202. Rabbi Yosi said, How beloved are Yisrael before the Holy One, blessed be He, since at first He called them a Holy Nation, as it is written, "For you are a holy people" (Devarim 14:2). He then called them holiness, as it is written, "Yisrael is holiness to Hashem, the first fruits of His increase" (Yirmeyah 2:3). What is the difference between them, BETWEEN HOLY AND HOLINESS? Rabbi Aba said, Holiness is the highest, BEING CHOCHMAH, for so have we learned that when all sanctifications, WHICH ARE THE THREE COLUMNS, CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET, are joined together they are called holiness, BECAUSE THEN they rise and gather in the supernal place called holiness, NAMELY SUPERNAL CHOCHMAH.
203. Hence 'Holy, holy, holy,' WHICH ARE CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET, THE SECRET OF THE PRIESTS, THE LEVITES AND YISRAEL, turn into "Yisrael is holiness." Since Yisrael are adorned with these three grades, when they join together they are called, "Yisrael is holiness (or: 'holy thing') to Hashem," which is first, SINCE THEN THEY RECEIVE FROM SUPERNAL CHOCHMAH CALLED FIRST (OR: 'BEGINNING'). We have explained that fruit is spelled with EXTRA Hei, WHICH INDICATES MALCHUT THAT IS CALLED HOLINESS WHEN RECEIVING FROM SUPERNAL CHOCHMAH. "all that devour him shall be held guilty" (Ibid.). What is meant by that? Rabbi Aba said, We have learned the verse, "And if a man eat of the holy thing unwittingly" (Vayikra 22:14), and, "No stranger shall eat of the holy thing" (Ibid. 10). Yisrael are considered a holy thing, and hence, "all that devour him shall be held guilty."
204. Rabbi Elazar said, The beginning, WHICH IS SUPERNAL CHOCHMAH, and the ending of everything, WHICH IS MALCHUT, are included in holiness, and supernal Chochmah is called holiness. And when supernal Chochmah shines, Solomon's wisdom shines AS WELL, WHICH IS MALCHUT, as it is written, "And Solomon's wisdom excelled" (I Melachim 5:10), when the moon, WHICH IS MALCHUT, stood in its fullness. This we have already explained. And when MALCHUT is blessed by Yesod, she is called holiness because she shines in her fullness. But when MALCHUT does not shine and is not perfectly adorned, she is called the Holy Spirit, she is not called holiness like the supernal CHOCHMAH.
205. When MALCHUT is blessed by Yesod and nourishes all the lower beings, she is called a mother like the one above, NAMELY LIKE BINAH CALLED A MOTHER. MALCHUT is THEN called holy things (or: 'holies'), and YESOD is then called holy of holies, since with it she is a bride. THAT IS, YESOD IS HOLINESS, AND TOGETHER WITH THE BRIDE THAT IS CALLED HOLIES, IT IS THE HOLY OF HOLIES, as it is written, "Come with me from Lebanon, my bride" (Shir Hashirim 4:8). What is Lebanon? Eden, NAMELY SUPERNAL CHOCHMAH. IT IS CALLED LEBANON because it became white (Heb. nitlabnah) in every direction, WHICH MEANS IT SHINES WITH CHESED, WHICH IS WHITE IN COLOR, BOTH FROM THE RIGHT AND LEFT SIDES. FOR IT IS THE SECRET OF SUPERNAL ABA AND IMA THAT ALWAYS HAVE THE MEANING OF, "BECAUSE HE DELIGHTS IN MERCY" (MICHAH 7:18), YET CHOCHMAH IS BESTOWED ON MALCHUT VIA THE RIVER THAT COMES OUT OF EDEN, WHICH IS BINAH. Eden is already known to the friends.