766. "Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new meal offering to Hashem" (Bemidbar 28:26). Rabbi Aba said: It is written "the day of the firstfruits," but what does "day" refer to? HE ANSWERS THAT this is a river issuing forth from Eden, NAMELY, ZEIR ANPIN, which is a day of those upper firstfruits, NAMELY YUD HEI, ABA AND IMA, WHO ARE CALLED 'FIRSTFRUITS'. And upon it the Torah depends, NAMELY, ZEIR ANPIN, and He brings forth all the secrets of the Torah, and because He is the Tree of Life, the fruit of the tree has to be brought.
767. Ra'aya Meheimna (the Faithful Shepherd). "Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new meal offering to Hashem." Rabbi Aba said: "the day of the firstfruits" refers to the upper firstfruits of the Torah, NAMELY, ABA AND IMA, as it is written: "The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring" (Shemot 23:19). The Faithful Shepherd said, Just as the firstborn to their mother, so are the firstfruits of the tree called, "the first ripe fruit in the fig" (Hoshea 9:10). So, too, are Yisrael the first-ripe and the firstfruits for the Holy One, blessed be He, of all the nations of the world, as it is written: "Yisrael is holy to Hashem..." (Yirmeyah 2:3). For this reason it is said about them, ABOUT THE FIRST FRUITS THAT ALLUDE TO YISRAEL: "you shall bring to the house of Hashem your Elohim" (Shemot 23:19), NAMELY, THAT THEY SHOULD MERIT COMPLETE REDEMPTION. And because of what it is said about the idolatrous nations: "and they devour Yisrael with open mouth" (Yeshayah 9:11); IT IS ALSO SAID ABOUT THEM: "ALL THAT DEVOUR HIM shall be held guilty; evil shall come upon them" (Yirmeyah 2:3).
768. And so, too, Vav, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, that includes six Sfirot, and which is the son of Yud-Hei, WHICH ARE ABA AND IMA THAT ARE CALLED 'FIRSTFRUITS', is called 'a firstfruit'. And all the branches that come out from it and in which there are heads, THE LEVELS WHICH CONTAIN THE UPPER THREE SFIROT THAT ARE TERMED HEAD, are called 'firstfruits'. Vav is a river of those upper firstfruits, BEING ZEIR ANPIN, and this is the river that comes out of Eden, WHICH IS YUD HEI, and it is on this that the Torah is dependent. And when it comes out AND IS REVEALED then all secrets of the Torah come out because it is both the Tree of Life and the Torah, as it is written: "She is a Tree of Life to those who lay hold on her" (Mishlei 3:18). And the precepts OF ZEIR ANPIN, WHO IS THE TORAH, are like the buds of the fruit of the tree that have to be brought TO THE HOUSE OF HASHEM.
769. The Faithful Shepherd said, You might ask: Why are the firstfruits, that are called "a new meal offering" (Bemidbar 28:26), TO BE FOUND ON THE TREE for periods of six months? THAT IS, DURING THE SIX MONTHS OF THE WINTER AND AUTUMN THEY ARE ON THE TREE AS A FETUS IN ITS MOTHER'S WOMB, AND FROM WHEN THEY START GROWING UNTIL THEY ARE FULLY RIPE ANOTHER SIX MONTHS PASS. WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THIS TAKING SIX MONTHS? And again, about man it is said: "for is the tree of the field a man" (Devarim 20:19). WHAT IS THE REASON FOR HIS HAVING a nine or seven-month GESTATION PERIOD? And it is also SAID about cattle: "then it shall be seven days under its dam; and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering made by fire to Hashem" (Vayikra 22:27), namely, to be offered as a sacrifice before Hashem. AND WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THE SEVEN DAYS BEING REQUIRED? Furthermore, why are the Sfirot, in which are the Name of Yud Hei Vav Hei and all His appellations, called by the names of the living creatures, NAMELY, LION, OX, EAGLE AND MAN?
770. HE ANSWERS, however, "a new meal offering" is to be understood by way of mystery, AND ITS MEANING is the Shechinah. From six months to six months THAT THE FRUITS ARE GESTATING ON THE TREE refers to the six Sfirot CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET, NETZACH, HOD AND YESOD which are called 'the primordial years of the creation of the world', which are the secret of the six thousand years that the world has been in existence, AND THEY ARE CALLED 'YEARS' from the aspect of supernal Ima, WHICH IS BINAH, while from the aspect of lower Ima, WHICH IS MALCHUT, they are called 'months'. And because these SIX SFIROT preceded the world and all the creatures, they are called 'firstfruits', AND THIS IS THE SECRET WHY THE FRUIT OF THE TREE ARE FIRSTFRUITS OF SIX MONTHS, FROM THE TIME THEY START GROWING UNTIL THEY ARE FULLY RIPE, NAMELY, CORRESPONDING TO CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET, NETZACH, HOD AND YESOD FROM THE ASPECT OF MALCHUT.
771. And the Shechinah, which is "a new meal offering" is from the aspect of the living creature, about whom it is said "As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a man" (Yechezkel 1:10), THAT IS THE NINE MONTHS OF GESTATION. FOR THE NUMERICAL VALUE OF 'MAN' (HEB. ADAM) is nine in the small calculation of Enoch, FOR ACCORDING TO THE SECRET OF THE SMALL NUMBER, WHICH PERTAINS TO METATRON, WHO IS CALLED 'ENOCH', THE VALUE OF THE LETTERS IS CONSIDERED ONLY AS A NUMBER OF UNITS, SUCH THAT THE LETTER MEM WILL BE ONLY FOUR, AND SO, TOO, TAV WILL BE ONLY FOUR, AND SO ON, SO THAT THE NUMERICAL VALUE OF ADAM IS NINE. And this is THE SECRET OF man, who is born after nine months of gestation. AND THE BORN MAN is the tenth TO THEM and is thereby included in all TEN SFIROT. And MAN is called 'the firstborn son', after the name of the sign of the covenant, WHICH IS YESOD, which is Yud, NAMED AFTER the first drop drawn out of him, seed shot as an arrow, FROM WHICH MAN IS BORN. AND EVERY DROP IS CALLED 'YUD', BECAUSE IT INCLUDES YUD SFIROT. And YESOD is Vav (numerical value of six) AND IS THE DROP, being Yud that rises over Vav, WHICH IS YESOD, just as the fruit rises over the branch of the tree. AND BECAUSE THERE ARE THREE UPPER SFIROT, WHICH ARE THE SECRET OF FIRSTFRUITS, IN THE TEN SFIROT, MAN IS THEREFORE CALLED 'A FIRSTBORN SON'.
772. And although there are many branches on the tree, on which are a number of figs, those THAT RIPEN first at the beginning are called 'firstfruits'. And these are the 'heads' of all of them, and on a parallel with them it is said: "Lift up your heads, O you gates" (Tehilim 24:7), THE MEANING OF WHICH IS AS: "Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these?" (Yeshayah 40:26); and also: "Take the sum (lit. 'Lift the head') of all the congregation of the children of Yisrael" (Bemidbar 1:2).
773. "Lift up your heads, O you gates." Gates here are the fifty gates of Binah, which are the Heavenly Yeshivah. "and be lifted up, you everlasting doors" refers to the doors of the Earthly Yeshivah, WHICH IS MALCHUT, for everyone who engages in the Torah is, at the end, lifted, as it is written: "If you have done foolishly in lifting yourself up" (Mishlei 30:32). And the sages of the Mishnah taught: Whoever abases himself (acts foolishly) for words of the Torah will, in the end, be exalted. And this is the meaning of "and the King of glory shall come in" (Tehilim 24:7), for there is no glory apart from the Torah.
774. It follows that whoever learns Torah, which is called 'glory', is himself called 'a king', FOR IT IS WRITTEN "AND THE KING OF GLORY SHALL COME IN." And it should not be said that he is a king in the World to Come and no more than that, for he is a king in both the worlds, in the image of his Master. And this is why the verse comes twice: "Who is this king of glory?" (Ibid. 8) and "Who is this king of glory?" (Ibid. 10), WHICH INDICATES BOTH THE WORLDS, THIS WORLD AND THE WORLD TO COME. The verse "Lift up your heads, O you gates" appears twice. What is the meaning of "your heads"? HE ANSWERS THAT on the one occasion they refer to the living creatures of the heavenly Chariot, WHICH IS ABOVE THE CHEST OF ZEIR ANPIN; and on the other occasion they refer to the living creatures of the lower Chariot THAT ARE IN MALCHUT. End of Ra'aya Meheimna (the Faithful Shepherd).
775. Rabbi Shimon unraveled a verse, saying: "Lift up your heads, O you gates..." This verse has been taught and we have learned it. "Lift up your heads, O you gates," these are the upper gates, the gates of upper understanding, and they are fifty in number. "your heads." What heads does this refer to? HE ANSWERS THAT each one, NAMELY, EACH GATE, has a head to be unclothed and enter into one another and to be incorporated within each other.