493. The following precept is to offer the first fruit, and then to confess by the first fruit, later to publicly announce the crop by tithing. The masters of the Mishnah question IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND concerning tithing, if tithing should take place prior to its gleaning, MEANING FROM THE TIME OF ITS FORMING so TITHE ACCORDING TO THAT YEAR or after gleaning. Like the Etrog, where the Rabbis said, In regard to fruits of the tree, you tithe according to the forming of the fruit; some say WITH ETROG, you follow the ripening of the fruits, as the Etrog is similar somewhat to the tree and somewhat to grain, namely seeds, where you tithe according to its forming, and not like trees that follow the rule of ripening, THAT FOLLOWS ITS FORMING GRAIN.
494. And because they postulated TO SAY blessing over bread, on that which is well cooked, excluding burnt bread, but rather which tastes good. So with grain, you follow its forming, which is equivalent to ripe fruit. THEN IT IS TASTY.
495. The children of Yisrael are compared to the tree and to grain LIKE ETROG IS TO THE TREE as it is written, "The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring to the house of Hashem your Elohim" (Shemot 23:19), and so also, "and the first of the fleece of your sheep shall give him" (Devarim 18:4), HINTING to the children of Yisrael, about whom it is written, "But you My flock" (Yechezkel 34:31). And so The children of Yisrael ARE COMPARED TO GRAIN, AS IT IS WRITTEN "Yisrael is holy to Hashem, the first fruits of His increase" and so after being picked up from exile, is the term for His tithing; THEN they are called "holy to Hashem."
496. And The children of Yisrael are called a large powerful tree with sustenance for all within it. Within is the Torah being sustenance on high, FROM THE ASPECT OF ZEIR ANPIN. Within is prayer, sustenance for those below, FROM THE ASPECT OF NUKVA. Even the sustenance for angels comes only through Yisrael, for were it not for Yisrael studying the Torah, sustenance would not have come from the Torah that is compared to a tree, as it is written, "She is a Tree of Life to those who lay hold on her" (Mishlei 3:18), and also from the fruit OF THE TORAH, namely the precepts.
497. And so the Torah is compared to water, and so to fire. The waters would not descend, and the sun, being fire, would not come to ripen the fruit of the trees, only because of Yisrael. For this reason, it is written concerning Yisrael, "the fig puts forth her green figs" (Shir Hashirim 2:13), referring to the doer of precepts, "and the vines in blossom give their scent" (Ibid.), when people commence to repent. Immediately it writes about Yisrael, "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away" (Ibid.), from out of exile.
498. By the tree, the Tree of Life, MEANING Torah, BEING ZEIR ANPIN, those who study it, THE TORAH, follow the blossoming, MEANING AS THEY START STUDYING IT, and they are tithed, because the Yud, being Chochmah, dwells upon them, AND SO THEY ARE TITHED one out of Yud (= 10). With it is gathered from exile the last 'Hei' OF YUD HEI VAV HEI BEING YISRAEL, the fruit of the tree, WHICH IS THE TORAH. And what is the tree? This is Vav, NAMELY ZEIR ANPIN BEING THE SECRET OF TORAH. The rest of the nation are tithed following their being plucked from exile. HOWEVER, Righteous men, of whom it is written, "And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of the tree hadar" (Vayikra 23:40), namely, glory (Heb. hadar) in the deeds attached to AND PERFORMED BY students of Torah who perform precepts. With this group, we follow the blossoming, as in a tree, AND SO IT SAYS REGARDING THEM, "THE FIRST DAY" AS THEY DO NOT NEED TO WAIT UNTIL BEING PLUCKED FROM EXILE.
499. And so it was established in Tractate Kidushin, Etrog's law is that of a vegetable. Just as a vegetable can thrive from all sources of water, and its tithing depends on time of picking it, so the Etrog thrives on all sources of water... AND SO ALSO YISRAEL HAS THE SIMILARITY TO ETROG IN THAT IT ALSO THRIVES UPON ALL SOURCES OF WATER, as from the aspect of Chochmah, water can mean only Torah, on which YISRAEL THRIVES. In another place before we learned that Etrog is similar to a tree in three ways, MEANING Etrog, DEPICTING MALCHUT, is held on two sides, CHESED AND GVURAH, CONSISTING OF TWO WAYS; 'Etrog' ITSELF has a shape of a heart held above and below; held above means to imply that the Heart sees, BEING CHOCHMAH REFERRED TO AS 'SEEING;' it is held below, meaning with Da'at (Eng. 'knowledge') as expressed, 'the heart knows.' NOW A THIRD WAY, Da'at is a tree, THE INTERNAL ZEIR ANPIN; Torah, WHICH IS THE BODY OF ZEIR ANPIN, is the fruit OF DA'AT, SPREADING FROM DA'AT. The eyes are the precepts with which the heart sees. End of Ra'aya Meheimna (the Faithful Shepherd).