53. "Aaron shall be gathered to his people" (Bemidbar 20:24). Rabbi Chiya opened the discussion with the verse: "so I praised the dead that are already dead..." (Kohelet 4:2). We have learned this verse and it has been explained. Come and behold: all the deeds of the Holy One, blessed be He, are according to Justice and Truth. There exists no one that can present Him with ANY DIFFICULTIES, and object to it, and say to Him: 'What are you doing?' And He accomplished everything as He wished.
54. "So I praised the dead." HE ASKS: Does King Solomon then praise the dead more than the living? Here, nobody is considered living unless he is on a true path in this world, as it says, "And Benaiah ben Jehoiada, the son of a valiant (lit. 'living') man" (II Shmuel 23:20). The friends have explained this. The wicked one who does not follow the true path is considered dead, YET KING SOLOMON praises the dead more than the living ones.
55. Most definitely, all the words of King Solomon were said with wisdom and here we were taught, "so I praised the dead." If nothing more had been written, I would have said so, THAT HE PRAISES THE DEAD ONES MORE THAN THE LIVING, but since it is already written, "that are already dead," we find here another gem of wisdom. "...That are already dead..." MEANS that they have already died at a different time and that they have already departed from the world and were mended by the dust. THEY HAVE ALREADY RETURNED, INCARNATED, AND REVISITED THIS WORLD, and most certainly received their punishment once or twice, SINCE THEY WERE ALREADY HERE IN THIS WORLD TWICE. It is certain that their station has been more profitably prepared than those living and that they have not yet received the punishment OF REINCARNATION.
56. Therefore, it is written: "so I praised the dead that are already dead," AND "THAT ARE ALREADY DEAD" is precise, MEANING those that are alive now, but are considered dead. What is the reason that they are considered dead? It is because they have already felt the taste of death and, although they exist in this world, they are dead and they were returned here from the dead. In addition, they are ready to repair the earlier activities THAT THEY PERFORMED PRIOR TO DYING. THEREFORE, they are considered dead, SINCE THEY ARE IN THE PROCESS OF CORRECTING THE DEEDS OF SOMEONE WHO ALREADY DIED. "...From these living that are alive..." (Kohelet 4:2). Since they have not yet tasted the taste of death and have not received their punishment, they do not know if they are worthy of that world or not.
57. Come and behold: the just merit to be bound in the bundle of Life, THAT IS YESOD IN ZEIR ANPIN. They are worthy of seeing the glory of the Holy King up high, as it is written: "to behold the beauty of Hashem, and to inquire in His Temple" (Tehilim 27:4). Their dwelling is higher than all the holy angels and all their levels, since neither the upper nor the lower grades merit seeing this highest location. This is what is said: "neither has the eye seen that Elohim, besides You..." (Yeshayah 64:3). THAT IS THE SECRET OF THE UPPER EDEN.
58. Those who do not merit to rise as much as these occupy a place below, according to their deeds. They do not merit that location and to see what those above see; they merit ONLY to remain in the lower Eden and not more. If you wonder what the lower Eden is, it is the Eden that is considered lower Chochmah, WHICH IS MALCHUT, and is located over the terrestrial garden. This Eden watches over THIS GARDEN, and the righteous remain in the Garden of Eden, THAT IS ON EARTH, and enjoy this Eden, WHICH IS THE LOWER CHOCHMAH.
59. What is the difference between the lower Eden and the higher Eden? It is: "as far as light excels darkness" (Kohelet 2:13). The lower Eden is called 'pleasure (Heb. ednah),' which is female, and the higher Eden is considered 'delight (Heb. eden),' which is masculine. About this it is written: "neither has the eye seen that Elohim, besides you." This lower Eden is considered a garden in comparison to the Eden above, and that garden is considered Eden in comparison to the garden below. Those who exist in the lower garden, WHICH IS THE GARDEN OF EDEN ON EARTH, receive pleasure from that Eden that is above them, WHICH IS THE LOWER CHOCHMAH, every single Shabbat and every new moon, as it is written: "And it shall come to pass, that every new moon, and every Shabbat" (Yeshayah 66:23).
60. About these, Solomon said: .''..from these living that alive..." since these are in a level higher than them. Who are they? This refers to those who have already died before and received their punishment twice. They are considered like refined silver that has entered the oven once or twice and has had the impurities sorted out, picked clean. "But better than both of them is he who has not yet been" (Kohelet 4:3). That is the spirit that remains above and is restrained from coming down, since that one is still in its original state AND HAS NOT SINNED YET. It does not need to receive punishment and obtains sustenance from that sustenance that is up very high.
61. "But better than both of them" is he WHO ARRIVES IN THIS WORLD and does not part FROM THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, and is not known. All his words are covert. That is the innocent pious that kept the precepts of the Torah and upheld them, and dealt in the Torah day and night. Such a person is united and enjoys the higher level above all other people, and all the rest are burned from GAZING AT this one's canopy.
62. Come and behold: at the time the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, "Aaron shall be gathered to his people," his strength was weakened and he knew that his right arm, WHICH IS CHESED, broke and his entire body trembled. As soon as he said: "Take Aaron and Elazar his son," the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: 'Here, I will lend you another arm.' "And strip Aaron...and Aaron shall be gathered." Elazar shall serve as the right hand for you instead of his father. In spite of all this, he did not entirely fill the place of his father, since the clouds of glory departed and would not have returned if not for the merit of Moses, but not because of Elazar's merit.