1. "And Hashem spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron... and Hashem said to Moses" (Vayikra 16:1). Rabbi Yehuda comments: Since the verse says, "And Hashem spoke to Moses," what need is there to repeat "and Hashem said to Moses, Speak to your brother Aaron...?" The first statement should have sufficed. HE ANSWERS: We learn that it is written, "And Hashem (lit. 'He') called to Moses and (lit. 'Hashem') spoke to him" (Vayikra 1:1) and also, "And He said to Moses, Come up to Hashem" (Shemot 24:1). It has already been established that the discourse here, NAMELY "AND HE CALLED TO MOSES" OR "AND HE SAID TO MOSES" represents one level, NAMELY MALCHUT. Afterwards, the words, "AND HASHEM SPOKE TO HIM" OR "COME UP TO HASHEM" represent another level, NAMELY ZEIR ANPIN. Here too in our text, "And Hashem spoke to Moses" represents one level, NAMELY THE LEVEL OF JUDGMENT REFERRED TO AS 'SPEAKING,' and afterwards the verse, "And Hashem said to Moses, Speak to your brother Aaron" represents another level, NAMELY THE QUALITY OF MERCY REFERRED TO AS 'SAYING.' IN BOTH INSTANCES THE NAME YUD HEI VAV HEI IS MENTIONED, which reveals that they carry one equal scale and all are joined from one source. THIS MEANS THAT BOTH LEVELS, JUDGMENT AND MERCY, ARE OF ONE SCALE FROM ONE SOURCE, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN REFERRED TO AS YUD HEI VAV HEI.
11. The firstborn Nadab stands on his own merits and Abihu rests on his own, AND FOLLOWING THEM ELAZAR AND ITAMAR ARE READ AS JOINED TOGETHER TO TEACH that each one OF NADAB AND ABIHU are considered in the eyes OF SCRIPTURE as both Elazar and Itamar TOGETHER. But BOTH Nadab and Abihu by themselves are each considered equal to the seventy members of the Sanhedrin who served before Moses. For this reason, their deaths atoned for Yisrael. Therefore, it is written, "But let your brethren, the whole house of Yisrael bewail the burning" (Vayikra 10:6). Rabbi Shimon said: THEREFORE THE VERSE SPECIFIES "Nadab the firstborn," meaning he is the one that all acclaim and praise are his. How much more so with Nadab and Abihu TOGETHER, because these two have no equal among all Yisrael.
12. "And Hashem spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron" (Vayikra 16:1): Rabbi Chizkiyah opened the discussion saying, "Therefore, thus says Hashem concerning the house of Jacob, who redeemed Abraham..." (Yeshayah 29:22). This verse is troublesome. It should read, 'Therefore, thus says Hashem, who redeemed Abraham.' Why does it say "Therefore, thus says Hashem concerning the house of Jacob, who redeemed Abraham?"
30. "And Hashem said to Moses, Speak to Aaron your brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place" (Vayikra 16:2). Rabbi Shimon said, "All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full..." (Kohelet 1:7). Rabbi Shimon said: I wonder about people, that they have no eyes to see, no heart to observe, they do not know, or pay attention to the wishes of their Master. How asleep they are and do not awaken before the day will come when thick darkness will cover them; the owner of the deposit will demand his due accounting from them.
38. We have learned that AFTER THE DEATHS OF THE SONS OF AARON, Moses was seeking from the Holy One, blessed be He, this matter, WHICH IS CHESED. MOSES said to Him: If people return in repentance to You, by whom will they be blessed? The Holy One, blessed be He, replied: 'You are speaking to Me? "Speak to Aaron your brother," for in his hands are given the blessings for above and below,' FOR HE IS THE CHARIOT FOR CHESED, AS MENTIONED ABOVE.
39. "And Hashem said to Moses, Speak to Aaron your brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place" (Vayikra 16:2). Rabbi Aba said: There are times before the Holy One, blessed be He, when His goodwill is found, blessings are available and one may ask petitions. There are other times when His graciousness is unavailable, blessings are not forthcoming and harsh decrees are aroused in the world. There are times when Judgment is impending. There are times during the year when graciousness is present and there are times during the year when decrees are present. There are other times when Judgment is present but is impending, MEANING TO SAY THE JUDGMENT IS HELD IN ABEYANCE TO FRIGHTEN THE WORLD, BUT IT IS NOT YET IN EFFECT. There are also times during the month when graciousness is to be found and times when Judgments are present and impending over everything.
51. "For I appear in the cloud upon the ark cover" (Vayikra 16:2). Rabbi Yehuda said: Fortunate are the righteous, whom the Holy One, blessed be He, delights to honor. We have learned about a king of flesh and blood, that if someone rides on his horse, he has committed a capital offense. However, the Holy One, blessed be He, placed Elijah on His own, as it is written, "And Elijah went up by a storm of wind into heaven" (II Melachim 2:11) AND IT IS WRITTEN, "HASHEM ANSWERED JOB OUT OF THE STORM" (IYOV 38:1). It is written: here "that he die not: for I appear in the cloud upon the ark cover." The Holy One, blessed be He, brought Moses into the cloud, as it says, "And Moses went into the midst of the cloud" (Shemot 24:18), meaning into the midst of the cloud, DENOTING MALCHUT. IT IS WITHIN THE SAME CLOUD, OF WHICH IT SAYS, "For I appear in the cloud upon the ark cover." This is the meaning of, "And Hashem will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion and upon its assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day" (Yeshayah 4:5), "For the cloud of Hashem was upon the tabernacle by day" (Shemot 40:38). ALL THESE CLOUDS HINT AT MALCHUT.
68. Rabbi Elazar rose and opened the discussion saying, "And Hashem spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron..." (Vayikra 16:1). This verse needs introspection, for it appears that it is superfluous, as it writes afterwards, "And Hashem said to Moses, Speak to Aaron your brother." Now WE SHOULD ASK, if at the beginning of the portion, in the first verse, it says, "And Hashem spoke to Moses," what did He say to him, SEEING THAT afterwards it is written, "And Hashem said to Moses?"
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.
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?
100. Rabbi Aba opened the discussion with the verse, "While the king was reclining at his board, my nard sent forth its fragrance" (Shir Hashirim 1:12). This verse has been explained by the friends. When the Holy One, blessed be He, was ready and present on Mount Sinai to give Torah to Yisrael, "my nard sent forth its fragrance," as Yisrael emitted a wonderful fragrance that has shielded them for countless generations. This was what they said then, "All that Hashem has said will we do, and obey" (Shemot 24:7). Another explanation of, "While the King was reclining at his board:" While Moses went up to receive the Torah from the Holy One, blessed be He, which was engraved within the two tablets of stone, Yisrael deserted that wonderful fragrance that crowned them and said to the golden calf, "These are your Elohim, Yisrael" (Shemot 32:4).
167. Afterwards, Moses wanted to know the details of the matter. Then THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, explained it to him, "THUS SHALL YOU SAY TO THE CHILDREN OF YISRAEL, Eheyeh" (Shemot 3:14). THIS NAME is specific TO YISRAEL-SABA AND TEVUNAH. Therefore, it is not written here: 'Asher Eheyeh.' I have found in the book of King Solomon that "Asher" MEANS the chamber, BINAH, is in connection with Eden, DENOTING CHOCHMAH, when in the exalted knot, as it is written, "Happy am I (Heb. oshri), for the daughters will call me blessed" (Beresheet 30:13). ALSO HERE, "ASHER" IS DERIVED FROM HAPPY, "Eheyeh" MEANS prepared to give birth.
168. Come and see how it came down from level to level in order to tell the secret of the Holy Name to Moses. At first there was "Eheyeh," which comprises everything in general. It is hidden and not revealed at all, BEING SUPERNAL ABA AND IMA as I have said. This is understood from, "Then I was (Eheyeh) by Him as a nursling" (Mishlei 8:30), and, "Man cannot know its price" (Iyov 28:13). FOR CHOCHMAH, BEING THE SECRET OF THE SUPERNAL ABA AND IMA, ARE CONCEALED AND IT IS WRITTEN ABOUT THEM, "MAN CANNOT KNOW ITS PRICE," AS CHOCHMAH IS HIDDEN WITHIN THEM AND NOT KNOWN AT ALL. Afterwards, SUPERNAL ABA AND IMA caused the river, which is supernal Ima, to emanate, and it became pregnant and was about to give birth. Then the verse says, "Asher Eheyeh," MEANING I am prepared to give birth and correct everything. Following this, she begins to give birth. THEN, it is not written: 'Asher,' BECAUSE AT THE TIME OF BIRTH THE HEAVENLY PAIR IS SEPARATED AS MENTIONED, but "Eheyeh" which means that now it will produce and give birth and everything will be corrected.
169. After everything had emerged and each one was established in its proper place, MEANING AFTER ZEIR ANPIN WAS BORN AND CAME BELOW TO ITS PLACE, He forsook everything, MEANING ALL THE ABOVE MENTIONED NAMES, and said Yud Hei Vav Hei. This is a detail, MEANING THE SPECIFIC GRADE OF ZEIR ANPIN UNCONNECTED TO IMA. This is sustenance, MEANING ZEIR ANPIN THAT MOCHIN REFERRED TO AS SUSTENANCE. At that moment, Moses became aware of the secret of the Holy Name, the concealed and the revealed. He became attached as no other human LIKE HIM had. How fortunate is his lot. Rabbi Elazar approached and kissed his hands.
211. Ra'aya Meheimna (the Faithful Shepherd). The Faithful Shepherd, NAMELY THE SOUL OF MOSES, said, at that time, BEFORE THE COMING OF MESSIAH, the Mishnah scholars, sages of supernal wisdom, scholars of Kabbalah, scholars of the secrets in the Torah, will have a time of hardship, AS THEY HAVE NOTHING TO SUPPORT THEM. This is the meaning of, "As the hart (Heb. ayal) pants after the water brooks" (Tehilim 42:2) as they, NAMELY THE SAGES MENTIONED EARLIER, are springs of water of Torah flowing to the Shechinah, AS TORAH IS REFERRED TO AS WATER. Torah is the central pillar, MEANING ZEIR ANPIN, THE CENTRAL COLUMN. These springs of water, NAMELY THE SAGES MENTIONED EARLIER FROM WHICH COMES FORTH TORAH MEANING WATER, are in distress, in sadness and in poverty. These are the pains and distresses of the one who has given birth, namely the Shechinah, as it is written in regard to Her, "And let her who bore you rejoice" (Mishlei 23:25). She will be in those labor pains, MEANING with their distress OF THE SCHOLARS OF WISDOM AND TORAH, AS MENTIONED, AS THEIR AGONY IS CONSIDERED AS THE LABOR PAINS OF THE SHECHINAH.
302. Come and see: It is written, "And this is the Torah which Moses set before the children of Yisrael" (Devarim 4:44). "Before the children of Yisrael" he set it, but not before the other nations, so for this reason, speak to the children of Yisrael. "You shall say to the children of Yisrael" (Vayikra 20:2), and it is so in all places, ONLY TO YISRAEL. May they rest, the fathers of the world, Hillel and Shamai, who spoke so to Onkelos, but they did not reveal Torah topics to him until he was circumcised.
355. Come and see: SHE, THE RED COW, is actually called Batsheba according to the secret of wisdom, DENOTING MALCHUT NAMED COW FROM HER LEFT ASPECT, AS THE MALE IS CALLED AN OX AND THE FEMALE A COW. SHE IS RED DUE TO GVUROT. That is why everything referring to her is in sevens, FOR IN THE CHAPTER THERE IS MENTION OF cow seven TIMES; ALSO, seven burnings, seven sprinkles, seven washings, seven unclean, seven clean and seven priests with Moses and Aaron included in the count of seven. THEY ARE ALSO CALLED PRIESTS, as it is written IN THE CHAPTER, "And Hashem spoke to Moses and Aaron..." (Bemidbar 19:2). That man that spoke of Batsheba (lit. 'daughter of seven') spoke very well. All this pertains to the secret of wisdom.
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.