The Shaloh HaKadosh in Torah Shebikhtav, Sefer Vayikra, Torah Ohr, Shmini on this week's parasha (Vayakhel-Pekudei) mentions Sefer Ginat Egoz (probably written by Rabbi Yosef Gikatilla, since it is plausible that Shaloh heard of him, because this Rabbi is before the Shaloh) and explains that:

The lessons derived from the prohibition to light a fire on the Sabbath are the same as the lessons learned from Temple-service performed on the Sabbath involving the use of fire

  1. Where can this explanation in Sefer Ginat Egoz be found, and what lessons does the author of this sefer gives on the connection between the prohibition to light a fire on Shabbos, and the Temple-service on Shabbos, in which fire is used?

1 Answer 1


You can find it here or here. It's a long piece, but briefly, he explains that fire is the loftiest element from which all of creation is derived, which is why the melacha of fire is singled out as the most fundamental of melachos, because it encapsulates all the others and is the ultimate testament to Hashem's supremacy over the world. On the other hand, the service in the Temple is the very purpose of creation and inherently demonstrates our submission to Hashem, so the symbolism of the melacha is redundant.

ולפי זה הענין יש לי לעוררך על עיקר גדול ופינה חזקה ביסוד השבת... הרי העדות ברור בהיות איסור האש בשבת עדות על חדוש העולם, כי בדבר שהתחיל בחדוש העולם ובששת ימי המעשה ובאותו ראשון להתחלה שצונו ית' לשבות, וכשנשבות בראשון לכל ההתחלות הרי כל שאר המלאכות נכללו' בשביתתו... ואמנם בהיות טלטול האש מותר במקדש בשבת ונאסר לחולין... כי על כל פנים העבודה היא העדות עליו יתברך שהוא האדון ואנחנו עבדיו ומשרתיו עובדים לפניו כעבד לפני קונו... ואחר שכן הוא הרי העבודה גדולה מן העדות כי כוונת העדות כדי להגיע לעבודתו יתב' ואחר שהעבודה תמידי לפניו בבית המקדש גדולה היא מן העדות שלנו

  • Thank you very much! Does the author explain what it means that "fire is the loftiest element from which all of creation is derived" - does the author cite any sources to back up this claim, since I am completely new to this...
    – Shmuel
    Mar 14, 2023 at 17:24
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    @Shmuel As one of the 4 Yesodot mentioned in halacha (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Yesodot HaTorah 3:10) and kabbalistic literature, fire, air, water and dust (of the earth)/ash, the qualities of fire are heat, dryness and the tendency to ascend from below to above. That last quality is what is meant by being the "loftiest" element. Fire by its nature rises above everything else. Mar 14, 2023 at 20:07
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    @Shmuel He explains that at length as well, equating Fire with Light and Intellect, discussing how it's used in creation (שמים מאיזה מקום נבראו מאור לבושו), and how Hashem is referred to as fire (ה' אלקיך אש אוכלה הוא) because He provides energy while remaining intangible and untouchable.
    – shmosel
    Mar 14, 2023 at 20:52
  • @YaacovDeane Ty for bringing that Rambam, that makes sense. However, I have never heard that fire is connected to "good things" in Torah, does it? Torah is compared to water (rain) but not to fire, right?
    – Shmuel
    Mar 14, 2023 at 21:12
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    There are many associations between Torah and fire: הלא כה דברי כאש נאום ה', מימינו אש דת למו, קול אלקים חיים מדבר מתוך האש
    – shmosel
    Mar 14, 2023 at 21:32

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