1. "And Hashem spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 'This is the ordinance of the Torah which Hashem has commanded'" (Bemidbar 19:1-2). Rabbi Yosi opened the discussion saying: "and this is the Torah which Moses set before the children of Yisrael" (Devarim 4:44). Come and behold: the words of the Torah are holy, lofty, and sweet, as it is written: "more to be desired are they than gold, and much fine gold: sweeter also than honey..." (Tehilim 19:11). It is as if whoever studies the Torah stands every day at Mount Sinai and receives the Torah. This is what it says: "this day you are become a people" (Devarim 27:9). And the friends have already set the explanation.
2. It is written here: "this is the ordinance of the Torah," and it is also, "and this is the Torah," BUT IT IS NOT WRITTEN, 'THE ORDINANCE.' What is the difference between this and that? HE RESPONDS: It is a lofty secret and that is what we learned. The words, "and this is the Torah," are to show that all is in one unison and to unite the Congregation of Yisrael, THAT IS MALCHUT, with the Holy One, blessed be He, THAT IS ZEIR ANPIN, so that all will be one. Therefore, "and this is the Torah." Why is there the addition of "and" (Heb. Vav), TO "this?'' It is only to show that as we are taught, all is one without division. The words, "and this," indicate the general and the particular, NAMELY male and female combined together, SINCE VAV IS MALE, THAT IS ZEIR ANPIN, WHICH IS GENERAL - AND "THIS" IS FEMALE, MEANING MALCHUT, WHICH IS PARTICULAR. Therefore, it is assuredly WRITTEN: "and this is the Torah," TO INDICATE ZEIR ANPIN AND THE NUKVA IN ONE UNISON. However, "this," without the additional Vav is specifically the ordinance of the Torah, WHICH IS MALCHUT THAT IS CONSIDERED THE ORDINANCE. AND it EMANATES FROM ZEIR ANPIN, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE TORAH, but is not the Torah ITSELF, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN. It is ONLY the law of the Torah, the decree of Torah, WHICH IS MALCHUT.
3. Come and behold: IT IS WRITTEN, "this is that which belongs to the Levites" (Bemidbar 8:24). It is not WRITTEN, 'and this,' WITH A VAV, since they emerge from the side of Judgment, WHICH IS FROM THE LEFT SIDE AND FROM THE SIDE OF MALCHUT THAT IS ERECTED FROM THE LEFT, and not from the angle of Compassion, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN. THEREFORE, "THIS" IT IS WRITTEN WITHOUT A VAV, MEANING MALCHUT WITHOUT ZEIR ANPIN. Rabbi Yehuda said: Yet it is written, "and this do to them, that they may live" (Bemidbar 4:19). Here, "THIS" IS WITH A VAV, and it is said about the Levites, and yet you say THAT THE LEVITES ARE THE ASPECT OF "this," and not of, "and this." He said to him: It is most certainly so, THAT THEY ARE IN THE ASPECT OF, "AND THIS." The scripture proves that whoever holds on to deadly poison spices but does not blend into it life-giving spices will certainly die. Therefore, IT IS WRITTEN: "And this do to them, that they may live," MEANING THAT "THIS," WHICH IS THE SECRET OF MALCHUT, CONSIDERED THE TREE OF DEATH, SHOULD JOIN WITH VAV, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, THE TREE OF LIFE. "...And not die..." (Ibid.) This is because the spice of life is mixed with it. THEREFORE, "and this do to them, that they may live, and not die," since they require, "and this," and not 'this.' THEREFORE, the verse: "and this is the Torah," INDICATES that it really is actually in one union, a union of total perfection, male and female in one inclusion; THAT IS THE SECRET OF Vav-Hei. However, "this," ALONE WITHOUT THE VAV, is a Hei alone WITHOUT A VAV, THAT IS, MALCHUT WITHOUT ZEIR ANPIN. About this, it IS WRITTEN: "this is the ordinance of the Torah."
4. Rabbi Shimon, Rabbi Aba, Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Yitzchak were in the house of Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair. Rabbi Pinchas spoke to Rabbi Shimon saying: I beg of you, you who are appointed from above, to speak openly about that which no other person was permitted to speak. Say something new about this passage. He said to him: Which passage is it? He said to him: "This is the ordinance of the Torah" (Bemidbar 19:2). He said to him: Here are the other friends, let them speak. He told his son, Rabbi Elazar: Elazar, stand up and say something about this passage. Then the friends will speak after you.
5. Rabbi Elazar stood up and spoke: "Now this was the custom in former times in Yisrael concerning redeeming and concerning exchanging, to confirm..." (Rut 4:7). This scriptural verse must be studied carefully. If the earlier ones have made this consensual agreement, TO BUY EVERYTHING THROUGH A SHOE, according to the law of Torah, and the latter ones came and voided it, WE MUST INQUIRE why it was made void. Is not one who abrogates any matter in the Torah considered as if he destroys the whole world? If it is not a Torah law but merely an agreed consensus, THE QUESTION IS why SPECIFICALLY a shoe was used here, AND NOT ANY OTHER METHOD.
6. HE RESPONDS: It was most certainly according to the law of the Torah, and it was done with a lofty secret. Because the earlier were pious and just, this matter was revealed and known among them. And when the wicked increased in the world, this matter was accomplished in a different manner, in order to cover these matters which are in accordance with a lofty secret.
7. Come and behold: it is written, "and he said, 'Do not come near: put off your shoes from off your feet...'" (Shemot 3:5). HE ASKS: Why is the shoe specifically mentioned here? HE RESPONDS: It is the way we were taught, that He commanded him to separate from his wife and join another woman of the light of the holy up high, which is the Shechinah.
8. That shoe is explained in another place; it is explained THAT WHOEVER TAKES IT passes THE ONE WHO GIVES IT from this world and installs him in another world. Consequently, everything that the dead one grants to a person in his dream is beneficial. However, if he takes any utensil from the house, it is harmful, for example, if he takes his shoe. What is the reason, since THAT INDICATES that he passed his foot, which gives standing support to the person, from this world and gathered him to another world to the place where the dead one dwells. A SHOE ALLUDES TO HIS LEG, WHICH GIVES HIM DURABLE SUPPORT, as it is written: "how beautiful are your feet in the sandals, O prince's daughter" (Shir Hashirim 7:3). The secret of the matter is among the friends.
9. That is so, that when the dead one takes it, IT INDICATES THAT HE PASSES HIM ON TO THE PLACE OF DEATH. However, when the living one draws off his shoe and gives it to another person in order to maintain a transaction, he carries this out by the decree of the above, WHICH MEANS THAT IT WAS DECREED THAT THE POSSESSION SHOULD PASS ON FROM THIS ONE'S PROPERTY TO THAT ONE'S PROPERTY. The removal of the shoe in the ritual of Chalitzah (removal of the sandal in the law of levirate marriage) is another shoe in the likeness of the above, THAT IS, AS HE EXPLAINS FURTHER, all is one secret meaning.
10. Come and behold: when this dead one departs from the world without children, this prince's daughter, WHICH IS MALCHUT, does not gather that person to her. He goes about loitering and wandering in the world, because he cannot find a place. The Holy One, blessed be He, has mercy on him and commands his brother to redeem him, so that he shall return and be restored in other dust, MEANING THAT HE SHALL INCARNATE, as it is written: "and man shall return to dust" (Iyov 34:15). And this has already been explained.