1. "And Balak the son of Tzipor saw" (Bemidbar 22:2). Rabbi Shimon said, He "saw." What did he see? HE RESPONDS: It is definitely a real vision. He perceived through the gaze of Chochmah and he saw with his eyes, MEANING THE EYES OF CHOCHMAH. He noticed through the perception of wisdom, as it says that "Abimelech, king of the Philistines looked out at a window" (Beresheet 26:8). What is the meaning of: "out at a window?" It is as it is written: "The mother of Sisera looked out at the window" (Shoftim 5:28). It is assuredly the window of Chochmah at the rim of the edges of the stars. THAT IS THE WINDOW THAT IS MENTIONED WITH REFERENCE TO SISERA'S MOTHER AND ABIMELECH, and these are the windows TO Chochmah, MEANING THAT THERE EXIST MANY WINDOWS and there is one window where all wisdom are. Whoever looks at the essence of wisdom can look through it. Here too: "And Balak...saw" through his wisdom, MEANING HIS OWN PRIVATE WINDOW.
2. "The son of Tzipor" is as they said, THAT HE WAS A DESCENDANT OF JETHRO WHO WAS ALSO CALLED 'TZIPOR.' However, he was literally "the son of Tzipor (lit. 'bird')," MEANING THAT ALL HIS DEALINGS WERE WITH BIRDS, since his witchcraft dealt with different kinds of that bird. He took a bird, struck about with grass, and let it fly in the air. He performed acts and whispered incantations, and the bird would return with the grass in its mouth, chirping at him. He would then put her into a cage and burn incense before her, and she would inform him certain things. He would then perform witchcraft and that fowl, MEANING THE BIRD, chirped and flew swiftly to the one whose eyes were open, who gave her his message, and she would return. All his words came through that bird.
3. One day, he performed his acts and took the bird. She flew away and left, tarried and did not return TO HIM. Balak was saddened and, before her return, saw a flame of fire that flew AFTER THE BIRD and scorched her wings. He then saw what he saw and was afraid of Yisrael. What is the name of that bird? It is known (Heb. yadua). None of those who make use of and know how to make use of that bird know its witchcraft as well as Balak knew it.
4. All of the wisdom that he acquired came from that bird. This is what he used to do: he bowed down before THE BIRD, burned incense, covered his head, bent over and spoke. He would say, 'The nation,' and the bird would reply to him, 'Yisrael.' He would say, 'Much,' and the bird would respond, 'Many (Heb. rav)' in commemoration of the great one (Heb. rav) that traveled among them. They whispered to each other seventy times, BALAK AND THE BIRD. He would say, 'Poor,' and the bird would say, 'Great (Heb. rav).' He then was afraid, as it is written: "And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many (Heb. rav)" (Bemidbar 22:3), assuredly rav.
5. In the variety of witchcraft of ancient Kasdiel, we first found that this bird was produced at specific times from silver mixed with gold. SILVER IS THE SECRET OF THE RIGHT COLUMN, CHASSADIM, AND GOLD IS THE LEFT COLUMN, CHOCHMAH, AND THEY USED IT TO PRODUCE AND PUT TOGETHER THAT BIRD TO BE LIKENED TO HOLINESS, AS A MONKEY TO PEOPLE. JUST LIKE IN HOLINESS CHOCHMAH OF THE LEFT IS BLENDED WITH CHASSADIM OF THE RIGHT, THEY WANTED TO DRAW IT THAT WAY. HOWEVER, SINCE THEY DID NOT HAVE THE POWER OF UNIFICATION OF THE CENTRAL COLUMN, EVERYTHING RESULTS IN THE ASPECT OF REFUSE. The head, THE FIRST THREE SFIROT OF THE BIRD, is made of gold, MEANING THE REFUSE OF GOLD. Her mouth is made of silver, MEANING FROM SILVER REFUSE, and her wings, CHESED AND GVURAH, from light copper, THAT IS LEFT, blended with silver, THAT IS RIGHT, SINCE EACH ONE IS COMPRISED OF RIGHT AND LEFT. The body is of gold with round points of silver in her feathers. Her legs, NETZACH, HOD AND YESOD, are from gold and they place in her mouth the tongue of that bird Yadua, SINCE THE TONGUE IS DA'AT. AND SINCE THE KLIPOT HAVE NO DA'AT, THEY HAVE INSTEAD KNOWN (HEB. YADUA).
6. They place that bird in that one window, OF THE ONES MENTIONED ABOVE, AND DURING THE DAY they open the window in the direction of the sun THAT RULES BY DAY. At night, they open the window in the direction of the moon, WHICH RULES BY NIGHT, and they burn incense and perform witchcraft. DURING THE DAY, they conjure the sun TO BESTOW ITS ABUNDANCE and at night they conjure the moon. And so they perform for seven days. From then on, that tongue is already rattling in the mouth of the bird, BUT IS STILL UNABLE TO SPEAK. THEN they puncture her tongue with a golden needle and she speaks great things on her own. Everything that Balak knew came from that bird. Therefore, HE WAS CALLED 'the son of bird' and he saw what other people were unable to know and could not see.
133. "So he sent messengers to Bilaam the son of Beor" (Bemidbar 5-6). There are 28 words here, corresponding to the 28 levels of witches and magic sorcerers using a bird. We need to wonder why whoever wished to speak to Bilaam and join with him sent clear instructions immediately before approaching him, by saying, "Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt... Come now therefore, I pray you, curse me" (Ibid. 6). He should first have joined with him, ingratiated himself, bribed him and then informed him of what he wished to do.
135. Balak performed sorcery and witchcraft and constructed a bird. He was aware that Moses' levels were lofty and precious; he crafted with his witchery, and performed magical sorcery, and was aware that Bilaam's levels were corresponding TO THE LEVELS OF MOSES. Immediately, "he sent messengers to Bilaam the son of Beor."
159. Another explanation of: "For You have done wonderful things (Heb. pele):" NAMELY, You have made Aleph, SINCE PELE IS SPELLED WITH THE SAME LETTERS OF ALEPH. What is the meaning of Aleph? We learned that Aleph Bet MEANS Aleph Binah, (lit. 'teach to understand'). Yet the form of the Aleph is three side, RIGHT, LEFT AND CENTER, that is the start of the higher secret of the primordial man. THAT IS THE THREE COLUMNS IN BINAH, THE SOURCE OF THE IMAGE OF MAN, WHO IS MOCHIN OF ZEIR ANPIN. For in the form of the Aleph there are two arms, one from each side, THAT ARE THE TWO COLUMNS OF CHESED AND GVURAH THAT ARE THE UPPER YUD AND HER LOWER YUD, and the body in the centre; THAT IS THE VAV BETWEEN THE TWO YUD'S. All has one secret meaning, THAT IT IS IN ONE MEANING WITH THE EXPLANATION THAT PELE IS CHOCHMAH BEING CLOTHED IN CHASSADIM, SINCE THIS CLOTHING DOES NOT HAPPEN EXCEPT THROUGH THE THREE COLUMNS. That is the secret of unification of this Aleph and that is also why Aleph HAS A NUMERICAL VALUE OF one. That is the meaning of: "For You have done wonderful things (Heb. pele)," WHICH IS THE SECRET OF ALEPH. And Rav Hamnuna Saba (the elder) said this, "For You have done wonderful things." This wonder is one level from these hidden wonders of Chochmah. Which one is it? "There is a path which no bird of prey knows" (Iyov 28:7), WHICH IS THE FIFTIETH GATE. And that is a wonderful thing.
212. "And Balak...saw" (Bemidbar 22:1): Rabbi Elazar said, Certainly what Rabbi Chiya said ABOUT THIS VERSE: "BALAK THE SON OF TZIPOR (LIT. 'BIRD')" is a concealed matter. However, it is written: "Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself" (Tehilim 84:4). HE ASKS: Did King David then say this about a mere PHYSICAL bird?
215. There are designated days during the year, which are the days of Nissan and Tishrei, when these spirits wander and visit the place they should. Even though there are lots of occasions when they wander, these days are marked and are visible on the outer walls of the Garden, each one individually in a depiction of chirping birds, regularly each morning.
216. That chirping is praise to the Holy One, blessed be He, and a prayer about the lives of the human beings in this world, because in these days, Yisrael are involved in the precepts and commandments of the Master of the Universe. Then, these birds appear chirping happily and they chirp and whisper praises and gratitudes and pray for the living of this world on the walls at the Garden of Eden.
218. Rabbi Shimon said, Elazar, you certainly spoke well and that is lovely. However, all this is in the lower Garden of Eden, and it is as you said, and most definitely so: "Even the sparrow has found a home" refers to the holy spirits that deserved afterwards to enter and leave, following their wanderings WITHOUT ANY PLACE TO SETTLE. They are depicted as birds and these spirits have now found a dwelling place. Each individual surely has a specified residence within.
219. In spite of all this, ALL THESE SPIRITS get burned from the canopies of their neighbors, from these that have freedom and liberty of all. And the Holy One, blessed be He, shows them one hidden chamber that is stored away, which "neither has the eye seen, that Elohim, beside You." That chamber is called 'bird's nest' and from there come crowns that are adorned for Messiah in the future to come, because on designated days, three times a year, the Holy One, blessed be He, wishes to delight in these righteous and show them that chamber that is hidden and stored away. It is not recognized by all the righteous that are there.
221. Rabbi Elazar spoke again saying, "Even the sparrow has found a home" refers to Jethro. "And the swallow (Heb. dror) a nest for herself:" That is his sons, who were in Cell of Gazith studying Torah, and decree Torah laws with their lips. "Find a home:" What is the meaning of that? HE RESPONDS: It is because they journeyed and camped in the desert at first, then traveled from the pleasures of Midian and from their sweet life there and camped in the desert. When the Holy One, blessed be He, noticed their desire for Torah, He drew them from there and gave them a place in the Cell of Gazith. "And the swallow a nest for herself" is all one and the same, because a sparrow and swallow are both one and the same bird. AND NEST (HEB. KEN) IS LIKE: "Heber the Kenite" (Shoftim 4:17), and: "And Saul said to the Kenites" (I Shmuel 15:6).
296. While still traveling, these Arabs returned to them. They said to him, Old man, you asked us if A VOICE WAS STIRRED IN THE FIELD from days gone by. But you have not asked us about this day. We noticed, TODAY, a wonderful marvel. We saw five people sitting together and an old man was with them. We saw birds gathering and extending their wings over their heads, some going and some returning, so the shadow did not pass away from over their heads. This old man raised his voice to them, and they listened.
307. In the meanwhile, they saw Rabbi Pinchas arriving. They went to him. Rabbi Pinchas approached and kissed Rabbi Shimon. He declared, I have kissed the mouth of Hashem and I was perfumed with the fragrances of His garden. They rejoiced together and sat down. As soon as they sat down, all those birds that created the shadow flew away and scattered. Rabbi Shimon turned back his head, raised his voice to them and said, birds of the sky, you are not careful about to the honor of your Master who stays here. The birds stopped in their flight and traveled no further from their location, but did not get closer to him. Rabbi Pinchas declared, Tell them that they may continue on their way, because they are not given permission to return.
308. Rabbi Shimon said, I know that the Holy One, blessed be He, wishes to do a miracle for us, TO GIVE US SHADE FROM ANOTHER PLACE. Birds' of firds, go on your way and say to the one who is appointed over you that at first you were under his authority, AND IT WAS UP TO HIM TO SEND YOU TO GIVE ME SHADE. You are no longer under his authority, BECAUSE RABBI PINCHAS BEN YAIR RULES NOW AND HE HAS NO DESIRE FOR YOU. However, I will bring you on the day that is as harsh as a rock when a cloud will rise between the mighty teeth OF THE HOT RAYS OF THE SUN and they won't BE ABLE TO join AND CREATE A SHADE. The birds dispersed and left.
309. Meanwhile, behold three trees spreading out their branches to the three directions over their head, WHICH COVERED THEM WITH SHADE. A spring of water flowed before them. All the friends rejoiced and Rabbi Pinchas and Rabbi Shimon were glad. Rabbi Pinchas said, Those birds before had to work hard TO CREATE A SHADE, and the toil of living animals I do not desire, because it says, "And His mercies are over all His works" (Tehilim 145:9). Rabbi Shimon replied, I have not bothered them. However, if the Holy One, blessed be He, had mercy on us AND DISPATCHED THESE BIRDS TO CREATE A SHADE OVER US, we have no right to refuse His gifts. They reposed underneath the shade of that tree, drank from the water and took pleasure there.
352. Because it is a time of favor, the Holy One, blessed be He, looks to find merit for that person. If he is at prayer or he is repenting, He has compassion on him. At that time, the voice of nesting birds is heard, as it is written: "Where the birds make their nests" (Tehilim 104:17), because these birds thank and praise the Holy One, blessed be He. The morning gazelle woke up in the world said, "O how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You..." (Tehilim 31:20). Then the appointee OVER HEALING goes forth and does all that he is instructed to do.
361. The child opened with, Master of the Universe, it says in the Torah: "If a bird's nest chance to be before you...but you shall surely let the mother go..." (Devarim 22:6). The child was crying and weeping. He said, Master of the Universe, abide by that matter that is in the Torah. We were two children to my father and mother, myself and my younger sister. You should have taken us, and acted in accordance with the words of the Torah, AS IT SAYS, "BUT YOU SHALL SURELY LET THE MOTHER GO, AND TAKE THE YOUNG TO YOU" (IBID. 7). If you should say, Master of the Universe, it says "mother" and not "father," this is the same, my father and mother, as mother died and You have taken her away from the children, and now, my father also, who was our protection, You took away from the children. Where is the just sentence in the Torah? Rabbi Elazar and his friends cried before the grief and tears of the child.