1. "And it came to pass on the eighth day" (Vayikra 9:1). Rabbi Yitzchak opened the discussion, saying: "When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of Elohim shouted for joy" (Iyov 38:7). Blessed are Yisrael, because the Holy One, blessed be He, has given them the Holy Torah, the joy of all, the joy of the Holy One, blessed be He, and the place where He walks...,' as is written: "And I was daily his delight" (Mishlei 8:30). The whole Torah is one holy Name of the Holy One, blessed be He. By the Torah was the world created, as it is written: "Then I was by Him as a nursling (Heb. amun)." Do not pronounce it as 'amun' but as "uman," which is literally an artificer, FOR IT WAS HIS INSTRUMENT OF ART FOR THE CREATION OF THE WORLD.
2. And man was created by the Torah, as it is written: "And Elohim said: 'Let us make man'" (Beresheet 1:26), WRITTEN IN A PLURAL FORM. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to the Torah: 'I wish to create man.' She replied: 'This man is destined to sin and provoke You. Unless You are long-suffering with him, how then shall he endure? And He replied to her: you and I shall maintain him in the world, for I am not called 'long-suffering' for no reason.
3. Rabbi Chiya said that the Written Torah, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, and the Oral Torah, WHICH IS MALCHUT, established man in the world, as it is written: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness," WRITTEN IN THE PLURAL FORM. Rabbi Yosi said that WE LEARN from that verse, "that which has been already done (lit. 'by them')" (Kohelet 2:12). "By them," assuredly, IN THE PLURAL FORM. It is the image and the likeness, WHO HAVE BOTH MADE MAN an "image" by the Masculine Principle, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN CALLED 'IMAGE,' and "likeness" by the Feminine Principle, WHICH IS MALCHUT CALLED 'LIKENESS.' MALCHUT IS CALLED "LIKENESS" (HEB. DEMUT), WHICH IS DERIVED FROM SILENCE (HEB. DEMAMAH), FOR SHE HAS NOTHING OF HER OWN, SAVE WHAT SHE RECEIVES FROM ZEIR ANPIN. MAN'S SOUL WAS CREATED FROM THE UNITY OF ZEIR ANPIN AND MALCHUT. THEREFORE, IT IS SAID, "IN OUR IMAGE, AFTER OUR LIKENESS." That is the reason why the Torah begins with the letter Bet (= 2), FOR IT ALLUDES TO ZEIR ANPIN AND MALCHUT. This has already been explained.
4. Rabbi Yitzchak said: Why is the Bet open ON ONE SIDE and closed ON THE OTHER? HE EXPLAINS that when a man comes to attach himself to the Torah, it is open to receive him and to join with him, but when he closes his eyes to it and walks in the other way, it is closed from the other side, LIKE THE BET, as it is written: "If you forsake Me one day, I will forsake you two." There will be no opening until he returns to attach himself to it face-to-face, and never abandons it again. Therefore, the Torah first APPROACHES men, calling to them: "To you, O men I call" (Mishlei 8:4), and also: "She utters her voice in the squares, she cries in the chief place of concourse, at the entrance of the gates, in the city she utters her words" (Mishlei 1:21).
5. Rabbi Yehuda said: The Bet is A FORM OF two roofs AND one LINE joining them. What does it signify? One ROOF ABOVE is for heaven, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, and the other BELOW for earth, WHICH IS MALCHUT. The Holy One, blessed be He, WHO IS YESOD, unites THEM and receives them.
6. Rabbi Elazar said: There are three supernal holy lights, NAMELY THREE LINES connected together, in which the whole Torah is comprised. They open the gates to everyone AND HAVE INFLUENCE on Faith, WHICH IS MALCHUT, and they are like a house to everyone. Therefore, they are called 'a house,' for THE THREE LINES OF THE BET ALLUDING TO THE THREE COLUMNS OF ZEIR ANPIN are a house (Heb. bayit). The Torah commences, therefore, with that letter, for it is a house and a remedy for the whole world.
7. Therefore he who is occupied in the Torah is as if he is occupied in the Holy Name. We have learned that the whole Torah is one supernal Holy Name and because of that, it begins with the Bet, for it comprises the Holy Name; NAMELY, THE THREE VAV'S WITHIN THE SECRET WRITTEN IN THE VERSES: "AND...WENT...AND IT CAME...AND...STRETCHED OUT" (SHEMOT 14:19-21), THE THREE COLUMNS OF ZEIR ANPIN, AND IT ALLUDES TO the three bonds WHICH INFLUENCE Faith, WHICH IS MALCHUT.
8. Come and behold: all those who study the Torah and cleave to the Holy One, blessed be He, are adorned with the crowns of the Torah and are beloved above and below. The Holy One, blessed be He, stretches out to them His right hand, WHICH IS CHESED. All the more so those who study the Torah at night also, as we have learned that they are associated with the Shechinah and are joined with Her. When morning comes, the Holy One, blessed be He, winds a thread of grace around them to make them well known among the upper and the lower beings.
9. At the time that the Congregation of Yisrael, WHICH IS MALCHUT, and those who study the Torah come to appear before the King, ZEIR ANPIN, all the morning stars break forth into song together, as it is written: "When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of Elohim shouted for joy" (Iyov 38:7). What does "shouted (Heb. yari'u)" mean? The meaning is as it is written: "The earth is utterly broken down (Heb. ro'a)" (Yeshayah 24:19). THERE IS THE MEANING OF BREAKING, for those Judgments, WHICH ARE CALLED "THE SONS OF ELOHIM," are broken. All of them are broken before morn, when morning is roused in the world, WHICH IS THE ILLUMINATION OF CHESED OF ZEIR ANPIN, as it is written: "And Abraham rose up early in the morning" (Beresheet 22:3) AND ABRAHAM IS CHESED. Therefore, "all the sons of Elohim shouted for joy."
10. Rabbi Elazar was traveling along a road, where he met Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair and his whinnying donkey. Rabbi Pinchas said to him: From the note of gladness in the donkey's voice, I see that surely I shall meet someone here. When he emerged from under the brow of the hill, he saw Rabbi Elazar coming towards him and said: Assuredly, the omen of the DONKEY'S rejoicing has been fulfilled. Rabbi Elazar then came up to him and kissed him. He said to him: If you would like TO JOIN ME and go the same way, let us go together and if not, go your way. He replied: Indeed, I was going towards you and since I have found you, I will follow you and we can go together.