1. "Get you, out of your country..." (Beresheet 12:1). Rabbi Aba opened the discussion with THIS VERSE AND EXPLAINED THE REASON WHY ABRAHAM MERITED THAT THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, WOULD SAY THIS TO HIM RATHER THAN TO ANY OTHER PERSON OF HIS TIME. "Hearken to me, you stout-hearted, that are far from righteousness" (Yeshayah 46:12) MEANS how hard are the hearts of the wicked, who see the paths and the ways of Torah, yet do not observe them. THE PATHS ARE THE INTERNAL ASPECTS; THE WAYS ARE THE EXTERNAL ASPECTS. And the hearts of the wicked are stout, as they do not repent and turn back to their Master. THIS IS THE REASON WHY they are called stouthearted. The verse, "that are far from righteousness," MEANS THAT they keep themselves far from Torah.
2. Rabbi Chizkiyah commented ON THE AFOREMENTIONED VERSE, "Since they draw themselves away from the Holy One, blessed be He, therefore they remain far away from Him. And because of this, they are called . AND THE VERSE TEACHES US THAT they "are far from righteousness." FOR WHAT REASON? BECAUSE they do not wish to come closer to the Holy One, blessed be He, AS THEY ARE STOUTHEARTED. And because of this, they "are far from righteousness." Because they are far from righteousness, they are also far from peace - they can have no peace. As it is written, "There is no peace, says Hashem, to the wicked" (Yeshayah 48:22). And why is that so? Because they "are far from righteousness," THEY HAVE NO PEACE!
3. Come and behold, Abraham indeed succeeded in his desire to get closer to the Holy One, blessed be He. As it is written, "You love righteousness and hate wickedness" (Tehilim 45:8). Because he loved righteousness and hated wickedness, he therefore came closer to righteousness. Therefore, it is written, "Abraham my beloved" (Yeshayah 41:8). Why IS HE "my beloved?" Because it has been said about him, "You love righteousness." This is the love toward the Holy One, blessed be He, whom Abraham loved more than anyone else of his generation, who were "stouthearted" and "far from righteousness," as has already been explained.
4. Rabbi Yosi opened the discussion by saying, "How lovely are Your dwelling places, Hashem Tzva'ot" (Tehilim 84:2)1. How important it is for people to observe the works of the Holy One, blessed be He! All people do not observe and are not aware of what keeps the world in existence. Nor are they aware of what keeps them in existence! THESE TWO SUBJECTS ARE EXPLAINED HERE TO US. When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world, He made the heaven from fire and water. At first, these elements mingled together without freezing. Only later, by means of the Supernal Spirit, did they freeze and solidify. Then, THE HEAVENS, WHICH ARE ZEIR ANPIN, planted the world, THE NUKVA, to be established upon supports, THE THREE COLUMNS OF THE NUKVA. And the supports stand only by the help of the Spirit, WHICH IS THE CENTRAL COLUMN BETWEEN THEM. When that Spirit is gone, the supports are loosened and they quake, and the world is shaken. This is the meaning of, "Who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble" (Iyov 9:6). And everything is established upon Torah, for when the people of Yisrael are busy with Torah, THEY ELEVATE MAYIN NUKVIN (LIT. 'FEMALE WATERS') TO ZEIR ANPIN AND NUKVA, AND DRAW THE CENTRAL COLUMN, WHICH IS TORAH. Then the world is established, and the pillars, THE THREE COLUMNS OF ZEIR ANPIN, and the supports, THE THREE COLUMNS OF THE NUKVA, are perfectly situated in their places.
5. Come and behold, when midnight is aroused, and the Holy One, blessed be He, enters the Garden of Eden to enjoy the company of the righteous, all the trees in the Garden of Eden sing and praise Him, as it is written: "Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy at the presence of Hashem" (I Divrei Hayamim 16:33).
6. A crier comes forth and loudly calls, "You mighty, holy men! I seek ? him among you who has allowed the spirit to enter, and allowed his ears to hear, who has eyes open to see and who has a heart that is open to know! ON HEARING THE CRIER, THE RIGHTEOUS AWAKEN FROM THEIR SLEEP, DELVE INTO THE STUDY OF TORAH, AND DRAW THE CENTRAL COLUMN. When the spirit, which is the source of all spirits, arouses the sweetness of the soul, a voice comes from there, which is the source of all voices, and disperses all forces to the four corners of the world.
7. One goes up to one side, TO THE RIGHT OF ZEIR ANPIN, THE SECRET OF THE SOUTH. THE SECOND one descends to the other side, TO THE LEFT SIDE OF ZEIR ANPIN, THE NORTH. Another enters in between the two and BECOMES THE CENTRAL COLUMN OF ZEIR ANPIN, THE SECRET OF THE EAST. IN OTHER WORDS, ZEIR ANPIN IS PLACED BETWEEN THE TWO COLUMNS OF BINAH. AND THESE THREE DIRECTIONS, SOUTH, NORTH, AND EAST, ARE THE SECRET OF CHESED, GVURAH, AND TIFERET OF ZEIR ANPIN. Two are crowned AND SHINE by BECOMING three, CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET BY THE THIRD, WHICH IS THE CENTRAL COLUMN THAT RECONCILES THEM. And three enter the one, BECAUSE THE CENTRAL COLUMN, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF TIFERET, RECEIVES AND EXPANDS BY ITSELF TO THREE OTHER COLUMNS, NETZACH, HOD AND YESOD. One, WHICH RECONCILES, NAMELY TIFERET OF ZEIR ANPIN, produced colors. IN OTHER WORDS, FROM HIM EMANATED THE SFIROT OF THE NUKVA THAT ARE CALLED 'COLORS.' Six of themdescended to one side, NAMELY TO THE RIGHT, and another six descended to the other side, NAMELY TO THE LEFT. SO the two sets of six - CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET, NETZACH, HOD AND YESOD - became twelve SFIROT. IN OTHER WORDS, THE SIX SFIROT OF ZEIR ANPIN EXPANDED TO THE NUKVA AND BECAME TWELVE SFIROT, WITH SIX TO HER RIGHT AND SIX TO HER LEFT. The twelve SFIROT EXPAND AND become twenty-two SFIROT. THE six OF ZEIR ANPIN DO NOT BECOME TWELVE HERE, BUT are RATHER included within the ten. THIS IS BECAUSE the ten exist as one.
8. Woe to those who slumber as sleep covers their eyes sockets - THOSE WHO DO NOT AWAKE FROM THEIR SLEEP TO STUDY TORAH AND DRAW THE CENTRAL COLUMN. THE ILLUMINATION OF THE LEFT COLUMN BLOCKS OFF THE LIGHT NECESSARY FOR THEIR EYESIGHT AND MAKES THEM DROWSY. AS A RESULT, THEY HAVE NO EYES, THAT IS, MOCHIN. THERE IS SLEEP IN THEIR EYE SOCKETS. They do not know and are unable to observe how and in what condition they shall awaken on the Day of Judgment, when they shall be visited upon to settle the account - when the body is defiled and the soul floats on the afternoon air, going up and down, but the gates do not open for it. They are thrown around like the pebbles in the hollow of a sling. Woe to them. Who shall ask about them when they shall not arise to this place of pleasure? In the place where the righteous have pleasure, they shall be missing. They shall be passed on to the angel Dumah, go down TO GEHENOM and not rise. They are described by the words, "As the cloud is consumed and vanishes away, so he who goes down to Sheol shall come up no more" (Iyov 7:9).
9. At that hour (MIDNIGHT), a flame is awakened from the North strikes the four corners of the world, SINCE THE ILLUMINATION OF THE LEFT COLUMN, WHICH IS JUDGMENT, EXPANDS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. It descends and touches the cock between its wings, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF GABRIEL. As the flame awakens it, it crows. THIS IS THE SECRET OF THE CRIER MENTIONED BEFORE WITH THE WORDS, "A CRIER COMES FORTH AND LOUDLY ANNOUNCES..." But the only ones who awaken to the calling of the cock are the truly righteous, who delve into the study of Torah, DRAWING THE CENTRAL COLUMN. Then the Holy One, blessed be He, together with all the righteous in the Garden of Eden, listen attentively to their voice. As it is written, "You who dwell in the gardens, the companions hearken to your voice; cause me to hear it" (Shir Hashirim 8:13).
10. Sitrei Torah (Concealed Torah). We have learned that because of the strong desire of the King, WHO IS BINAH, a great and strong tree, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, was planted. GREAT IS THE SECRET OF THE MOCHIN OF CHOCHMAH, AND STRONG IS THE SECRET OF THE MOCHIN OF CHASSADIM. Among the supernal plants, WHICH ARE THE SFIROT OF BINAH, this tree, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, is planted. It turns between twelve borders, and its leg expands to the four winds of the world.