26. HE QUESTIONS: What is apparent here, MEANING WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN A FOREIGN FIRE TO A FOREIGN WOMAN? HE ANSWERS: At the beginning, they brought near TO THE HOLINESS something that was far removed FROM HOLINESS AND DEFILED THE HOLINESS, as it is written, "When they offered a foreign fire." Here too, Zimri COMMITTED THE VERY SAME SIN in that he brought near THAT which was far FROM HOLINESS (NAMELY, THE FOREIGN WOMAN TO THE HOLINESS) BECAUSE he brought near the name of the King, THE SIGN OF THE HOLY COVENANT, to the distant one - NAMELY, THE FOREIGN WOMAN. Immediately, "When Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation" (Bemidbar 25:7). At this point, he corrected the earlier crookedness. Then the Yud was added to his name to enjoin the letters together, THE SECRET OF YESOD THAT CONNECTS ZEIR ANPIN WITH MALCHUT. Thus, he was promised peace, WHICH IS YESOD REFERRED TO AS PEACE, as it is written, "Wherefore say, Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace" (Ibid. 12), My very covenant, NAMELY YESOD.
29. We also learn from here that every person who has afflictions visited upon him from his Master, they serve as atonement for sins. All who have distress for affliction brought upon the just will have their sins pass away from this world. For this reason, on this day, YOM KIPPUR, we read about, "After the death of the two sons of Aaron" so that the congregation listens and feels distress for the pious who were lost and thus the congregation have their sins forgiven. Of him, who feels sorrow for the righteous who perished, or sheds tears for them, the Holy One, blessed be He, announces, "And your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is purged" (Yeshayah 6:7). Furthermore, he is reassured that his children will not die during his lifetime and it is written about him, "He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days" (Yeshayah 53:10).
43. Rabbi Elazar was sitting before his father. He said to him that it is written about the congregation of Korah, "And they perished from among the congregation" (Bemidbar 16:33). What is meant by "and they perished?" It is similar to that which is written, "The same person will I destroy from among his people" (Vayikra 23:30). Rabbi Shimon said that the sons of Aaron are different THAN THE CONGREGATION OF KORAH, because 'perish' is not written about them, as it does about the congregation of Korah, where it is written, "And they perished from among the congregation." It is also written, "Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish" (Bemidbar 17:27), which included the 250 people who offered the incense. THEY surely perished; however, THE SONS OF AARON did not perish.
49. Another explanation for "the virgins (Heb. alamot) love you:" It is fine to read this verse as: 'over death (Heb. al mavet) they love you,' for with this, NAMELY OIL WHICH DENOTES CHASSADIM, the harsh prosecutors embalm themselves, AS 'ALAMOT' IS SPELLED WITH THE SAME LETTERS AS 'AL MAVET.' For incense, SIGNIFYING THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH, joins with the higher level ointment, WHICH IS CHASSADIM, and is held in high esteem before the Holy One, blessed be He, more than all sacrifices and burnt offerings. The Congregation of Yisrael said: I am like the incense, DENOTING MALCHUT, AS MALCHUT IS THE SECRET MEANING OF LOWER CHOCHMAH, and You, DENOTING ZEIR ANPIN, are like ointment, DENOTING CHASSADIM. THEREFORE, "Draw me, we will run after you" (Shir Hashirim 1:4). "We will run" IS A PLURAL EXPRESSION, as in, "therefore do the virgins love you," THAT IS, I and all my troops, who all hold onto me. Hence, "draw me," as they are all dependent on me.
92. Rabbi Yosi said, "My dove, who is in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff" (Shir Hashirim 2:14). "My dove" refers to the Congregation of Yisrael, DENOTING MALCHUT. Just as a dove never forsakes her mate, so the Congregation of Yisrael never forsakes the Holy One, blessed be He. "In the clefts of the rock:" These are the Torah scholars that find no peace in this world, AND ARE HIDING, SO TO SPEAK, IN THE CRACKS OF THE ROCK FROM THEIR ENEMIES. "In the secret places of the cliff:" These are the modest scholars WHO CONCEAL THEIR LEVEL FROM PEOPLE. Among them are the pious who fear the Holy One, blessed be He, from whom the Shechinah never departs. Then, the Holy One, blessed be He, demands from the Congregation of Yisrael on behalf of the pious and says, "Let me see your countenance, let me hear your voice; for sweet is your voice" (Ibid.), for no voice is heard above except the voice of those who toil in the Torah.
99. We have learned that before coming to the world, all the true pious people were prepared above and were given names. From the day that the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world, even Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was prepared and came before the Holy One, blessed be He. The Holy One, blessed be He, called him by his name. How fortunate is his lot above and below. About him, is addressed the verse, "Let your father and your mother be glad" (Mishlei 23:25). "Your father" is the Holy One, blessed be He, and "your Mother" is the Congregation of Yisrael.
130. We have learned that "And he shall take from the congregation, of the children of Yisrael two kids of the goats for a sin offering" (Vayikra 16:5). THE VERSE SAYS, "from the congregation." THIS IS TO TEACH that they should buy it with everyone's MONEY, and atonement will thus come to all, as all sins of Yisrael are impending here and all will attain atonement from this act. THEREFORE, it is not enough TO TAKE MONEY from one person. From where is it taken? The money is taken from the public fund boxes in the sanctuary, and they bring THE GOATS with this money, which is the contributed property of everyone.
163. The third grade is righteousness, DENOTING MALCHUT, which is the last Sfirah. This becomes the court of the King, OF ZEIR ANPIN. We have learned THAT THE NAME Adonai is thus spelled and thus pronounced. The Congregation of Yisrael, REFERRING TO MALCHUT, is called by this name. HOWEVER, THE NAME OF ZEIR ANPIN IS WRITTEN YUD HEI VAV HEI AND IS PRONOUNCED ADONAI. This name is completed in this place, MALCHUT. These are three levels called with names of Judgment, AS THE LEVEL OF BINAH IS CALLED YUD HEI VAV HEI WITH THE VOWELIZATION OF ELOHIM. THE LEVEL OF GVURAH IS PRONOUNCED ALSO WITH THE LETTERING OF ELOHIM AND THE LEVEL OF MALCHUT IS PRONOUNCED ADONAI. THESE ARE THE THREE NAMES OF JUDGMENT, AS WE DISCUSS HERE THE LEFT COLUMN, WHICH IS JUDGMENT, WHOSE SOURCE IS BINAH. THEREFORE, IT IS ONLY HINTED AT WITH THE VOWELIZATION OF ELOHIM, AND FROM THERE, IT IS DRAWN TO THE LEFT COLUMN OF ZEIR ANPIN. THERE IT IS ACTUAL YET INCLUDED IN THE RIGHT; HENCE, THE SECRET OF ELOHIM IS ALSO IN ITS LETTERING. FROM HERE IT MOVES TO MALCHUT, WHICH IS ENTIRELY BUILT FROM THE LEFT COLUMN AND IS THEREFORE PRONOUNCED ADONAI (ALEPH DALET NUN YUD), WHICH CONTAINS THE LETTERS OF JUDGMENT (DIN, DALET YUD NUN) EXPLICITLY. All join one with the other without separation as we have established.
174. We have learned that Rabbi Yehuda said, "El Elohim, Hashem, has spoken, and called the earth" (Tehilim 50:1). "EL, ELOHIM AND YUD HEI VAV HEI" REFER TO CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET, WHICH ARE perfection of all, the perfection of the holy Patriarchs - NAMELY CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET. "Has spoken and called the earth:" SPOKEN MEANS POURING AND EARTH REFERS TO MALCHUT in order to be in the Congregation of Yisrael in perfection and in joy. From what place is He with her? He repeated, "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, Elohim has shown forth" (Ibid. 2), MEANING FROM YESOD OF MALCHUT KNOWN AS ZION.
204. Another explanation for, "With my soul have I desired You in the night..." The Congregation of Yisrael said before the Holy One, blessed be He, "With my soul have I desired You in the night," MEANING so long as I find myself in exile among other nations and withhold my soul from all evil that is connected with the nations. "With my soul have I desired You" in order to return to my place. "With my spirit within me I seek You," meaning even though they subject my children to every kind of oppression, the Holy Spirit does not depart from them in order that they should seek You and perform Your commandments.
205. Rabbi Yitzchak said: Yisrael said before the Holy One, blessed be He, so long as my soul is within me "have I desired You in the night." Wherefore "in the night?" It is because the Nefesh at that time needs to covet You. "With my spirit within me I seek You," MEANING when the Holy Spirit stirs within me, I seek You with excitement in order to do Your will. "For when Your sentences are on the earth," MEANS at the time when justice, MEANING ZEIR ANPIN, comes down to earth, MEANING to bring fragrance to the world, TO MALCHUT. Then "the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness" (Ibid.), which means that they are capable of tolerating the Judgments of righteousness and mankind should not perish as a result of it. When will "the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness?" "When Your sentences are on the earth." Rabbi Chizkiyah said, "With my soul (Nefesh) have I desired You in the night" refers to the Congregation of Yisrael, NAMELY MALCHUT, while "with my spirit (Ruach) within me I seek You" refers to the Holy One, blessed be He. MALCHUT IS THE SECRET OF NEFESH AND THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, IS THE SECRET OF RUACH.
208. We have learned that "as the hart (Heb. ayal) pants after the water brooks" refers to the Congregation of Yisrael, NAMELY MALCHUT, as the verse says, "O my strength (Heb. eyal), haste You to help me" (Tehilim 22:20). "MY STRENGTH" REFERS TO MALCHUT. "Pants after the water brooks," MEANING to be watered by the water of the spring, REFERRING TO BINAH, through the aid of the Righteous, NAMELY YESOD. "Pants (Heb. ta'arog)" as the verse says, "To the beds (Heb. arugot) of spices" (Shir Hashirim 6:2). "So my soul pants for You, Elohim," MEANING to be watered from You in this world and the World to Come.
317. "The nakedness of your father, or the nakedness of your mother, shall you not uncover" (Vayikra 18:7). Rabbi Chiyah opened the discussion saying, "Like the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons..." (Shir Hashirim 2:3). This verse has been expounded by the friends. Yet, how beloved is the Congregation of Yisrael before the Holy One, blessed be He, that she lauds Him in this VERSE. We should look into this. Why does she laud Him through the apple and not with something else or with something THAT HAS color, or fragrance or taste.
319. And the Holy One, blessed be He, praises the Congregation of Yisrael like a rose, and we have already explained why HE PRAISED HER as a rose. Rabbi Yehuda said: When righteous men increase in the world, the Congregation of Yisrael, DENOTING MALCHUT, raises good fragrance BEING THE SECRET OF THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH THAT SHINES FROM BELOW UPWARD AS FRAGRANCE, and is blessed WITH CHASSADIM from the Holy King, and her face shines. But when the wicked increase in the world, it is as if the Congregation of Yisrael does not raise up the good fragrance, and tastes from the bitter FEEDING of the Other Side. Then it is written, "And cast down from heaven (to) earth..." (Eichah 2:1), MEANING THE COUPLING OF ZEIR ANPIN CALLED HEAVEN AND MALCHUT CALLED EARTH HAS BEEN DISBANDED, and her face is dark.
322. It is so with the Holy One, blessed be He, and the Congregation of Yisrael. As long as Yisrael obey the will of the Holy One, blessed be He, He installs His residence with the Congregation of Yisrael. When Yisrael disobey His will, the Holy One, blessed be He, no longer places His residence with the Congregation of Yisrael. Why? It is because Yisrael are firstborn of the Holy One, blessed be He, as it is written, "Yisrael is My son, My firstborn" (Shemot 4:22). The Congregation of Yisrael is the mother of Yisrael, as it is written, "And do not forsake the Torah of your mother" (Mishlei 1:8).
324. The secret of the matter, it is written, "The words of King Lemuel, the prophecy, that his mother taught him" (Mishlei 31:1). His mother is Batsheba, NAMELY, THE SECRET OF MALCHUT CALLED BATSHEBA (LIT. 'DAUGHTER OF SEVEN'). We have learned that it is written, "The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father: but a foolish son is the grief of his mother" (Mishlei 10:1). Assuredly he is the grief of his mother. See what is written, "A wise son makes a glad father," MEANING so long as the son walks in a straight path, and he is wise, he "makes a glad father." This refers to the Holy King above, MEANING ZEIR ANPIN, as it is written, "Makes a glad father" without specifying, WHICH POINTS TO THE FATHER ABOVE. AND IF this son is on a stumbling manner, it is written, "But a foolish son is the grief of his mother." For sure it is the grief of his mother, referring to the Congregation of Yisrael, DENOTING MALCHUT. The secret of the matter is the words, "And for your transgressions was your mother put away" (Yeshayah 50:1), WHO IS MALCHUT.
406. Rabbi Shimon said: The Holy One, blessed be He, said, 'Bring atonement before Me on the New Moon,' BECAUSE I HAVE REDUCED THE MOON, MALCHUT. "Before Me" surely MEANS ON MY BEHALF, in order to remove the serpent FROM NURSING FROM MALCHUT, and to perfume the one who needs to, NAMELY MALCHUT. "Before (lit. 'upon') Me" TO BE EXPLAINED, as "Serafim stood above him" (Yeshayah 6:2), WHICH DOES NOT MEAN OVER HIM, HEAVEN FORBID, BUT FOR HIS SAKE AND FOR HIS GLORY. HERE TOO, "UPON ME" IS TO BE EXPLAINED AS 'FOR MY SAKE.' Therefore, it is written regarding Korah, "Who are gathered together are against (lit. 'upon') Hashem" (Bemidbar 16:11), WHICH ALSO MEANS "FOR HASHEM," MEANING for them, BECAUSE OF THE SIN OF KORAH AND HIS CONGREGATION, someone was awakened from their side, MEANING THE OTHER SIDE, TO BLEMISH HASHEM. Also here, "Bring before Me your atonement" upon Me literally, MEANING FOR MY SAKE AND FOR ME, in order that MALCHUT will have fragrance and the serpent will pass from her and not be found where it dwelt, MEANING IN A PLACE OF LACK DUE TO THE DIMINISHED MOON. What is all this for? Because I reduced the moon, NAMELY MALCHUT, and he who should not has sway over her. Hence, "also you shall not approach to a woman in the impurity of her menstrual flow" (Vayikra 18:19), AS IN THE ADJACENT PARAGRAPH.