211. Rabbi Yosi opened the discussion of the verse, "And it came to pass in the days of Amrafel, king of Shin'ar..." (Beresheet 14:1), with the text, "Who raised up one from the east, whom righteousness met wherever he set his foot..." (Yeshayah 41:2). Although this passage has already been explained, it has another explanation in accordance with the secret of Wisdom. We have learned that the Holy One, blessed be He, created seven firmaments on high, WHICH ARE THE LOWER SEVEN SFIROT OF ATZILUT - CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET, NETZACH, HOD, YESOD AND MALCHUT. The purpose of them all is to acknowledge the glory of the Holy One, blessed be He, and they exist to proclaim the secret of the Supernal Faith.
212. Come and behold, there is a sublime firmament, high above these seven FIRMAMENTS, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF BINAH OF ATZILUT. This firmament guides and illumines all of them. And it is unknowable; THIS REFERS TO ITS UPPER THREE SFIROT, WHICH ARE THE SECRET OF ABA AND IMA. It is stated as a question, because it is unknown; THIS REFERS TO ITS LOWER SEVEN SFIROT, WHICH ARE THE SECRET OF YISRAEL-SABA AND TEVUNAH. Because it is concealed and so deep, everyone wonders about it. This is why it is called Mi (lit. 'who'), REFERRING TO ITS LOWER SEVEN SFIROT, as has been explained. As it is written, "From the womb of whom (Heb. mi) came forth the ice" (Iyov 38:29), which was explained. And this is the supernal firmament that stands high above the other seven.
213. And there is also a firmament down below, NAMELY MALCHUT, which is the lowest of them all, and it does not shine. Since it is the lowest and has no light, the supernal firmament above them, WHICH IS BINAH THAT IS CALLED MI, joins with it. THIS MEANS THAT THE SUPERNAL FIRMAMENT, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF MI (MEM-YUD), DOES NOT ILLUMINATE THE CHOCHMAH TO ANY OF THE LOWER SEVEN FIRMAMENTS, BUT ONLY TO THE LOWEST OF THEM ALL, WHICH IS MALCHUT. And these two letters, MEM-YUD, WHICH BELONG TO THE SUPERNAL FIRMAMENT, WHICH IS CALLED MI, are included in itself to form a sea (Heb. yam, Yud-Mem), of the supernal firmament, which is called Mi, A COMBINATION OF THE LETTERS MEM AND YUD.
214. Because all of the other firmaments, WHICH ARE ABOVE THE LOWEST FIRMAMENT AND ARE CALLED CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET, NETZACH, HOD AND YESOD act as streams and flow to the lowest firmament, it then becomes a supernal sea that produces fruits and fishes in all varieties. THESE ARE THE MOCHIN THAT IT GIVES DOWN TO BRIYAH, YETZIRAH AND ASIYAH. David described it with the words, "This great and wide sea wherein there are innumerable creeping things, both small and great beasts" (Tehilim 104:25).
215. On this subject it is written, "Who (Mi) raised up one from the east, whom righteousness met wherever he set his foot..." (Yeshayah 41:2). "Who raised up one from the east" refers to Abraham. ABRAHAM ROUSED UP THE SUPERNAL FIRMAMENT, WHICH IS CALLED MI, TO BRING THE CHOCHMAH DOWN TO THE LOWEST FIRMAMENT, WHICH IS CALLED YAM (YUD-MEM). "Whom righteousness met wherever he set his foot" refers to the lowest of all SEVEN firmaments, which has become a sea. Of the verse, "gave the nations before him," HE ASKS, "What is meant by 'before him'?" AND HE SAYS, This is the lowest firmament, as we have said, that takes revenge and overthrows the enemies. David was proud of this and praised it by saying, "You have also given me the necks of my enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me" (Tehilim 18:40).
216. "...gave the nations before him" - these are the nations that Abraham put to flight and the Holy One, blessed be He, put to death. "And made him rule over kings" - these are the angels that govern them from above. Because when the Holy One, blessed be He, executes Judgment on the world, He brings it upon all - high above and down below. THIS MEANS, UPON THE NATIONS BELOW AND UPON THEIR GOVERNORS HIGH ABOVE IN THE HEAVENS.
217. The text continues, "He pursued them, and passed on safely." "He pursued them" refers to Abraham, who pursued them, while the Holy One, blessed be He, went in front of him and killed them off. As it is written, "and passed on safely (Heb. shalom)." This is the Holy One, blessed be He, who is called shalom!
218. Of the words, "Even by the way that he had not gone with his feet," HE ASKS, Could you ever imagine that Abraham walked through clouds, or mounted upon horses and carriages? BECAUSE IT IS WRITTEN, "BY THE WAY THAT HE HAD NOT GONE WITH HIS FEET!" AND HE REPLIES, "Even by the way that he had not gone with his feet" MEANS that neither an angel nor a messenger preceded Abraham, only the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself. It is written, "with his feet." AND HE ASKS, What are 'his feet?' AND HE REPLIES, These are the angels who are beneath the Holy One, blessed be He. As it is written, "And His feet shall stand on that day..." (Zecharyah 14:4), WHICH REFERS TO THE ANGELS THAT ARE CALLED "HIS FEET." IN THE VERSE, "HAD NOT GONE" MEANS EVEN BY THE WAY OF ABRAHAM. ONLY THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, ACCOMPANIES HIM ON HIS WAY!
219. There is another explanation of the verse, "Who raised up one from the east." Come and behold, when the Holy One, blessed be He, aroused the world, WHICH IS MALCHUT, to bring Abraham closer to Him, this awakening occurred FOR THE SAKE OF JACOB, WHO IS THE SECRET OF THE EAST. Because Jacob was destined to come from Abraham and to bring forth the twelve tribes, which were all righteous before the Holy One, blessed be He.
220. The verse continues, "Whom righteousness met wherever he set his foot." The Holy One, blessed be He, called him, REFERRING TO JACOB, always, since the world was created, as the verse says, "calling the generations from the beginning" (Yeshayah 41:4). Therefore, "righteousness," THAT IS MALCHUT, "called him assuredly! "His foot" MEANS THAT he joined Him in His worship and became closer to Him. As it is written, "and all the people that follow You (lit. 'that are at your feet')" (Shemot 11:8), WHICH MEANS THE PEOPLE WHO CLEAVE TO YOU. SO HERE AS WELL, "HIS FOOT" MEANS TO CLEAVE ONTO HIM.