1. "And Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, 'When you do take the sum of the children of Yisrael after their number" (Shemot 30:11-13). Rabbi Aba, Rabbi Acha and Rabbi Yosi were traveling from Tiberias to Tzipori. While they were traveling, they saw Rabbi Elazar coming with Rabbi Chiya. Rabbi Aba said: we shall surely join the Shechinah. They waited until they reached them. As soon as they came to them, Rabbi Elazar said: it is most certainly written: "The eyes of Hashem are towards the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry" (Tehilim 34:16). This passage is difficult; (THE END OF THE SUBJECT IS IN THE PORTION OF PEKUDEI, PARA. 68F).
2. Come and behold: it has been established that celestial blessing does not dwell on something that is numbered. And if you ask how Yisrael were counted, he took from them a ransom for themselves. And they did not count until all the ransom that was gathered was counted. THUS at first Yisrael are blessed WHEN THE RANSOM IS RECEIVED, afterwards, once they counted the ransom, Yisrael are blessed again. So we find that Yisrael is blessed at the beginning and at the end, and they did not suffer a plague.
3. He asks: Why is a plague caused by counting? HE ANSWERS: Because the blessing does not dwell on anything numbered, and since the blessing has departed, the Other Side dwells on it and can harm. Therefore, we receive ransom and redeem it in order to do the counting. And we have already discussed and learned this.
4. Ra'aya Meheimna (the Faithful Shepherd). There is a commandment to give half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary. HE ASKS: What is the half-shekel? HE ANSWERS: It is like a half-hin, which is Vav, WHICH IS placed between the two Heis. The stone with which to weigh is Yud, "A shekel is Twenty gera" (Shemot 30:13), refers to Yud-Vav-Dalet. "The rich shall not give more" (Ibid. 15), refers to the Central Column, ZEIR ANPIN that should not give more than ten. And so have we learned in the Book of Formation, 'Ten Sfirot of nothingness - ten, not eleven.' "And the poor shall not give less" (Ibid.) refers to the Righteous, THAT IS, YESOD. He must "not give less" than ten, as is said IN THE BOOK OF FORMATION, 'ten and not nine,' then half a shekel, which is ten.
5. It seems that the author of the previous paragraph was Rabbi Shimon. And the Faithful Shepherd said to him: You are in heaven; you are loved by your Master, therefore it is no wonder that all these precious words come from your mouth. For if one is a king or a prince, there is no wonder his table is full of gems and treasures, and full of lights. For anyone else this would be a wonder. He said to him: Blessed are you, faithful shepherd; from now on you speak, for those above and below have come to hear. He said to him: finish your words. He said to him: I have nothing more to say for the time being. You speak.
6. The Faithful Shepherd opened the discussion with: The following commandment is to sanctify the month. The holy moon, NAMELY MALCHUT, is the bride that becomes hallowed by the Court of Law, which is Gvurah OF ZEIR ANPIN - BECAUSE MALCHUT IS BUILT FROM THE LEFT SIDE, WHICH IS GVURAH, as therein, GVURAH OF ZEIR ANPIN, are the Levites. For it is said of them, 'And you shall hallow the Levites.' ALSO MALCHUT, WHICH IS OF THE GVURAH OF ZEIR ANPIN, NEEDS SANCTIFICATION. And afterwards, when the moon is visible and we can enjoy its light, MEANING AFTER IT RECEIVED MOCHIN, we bless it, 'Blessed are You, Hashem our Elohim, King of the Universe, With His utterance He created the heavens, and with the breath of His mouth, all their hosts.' And with what is it hallowed and blessed? It is with Tiferet (glory), because it is glory to those born by Him from birth. End of Ra'aya Meheimna (the Faithful Shepherd).
7. Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Chiya were traveling. While they were still walking, it became dark and they sat down. While they were still sitting dawn began to light up. They got up and went on. Said Rabbi Chiya: See, the East has lit up. Now all those inhabitants of the East, of the mountains of light, are bowing to this light that illuminates in the place of the sun, before it emerges OVER THE FACE OF THE EARTH, and worship it. Many worship the sun after it comes out. They worship this light OF THE BREAKING DAWN, and call this light 'the Deity of the Illuminating Jewels'. And they swear by the Deity of the Illuminating Jewels.
8. And you may ask if this worship is not in vain. From the early, ancient days the wisdom was known that when the sun shines, before it emerges OVER THE FACE OF THE EARTH, the prince appointed over the sun goes forth, with the holy letters of the Supernal Name written on his head. With the power of these letters, he opens all the windows of heaven, smites them, and passes through. And that prince enters into the glow that shines around the sun, BEFORE IT EMERGES, and remains there until the sun emerges and spreads over the world.
9. And that prince is in charge over gold and red jewels. They worship that form that is there IN THE LIGHT OF THE SUN, WHICH IS THE PRINCE, with the spots and signs that they inherited from the ancient in olden days. They then know the spots of the sun, and they go and find the places of gold and jewels. Said Rabbi Yosi: How long will the many idols be in the world? Falsehood has no pillars TO SUPPORT IT in order to exist.
10. The other opened the discussion, and said, "The lip of truth shall be established forever; but a lying tongue is but for a moment" (Mishlei 12:19). Come and behold: if all the inhabitants of the world always worshiped falsehood, then it would be so, THEY WOULD CEASE TO EXIST. But this light and radiation THAT SHINES FROM THE SUN is certainly true, and the stars that are in the heights of the firmament are also true. And if in their foolishness and lack of understanding, they say and call them 'Elohim', the Holy One, blessed be He, does not have to destroy His creations from the world BECAUSE OF THIS. And also, in the time to come, the stars and luminaries will not perish from the universe. But who will perish? Those that worship them WILL PERISH.