195. Rabbi Elazar came to an inn in Lod together with Rabbi Chizkiyah. Rabbi Elazar got up during the night to study Torah. Rabbi Chizkiyah stood by him, BECAUSE THE PLACE WAS SMALL. Rabbi Elazar said, The friends always meet in a narrow place. HE MEANT THAT BECAUSE THE FRIENDS STUDY TORAH MUCH OF THE TIME AND WORK ONLY A LITTLE, THEY MEET IN SMALL AND NARROW INNS; THEY HAVE NO MONEY TO RENT LARGE ROOMS.
196. Rabbi Elazar opened the discussion by saying, "As the apple tree among the trees of the forest..." (Shir Hashirim 2:3). "The apple tree" refers to the Holy One, blessed be He, who is precious and decorated by His colors. HIS COLORS - WHITE, RED, AND GREEN - ARE THE SECRET OF THE THREE COLUMNS OF CHESED, GVURAH, AND TIFERET. His tree has no equal among all the other trees, WHICH REPRESENT THE SEVENTY GOVERNORS WHO IMITATE THE HOLINESS, AS AN APE DOES A MAN. He is distinguished from them all, and there is no one like Him.
197. Because of this, "I sat down under his shadow with great delight." (Ibid.) The verse reads, "under his shadow," and not under any anyone else's, BECAUSE, BEFORE SHE WAS PROPERLY ESTABLISHED AND WELL AMENDED, THE SHECHINAH LAY UNDER THE SHADOW OF THE LEAVES OF THE FIG TREE. SO "UNDER HIS SHADOW" AND NOT UNDER ANY OTHER'S ALLUDES TO THE OTHER SEVENTY GOVERNORS. "With great delight:" HE ASKS, Since when? WE CANNOT SAY THAT SHE HAS ALWAYS EXPERIENCED GREAT DELIGHT, PARTICULARLY AFTER THE SIN WHEN SHE WAS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE SEVENTY GOVERNORS!" AND HE SAYS, This is from the day when Abraham came to this world, who loved the Holy One, blessed be He. It is written, "Abraham my beloved" (Yeshayah 41:8), BECAUSE HE FULLY AMENDED THE SHECHINAH AND SHE WAS UNITED AGAIN WITH ZEIR ANPIN." "His fruit was sweet to my taste" refers to Isaac, who is the holy fruit OF ABRAHAM.
198. Another explanation of the verse, "I sat down under his shadow with great delight," is that it refers to Jacob, WHO IS THE SECRET OF THE CENTRAL COLUMN. "And his fruit was sweet to my taste" refers to Joseph the righteous, WHO IS THE SECRET OF YESOD, who brought forth holy fruits to the world, NAMELY SOULS. Therefore, it is written, "These are the generations of Jacob, Joseph" (Beresheet 37:2), which shows that all the generations of Jacob are established by Joseph the righteous, WHO IS THE ASPECT OF THE YESOD OF JACOB. And because of this Yisrael is called by the name of Ephraim, as it is written, "Ephraim my dear son" (Yirmeyah 31:19).
199. Another explanation of the verse "as the apple tree among the trees of the forest" is that the words refer to Abraham, who was like a fragrant apple tree and was distinguished from others of his generation by his complete faith. And he became distinguished as one both above and below. As is written, "Abraham was one" (Yechezkel 33:24).
200. HE ASKS, Why was he 'one'?" AND HE SAYS, Because there was no other then in the world, who had elevated himself by the faith in the Holy One, blessed be He, besides him. Rabbi Chizkiyah said to him, But it is written, "and the souls that they had made in Charan," WHICH MEANS THAT ABRAHAM BROUGHT MEN AND SARAH BROUGHT WOMEN TO BE CONVERTED. SO THERE WERE PEOPLE WITH FAITH IN THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, BESIDES HIM! He told him, Nevertheless, they did not reach the supernal grades with which Abraham was adorned!
201. Later, he said to him, I have also heard that Abraham was not referred to as one, until he became united with Isaac and Jacob. Only after he became associated with Isaac and Jacob and the three were the fathers of the world was Abraham named "one." THIS MEANS THAT ONLY AFTER HE COMBINED ALL THREE COLUMNS TO ONE WAS HE NAMED one;" then he was CALLED the apple tree of the world, WHICH WAS DISTINGUISHED BY ITS THREE COLORS (WHITE, RED, AND GREEN), WHICH ALLUDE TO THE THREE COLUMNS. "Thus, he was distinguished and different from all the people of his generation." He responded to him, Well said!
202. A different explanation of the verse, "As the apple tree among the trees of the forest," is that it refers to the Holy One, blessed be He, THE RIGHT COLUMN; "so is my beloved" refers to the Holy One, blessed be He, THE LEFT COLUMN; AND "under his shadow" refers to the Holy One, blessed be He, THE CENTRAL COLUMN. "I sat down...with great delight" refers to the day on which the Holy One, blessed be He, appeared on Mount Sinai, and Yisrael received Torah and said, "Will we do, and obey" (Shemot 24:7). THEN, THE SHECHINAH SAID, "I SAT DOWN...WITH GREAT DELIGHT."
203. "And his fruit was sweet to my taste" refers to the words of Torah, which are described as "sweeter than honey and the honeycomb" (Tehilim 19:11). According to another explanation, "And his fruit was sweet to my taste" refers to the souls of the righteous, who are all the fruit of the handiwork of the Holy One, blessed be He, and abide with Him above.
204. Come and behold, All the souls in the world, who are the fruit of the handiwork of the Holy One, blessed be He, are one in the same secret. IN THE UPPER WORLD, THEY ARE NOT YET DISTINGUISHED AS MALE AND FEMALE. Only when they descend to the world are their souls separated to male and female. And every soul has a male and female part, united together as one.