691. "And on...the first month" (Bemidbar 28:16). Rabbi Aba opened, "As the hart pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after You, Elohim" (Tehilim 42:2). We have already learned this verse, and although it contains masculine and feminine FORMS, it is all one, for the word hart ayal is masculine, while the verb ta'arog (Eng. 'she pants') is feminine, and although the subject and the verb should agree in gender, ya'arog (Eng. 'he pants') is not written IN THE MASCULINE, because it is all one.
692. What is "the morning star (lit. 'the hind of the dawn')" (Tehilim 22:1)? AND HE ANSWERS: This is a certain merciful animal, NAMELY, MALCHUT, and among all the animals of the world there is none merciful like her, for when time is pressing and she needs nourishment for herself and for all the animals, WHICH ARE ALL THE HOSTS OF THE WORLDS OF BRIYAH, YETZIRAH, AND ASIYAH, she goes to a distant place, far away, and comes, bringing food, but does not herself want to eat until she returns to her place. Why is this so? So that all the other animals will collect together by her, and she distributes from that food to them. And when she comes, all the other animals do indeed collect around her, and she stands in the middle, and allocates to each one of them. And this you may derive from the verse: "She rises also while it is yet night, and gives food to her household, and a portion to her maidens" (Mishlei 31:15). And from what she gives to them she is herself satiated, as if she had eaten more food than all of them.
693. And when the morning, which is called 'dawn', arrives, the pangs of the Exile come to her, and this is why she is called 'the hind of the dawn', after the blackness of the morning, for she THEN has pangs as a woman giving birth, as it is written: "Like as a woman with child, that draws near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and cries out in her pangs" (Yeshayah 26:17).
694. When does she distribute to them? This is when the morning is just about to come, but it is still night, and the blackness departs for the illumination, as it is written: "She rises also while it is yet night, and gives food to her household." But by the time it is morning, they are all satiated with her food.
695. And then a certain voice awakens in the midst of the firmament and calls out aloud, saying: Let those who are near, go to their places; let those who are far, leave. Let each one gather to his rightful place. And by the time the sun shines, each one is gathered to its place, as it is written: "The sun rises, they slink away" (Tehilim 104:22). And she departs during the day, and is revealed at night, and distributes FOOD in the morning, which is why she is called 'the hind of the dawn'.
696. Subsequently, she grows stronger and leaves, and is called 'a hart', NAMELY, A MASCULINE FORM. Where does she go? HE ANSWERS, she goes sixty pharasangs from the place that she left and she enters into the mountain of darkness. As she goes into the mountain of darkness, a certain labyrinthine serpent sniffs at her feet and follows her, and she ascends from there to the mountain of light. When she reaches there, the Holy One, blessed be He, arranges for her another serpent, who goes forth and they fight each other, and she is saved. And from there she takes food, and returns to her place by midnight. And from midnight on, she begins the distribution, until the blackness of the morning arises. And when the morning gives light, she goes from there and is no longer visible, as we have learned.
697. And when the world is in need of rain, all the other animals collect near her, and she goes up to the top of a high mountain, puts her head between her knees, and cries out with one long cry after another. And the Holy One, blessed be He, hears her voice, and is overcome by mercy and has pity on the world. And she comes down from the top of the mountain, and runs to hide herself. And all the other animals run after her, but do not find her. This is as it is written: "As the hart pants after the water brooks." What is the meaning of "the water brooks"? This refers to those water brooks that have dried up, and the world is thirsty for water. Then she "pants."
698. When she conceives, she is closed up, but when the time comes for her to give birth, she shouts and cries out, cry after cry, up to seventy shouts, as the number of words in the psalm: "Hashem will answer you in the day of trouble" (Tehilim 20:2), which is the song of this pregnant one. And the Holy One, blessed be He, hears her, and arranges HER SALVATION for her. And then a certain large serpent emerges from the mountains of darkness, and comes between the mountains, its mouth licking the dust and it reaches this hart and comes and bites it twice in the same place.
699. On the first occasion, blood comes OUT OF HER, and the serpent licks it. On the second occasion water comes out, and all those animals of the mountains drink, and she herself is opened and gives birth. And this you may derive from the verse: "and with his rod he smote the rock twice, and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also" (Bemidbar 20:11).
700. The Holy One, blessed be He, has pity on her because of what the serpent did, as it is written: "The voice of Hashem makes the hinds to calve, and strips the forests bare; and in His temple everyone speaks of his glory" (Tehilim 29:9). "The voice of Hashem makes the hinds to calve" refers to the pangs and pains that give rise to those seventy shouts, AS ABOVE. And then follows "and strips the forests bare" in order to awaken that serpent, and reveal the animal to go amongst them. "and in His temple": What does this mean? It refers to the temple of the Holy One, blessed be He, WHICH IS MALCHUT, in which all those multitudes THAT ARE IN THE WORLDS OF BRIYAH, YETZIRAH, AND ASIYAH open and say: Glory! What is meant by glory? It refers to "Blessed be the glory of Hashem from His place" (Yechezkel 3:12), WHICH IS MALCHUT THAT IS CALLED 'THE GLORY OF HASHEM'.