230. Rabbi Elazar, Rabbi Yitzchak, and Rabbi Yehuda were walking on the way. Rabbi Elazar said: It is time to walk with the Shechinah, because the Shechinah will not hover above us unless we utter words of the Torah. Rabbi Yehuda said: Let the leader begin.
231. Rabbi Elazar opened the discussion and said: "I am small and despised, yet have not forgotten Your precepts" (Tehilim 119:141). "I am small and despised." King David used to praise himself at times, as it is written, "and whose mercy to His anointed, to David and to his seed forevermore" (Tehilim 18:51), and "the saying of David, the son of Yishai, and the saying of the man raised on high, the anointed of Elohim of Jacob" (II Shmuel 23:1), and sometimes he would abase himself, saying "for I am poor and needy" (Tehilim 86:1), and "I am small and despised." He said: "The stone which the builders rejected is become the chief corner-stone" (Tehilim 118:22).
232. HE REPLIES: When he was rising in the grade of peace, elevated by true justice, and overpowering his enemies, he used to praise himself. And when he found himself in trouble, beset by enemies, he humiliated himself and called himself poor, the least of all. The sense in it is that sometimes he governed and sometimes he was harassed by his enemies.
233. For all that, he always ruled over them and they did not prevail over him. King David always debased himself before the Holy One, blessed be He, for whoever does so, the Holy One, blessed be He elevates him above everything. And this is why He favored him, DAVID, in this world and in the World to Come. In this world, as it is written, "For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake, and for My servant David's sake" (Yeshayah 37:35), and in the World to Come, as it is written, "And seek Hashem their Elohim and David their king, and shall come trembling to Hashem and to His goodness in the end of days" (Hoshea 3:5). David is a king in this world, and David will be king in the World to Come. Therefore he said: "The stone which the builders rejected is become the chief corner-stone."
234. Come and see: When the sun, ZEIR ANPIN, turns his face away and shines not upon the moon, MALCHUT, the light passes from the moon and she does not shine. She is then poor on all sides and dark, without light at all. And when the sun faces her again and shines upon her, her face is radiant and she adorns herself for him, THE SUN, like a female adorning herself for a man, and then she rules the world.
235. Therefore, David used to adorn himself in the same way, LIKE THE MOON, FOR DAVID CORRESPONDS TO MALCHUT. Sometimes he is poor and sometimes rich in every way. That is why he says, "I am small and despised," and yet, "I have not forgotten Your precepts." Thus it behooves a man to consider himself lowly and debase himself in all, so as to become a vessel favored by the Holy One, blessed be He. This was already explained concerning the verse, "with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit ..." (Yeshayah 57:15). AND AFTER THIS INTRODUCTION, I will be the first to utter words of the Torah. THUS, HE ANSWERED THE WORDS OF RABBI YEHUDA SAYING THAT THE LEADER WILL SPEAK FIRST.