2. "After the death of the two sons of Aaron:" Rabbi Yitzchak opened the discussion saying, "Serve Hashem in fear, and rejoice with trembling" (Tehilim 2:11). It is also written, "Serve Hashem with gladness: come before Him with singing" (Tehilim 100:2). These verses appear to contradict one another, as ONE SAYS TO SERVE IN FEAR AND TREMBLING WHILE THE OTHER SAYS WITH GLADNESS AND SINGING. HE ANSWERS: We have learned that "serve Hashem in fear" means that one must first show fear and awe in every act he wishes to perform before his Master. As a result of this reverence before his Master, he will merit to serve with joy the commandments of the Torah. Therefore, it is written, "What does Hashem your Elohim require of you, but to fear" (Devarim 10:12). THROUGH FEAR, HE WILL MERIT IT ALL.
4. Rabbi Aba said, "Serve Hashem in fear:" What fear is meant here? IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT IS THE EXPLANATION IN THIS CONTEXT OF FEAR? HE ANSWERS: As we have established, it is written, "The fear of Hashem is the beginning of knowledge" (Mishlei 1:7) and "the fear of Hashem is the beginning of wisdom" (Tehilim 111:10), so the Holy One, blessed be He, is referred to in this name, "Fear of Hashem," NAMELY MALCHUT. Rabbi Elazar said: IN EXPLANATION OF RABBI ABA'S WORDS, "Serve Hashem in fear," MEANING he who wishes to perform the service of his Master, from what point should he begin and to which area should he aim his service in order to unify the name of his Master? He repeats his words "with fear," because fear, WHICH IS MALCHUT, is the start OF SERVICE going from below upwards, AS THE FIRST SFIRAH GOING FROM BELOW UPWARDS IS MALCHUT.
5. Come and see: It is written here, "After the death" and later, "Speak to Aaron your brother...Thus shall Aaron come." (Vayikra 16:2-3). WHAT CONNECTION IS THERE BETWEEN "AFTER THE DEATH OF" TO THE VERSE, "THUS (LIT. 'WITH THIS') SHALL AARON COME?" HE ANSWERS: FROM THE DEATH OF THE SONS OF AARON commences the warning to each of the priests that they must be mindful of Zot (Eng. 'this' fem.), which is the fear of Hashem, WHICH IS MALCHUT. FOR THE DEATHS OF THE SONS OF AARON WERE AS A RESULT OF THEIR NEGLIGENCE IN RELATION TO MALCHUT.
15. HE ANSWERS: We have learned at the time they bound HANANIAH, MISHAEL AND AZARIAH in order to cast them into fire, each raised his voice and spoke before all the gathered nations, kings and nobles. Hananiah said, "Hashem is with me, I will not fear: what can man do to me? Hashem takes my part with those who help me: therefore I shall gaze upon those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in Hashem..." (Tehilim 118:6-8). Mishael said, "Therefore fear you not, My servant Jacob, says Hashem...For I am with you, says Hashem, to help you, for I will make a full end of all the nations" (Yirmeyah 30:10-11). At that moment, when THE NATIONS AND THE NOBLES heard the name Jacob, they were disgusted and began mockingly to laugh, BECAUSE HE PUT HIS TRUST IN JACOB. Azariah commenced to proclaim, "Hear O' Yisrael, Hashem our Elohim; Hashem is One" (Devarim 6:4).
54. HE QUESTIONS: What song did they sing? HE ANSWERS, "For Hashem is great, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all Elohim" (Tehilim 96:4). THEY SAID this when they raised their wings, WHICH IS THE ASPECT OF THE RIGHT COLUMN, MEANING CHESED TERMED "GREAT." When they spread them, they would say, "For all the Elohim of the nations are idols: but Hashem made the heavens" (Ibid. 5). THIS IS THE ASPECT OF THE LEFT COLUMN THAT SUBDUES THE ENTIRE OTHER SIDE. When they covered the ark cover, they would say, "Before Hashem; for He comes to judge the earth: with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity" (Tehilim 98:9). THIS IS THE ASPECT OF THE CENTRAL COLUMN DENOTING TIFERET, REFERRED TO AS JUSTICE.
65. Another explanation for, "Behold, how good and how pleasant..." These are the friends, when they sit together and don't sit apart from one another. At first they appear as people at war with each other, wanting to kill one another. Afterwards, they return to each other in brotherly love. What does the Holy One, blessed be He, say ABOUT THEM? "Behold how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together (Heb. gam, Eng. 'also') in unity." The word gam comes to include the Shechinah. Moreover, the Holy One, blessed be He, pays attention to what they say, and has enjoyment and rejoices with them. This is the essence of the verse, "Then they who feared Hashem spoke to one another: and Hashem hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was it is written before Him..." (Malachi 3:16).
67. They went. As they were going, they reached the home of Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair. Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair came out, kissed RABBI SHIMON, and said: I have earned the right to kiss the Shechinah. How fortunate is my lot. He set up for them expensive bed sheets. Rabbi Shimon said: The Torah does not require this. He removed THE SPREADS and they sat down. Rabbi Pinchas said: Before we eat, we will hear a discourse from the master of Torah, as all the words of Rabbi Shimon are open as a revelation. He is a man who need not be afraid from above or below of preaching them. He fears not what is above, as the Holy One, blessed be He, agrees with him. He is also not fearful of those below, just as a lion fears not the flock of sheep. Rabbi Shimon said to Rabbi Elazar, his son: Elazar, stand where you are and recite a novel Torah interpretation before Rabbi Pinchas and the other friends.
74. "Every man has his sword upon his thigh" (Ibid.): It is as you say, "Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one" (Tehilim 45:4). THE SECRET MEANING OF THE SWORD HAS ALREADY BEEN EXPLAINED, "because of the fear by nights" (Shir Hashirim 3:8), they explained it as the fear of Gehenom. Yet, "because of the fear by nights" is saying where they receive it from - from fear, from the place called fear, as the verse says, "And the fear of Isaac, had been with me" (Beresheet 31:42), WHICH IS GVURAH OF ZEIR ANPIN, THE LEFT COLUMN KNOWN AS ISAAC. Just as this verse reads, "And Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac" (Ibid. 53), "by nights" REFERS TO those times designated for Judgments to be done, AS NIGHT IS THE TIME FOR JUDGMENT.
84. Because of this, the priest needs to meditate upon sublime matters, to unify the Holy Name from that place that requires unity, MEANING TO DRAW IN THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH ONLY TO MALCHUT. Therefore, we learned that it is written, "Thus (with zot) shall Aaron come into the holy place" (Vayikra 16:3). Through zot, DENOTING MALCHUT, he needs to bring holiness near its place AND TO EXPEL THE OTHER SIDE, WHICH DESIRES TO DRAW FROM HER THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH FROM ABOVE DOWNWARD. From this place, FROM MALCHUT, man needs to fear the Holy One, blessed be He, MEANING THAT WITH THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH THAT IS REVEALED AT MALCHUT HARSH JUDGMENTS THAT PUNISH THE WICKED AND MOVE THE OTHER SIDE FAR AWAY ARE ALSO REVEALED. AS A RESULT, ONE FEARS HER. About this, it is written, "O that they were wise, that they understood this (Heb. zot)" (Devarim 32:29). Immediately, "they would consider their latter end" (Ibid.). This means that if people would look at the penalty AND SEE how ZOT, NAMELY MALCHUT, is united together with her hosts, MEANING SHE GIVES LIGHT TO THEM ONLY FROM THE ASPECT OF BELOW UPWARDS, and how all these members of the hosts, who are attached to her to serve her were appointed before her to punish and repay the wicked, WHO WISH TO DRAW DOWN HER LIGHT FROM ABOVE DOWNWARDS, immediately "they will understand their latter end" and pay attention to their deeds and not sin before the Holy King.
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.
198. Afterwards, he washes his body and sanctifies his hands to enter into another holy service. Then he aims to enter another most holy, lofty place; NAMELY, THE HOLY OF HOLIES. Three rows surround THE HIGH PRIEST-his colleague priests, Levite and the rest of the people. THEY REPRESENT THE THREE COLUMNS, PRIEST AND LEVITE REPRESENT RIGHT AND LEFT AND YISRAEL REPRESENT THE SECRET OF THE CENTRAL COLUMN. They raise their hands towards him in prayer. A knot OF ROPE of gold hangs from his leg, FROM FEAR PERHAPS HE WOULD DIE IN THE HOLY OF HOLIES, AND THEY WOULD NEED TO PULL HIM OUT WITH THIS ROPE.
206. Rabbi Aba was staying with Rabbi Shimon. Rabbi Shimon rose at midnight to study Torah, and Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Aba rose with him. Rabbi Shimon opened the discussion saying, "As the hart pants after the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, Elohim" (Tehilim 42:2). The friends have established this verse. Fortunate are Yisrael more than all nations that the Holy One, blessed be He, gave them the Holy Torah and bequeathed to them saintly souls from a holy source in order that they should observe His commandments and take pleasure with the Torah. All those who take pleasure in the Torah need not fear anything, as it is written, "Unless Your Torah had been my delights, I should have perished in my affliction" (Tehilim 119:92).
213. At that time, She is opened to give birth to the Messiah. This is owing to the pain and distress of the pious, men of good qualities, sages of secrets of the Torah, people of humility and shame, of fear and love, of kindness, men of valor, fearing Elohim, truthful men, who despise bribes, for whom it is a time of poverty. This is what the sages of the Mishnah have explained. In the times in which the son of David will come, a valiant men will go circulating from city to city but will not be shown favor. Those that fear sin will be despised and the wisdom of scribes will be sullied. Truth will be absent and the vine will give its fruit but wine will be expensive.
351. We have learned that the righteous who toils in Torah day and night, the Holy One, blessed be He, draws upon him a thread of grace, which is marked on his face. From that mark, both those on high and those below have fear. Likewise, whoever violates the words of Torah, a spirit of defilement is drawn upon him, which is marked on his face and causes those high and low to flee from before him. They all proclaim: Leave the vicinity of he, who violated the Torah and the commandments of his Master. Woe to him and to his soul, and this person draws the spirit of defilement that is with him and transmits it to his son. In such a man the Holy One, blessed be He has no part, and He spares him in order to destroy him in the World to Come.
354. Now that I have merited Torah, I have been rushed up again about that matter. From the day Rabbi Samlai departed from here, there was no one who could shed light on Torah as he. I fear to state words of Torah that I have not learned. The thing THAT MAN TOLD ME, I have realized it to be a matter of wisdom, but I do not understand it. He replied: It surely is a matter of wisdom, being a supernal hint above and below.
363. For this reason, the Torah warns people, "You shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy" (Vayikra 11:44). Surely, if a man is holy, he need not fear LILIT. Then the Holy One, blessed be He, designates these three holy angels which we spoke about, and they guard that child, so she cannot harm him. This is the meaning of the verse, "No evil shall befall you, nor shall any come near your dwelling" (Tehilim 91:10). For what reason is it that "no evil shall befall you?" "For He shall give His angels charge over you" (Ibid. 11) and, "Because he has set his delight upon Me, therefore will I deliver him" (Ibid. 14).
397. We have learned it is written, "Also you shall not approach to a woman in the impurity of her menstrual flow, to uncover her nakedness" (Vayikra 18:19). Rabbi Yehuda taught, the generation in which Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai dwells are all meritorious, all pious, all sin fearing, the Shechinah dwelling in their midst. Not so in other generations. For this reason, these things are expounded and not concealed, IN HIS GENERATION. In other generations it is not so, and supernal secrets cannot be revealed. And those who do know them are afraid TO REVEAL. When Rabbi Shimon would relate the secret of this verse among all the friends, their eyes would flow with tears. All the words he said were being revealed before their very eyes, as the verse says, "With him I speak mouth to mouth, manifestly, and not in dark speeches" (Bemidbar 12:8).
400. We have learned Rabbi Shimon said that if people would look at what is written in the Torah, they would not come to anger their Master. We have learned when harsh Judgments are stirred to descend to the world, IT IS then WRITTEN, "To a woman in the impurity of her menstrual flow..." (Vayikra 18:19). About this, it is written, "The secret of Hashem is with them that fear Him" (Tehilim 25:14). We have learned this in the Holy gathering and here I wish to reveal this secret. Here it is proper to do, MEANING HERE IS THE PLACE TO REVEAL IT.
407. Happy is the generation that Rabbi Shimon dwells therein. Happy is his lot among the higher and lower beings. Regarding him, it is written, "Happy are you, O land, when your king is free" (Kohelet 10:17). What is meant by "free?" His head stands straight and he states matters without fear, as one who is free. He says what he wants and fears not. Who is "your king?" This refers to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, master of Torah, master of wisdom. When Rabbi Aba and the sages would see Rabbi Shimon, they would run after him saying, "They shall walk after Hashem, who shall roar like a lion" (Hoshea 11:10).