36. They marveled, and could not speak. Rabbi Yehuda said, My son, what is your father's name? The boy was quiet for a moment. He rose AND WENT to his mother and kissed her. He said to her, Mother, these sages asked me about my father. Should I tell them? His mother said to him, My son, have you examined them, IF THEY ARE WORTHY? He said, Here, I checked them and did not find them to be proper. His mother whispered into his ears and he returned to them. He said to them, You have asked me about my father but he has already departed from the world. Every day that devout holy pious men walk the roads, he travels after them on a she-mule. If you are holy and elevated, why did you not notice him walking along and traveling after you on a she-mule?
293. Rabbi Pinchas was going to see his daughter, the wife of Rabbi Shimon, who was ill. The friends joined along with him and he was riding on his donkey. While still walking along on their journey, they met up with two Arabs. He asked them if any sound stirred in this field from ancient days. They said, From times past, we do not know. From our times, we do know, because one day, robbers spread out over the roads in that field and assaulted Jews, and intended to destroy them. From the distance, the voice of this donkey ON WHICH YOU RIDE was heard in this field. It brayed twice. A flame of fire came along with that sound and burned them and these Jews were saved. He said to them, Arabs, Arabs, IN THE MERIT of this episode that you related to me, you will be saved today from the other robbers that are awaiting you along the road.
297. He said, It is about this that I inquired. Arabs, Arabs, go and this road should be ready for you with whatever you wish. You have told me two things that make me glad. They left. The friends said, How are we going to find where Rabbi Shimon is? He said to them, Leave that to the one who has dominion over the footsteps of the beasts. He will direct their steps towards that place. He did not lead his donkey yet his donkey, on its own, took a detour from the road about two miles, and went there.
298. The donkey began to bray three times. Rabbi Pinchas dismounted and said to his friends, Let's prepare welcome the countenance OF ATIK YOMIN, MEANING THE SHECHINAH, because now a great face and a small face are coming towards us, MEANING RABBI SHIMON AND HIS DISCIPLES. Rabbi Shimon heard the braying of the donkey and said to his friends, Let us rise, because the voice of the donkey of the pious old sage has risen towards us. Rabbi Shimon rose and the friends rose.
304. If those cows which had not been accustomed to miracles were singing only then with their mooing, how much more likely it is that the donkey of the pious old man, RABBI PINCHAS BEN YAIR, who was accustomed to miracles, would sing. Friends, if you say that this is not a custom of a donkey, since it first appeared on the face of the earth, TO CHANT ANY SONG, go take a look at the she-mule of the wicked Bilaam that has defeated her master outright. The donkey of Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair can most certainly sing. Furthermore, when the she-mule of Bilaam spoke, there was a supernal angel above her THAT SCARED HER; HOWEVER, NOBODY COULD SCARE THE DONKEY OF RABBI PINCHAS BEN YAIR.
399. Bilaam was even more loathsome than Balak. Whatever he knew, he knew only at night. These lower Sfirot and the asses OF THE KLIPOT prevail only at the first watch of the night. AND ON THE FIRST WATCH, A SHE-MULE BRAYS. Therefore, he had a she-mule of that side, so the donkeys could join with her in the beginning of the night.
401. When that appointed minister used to arrive, Bilaam came in to his she-mule and performed his deeds, and spoke his spells. Then the she-mule would inform him. He also demonstrated acts, so that this spirit should dwell on him. What did he demonstrated? He knew that she-mules wander around and prevail at the beginning of the night. He then showed that accomplishment and placed his she-mule at a prepared spot LINED UP AGAINST THE SHE-MULES, and accomplished his work. He set the order of his speeches, and he used the she-mule to tell whoever came in WHATEVER WAS NEEDED.
403. That is what Rabbi Yitzchak said in the name of Rabbi Yehuda regarding these lower Sfirot: there is right and there is left. From the right side are the donkeys, WHICH ARE MALES, as we explained, and from the left side are the she-mules THAT ARE THE FEMALES. We have learned that there are ten to the right and ten to the left. THAT IS, CORRESPONDING TO THE TEN SFIROT OF HOLINESS, since "THE ELOHIM HAS MADE THE ONE AS WELL AS THE OTHER" (KOHELET 7:14). That is what Rabbi Yosi said: When Joseph left his father, he was knowledgeable in the higher wisdom in the secret meaning of the holy supernal Sfirot. When he was in Egypt, he studied also their wisdom of the lower Sfirot OF THE OTHER SIDE, how these of the right and these of the left are linked. That is the ten of the right and the ten of the left, the male and female asses. That is why he told his father what he had learned there, as it is written: "And to his father he sent after this manner; ten asses..." (Beresheet 45:23).
404. Rabbi Yosi said, These TEN of the right are all comprised in that one that is called 'donkey.' That is the same donkey of which is written: "You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together" (Devarim 22:10). That is the same donkey which King Messiah will handle, as was explained, BASED ON THE MEANING OF THE VERSE: "HUMBLE, AND RIDING UPON AN DONKEY" (ZECHARYAH 9:9). These TEN of the left are all comprised in the one that is called 'the she-mule,' because from her side emanates Iroh that harms children, THAT IS, a COLT (HEB. IR), THE FOAL OF AN DONKEY, as we studied. This is what is written: "Humble, and riding upon an donkey, and upon a colt, the foal of an she-mule (Heb. atonot)." It spells atonot, with out Vav OF PLURAL INDICATION, because the ten are all included in one SHE-MULE, AS MENTIONED ABOVE.
406. The ten from the right and ten from the left that are included in these two, WHICH ARE THE MALE AND FEMALE DONKEY, AS MENTIONED BEFORE, all pertain to divination. There are ten others of the right and ten of the left that pertain to enchantment. Therefore, it is written: "Surely there is no enchantment in Jacob, nor is there any divination in Yisrael" (Bemidbar 23:23). What is the reason? Because "Hashem Elohim is with him" (Ibid. 21), from the aspect of enchantment comes the ox. From the aspect of divination comes the donkey. That is the meaning of "ox and an donkey." Therefore, because Bilaam knew that he was bound to the other authority THAT IS HIGHER, it said to him: "But only that word..." He found this bad, saying to himself, Where is my honor? Immediately, he examined his witchcraft but could not come up with ANYTHING that would REINTRODUCE HIM to his authority, except this she-mule.
449. Rabbi Aba said, It is definite that through these words OF THE SHE-MULE, I would have learned the thoughts of Bilaam, that he was not worthy to have the Holy Spirit rest on him. I also learned that his she-mule had no power to do good or evil. I further learned from this she-mule that beasts do not have the strength, to instill them with full understanding AND CONSEQUENTLY SHE SPOKE NO WORDS OF WISDOM. Come and see that Bilaam could not comprehend the speech of his she-mule nor the silly thoughts OF HIS SHE-MULE. How much more would he be uncomprehending of the knowledge of the most High, YET HE CLAIMED THAT HE "KNOWS THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE MOST HIGH" (BEMIDBAR 24:16).