389. Rabbi Yehuda said, From here we learn the compassion of the Place, MEANING OF THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, towards the wicked, for it is written, "and behold, the bush burned with fire" (Shemot 3:2), to punish the wicked with it, AS MENTIONED ABOVE. "But the bush was not consumed" (Ibid.), meaning that they were not utterly destroyed. "Burned with fire" is all the same an allusion to the fire of Gehenom, MEANING EVEN THOUGH THE FIRE APPEARED TO MOSES, WHO WAS RIGHTEOUS, IT IS NONETHELESS AN ALLUSION TO THE FIRE OF GEHENOM WHICH IS FOR THE WICKED. "But the bush was not consumed," so it does not destroy them utterly.
390. Another explanation of, "And the angel of Hashem appeared to him in a flame of fire" (Ibid.). HE ASKS, Why did He appear to Moses in a flame of fire, and not to the other prophets. Rabbi Yehuda said, Moses is not like the other prophets, for we learned that everyone who approaches the fire is burnt by it. Yet Moses approached it and was not burnt, as it is written, "And Moses drew near to the thick darkness where the Elohim was" (Shemot 20:18), and, "And the angel of Hashem appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush."
391. Rabbi Aba said, IN THIS SUBJECT of Moses, we should observe it with supernal Wisdom. Why is it written, "Because I drew him out of the water" (Shemot 2:10)? THIS COMES TO TEACH US that one who is drawn from water, WHICH IS CHESED, does not fear fire, WHICH IS JUDGMENT. Rabbi Yehuda said, Because we have learned the place from where THE SOUL OF Moses was derived, no other person was derived. Rabbi Yochanan said he was composed of the ten levels OF ZEIR ANPIN as is written, "He is the trusted one in all My house" (Bemidbar 12:7), WHICH IS THE NUKVA. It is not written, 'the trusted of My house,' WHICH WOULD IMPLY THE TRUSTED OF THE NUKVA, BUT RATHER IT IS WRITTEN, "HE IS THE TRUSTED," WHICH MEANS THE TRUSTED OF ZEIR ANPIN, WHICH IS HIGHER THAN THE NUKVA. Blessed is the portion of the person whose Master testifies of him thus.
392. Rav Dimi said, Is it not written, "And there arose not a prophet since in Yisrael like Moses" (Devarim 34:10)? And Rabbi Yehoshua bar Levi said, In Yisrael none arose but among the nations of the world there did arise, and who is he? He is Bilaam. SO HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT NO OTHER PERSON WAS HEWN FROM THE PLACE THAT MOSES WAS HEWN? Rabbi Elazar said to him, Certainly, you speak well. He remained silent. When Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai came, they asked him this matter.
393. RABBI SHIMON opened the discussion, saying: Heaven forbid that the fluid flowing from the bloom FLOWER, THAT HAS A FOUL ODOR, would mix, with the good balsam - MEANING, ARE YOU, HEAVEN FORBID, COMPARING THE WICKED BILAAM, TO OUR MASTER MOSES? But certainly this is THE MEANING OF, "Among the nations of the world there did arise, who is Bilaam's:" Moses' actions were above IN HOLINESS and Bilaam below IN IMPURITY. Moses utilized the holy crown of the Supernal King, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN above. Bilaam utilized the lower crowns, which are unholy below. And in that manner precisely it is written, "And Bilaam, the son of Beor the sorcerer, the children of Yisrael slew by the sword" (Yehoshua 13:22). WE SEE THAT HE IS CALLED "THE SORCERER" BECAUSE HIS ACTIONS WERE IN IMPURITY, and if you cannot conceive that he did more THAN THIS, look to his mule. FOR HE BECAME IMPURE WITH HER AND COPULATED WITH HER, AS OUR SAGES OF BLESSED MEMORY SAID. Rabbi Yosi came and kissed his hands and said, Behold, the stone that was in my heart has gone, MEANING THAT THIS QUESTION WEIGHED UPON HIS HEART LIKE A STONE IN HIS HEART AND NOW IT HAS LEFT AND HE IS RELEASED FROM IT.
394. From this, THE WORDS OF RABBI SHIMON, it appears that there are those above and those below, right and left, Mercy and Judgment, the children of Yisrael and the heathen. Yisrael utilize the crowns of above, which are holy. The heathen utilize the crowns of below, which are not holy. Those OF YISRAEL are of the right, and those OF THE HEATHEN are of the left. Nevertheless, the upper prophets OF YISRAEL differ from the lower prophets OF THE HEATHEN; the prophets of holiness are separate from the prophets that are not from holiness.
395. Rabbi Yehuda said, Just as Moses differed from all the prophets in the holy supernal prophecy, Bilaam was similarly separate from the other prophets below, the magicians of unholy prophecy. Moses nevertheless was above and Bilaam below, and many levels divided them.
396. Rabbi Yochanan said in the name of Rabbi Yitzchak, that Moses thought and said, 'Perhaps, heaven forbid, Yisrael will expire from this hard labor,' as it is written, "And looked on their burdens" (Shemot 2:11). Therefore, "the angel of Hashem appeared to him in a flame of fire...and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire" (Shemot 3: 2). That is, they are enslaved to hard labor, but "the bush was not consumed;" NAMELY, THEY DO NOT PERISH IN EXILE, AS MENTIONED ABOVE. Happy are the children of Yisrael that the Holy One, blessed be He, separated them from all nations and called them 'children,' as it is written, "You are the children of Hashem your Elohim" (Devarim 14:1).