140. Midrash Hane'elam (Homiletical interpretations on the obscure). "And Abraham was old, advanced in age" (Beresheet 24:1). We learned in the Mishnah, Rabbi Elazar said, In any case, this Mishnah well EXPLAINS THE VERSE, "Behold one ofan (wheel) upon the earth by the living creatures, with its four faces" (Yechezkel 1:15). It becomes a Neshamah as said in the earlier Mishnah. THUS, ALTHOUGH OFAN (WHEEL) IS ALWAYS A NAME OF THE NEFESH, THE MISHNAH STATES THAT THE OFAN IN THIS VERSE BECAME A NESHAMAH AGAIN. THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT THIS FACT, AND THE EXPLANATION IS ACCURATE, BUT THE MISHNAH DOES NOT EXPLAIN WHY.
141. Rabbi Aba responded, Tell us, sir, about this Mishnah. What is it? He replied, THE HIDDEN MEANING OF THE VERSE, "BEHOLD ONE WHEEL UPON THE EARTH," AS EXPLAINED IN THE MISHNAH, IS THAT THE OFAN BECOMES A NESHAMAH. This was also explained in another section - the one about the thirteen divine attributes of mercy. But here we have to explain THIS PORTION. He began with the verse, "My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother" (Shir Hashirim 6:9), FOR THIS VERSE ALLUDES TO THE NESHAMAH. Rabbi Elazar asks, Why do we refer to it here in Shir Hashirim as a female, NAMELY "MY DOVE, SHE...IS BUT ONE," but in the Torah we refer to it as male, NAMELY ABRAHAM?
142. Rabbi Elazar said, In Torah, THE SOUL is male in relation to the body because the body to the soul is like a woman to a man. In relation to a higher grade, the soul is as a female to a male. Each receives its grade according to the context. THEREFORE, IN THE SONG OF SONGS, WHEN THE KING OF PEACE TALKS OF THE SOUL, BEING OF A HIGHER GRADE, IT IS THEREFORE CONSIDERED AS A FEMALE AND CALLED, "MY DOVE, MY UNDEFILED..." BUT IN TORAH, THE SOUL IS IN ITSELF AND IS THEREFORE REFERRED TO AS A MALE, NAMELY ABRAHAM.
143. It was taught in the Mishnah that, four times an hour every day, Eden drips upon the garden. The result of these drops is a river which separates into four branches. Each day, 48 drops fall on the seventy trees in the garden, as it is written, "The trees of Hashem have their fill" (Tehilim 104:15). Rabbi Tanchum said, It is written, "He waters the hills from His upper chambers" (Ibid. 13). What is his upper chamber? It is Eden. And where is Eden? Rabbi Yehuda said, It is above Aravot (sweet firmament). Rabbi Yosi said that it is in Aravot, where are found the treasures of good life, blessing and peace, and the souls of the righteous, as was taught. This is the upper chamber, while the Garden of Eden is lower, and an earthly garden is in apposition and draws from it daily.
144. Rabbi Abahu said that 48 prophets stood for Yisrael. Each one took his share, which was the essence of one drop from the drops of Eden. If every prophet who took one drop had the grade of the holy spirit, this was more true for Adam, who received the 48 drops. From this, you learn the scope of his wisdom.
145. Rabbi Bo said that Rabbi Kahana asks, Where did the prophets get these drops? We learned each drop that comes out of Eden includes the spirit of wisdom. Therefore, it was decreed that there is water that raises wise men and water that raises fools. This water that drops from Eden raises wise ones.
146. Rabbi Yosi said, So the water containing the drops comes from the most ancient of four rivers, as it is written, "The name of the first is Pishon" (Beresheet 2:11). Why is it written, "the name of the first is Pishon?" Pishon is different from the rest because it flows into the land of Egypt. Therefore, the wisdom of Egypt is greater than that of the rest of the world.
147. When it was decreed that the wisdom of Egypt was lost, the Holy One, blessed be He, took the drops and threw them across the garden into the river of the Garden of Eden, as it is written, "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden" (Beresheet 2:10). AND WHEN THE DROPS, WHICH REMAIN IN THE GARDEN, WERE TAKEN FROM EGYPT, WISDOM WAS GONE FROM EGYPT. It separated into four other rivers, of which the most special was Pishon. Wisdom was thus lost in Egypt when the drops were taken from Egypt and left in the garden.
148. Every prophet was sucking from that spirit that came out of Eden. This is the meaning of "walking in the garden in the breeze of the day" (Beresheet 3:8). It is stored in the Garden of Eden for the future. This is the river that Ezekiel saw in his prophecy. Therefore the scripture reads, "For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Hashem" (Yeshayah 11:9), as this water always causes the knowledge in the world to increase.
149. The sages said that the souls of all the righteous are above in Eden, and wisdom is strengthened in the world because of what descends from Eden. How much more so for every one of those who stand in it and take their fill of its pleasure and brightness.