1. "And Hashem spoke to Moses saying, 'Speak to all the congregation of the children of Yisrael, and say to them: You shall be holy: for I Hashem your Elohim am Holy" (Vayikra 19:1-2). Rabbi Elazar commenced the discussion: "Be not like the horse, or the mule, which have no understanding ..." (Tehilim 32:9). How many times did the Torah attest to people, how many times did she raise her voice in every direction to awaken them, but all lay sleeping, unaware of their sins. They do not look or pay attention to the time when they will rise up to face the day of heavenly Judgment. At this time, the Heavenly King will exact from them the shame of the Torah that cried out against them, and yet they did not even turn their face to her. All are found totally defective since they do not know of the Faith of the Heavenly King. Woe to them, and woe to their souls.
2. For the Torah attests to him and says, "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here: as for he that lacks understanding, she says to him..." (Mishlei 9:4). Who is meant by, "he that lacks understanding?" THIS MEANS one who has no Faith, and is defective in every respect. HE QUESTIONS: Why is it written, "she says to him," when it should read, 'I say to him,' as the verse says, "I will say to El my rock..." (Tehilim 42:10). So why does it say here, "she says?" HE ANSWERS: It wishes to include and add the supernal Torah, which also calls him, "he that lacks understanding," MEANING defective in Faith.
3. We have learned this: it is forbidden to approach all who fail to toil in Torah, and it is forbidden to be partners with him or do business with him, and one must surely not travel with him on the way, since he lacks Faith. We learned that one who walks along the road without mentioning words of Torah endangers his life. This is all the more the case for he who befriends on the road someone who lacks Faith, BECAUSE he himself does not properly honor his Master, nor even his own, as he shows a lack of concern for his own life.
4. Rabbi Yehuda said: How will he who shows no concern for his own life, NAMELY, BY ASSOCIATING WITH ONE LACKING FAITH, draw a proper soul to his son? Rabbi Elazar said: I wonder about this generation, and this matter was discussed. About this it is written: "Be not like the horse, or the mule, which have no understanding" (Tehilim 32:9). Happy are the righteous who strive in the Torah and know the ways of the Holy One, blessed be He, and sanctify themselves with the sanctity of the King. They are in a total state of holiness. For this reason they attract a spirit of Holiness from above. Their children are truly righteous and are called 'the children of the King,' 'holy children.'
5. Woe be to evildoers who are brazen and act with insolence AT TIMES OF INTERCOURSE. For this reason, their offspring acquire a brazen soul from the Side of Defilement, as it is written, "that you should be defiled by them" (Vayikra 11:43). He who seeks to become unclean is made unclean. "Be not like the horse, or the mule," as these animals are very loose in morality, more than all other CREATURES. "...which have no understanding...," for people of this sort do not try TO UNDERSTAND this way. It is written, "which have no understanding," and in another place, "Yea, the dogs are greedy [in soul], they never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand" (Yeshayah 56:11). This means that JUST AS THEY ARE GREEDY IN THEIR SOUL, ALSO HERE it reveals that they will prepare for themselves CHILDREN who will be called 'greedy in their souls.' For what reason? Because they "cannot understand."
6. "And they are shepherds." HE QUESTIONS: Who are these shepherds? AND HE ANSWERS: These are those who guide and lead people to Gehenom. "They never have enough," JUST AS the verse that says: "The leech," NAMELY GEHENOM, "has two daughters, crying, 'Give, give'" (Mishlei 30:15). Because they SAY "Give, give," then, "they never have enough;" "they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter" (Yeshayah 56:11), since they seek out Gehenom. What caused all this? It is because they did not sanctify themselves at mating as much as they should have. Therefore, it is written: "You shall be holy: for I Hashem your Elohim am Holy." The Holy One, blessed be He, says, 'From all nations I wanted only Yisrael to cling to Me,' as it is written: "But you that did cleave of Hashem" (Devarim 4:4); you, not the other nations. For this reason, "You shall be holy," indeed.
7. "You shall be holy: for I Hashem your Elohim am Holy" (Vayikra 19:2). Rabbi Yitzchak commenced: "O (also: 'Woe') land of buzzing wings..." (Yeshayah 18:1). HE QUESTIONS: Just because it is a land of buzzing wings, is that such a cause for alarm that the verse writes, "Woe land?" HE ANSWERS: As Rabbi Yitzchak explained, at the time the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world and wanted to reveal matters of depth from among concealed matters, and light from darkness, these terms were intermingled. For this reason, from darkness came light, and concealment departed and became known as the depth. And this resulted from it. So from good came evil, from Mercy came Judgment. All intermingled, the Good Inclination with the Evil one, right and left, Yisrael and other nations, white and black. Each thing was dependent on the other.
8. We learned that Rabbi Yitzchak said on behalf of Rabbi Yehuda: The whole world appears as if in one composition kept together with its own web, MEANING THE QUALITY OF JUDGMENT AND THE QUALITY OF MERCY, BEING MALCHUT AND BINAH, ARE LINKED AND INTERWOVEN WITH ONE ANOTHER. And so, when the world is judged, it is judged with Judgment tempered with Mercy, WITH MALCHUT INCLUDED IN BINAH. Were it not so, the world could not survive even one moment. We established this matter, as it is written, "for when Your judgments (lit. 'justice') are on the earth," NAMELY MERCY, CALLED 'JUSTICE,' "the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness" (Yeshayah 26:9). THEY WERE CAPABLE OF RECEIVING THE JUDGMENT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, BEING MALCHUT, DUE TO ITS CONNECTION TO THE ATTRIBUTE OF MERCY.
9. (A) We learned at that time when Judgment is suspended over the world, and righteousness, MALCHUT, is crowned with Judgment, many winged ones are stirred against the beings of Harsh Judgment, so as to rule the world. They spread their wings from one side, then from the other, to keep watch over the world. Then they raise their wings to spread and join in the Harsh Judgment, and to fly across the earth to do evil. Then it is written, "Woe land of buzzing wings."
(B) Rabbi Yehuda said: I see Mankind insolent, except for the truly righteous. For this reason, everything is in such a condition, so to speak. He who comes to purify is helped. He who wishes to defile is as we established, "that you should be defiled by them" (Vayikra 11:43).
10. Rabbi Yosi was going on his way when Rabbi Chiya met him. He said to him what the scholars established, about that which is written concerning Eli: "And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli, that the iniquity of the house of Eli shall not be purged with sacrifice or offering forever" (I Shmuel 3:14), meaning that it is not purged with sacrifice or offering, but atonement comes through the words of Torah. Why? It is because words of Torah are superior to all sacrifices. As has been accepted, it is written, "This is the Torah of the burnt offering, of the meal offering, and of the sin offering, and of the guilt offering" (Vayikra 7:37). THIS INDICATES THAT the Torah is equal to all sacrifices in the world. He replied: This is surely so. For even if a penalty of Heaven is decreed against he who toils in Torah, the penalty is canceled because the study of the Torah is better for him than all sacrifices and offerings.