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.
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."
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.
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.
96. All of these that are not found to be just in this world, even there ABOVE BEFORE COMING TO THE WORLD, distance themselves from the presence of the Holy One, blessed be He. They enter the chasm of the great abyss and hurry to descend to this world. And we learned that their souls are stiff necked in this world, as they were before coming to this world. They throw away the saintly part that THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, gave to them FROM THE SIDE OF HOLINESS and go wander about and become impure in that chasm of the great abyss. They take their share there, precipitate the hour and descend to earth. If a man later gains merit and repents before his Master, he will receive back his own portion, NAMELY, THE HOLY PORTION THAT HE THREW UPWARD, AS MENTIONED. This is the meaning of the verse, "That which is, already has been; and that which is to be has already been..."
97. Come and see that the sons of Aaron had no equal in Yisrael, except for Moses and Aaron. They were called "the nobles of the children of Yisrael" (Shemot 24:11) and they died because they erred before the Holy King. HE QUESTIONS: Did the Holy One, blessed be He, wish that they should perish? Did we not learn in the secret of the Mishnah that the Holy One, blessed be He, does kindness with everyone, and even evildoers He does not wish to cause to perish. But these most saintly ones, NADAB AND ABIHU, will it enter your mind that they should perish from the world? Where were their merits, the merits of their ancestors and also the merit of Moses? How could they have perished?
133. We have learned that numerous doors opened before Yisrael on this day to receive their prayers. How fortunate is the lot of Yisrael that the Holy One, blessed be He, wishes to give them merit and to purify them. This is what the verse says, "For on that day will He forgive you..." On this day, the priest is bedecked with numerous crowns. On this day, the service of the priest is full of glory and far greater than on any other service. Everyone was given a share of these sacrifices to the Holy One, blessed be He. On this day Chesed is crowned in the world by the priest, who offers sacrifices for the sins of the people. First, HE OFFERED for his own sins and afterward for the sins of the people. He offered burnt offerings for himself and the nation. We have already established these matters.
144. He opened the discussion saying, "Cold water to a thirsty soul" is referring to Torah. Of all those who merit to toil in Torah and satiate their souls from it, it is written, "good news from a far country." The Holy One, blessed be He, announces about many favors for him in this world and in the World to Come. This is the meaning of "good news." Whence do they come TO BE GOOD? "From a far country," MEANING from the place in which the Holy One, blessed be He, was far off from him at the beginning, MEANING where He was in enmity with him at first, as it is written, "And the earth shall rise up against him" (Iyov 20:27). From this place, they welcome him with peace. This is the meaning of, "A far country." It is also written, "Hashem appeared to me from afar, saying, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore I have remained true to you" (Yirmeyah 31:2). THE END OF THE ARTICLE IS MISSING.
207. What are my delights? The Torah as the Torah is called delights, as it is written, "And I was daily His delight" (Mishlei 8:30). We have learned that the Holy One, blessed be He, comes to delight Himself with the righteous in the Garden of Eden. What is meant by 'delight Himself?' IT MEANS to rejoice in them. As we learned, fortunate are the righteous about whom it is written, "Then you shall delight yourself in Hashem" (Yeshayah 58:14), so as to take pleasure from the drink of the stream, MEANING BINAH, as it is written, "And satisfy your soul in drought" (Ibid. 11). It is as if the Holy One, blessed be He, delights in them by means of that drink of the stream that the righteous take pleasure in, so He comes to have delight with the righteous. All those that toil in the Torah will merit to find delight in the righteous from that drink of the stream, MEANING BINAH.
219. Come and see: When the holy souls come from above downwards and the pious of the world draw them from the King and the Queen, NAMELY FROM THE UNION OF MALE AND FEMALE, there are few THAT MERIT it, that at the exact moment when they descend TO EARTH, they are standing AND SERVING before the King, who pleases to look at it. AFTERWARDS, IT DESCENDS INTO THE WORLD. When the Holy One, blessed be He, blew the breath INTO EVERY SINGLE SOUL AND into every angel in Heaven, all the hosts were created and stood complete, as we have established. This is what the verse says, "And all the hosts of them by the breath of His mouth" (Tehilim 33:6). Among THE SOULS, there are those that remain STANDING BEFORE THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, AS MENTIONED, until the Holy One, blessed be He, causes them to descend.
225. Another explanation for, "You shall afflict your souls" (Vayikra 16:29): Rabbi Aba opened the discussion saying, "There was a little city, and few men within it" (Kohelet 9:14). "A little city" has been explained. Yet the little city is as in, "We have a strong city; He sets up salvation..." (Yeshayah 26:1) and, "And I will not come as an enemy (also: 'in a city')" (Hoshea 11:9), WHERE CITY REFERS TO MALCHUT. "A little city" is small, because it is the last of all SFIROT and the lowest of them all. Its walls are large, strong and holy, and it is called a holy city. "And few men within it:" Few are those who merit to enter within and dwell there, as the verse says, "Who shall ascend into the mountain of Hashem? or who shall stand in His holy place?..." (Tehilim 24:3). Therefore, "and few men within it."
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.
227. "Now there was found in it a poor (Heb. misken) wise man" (Kohelet 9:15). This resembles what is written, "He that has clean hands, and a pure heart" (Tehilim 24:4). HE IS CALLED "Misken" in accordance with the words, "And they built for Pharaoh treasure (Heb. miskenot) cities" (Shemot 1:11), MEANING he is crowned with crowns of strength, with the crowns of Torah and with the crowns of the Torah precepts of the King. He is called wise, because he merits wisdom, AS MALCHUT IS CALLED THE LOWER CHOCHMAH BECAUSE IN HER CHOCHMAH REVEALED, AS MENTIONED. ALSO, HE IS CALLED wise, because he is wiser than all PEOPLE to contemplate the service of his Master, so he may gain enough merit to enter that service. This is the idea of the verse, "And he by his wisdom saved the city" and "saved" is to be understood as, "Let me go away, I pray you, and see my brothers" (I Shmuel 20:29). Also, "let me escape there" (Beresheet 19:20) SPEAKS ABOUT RESCUE. Here also, "And he by his wisdom saved the city:" THROUGH HIS MEDITATION, HE SAVED IT FROM THE EXTERNAL FORCES FEEDING UPON IT.
228. "Yet no man remembered that poor man" (Kohelet 9:15) MEANING THAT no one remembered to perform the commandment of the Torah and to toil in the Torah as that poor man that joined to everything in order to merit it. "Then said I, wisdom is better than strength" (Kohelet 9:16), MEANING permission to enter that world is given only to truly righteous men, to those who toil in Torah day and night, as well as crown themselves with the commandments of the Torah in this world to arrive with them in the World to Come.
291. Rabbi Shimon was cleansing the marketplaces of Tiberias. He dug out all the dead that were there, and cleansed the land. We have learned that it is written, "But when you entered, you defiled My land" (Yirmeyah 2:7). Rabbi Yehuda said: Fortunate is the portion of he who deserves during his lifetime to make his dwelling in the Holy Land. All who merit it will cause the dew of the heaven above to continue to descend upon the earth, so all who deserve the Holy Land in this lifetime will later deserve the higher Holy Land, MALCHUT.
292. About all those who did not merit during their lifetime TO BE IN THE HOLY LAND and are brought there later to be buried, it is written, "And made My heritage an abomination" (Ibid.). His spirit expired under another, strange dominion and his body came under the dominion of the Holy Land, so he made, so to speak, the sacred profane and the profane sacred. Those who deserve that their souls expire in the Holy Land will have their sins forgiven and will merit to be bound under the wings of the Shechinah, as it is written, "And will forgive His land" (Devarim 32:43). Moreover, if he merits during his lifetime TO BE IN THE HOLY LAND, he will merit to have drawn upon him consistently the Holy Spirit. Those who dwell under another dominion, MEANING OUTSIDE THE HOLY LAND, will have drawn upon them a foreign spirit.
293. We have learned that when Rav Hamnuna Saba (the elder) ascended there, THE HOLY LAND, he had with him twelve members of his Yeshiva students. He said to them: If I go this way, it is not for my own sake that I do so but to return the pledge to its owner. We have learned that all those who did not merit this, TO LIVE IN THE HOLY LAND, during their lifetime must return the Master's pledge to another, NAMELY THE SOUL THAT WAS GIVEN TO THEM, TO THE OTHER SIDE.
353. THIS MAN ELAZAR prostrated himself before him. He brought him home, prepared three measures of bread and a three year old calf. After eating, the man said to him: Rabbi, tell me one thing. I had a red cow, the mother of this calf whose flesh we are eating. One day, before she became pregnant and gave birth, I followed her to her pasture in the desert. As I led her, a man came by and asked me for the name of the cow. I replied that from the day she was born, I never called her by name. He said to me: Batsheba, mother of Solomon, is she called if you merit forgiveness FOR YOUR SINS. When I turned around, I saw him no more. I laughed at this thing.
356. He said to him: Blessed is the Merciful One that I was able to hear this thing. Blessed is he who offered me first a greeting of peace, in order to merit this, as it is written, "'Peace, peace, both for far and near,' says Hashem" (Yeshayah 57:19). When I was far off, the Holy One, blessed be He, greeted me first in peace, MEANING HE INVITED ME to be near. Rabbi Aba announced about him, "Peace be both to you, and peace to your house, and peace to all that you have" (I Shmuel 25:6).
396. We have learned that Rabbi Yosi said: It is written, "I am Hashem" (Vayikra 18:30), MEANING I am Hashem, who will give good reward for the righteous in the World to Come. I am Hashem who will take revenge upon the wicked in the World to Come, MEANING upon those about whom it is written, "That have rebelled against Me" (Yeshayah 66:24). HE QUESTIONS: It is written, "I am Hashem," WHICH POINTS TO THE QUALITY OF MERCY and it is written, "I kill, and I make alive" (Devarim 32:39), WHICH POINTS TO THE QUALITY OF JUDGMENT. HE ANSWERS: Even though I have the quality of Mercy, the evildoers convert Me to the quality of Judgment. We have learned that Yud Hei Vav Hei Elohim is a full name. YUD HEI VAV HEI STANDS FOR MERCY AND ELOHIM FOR JUDGMENT, MEANING if they merit it, then it is Yud Hei Vav Hei. If they do not merit, it is Elohim. Rabbi Shimon said, The evildoers cause a defect above. What is the defect? It is, as we established, a real defect as explained EARLIER.
411. Rabbi Yosi found Rabbi Aba sitting and reading this verse, "Cast your burden upon Hashem" (Tehilim 55:23). "Upon" is exact, MEANING ABOVE HASHEM, ZEIR ANPIN. Sustenance is dependent on Mazal, THE BEARD OF ARICH ANPIN. Rabbi Yehuda used to read, "For (lit. 'upon') this (Heb. zot fem.) shall everyone that is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found" (Tehilim 32:6). "Upon Zot" surely, MEANING ABOVE MALCHUT CALLED ZOT, BEING TIFERET THAT IS ABOVE MALCHUT. "In a time...be found," we established that it REFERS TO A WOMAN. Yet "in a time...be found" is like the words, "Seek Hashem while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near" (Yeshayah 55:6), REFERRING TO THE TEN DAYS OF REPENTANCE. Another explanation for, "In a time...be found," MEANING when the rivers, THE LIGHTS OF BINAH, flow and are drawn continuously. The Patriarchs, BEING CHESED GVURAH TIFERET, receive and all are blessed, FOR EVERY PIOUS MAN SHOULD PRAY FOR THIS. What is meant by "the flood of great waters" (Tehilim 32:6)? HE ANSWERS: It is the depth of the springs and rivers, BEING ATIKA KADISHA, FROM WHICH ARE DRAWN THE LIGHTS AND SPRINGS TO BINAH. For who will merit it, and who will merit to come near and ascend there! This is what is meant by the verse, "The flood of great waters shall not come near him." It is because they are not worthy and not capable OF RECEIVING FROM ATIKA.
412. Rabbi Yitzchak said: It is written, "One thing have I desired of Hashem, that I will seek after...to behold the beauty of Hashem" (Tehilim 27:4). Blessed are the pious that numerous supernal treasures await them in that world, DENOTING BINAH, as the Holy One, blessed be He, delights in them in these worlds, as we have explained. FOR THEIR SAKE HE ASKED TO BEHOLD the beauty of Hashem. We have already learned THAT IT IS THE GLOW OF ATIKA THAT IS DRAWN IN BINAH. RABBI YITZCHAK DISPUTES WITH RABBI YEHUDA, WHO SAID THAT "THE FLOOD OF GREAT WATERS SHALL NOT COME NEAR HIM" REFERS TO THE LIGHTS OF ATIKA THAT CANNOT BE CONCEIVED. HOWEVER, THERE ARE SOME RIGHTEOUS WHO MERIT THIS TOO. Rabbi Chizkiyah says: From here, IT SEEMS THAT THERE ARE PIOUS WHO DO MERIT THE LIGHT OF ATIKA, as it is written, "Neither has the eye seen, that an Elohim, beside You, should do such a thing for him that waits for Him" (Yeshayah 64:3). HE ASKS, 'He should do:' It should have said, 'You should do,' SINCE IT WRITES "BESIDE YOU," A TERM OF SECOND PERSON. HE REPLIES: Rather, 'he should do' is exact, BECAUSE IT REFERS TO ATIKA. THEREFORE, HE SPEAKS IN TERMS OF THIRD PERSON. Similarly, "behold, I (lit. 'he') will add to your days fifteen years" (Yeshayah 38:5). IT SHOULD HAVE SAID, 'I WILL ADD,' SINCE IT PRECEDES IT WITH "BEHOLD (LIT. 'HERE I AM')." IT IS ONLY BECAUSE IT ALLUDES TO ATIKA, WHO IS NOT CONCEIVED TO BE HERE. THEREFORE, HE SAYS IN THIRD PERSON, "HE WILL ADD." IT IS BECAUSE LIFE IS DRAWN FROM MAZAL, MEANING FROM THE BEARD OF ATIKA. Similarly, "Cast your burden upon Hashem" MEANS ABOVE HASHEM, NAMELY MAZAL, FOR THIS IS A PRAYER FOR SUSTENANCE. It is also written, "And prayed to (lit. 'over') Hashem," ALSO REFERRING TO MAZAL THAT IS HIGHER ABOVE OF HASHEM, AS THIS PRAYER WAS FOR CHILDREN. Yet all is one, FOR IT IS ALL DRAWN FROM THE MAZAL, THE BEARD OF ATIKA KADISHA. THUS, IT IS POSSIBLE TO RECEIVE AND DRAW ABUNDANCE ALSO FROM ATIKA KADISHA, UNLIKE RABBI YEHUDA'S WORDS.