraph in sequence so we won’t miss anything.
The 613 precepts are impossible for a person to fulfill in one or even a few lifetimes because they are related to the work of the priests in the Holy Temple, kings, Judges, men/women, farmers, etc. Even if we can’t fulfill a Mitzvah, we can study it and draw the light of wisdom that it conceals.
The Jerusalem Talmud (Peah 1:1) says
“These are the matters that a person eats from its fruits in This World, and the principle is maintained for The World to Come: the honoring of father and mother, acts of kindness, bringing peace between a person and his friend, and learning Torah is equivalent to them all.”
Moses, the ‘Faithful Shepherd’ appears many times in the Zohar to support the studies of Rabbi Shimon. In almost all of his appearances in the Zohar, he discusses different precepts because it connects us to higher levels.