6. Another explanation for, "After the death of the two sons of Aaron." Rabbi Yosi said: It should have read, 'After the death of Nadab and Abihu,' so what is the reason THAT IT SAYS, "The two sons of Aaron?" It is obvious that they were his sons. HE ANSWERS: We have learned that until that time they were not adults but still under the authority of their father; CONSEQUENTLY, THE VERSE REFERS TO THEM AS THE SONS OF AARON. Hence, "when they came near before Hashem, and died" (Vayikra 16:1), they were rushing the time OF OFFERING INCENSE during the lifetime of their father, AS IS INDICATED LATER, and there was more, MEANING OTHER CAUSES PRECIPITATED THEIR DEATH. ALSO, because of the sin they committed "when they offered a foreign fire" (Bemidbar 3:4) as we learned, in one place it is written, "When they offered a foreign fire," AND FOR THIS REASON THEY DIED. In another place, it is written, "When they came near before Hashem," THEY DIED BECAUSE THEY SACRIFICED, BECAUSE THEY RUSHED THE TIME TO BURN INCENSE DURING THE LIFETIME OF THEIR FATHER, AS MENTIONED ABOVE. THIS MEANS THE COMBINATION OF both matters CAUSED THEIR DEATHS, and so it is written here, "The two sons of Aaron" TO TEACH THAT THEY WERE STILL UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF AARON, AS DECLARED ABOVE. It is written, "When they came near," FOR THE DEATH WAS AS A RESULT OF THEIR APPROACH BEFORE HASHEM, DURING THE LIFETIME OF THEIR FATHER.
13. We have already learned that Jacob surely redeemed Abraham. At the time that ABRAHAM fell into THE FURNACE OF the Chaldeans' fire, his fate was being decided before the Holy One, blessed be He. In what merit should this one be saved as he lacks ancestral merits? THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, said TO THE COURT ON HIGH: 'He should be saved because of his sons.' As we have learned, a son can bring merits for his father. The others replied: But Ishmael will descend from him. The Holy One, blessed be He, replied, 'But Isaac WILL DESCEND FROM HIM, who will extend his throat FOR THE SACRIFICE on the altar.' The others said: But Esau will derive from Isaac. THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, said, 'But Jacob will DESCEND FROM HIM, who is a whole throne, and all his sons are perfect before Me.' They concurred by saying: Surely for this merit, Abraham shall be rescued. Such is the meaning of, "who redeemed Abraham."
14. IT IS WRITTEN, "Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now grow pale; when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in the midst of him, sanctifying My name" (Yeshayah 29:22-23). HE QUESTIONS: Who are "his children, the work of My hands?" HE ANSWERS: They are Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, WHO THREW THEMSELVES INTO A BURNING FIRE TO SANCTIFY MY NAME. HE QUESTIONS, "Jacob shall not now be ashamed:" What is Jacob doing here? For it is written, "These were among the descendants of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah" (Daniel 1:6). NOTE, they are referred to as scions of Judah. As a result, it should read: 'Judah shall not now be ashamed.' Why then does it state, "Jacob shall not now be ashamed?"
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).
17. At that hour, the Holy One, blessed be He, said to the throne, WHICH IS MALCHUT, 'My throne, for which word, among all the words THEY UTTERED, should I save these righteous men?' It replied: For the word that all the others mocked, I would save them, NAMELY THE MERIT OF JACOB, "Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now grow pale," SO THEY WILL SEE THAT THEY WERE SAVED IN HIS MERIT. Just as THE MERIT OF Jacob stood fast when Abraham was cast into the fire, now it will stand fast for these - NAMELY HANANIAH, MISHAEL AND AZARIAH. This is what is written, "Thus says Hashem concerning the house of Jacob, who redeemed Abraham, Jacob shall not now be ashamed..." namely by the contempt and the mockery with which THE NATIONS AND NOBLES RIDICULED HIM.
18. We have learned that all those who ridiculed this word, NAMELY "JACOB," were consumed by that fire, and a spark of flame killed them. Who saved Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah? HE DID, because they prayed before the Holy One, blessed be He, Hashem, and unified His Name properly. Because they unified His Name properly, they were saved from that consuming fire.
19. The two sons of Aaron offered a foreign fire, as they did not unify His Name properly and, therefore, were consumed in fire. Rabbi Yitzchak stated that it is written, "After the death" and it is later written, "and died" IN THE SAME VERSE. If it states "after the death of the two sons of Aaron" (Vayikra 16:1), wouldn't I know that they died? HE ANSWERS: We are taught that there were two deaths, one before Hashem and one because they left no children, for one who does not merit children is CONSIDERED dead. For this reason, it is written, "After the death...and died;" NAMELY, "AFTER THE DEATH" IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD LITERALLY AND "AND DIED" REFERS TO THEIR NOT HAVING CHILDREN.
20. Rabbi Aba said that it is written, "And Nadab and Abihu died before Hashem, when they offered a foreign fire before Hashem in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Elazar and Itamar ministered in the priest's office" (Bemidbar 3:4). HE QUESTIONS: What connection does one have with the other in saying, "And they had no children: and Elazar and Itamar ministered in the priest's office?" DID THE LATTER INHERIT THE PRIESTHOOD FROM NADAB AND ABIHU BECAUSE THEY WERE CHILDLESS? HE ANSWERS: This is what I have said THAT they died because they had no children AND WERE CONSIDERED AS IF DEAD. This is definite, but not like other people even though they did not marry, for they died only a physical death and not a spiritual one.
25. The Yud in Pinchas was put in him to enjoin the letters only when he has been zealous for the Holy One, blessed be He, and came to straighten that which was crooked upon seeing the sign of the member of the Holy Covenant that Zimri inserted into another territory. NADAB AND ABIHU were corrected here from their earlier deviation, for NADAB AND ABIHU deviated in a foreign female, as it is written, "When they offered a foreign fire" (Bemidbar 3:4). They were corrected through the foreign woman THAT PINCHAS SLEW, as it is written, "And has married the daughter of a strange El" (Malachi 2:11). Just as in the first case there was a foreign fire, here too was a foreign woman.
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.
27. HE ASKS: What is this 'peace' we speak of here WHEN IT SAYS, "BEHOLD, I GIVE TO HIM MY COVENANT OF PEACE?" HE ANSWERS: At first they sinned against this Sfirah, YESOD, BY OFFERING FOREIGN FIRE, AS EARLIER MENTIONED. They damaged this Sfirah in instigating a quarrel BETWEEN ZEIR ANPIN AND MALCHUT, AS IT IS WRITTEN ABOVE. Now that it is corrected, it is written, "Behold I give him My covenant of peace," My actual covenant, NAMELY THE SFIRAH OF YESOD WHICH GOES BY THE NAME COVENANT. It will be at peace with him, NAMELY THE PEACE BETWEEN ZEIR ANPIN AND MALCHUT. For this reason, a small Yud was added to his name, WHICH HINTS AT YESOD, which is of the small letters to show that what was earlier crooked has already been corrected, MEANING THAT YESOD WHICH WAS CURVED EARLIER HAS BEEN STRAIGHTENED, AS WAS SAID BEFORE, and now MALCHUT is perfected through YESOD. Rabbi Elazar kissed his hands and said: Blessed is the Merciful One for allowing me to ask this thing so it should not get lost from me.
69. HE ANSWERS: At the time when the Holy One, blessed be He, gave the sweet incense to Aaron, He wanted no one else to deal with this during his lifetime. For what reason? Because Aaron increased peace in the world. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: 'Since you wish to increase peace in the world, peace will multiply above through you. The sweet incense will be transmitted to you from now on, AS INCENSE INCREASES PEACE ABOVE, and during your life, no one else will be permitted to deal with it.' During their father's lifetime, Nadab and Abihu hastened to offer that which was not given to them, and this matter caused them to make a mistake BY OFFERING A FOREIGN FIRE.
70. We have learned Moses was pondering who caused them to make this mistake OF OFFERING FOREIGN FIRE, and was sad. It is written, "And Hashem spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron." What did He say to him? "When they came near before Hashem, and died" (Vayikra 16:1) It is not written: 'offered,' but "came near." The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, 'This is what caused them this, for they hurried the hour TO OFFER INCENSE during the lifetime of their father.' They erred in this, IN OFFERING FOREIGN FIRE, so the verse says, "Which He commanded them not" (Vayikra 10:1). They were not commanded to OFFER, for only Aaron did He command. SO THE EXPLANATION OF THE VERSE, "AND OFFERED FOREIGN FIRE BEFORE HASHEM" (IBID.) IS THAT THEY ERRED IN THIS BECAUSE "HE COMMANDED THEM NOT" TO OFFER INCENSE BUT HE COMMANDED AARON ALONE. And if the two sons of Aaron, by rushing the time during their father's lifetime, brought all this on themselves, this is all the more true for me, in relation to my father and Rabbi Pinchas and the other friends. I AM NOT PERMITTED TO RUSH THE HOUR AND SAY NOVEL TORAH INTERPRETATIONS IN THEIR STEAD. Rabbi Pinchas came forth, and kissed and blessed him.
71. Rabbi Shimon opened the discussion saying, "Behold the bed of Solomon sixty valiant men are round about it..." (Shir Hashirim 3:7). "Behold the bed of Solomon:" What is meant by "his litter?" It refers to the throne of glory of the King, NAMELY MALCHUT CALLED BED. It is written about it, "The heart of her husband safely trusts in her" (Mishlei 31:11) and Solomon (Heb. Shlomo) REFERS TO the King that the peace (Heb. shalom) is His, REFERRING TO ZEIR ANPIN. "Sixty valiant men are round about it:" They are attached to MALCHUT'S aspect of harsh Judgment and are connoted as sixty fire guards, MEANING SIXTY GUARDIANS FROM FIRE. That youth, MEANING METATRON, clothes himself with them.
72. On the right side OF METATRON is the mighty bright sword, and on the left are strong burning coals that enjoin his imprints with 70,000 flames of consuming fire. They are sixty mighty ones heavily armed with the mighty Gvurot of supernal Gvurah of the Holy One, blessed be He, NAMELY ZEIR ANPIN. This is what is meant by, "Of the mighty ones of Yisrael" (Shir Hashirim 3:7), NAMELY GVURAH OF ZEIR ANPIN REFERRED TO AS YISRAEL.
82. Underneath all of them, MEANING BELOW ALL LEVELS OF HOLINESS MENTIONED BEFORE, many thousands and tens of thousands OF KLIPOT come out, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SECRET MEANING OF THE VERSE, "A THOUSAND SHALL FALL AT YOUR SIDE, AND TEN THOUSAND AT YOUR RIGHT HAND: BUT IT SHALL NOT COME NEAR YOU" (TEHILIM 91:7). They come down and wander through the world until the Shofar blowers blow, THAT IS THE SECRET OF UNITY OF THE THREE COLUMNS - KNOWN AS FIRE, WATER AND AIR - THAT ARE INCLUDED IN THE SOUND EMANATING FROM THE SHOFAR. Then they reassemble and hold to the scum found in the nails, NAMELY IN THE REFUSE MATTER OF THE ILLUMINATION OF THE BACK SIDE KNOWN AS NAILS, AS MENTIONED ABOVE.
98. HE ANSWERS: We have learned from the holy luminary that the Holy One, blessed be He, concerned Himself with their honor, so inwardly their bodies were tinged with fire, but their soul was not lost, as we have already established. Come and see that even before the deaths of Aaron's sons, it is written, "And Elazar, Aaron's son took of the daughters of Putiel to wife; AND SHE BORE HIM PINCHAS" (Shemot 6:25). He was called Pinchas because he was destined to straighten that which is crooked, MEANING TO CORRECT THE DAMAGE OF NADAB AND ABIHU, AS EXPLAINED EARLIER, EVEN THOUGH NADAB AND ABIHU HAD NOT YET DIED. This is the essence of the verse, "And that which is to be has already been."
226. "And there came a great King against (or: 'to') it" (Kohelet 9:14). This refers to the Holy One, blessed be He, who comes to join with it and reside in it. "And besieged (or: 'circled') it" as the verse says, "'For I,' says Hashem, 'will be to her a wall of fire round about...'" (Zecharyah 2:9). "And built great siegeworks against it" (Kohelet 9:14) means that He builds its big, strong, fine, beautiful and holy walls, MEANING THE PROTECTION THAT EXTERNAL FORCES WILL NOT BE NURTURED FROM IT. It is called the holy city. All the majesty of the King He brought within. Therefore, it alone comprises all crowns of the King, BEING THE MOCHIN OF ZEIR ANPIN, ACCORDING TO THE SECRET OF THE VERSE, "A VIRTUOUS WOMAN IS A CROWN TO HER HUSBAND" (MISHLEI 12:4). ZEIR ANPIN IS NOT CROWNED WITH THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH, SAVE WHEN HE IS UNITED WITH MALCHUT, SINCE CHOCHMAH IS REVEALED IN MALCHUT ONLY, and all crowns of the King are decorated with it. For this reason, there are "few men within it," AS NOT ALL PEOPLE MERIT IT.
237. We have learned that on that day, all joy and every light and every indulgence in the worlds, NAMELY FORGIVENESS OF SINS, all depend on supernal Ima. All springs are drawn and flow from it, MEANING BOTH THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH AND THE ILLUMINATION OF CHASSADIM. Then all these candles glow, BEING THE SECRET OF THE LIGHTS OF THE FIRE WITHIN MALCHUT, and they glow with light and joy until everything becomes fragrant. At that point, all Judgments are within the glow, AS THOSE JUDGMENTS DRAWN FROM THE FIVE AFFLICTIONS CAUSE CHOCHMAH TO SHINE FORTH. IF NOT FOR THEM, THE CHOCHMAH WOULD NOT BECOME REVEALED AS MENTIONED. The Judgment is not being carried out, BUT IS MERELY IMPENDING. This is the meaning of, "You shall afflict your souls," TO ENABLE THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH.
285. (A) "And she said, Will you give me a pledge, till you send it?" (Beresheet 38:17) These are the marks of a Queen blessed by the King during her nuptials. And he said: What pledge shall I give you? And she said: Your signet, and your cord, and your staff (Ibid. 18). These are the heavenly bonds, the jewels of the Bride who is blessed by these three - NAMELY Netzach, Hod and Yesod. Everything is contained within these three. The Bride is blessed from this. Immediately, "he gave it her, and came into her, and she conceived by him" (Ibid.).
(B) "And it came to pass about three months after" (Ibid. 24). HE QUESTIONS: What is meant by three months? HE ANSWERS: After a tripled month. The three months ARE CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET, as we have established. HERE IT IS WRITTEN, "About three months," MEANING as the fourth month began, DENOTING MALCHUT, to stir up the Judgments in the world due to the sins of mankind and to nurture from the Other Side. Then, "it was told Judah, saying, Tamar your daughter in law has played the harlot" (Ibid.), so the bride is found on the Other Side. It is written, "Bring her out" (Ibid.) as the verse says, "And cast down from heaven (to) earth the beauty of Yisrael" (Eichah 2:1). "And let her be burnt" (Beresheet 38:24) with a flaming fire in exile.
(C) It is written, "When she was brought forth" to be drawn into the exile, "She sent to her father-in-law, saying, By the man whose these are, I AM WITH CHILD" (Ibid. 25). It is not written: 'from whom these are,' but "whose these are," WHICH MEANS these items are proof of him by whom I am with child. THESE WERE BRIDAL ORNAMENTS AND THEY HAD ALREADY BECOME HERS, AS EARLIER MENTIONED, BUT ONLY HE GAVE THEM. Immediately, "And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She has been more righteous (Heb. tzedakah) than I" (Ibid. 26). Assuredly she is righteous, for this was brought about by that name, FOR SO IS MALCHUT CALLED. What brought upon her this name? He continued, "than I (also: 'from me')," as it is written, "For Hashem is righteous, He loves righteousness (Heb. tzedakah); the upright shall behold His face" (Tehilim 11:7). This is because tzedakah is justice (Heb. tzedek) and Hei, and she received that name from me. She inherited IT from me and all this is come from me.
334. We have learned that the Vav, DENOTING ZEIR ANPIN, ascended high up TO KETER, BEING THE SECRET OF ALEPH, AS MENTIONED. The sanctuary was consumed, the people exiled, the Queen expelled, and the Temple was in ruins. Later, as the Vav returned to its position, it took notice of the Temple and found it in ruins. It sought the Queen , but she moved far away. It saw its sanctuary, but it was consumed by fire, and it looked for the people but they were exiled. It saw the blessings of the deep streams FROM BINAH that were flowing, but now ceased. Then it is written, "And on that day did Adonai Elohim Tzevaot call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth" (Yeshayah 22:12). Then, "I clothe the heavens, ZEIR ANPIN, with blackness."
391. Happy are the righteous in both this world and the World to Come, as the Holy One, blessed be He, desires to honor them and reveals to them esoteric matters concerning His Holy Name that He did not even reveal to holy supernal ANGELS. Therefore, Moses was able to be adorned even among the holy ANGELS, and they were unable to approach him as if he were a burning fire and flaming hot coals. THE REASON WAS THAT HE MENTIONED THE HOLY NAMES THAT THE ANGELS DID NOT KNOW. Were it not for that, what did Moses have THAT HE WOULD BE ABLE to stand among them? Blessed was Moses' lot that when the Holy One, blessed be He, began to speak with him, he wanted to know His Holy Name, both the concealed and revealed, each one properly. Then he united and knew more than all mankind.
392. Come and see: At the time Moses ascended the cloud and entered among the holy ANGELS, one angel, by the name Kemuel, came to him in a flame of fire with burning eyes and flaming wings, and wanted to swallow him. Then Moses mentioned one Holy Name which was engraven with twelve letters. He trembled and shook, and Moses was thus able to ascend among them. So happened with each one. Blessed is his lot. We discussed this earlier.
398. One day, Rabbi Yesa asked about the following. He said: A true egg that laid the bird who dwells in fire breaks up into four sides. Two rise from them, one is lowered and one squats by the great sea. Rabbi Aba said: Are you making before Rabbi Shimon the holy into profane, about whom it is written, "With him I speak mouth to mouth" (Bemidbar 12:8)? Rabbi Shimon said to him: BEFORE the time of the egg to split, you will depart from this world. This happened in the gathering of Rabbi Shimon.