250. Another explanation OF THE VERSE "And from thence it was parted, and branched into four streams" IS THAT IT IS THE SECRET OF the four SAGES: BEN AZAI, BEN ZOMA, THE OTHER ONE AND RABBI AKIVA, who entered the pardes (orchard). THE HEBREW WORD PARDES CONSISTS OF THE INITIALS OF THE WORDS PESHAT (THE LITERAL MEANING OF THE TORAH), REMEZ (HINTS AND ALLUSIONS), DRASH (HOMILETICAL INTERPRETATION) AND SOD (ESOTERIC INTERPRETATION). One OF THE FOUR SAGES entered THE RIVER OF Pishon, WHICH ALLUDES TO THE PESHAT (LITERAL MEANING) OF THE TORAH THAT SHINES IN THE ORCHARD, as Pishon is composed of Pi-Shoneh- (lit. 'My mouth repeats') Halachah, which is the literal meaning. The second entered THE RIVER OF Gichon, where is buried the one of which it is written: "Whatever goes on the belly" (Heb. gachon) (Vayikra 11:42). THIS REFERS TO MOSES, WHO IS THE SECRET OF THE LETTER VAV OF GACHON, WHICH IS BIG AND IS THE LETTER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TORAH. THIS IS ALSO THE ASPECT OF Gabriel THAT CONSISTS OF THE LETTERS Gavar El, THE GVURAH OF EL. Of him it is written: "To a man (Heb. gever) whose way is hidden, and from whom Eloha has screened Himself" (Iyov 3:23), MEANING THAT THE REASON FOR HIM HIDING HIS WAYS AND NOT REVEALING HIMSELF IN FULL IS BECAUSE "ELOHA HAS SCREENED HIMSELF" AND NOT BECAUSE OF MOSES'S DEFICIENCY. THIS IS WHY no man knew the place of his burial - nor will until the very day when he will be revealed there. THIS IS BECAUSE THE PLACE OF THE DEFECT IS THE PLACE OF BURIAL AND, BECAUSE THERE WAS NO DEFECT IN HIM, NOBODY KNEW WHERE HE WAS BURIED. ONLY AT THE END OF CORRECTION, AFTER MOSES'S PREFECTION IS REVEALED, WILL THE DEFICIENCY BE DISTINGUISHED BY THE PERFECTION THAT WILL BE REVEALED. THIS IS THE SECRET OF THE PLACE OF HIS BURIAL. This is the part of remez (hints) OF THE TORAH, and wise men ARE INFORMED by hints.
251. The third OF THE FOUR SAGES entered the Chiddekel, WHICH CONSISTS OF THE LETTERS Chet-Dalet Kof-Lamed, which ALLUDES TO a sharp (Heb. chad), FAULTLESS tongue that is quick (Heb. kal) in giving homiletical explanations. The fourth OF THE FOUR SAGES entered the Prat (Euphrates), which is the innermost stream, where procreation (Heb. priyah) occurs, AS THE SEED IS DRAWN OUT OF THE INNERMOST (BRAIN). So ben Zoma and ben Azai, who entered the shells of the Torah, were affected by them, but Rabbi Akiva, who entered the inner part OF THE TORAH, is said to have entered and come out in peace.
252. Rabbi Elazar said: Father, one day when we were in the Torah academy, the friends asked why Rabbi Akiva said to his disciples: When you reach the pure marble stones, do not say 'Water, water,' or you may endanger yourselves, as it is written, "He that tells lies shall not remain in My sight" (Tehilim 101:7). In the meantime, the most ancient among the old came down. CHOCHMAH AND BINAH ARE CALLED 'ANCIENT' AND KETER, WHICH IS ABOVE CHOCHMAH AND BINAH, IS CALLED 'MOST ANCIENT AMONG THE ANCIENT.' AND THIS IS THE SECRET OF THE SOUL OF YECHIDAH THAT SHALL BE REVEALED IN THE WORLD AT THE END OF CORRECTION. He asks them: Sirs, what issues are you studying? They replied: Indeed WE ARE DISCUSSING what Rabbi Akiva said to his disciples about the pure marble stones. He said to them: Most certainly, here is a sublime secret, for it has been explained in the celestial Yeshivah. In order for you not to misunderstand THIS SECRET, I have come down TO CLARIFY IT. The reason is that this secret, which is concealed from the people of your generation, is already known to you. IN OTHER WORDS, BECAUSE THIS SECRET, WHICH IS HIDDEN FROM THE OTHER PEOPLE OF YOUR GENERATION, HAS BEEN REVEALED TO YOU, THA IT IS NOW POSSIBLE TO EXPLAIN IT TO YOU IN FULL.
255. Because of this, Rabbi Akiva said to his disciples, 'When you reach the pure marble stones, do not say, 'Water, water'. THIS MEANS THAT you should not compare the pure marble stones to the other stones that represent life and death, whence: "A wise man's heart inclines him to his right hand, but a fool's heart is to his left" (Kohelet 10:2). Not only that, but you may endanger yourselves, because these STONES OF THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL are in a state of separation, while the pure marble stones are in a state of unity without any separation. You may say, that when the Tree of Life departed from them AT THE TIME OF THE SIN OF THE CALF, they fell AND BROKE, and therefore they were separated from each other. BUT THEN, "he that tells lies shall not remain in My sight," because there is no separation between them above. For those that broke were of those FROM THE PURE MARBLE STONES. THEREFORE, THERE IS NO SEPARATION BETWEEN THEM, JUST AS WITH THE PURE MARBLE STONES. IT IS AS IF THEY NEVER WERE BROKEN. They approched him to kiss him, but he flew away and was gone from them.