60. In the meantime a great fish came to him, RAV HAMNUNA SABA, and said, Faithful Shepherd, "Strong (Heb. eitan) is your dwelling place, and you put your nest in a rock" (Bemidbar 24:21). Tania, THAT IS, THE TANNAIM, helps you IN EXILE TO RAISE THE SHECHINAH, because the fish, THE TANNAIM, have their nest in the rock, WHICH IS MALCHUT. Eitan is Tania written backwards; Eitanim (plural) is Tannaim spelled in a different order. Beware of them, because you are slow of speech and of a slow tongue. And whoever wishes to attack the sea fish in the rock, who are the Mishnah sages, the Tannaim, needs to be strong and of a sharp and polished tongue that bores and reaches the great abyss that lies there.
61. "For there is still a vision for the appointed time; and it speaks concerning the end, and does not lie. THOUGH IT TARRY, WAIT FOR IT; BECAUSE IT WILL SURELY COME, IT WILL NOT DELAY" (Chavakuk 2:3). It has been explained that this verse pierces and descends to the great abyss. Who is it that shall descend to the great abyss to find that time OF THE END but you, of whom it says, "Your righteousness is like the great mountain; your judgments are a great deep" (Tehilim 36:7). Many Mishnah sages wanted to reach down to the depth of the Halachah, WHICH IS MALCHUT CALLED HALACHAH, to find there THAT TIME, NAMELY the time of the coming of the redemption, and went down there but did not come up. Though their tongue was "like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces" (Yirmeyah 23:29), their hammer was too weak and could not pierce that rock, NAMELY PIERCE IT TO KNOW ABOUT THE END. Whoever pierces that rock without permission, a serpent will come to bite him; others bore it until they reach the great abyss but do not come up from there.