88. The boy opened the discussion with the verse: "The king by justice establishes the land, BUT HE WHO EXACTS GIFTS OVERTHROWS IT" (Mishlei 29:4). Who is "the king?" This is the Holy One, blessed be He, and "by Justice," is Jacob, who is the epitome of the Fathers - NAMELY, THE CENTRAL COLUMN, WHICH INCLUDES CHESED AND GVURAH, THE SECRET OF ABRAHAM AND ISAAC. FOR BY THE CENTRAL COLUMN, HE "ESTABLISHES" AND PRESERVES THE LAND, WHICH IS MALCHUT. "But one who exacts gift...:" "gift" is spelled WITHOUT THE LETTER VAV, THE INDICATION FOR PLURAL WHICH IS THE SECRET OF THE CENTRAL COLUMN, CALLED "JUSTICE." AND "GIFT" IS Malchut, as is written: "And this is the offering" (Shemot 25:3). "THE OFFERING" IS THE SECRET OF ZOT, NAMELY MALCHUT WHICH IS CALLED "ZOT (LIT. 'THIS,' FEM.)." "But he who exacts gift" is Esau, who used to ask about offerings and tithes every day but did nothing. HE WOULD ASK HIS FATHER HOW ONE SHOULD TITHE STRAW AND THE SALT, AND SO FORTH, BUT DID NOT TITHE EVEN OF WHAT OUGHT TO BE TITHED. SUCH IS he who exacts gifts not according to justice - LIKE JACOB, WHO IS THE CENTRAL COLUMN, BUT ONLY FROM THE ASPECT OF THE LEFT COLUMN WHEN NOT INCLUDED IN THE RIGHT. For "the offering," WHICH IS MALCHUT, IS FROM THE SIDE OF the departure of Mercy, MEANING FROM THE ASPECT OF MERE JUDGMENT, WHICH IS THE LEFT WITHOUT THE RIGHT. MALCHUT is not summoned to Justice, WHICH INCLUDES THE RIGHT AND THE LEFT, AND THEREFORE HE "OVERTURNS IT," as is written: "But sometimes ruin comes for want of Judgment" (lit. 'justice') (Mishlei 13:23), BEING JUDGMENT WITHOUT MERCY. Therefore, "one who exacts a gift (see comment in synopsis - make expressions consistent) overturns it."
89. You may say that David was a man "who exacts a gift," FOR KING DAVID WAS A CHARIOT TO MALCHUT FROM THE ASPECT OF HER LEFT. HE ANSWERS: It was with Mercy, NOT ONLY FOR MALCHUT FROM THE ASPECT OF THE LEFT, LIKE ESAU, BUT ALSO THE LEFT OF MALCHUT COMBINED WITH MERCY. Moreover it is written: "The sure loving promises (Heb. chassadim) of David" (Yeshayah 55:3). THUS, as he cleaved to that, TO MALCHUT OF THE LEFT, he also cleaved to them, CHASSADIM.
90. Come and behold: all his life, King David made an effort so that this gift, WHICH IS MALCHUT, would be combined with Justice, ZEIR ANPIN, NAMELY THE CENTRAL COLUMN - so that both of them would be united together. Then came Solomon, who united them. Then the moon, WHICH IS MALCHUT, appeared in its fullness, and the earth, WHICH IS MALCHUT, was maintained. Then came Zedekiah and separated them, and the earth, WHICH IS MALCHUT, was left without Justice - ZEIR ANPIN - and the moon was spoiled and the earth was ruined. Then, IT WAS SAID: "One who exacts a gift overturns it," WHICH IS ZEDEKIAH.