45. He said to him: Elazar, my son, come and see that all sacrifices and burnt offerings bring gratification to the Holy One, blessed be He. But there is no truer gratification BEFORE HIM than the incense, for the incense is the most praiseworthy. This is the reason that it is offered in the innermost chambers, NAMELY THE HOLY OF HOLIES, silently. We have learned that. For this reason people were not punished for other kinds of sacrifices and burnt offerings as for incense, because in the whole of the service of the Holy One, blessed be He, this is the most joined and connected. That is why it is called incense, BECAUSE INCENSE IN ARAMAIC MEANS CONNECTING, so it says, "Ointment and incense rejoice the heart" (Mishlei 27:9).
53. Rabbi Aba said: What does THE VERSE wish to say with the statement, "I appear in the cloud upon the ark cover," WHICH MEANS THE PRIEST SEES THE SHECHINAH? ALSO, in the verse, "Thus (with zot) shall Aaron come," WHICH IS THE SHECHINAH REFERRED TO AS ZOT. Behold, the priest did not see the Shechinah when he entered THE HOLY OF HOLIES. HE ANSWERS: The cloud, WHICH IS THE SHECHINAH, would come down. In coming down, it reached the covering of the ark, the wings of the Cherubs would stir and the Cherubs would strike with their wings and sing a song. FROM THIS, THE PRIEST WOULD REALIZE THAT THE SHECHINAH WAS NOW APPEARING. THIS IS WHAT IS MEANT BY, "I APPEAR IN THE CLOUD UPON THE ARK COVER."
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.
199. He takes three steps, but the others remain where they are and do not follow. He takes another three steps and returns to his place. He walks three paces, closes his eyes, connects to that which is above and enters that certain place, NAMELY THE HOLY OF HOLIES. He hears the sound of wings of the Cherubs, singing and fanning their wings that are stretched upward. When he would offer the incense, the sound of their wings quieted and they were silently clasped together.
255. Rabbi Yitzchak said: How fortunate are the pious in this world and the World to Come, as they are all holy. Their bodies are holy and their Nefesh is holy. Their Ruach is holy and their Neshamah is the Holy of Holies. There are three levels - NEFESH, RUACH AND NESHAMAH - just like above, reflecting MALCHUT, TIFERET AND BINAH OF ABOVE. As Rabbi Yehuda has taught, it is written, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures (Heb. 'nefesh')" (Beresheet 1:24), which refers to the soul of Adam. Come and see: These three levels - Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah - join together, and the superior one is Neshamah.
297. Rabbi Shimon opened the discussion saying, "This is the ordinance of the Pesach: no stranger shall eat of it" (Shemot 12:43). It is also written, "But every man's servant..." (Ibid. 44) and "a foreign and a hired servant shall not eat of it" (Ibid. 45). If something like eating the pascal lamb is forbidden to the uncircumcised just because it hints at a holy matter - MEANING BECAUSE "HASHEM WILL PASS OVER THE DOOR..." (IBID. 23) - then how much more should the Torah, which is the Holy of Holies, the sublime name of the Holy One, blessed be He, be forbidden to them.