434. Rabbi Aba said, It is written, "Is Hashem among us, or not?" (Shemot 17:7). Was Yisrael fools, who did not know this? Did they not see the Shechinah before them, and the clouds of Glory that surrounded them, that they said, "Is Hashem among us, or not?" These are people who saw the shine of the majesty of their King by the sea. And we have learned that a maidservant saw at the sea what the prophet Ezekiel never saw. It seems that they turned to be fools to say, "Is Hashem among us or not (Heb. ayin)?"
435. HE ANSWERS, But this is what Rabbi Shimon said. They wanted to discern between the most concealed Atik of all, WHICH IS KETER, which is called 'Ayin ('naught')' and Zeir Anpin, which is called 'Yud Hei Vav Hei.' Therefore, it is not written, 'If Hashem is among us or no' as it is written, "Whether they will follow My Torah, or no" (Shemot 16:4), but rather, "Is Hashem among us or not (Heb. ayin)?"
436. HE ASKS, If so, why were they punished? HE ANSWERS, Because they caused a separation BETWEEN ATIK AND ZEIR ANPIN, and they did it by testing, as it is written, "Because they tempted (also: 'tested') Hashem." Said Yisrael: 'If the one is AMONG US we will ask in one form, and if that one, then we will ask in another form.' Therefore, immediately, "Then came Amalek" (Shemot 17:8).