127. "And it came to pass, when the Ark set forward, that Moses said..." (Bemidbar 10:35). Rabbi Elazar said: Here we must observe the letter Nun נ that is inverted, FACING backward here in two places, MEANING THE LETTER NUN THAT STANDS BEFORE THE PASSAGE, "AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN THE ARK SET FORWARD..." AND AFTER IT. Why? One may think THAT IT ALLUDES to a bent Nun, as it is known that a bent Nun is female, MEANING MALCHUT, and the straight Nun includes both male and female, WHICH ARE ZEIR ANPIN AND MALCHUT. We explained here THE BENT NUN, ABOUT WHICH IS SAID: "and it came to pass, when the Ark set forward, THAT MOSES SAID, 'RISE UP, HASHEM';" THAT ON THE BENT NUN HE SAID, "RISE." YOU MAY SAY THAT THIS IS THE REASON, BOTH NUN'S WERE WRITTEN INVERTED, but IF SO, WHY WERE THEY turned again TO FACE FACING BACKWARD in this manner ?
128. Come and behold: no Nun is mentioned in THE ALPHABETICAL PRAISE, "happy are they who dwell in Your house" (Tehilim 84:5) because THE NUN, WHICH IS MALCHUT, is in exile. The friends have explained it, since it is written about her: "the virgin of Yisrael is fallen; she shall no more rise..." (Amos 5:2). However, it is written above: "and the Ark of the Covenant of Hashem went before them in the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them" (Bemidbar 10:33). As soon as the Ark traveled, the Nun was traveling above it, THAT IS MALCHUT, since the Shechinah was residing on the Ark. Come and behold the love of the Holy One, blessed be He, for Yisrael. Even though they diverged from the straight path, the Holy One, blessed be He, did not wish to forsake them. He always turns His face back to them, for had it not been so, they would never have been able to survive in the world.
129. Come and behold: the Ark was moving before of them on a three day journey. The Nun, INDICATING THE SHECHINAH, traveled along and did not leave it. Due to their love for Yisrael, He turned his face back TO YISRAEL, and She turned HERSELF around from the Ark - similar to a young deer that keeps turning her face back to the place she left when she goes forth. Therefore, when the Ark set forth, the Nun turned its face back towards Yisrael and the shoulders of its body towards the Ark.
130. Therefore, when the Ark traveled, Moses said, "Rise up, Hashem," MEANING: 'Do not forsake us, but turn Your face toward us.' Then the Nun turned its front backward to us like this , like one who turns his face to someone whom he loves. When the Ark began to rest, it turned back its face from Yisrael and turned ITS FACE toward the Ark. And it turned it completely.
131. Rabbi Shimon said: Elazar, certainly it is like that, THAT THERE NEED TO BE TWO NUN'S, INVERTED, PRECEDING AND FOLLOWING, AS YOU SAID. However, FOLLOWING THE VERSE: "AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN THE ARK SET FORWARD," MALCHUT did not turn her face away from Yisrael, MEANING THAT SHE DID NOT CEASE TO POUR HER BOUNTY FROM YISRAEL, AS RABBI ELAZAR SAID. If it had been so, then the Nun THAT IS WRITTEN would have been inverted like another NUN above, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF MALCHUT. This Nun is kept backwards, TOWARD YISRAEL, and that SUPERNAL one, WHICH IS MALCHUT, is in a straight line with the Ark, MEANING THAT SHE IS UNITED WITH ZEIR ANPIN. SINCE SHE IS PAIRED WITH ZEIR ANPIN, THEN MOST CERTAINLY SHE FACES YISRAEL AND NOT LIKE RABBI ELAZAR SAID.
132. It is definitely so THAT MALCHUT did not turn her face back FROM YISRAEL. What did she do when the Ark began to rest? Moses then said: "Return, Hashem" (Bemidbar 10:36), MEANING CEASE FROM THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH AND RETURN TO THE ILLUMINATION OF CHASSADIM OF ZEIR ANPIN. Then the Ark stayed, MEANING IT RESTED, and the Shechinah stood on the other side, MEANING ON THE RIGHT SIDE. She turns THAT face toward Yisrael and to the Ark, MEANING THAT SHE FACES THE ARK TO RECEIVE CHASSADIM FROM IT, AND FACES YISRAEL TO BESTOW THEM WITH CHASSADIM THAT SHE RECEIVES FROM THE ARK OF THE COVENANT. Everything is then contained in Her, both the Ark and Yisrael. Only later, Yisrael caused MALCHUT TO TURN HER BACK ON THEM, as it is written: "and when the people complained" (Bemidbar 11:1). THEREFORE, THE NUN IS INVERTED BETWEEN THE VERSES: "AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN THE ARK SET FORWARD," AND, "AND WHEN THE PEOPLE COMPLAINED."
133. Rabbi Elazar said: Whatever I said is derived from the book of Rabbi Yeba Saba (the elder), who said that THE NUN IS FACING backwards on both sides of the verse. PRECEDING, "AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN THE ARK SET FORWARD," THE FACE IS TURNED TO YISRAEL, AND FOLLOWING, "WHEN THE ARK..." IT REVERSES, TURNING ITS FACE TOWARDS THE ARK AND ITS BACK TOWARDS YISRAEL. He said to him that he said it properly, THAT THE WRITING OF THE NUN'S SHOULD BE SO. However, what I said, THAT IT TURNED ITS BACK TO YISRAEL, IS NOT DUE TO THE REASON OF REST BUT RATHER DUE TO THE REASON OF THE FOLLOWING VERSE: "AND WHEN THE PEOPLE COMPLAINED." You will find this in the book of Rav Hamnuna Saba (the elder), and it is most definitely so.