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.
7. Rabbi Chiya said: One day I was traveling to Rabbi Shimon to be taught by him the laws of the Pesach (Passover). I encountered a mountain and I saw clefts and cavities in one rock, and two men were in there. As I approached, I heard the voices of these people who were saying, "A song, a psalm for the sons of Korah, Great is Hashem and highly to be praised..." (Tehilim 48:1-2). Why "A song, a psalm?" HE ANSWERS: Thus do we learn on behalf of Rabbi Shimon: The song is two-fold, NAMELY A SONG AND A PSALM, and since it is a better song than other songs, it is named "song" twice. Similarly, "A psalm, a poem for the Shabbat day" (Tehilim 92:1), MEANING THAT IT IS MORE PRAISEWORTHY THAN OTHER SONGS. In the same fashion, "the song of songs which is Solomon's" (Shir Hashirim 1:1), INDICATING a song that stands above all other songs.
8. ALSO HERE, WHERE IT IS WRITTEN, "A song, a psalm," THIS SONG IS SUPERIOR TO OTHERS. It is a song describing the Holy One, blessed be He, which the sons of Korah were singing about those who were dwelling in the doorway of Gehenom. Who were THE SONS OF KORAH? They were the brothers of those residing at the gates of Gehenom, AS THE HOLY SAGES COMMENT ON THE VERSE, "THE SONS OF KORAH DID NOT DIE" (BEMIDBAR 26:11), BUT A PLACE WAS SET FOR THEM IN GEHENOM. As a result, this song was recited on Monday IN THE TEMPLE. I approached them and said to them: What are you doing in this place? They replied: We are merchants, but twice weekly we leave our community to study Torah here because IN THE SETTLEMENT, WE ARE DISTURBED EACH DAY by people and they do not allow us TO STUDY TORAH. I replied to them: How fortunate is your lot.
47. The oil was then poured from level to level among the levels that are called the Holy Name, WHICH IS MALCHUT, and the verse then reads, "For your flowing oil you are renowned: therefore do the virgins love you" (Ibid.). What is meant by "virgins" (Heb. alamot)? It is worlds (Heb. olamot), as we mentioned, actual worlds. INASMUCH AS THE OIL POURS TO MALCHUT CALLED NAME, ALL WORLDS RECEIVE FROM HER. Another explanation for alamot is as it is written, "A song to Alamot" (Tehilim 46:1), MEANING GRADES REPRESENTING ASPECTS OF CHASSADIM THAT IS REFERRED TO AS ALOMOT, DERIVED FROM THE WORD HE'ALEM (LIT. 'HIDDEN'). It all comes to the same thing. THE WORD OLAMOT (LIT. 'WORLDS') ALSO COMES FROM THEIR BEING CONCEALED.
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."
54. HE QUESTIONS: What song did they sing? HE ANSWERS, "For Hashem is great, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all Elohim" (Tehilim 96:4). THEY SAID this when they raised their wings, WHICH IS THE ASPECT OF THE RIGHT COLUMN, MEANING CHESED TERMED "GREAT." When they spread them, they would say, "For all the Elohim of the nations are idols: but Hashem made the heavens" (Ibid. 5). THIS IS THE ASPECT OF THE LEFT COLUMN THAT SUBDUES THE ENTIRE OTHER SIDE. When they covered the ark cover, they would say, "Before Hashem; for He comes to judge the earth: with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity" (Tehilim 98:9). THIS IS THE ASPECT OF THE CENTRAL COLUMN DENOTING TIFERET, REFERRED TO AS JUSTICE.
55. When the priest heard their voices in the Temple, he placed the incense in its right place and meditated on something, in order that the blessing should flow to all. The wings of the Cherubs were moving up and down, singing and covering the ark. Then they would raise them. This is the meaning of "overspreading." "Overspreading" is exact. Where do we derive that their voices were heard? NAMELY from the verse, "I heard the noise of their wings" (Yechezkel 1:24).
151. When the period of twilight is activated and all 1,590 tens of thousands of lamenters are singing praise, there is appointed upon them one chief named Yedutun, who counters YEDUTUN from below MENTIONED IN TEHILIM. Beneath him chief officials are appointed to improve that song, as the verse states, "The song of tyrants" (Yeshayah 25:5), WHICH REFERS TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THE WICKED, AS EVEN THEIR MELODIES DEVASTATE THE WICKED. IN YEDUTUN ARE THE LETTERS OF YAD (ENG. 'HAND') AND YADUN (ENG. 'HE WILL JUDGE'), WHICH INDICATES THAT HE IS FROM THE LEFT HAND AND THAT JUDGMENTS STEM FROM HIM.
155. We have learned that all those toiling in Torah in the middle of the night join with the Shechinah. When the morning arrives and the Queen, NAMELY THE SHECHINAH, joins with the King, ZEIR ANPIN, they too are with the King, and the King spreads His wings over all of them. This is the meaning of, "Yet Hashem will command His steadfast love in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me" (Tehilim 42:9).
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.
243. Rabbi Yehuda opened the discussion saying, "A song of ascent. Out of the depths I have cried to You, Hashem" (Tehilim 130:1). We have learned that when the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world, He wanted to create man. He took counsel in the Torah. She said before Him: You wish to create this man, he will sin before you. He will anger You and, if You react to him according to his deeds, the world then will not survive before You, certainly not man. THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, said to her, "Am I for no reason called an "El, merciful and graciously long-suffering" (Shemot 34:6).