1. "And Hashem spoke to Moses saying, Speak to the children of Yisrael, saying, If a woman has conceived seed, and born a male child..." (Vayikra 12:2). Rabbi Elazar opened with, "By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loves" (Shir Hashirim 3:1). HE ASKS, It says, "on my bed," while it should have said, "in my bed," why "on my bed?" AND HE ANSWERS, The Congregation of Yisrael spoke before the Holy One, blessed be He, and beseeched him concerning the exile, because she is sitting among the other nations with her children, and lying in the dust. And since she is lying in another, defiled land, she said, "on my bed" I beseech, since I am lying in exile, AND EXILE IS CALLED 'NIGHTS.' Therefore, "I sought him whom my soul loves," to take me out of it.
2. "I sought him, but found him not" (Ibid.) BECAUSE it is not His custom to join me save in His palace AND NOT IN EXILE. "I sought him, but I could not find him" (Shir Hashirim 5:6), since I dwelt among other nations, and only His children hear His voice, as it is written, "Did ever people hear the voice of Elohim...?" (Devarim 4:33)
3. Rabbi Yitzchak said, "By night on my bed" said the Congregation of Yisrael, THE SHECHINAH. "On my bed" I complained before Him, NAMELY I ASKED HIM to join me to gladden me FROM THE LEFT COLUMN and bless me FROM THE RIGHT COLUMN in perfect joy FROM THE CENTRAL COLUMN. For we have learned that from the union of the King, ZEIR ANPIN, with the Congregation of Yisrael, many righteous people receive the inheritance of a holy portion, NAMELY SUPERNAL MOCHIN, and many blessings thus abide in the world.
4. Rabbi Aba was walking to the cave of Lod in the village of Kanya with Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Chiya. Rabbi Yosi said, It is written, "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband" (Mishlei 12:4). The virtuous woman is the Congregation of Yisrael, THE SHECHINAH, while, "she that acts s-amefully as a rottenness in his bones" (Ibid.) refers to the heathen nations, whom the Holy One, blessed be He, cannot tolerate in the world, as it is written, "therefore I abhorred (Heb. akutz) them" (Vayikra 20:23), like the thorns (Heb. kotz) and thistles that give pain to man so he cannot bear them. Rabbi Aba said, It is surely so, the "virtuous woman" is the Congregation of Yisrael, who is mistress over many armies and hosts OF ANGELS that abide in the world, NAMELY ALL THE DWELLERS IN BRIYAH, YETZIRAH AND ASIYAH THAT EXPAND FROM HER. "A VIRTUOUS WOMAN" MEANS BOTH A MISTRESS AND MASTER. "A crown to her husband" IS SIMILAR TO the words, "a crown of glory (lit. 'Tiferet')" (Yeshayah 62:3), and it is all the same, SINCE TIFERET IS THE HUSBAND OF THE SHECHINAH. While they were walking Rabbi Aba said, Let us each say something about the Congregation of Yisrael.
5. Rabbi Aba opened with, "Who can find a woman of worth" (Mishlei 31:10). It is the Congregation of Yisrael, who is a woman of worth, as we said. "Who can find" resembles, "that which shall befall you in the last days" (Beresheet 49:1), WHICH MEANS THAT WHICH SHALL ARRIVE AND HAPPEN TO YOU. HERE TOO "Who can find" MEANS who will deserve TO ARRIVE AT IT and be in her to perfection and be with her always.
6. "For her price (or: 'selling') is far above rubies" (Mishlei 31:10). HE ASKS, IT SAYS "her price," when it should have been 'her buying,' WHICH MEANS IT IS MORE DIFFICULT TO BUY HER THAN RUBIES. WHY DID IT SAY "HER SELLING?" AND HE ANSWERS, Since she sells all those who do not completely cleave to her or are whole towards her, and turns them over to the other nations, as you say, "And when they forgot Hashem their Elohim, He sold them into the hand of Sissra" (I Shmuel 12:9). Then they are all far from those lofty holy rubies, WHICH ARE THE MYSTERIES AND INNER MEANING OF THE TORAH, in which you shall have no part. This is the meaning of, "for her price is far above rubies."
7. Rabbi Chiya opened with the following verse, "The heart of her husband safely trusts in her, and he shall have no lack of gain" (Mishlei 31:11). "The heart of her husband safely trusts in her" refers to the Holy One, blessed be He, ZEIR ANPIN, who, for this reason, put her in charge over the world to be guided by her. All His armory He put in her hand and all the soldiers. Therefore, "he shall have no lack of gain."
8. Rabbi Yosi explained the following verse, "She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life" (Ibid. 12). "She will do him good" MEANS she bestows goodness upon the world and bestows goodness upon the King's palace and the household people. "And not evil" HAD TO BE MENTIONED due to the words, "and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" (Beresheet 2:9). MALCHUT IS CALLED THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL BECAUSE IF ONE HAS MERIT IT IS GOOD, BUT IF ONE DOES NOT HAVE MERIT IT IS EVIL. IT THEREFORE SAYS, "AND NOT EVIL." When is it good AND NOT EVIL? When the days of heaven, THE SFIROT OF ZEIR ANPIN, shine upon her and unite with her properly. FOR THE DAYS OF HEAVEN are "the days of her life," because the Tree of Life, ZEIR ANPIN, sends her life, WHICH IS MOCHIN FROM BINAH, and shines upon her. At that time, "She will do him good and not evil." Rabbi Aba said, This is well, and all these verses refer to the Congregation of Yisrael.
9. "If a woman has conceived seed" (Vayikra 12:2). We learned that if a woman conceives first, she bears a male child. Rabbi Acha said that we learned that the Holy One, blessed be He, determines whether that drop will be male or female, yet you say that if a woman conceives first, she gives birth to a male child. IN THAT CASE, THERE IS NO NEED FOR THE DECISION OF THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE. Rabbi Yosi said, Surely the Holy One, blessed be He, distinguishes between a male drop and a female drop. Once He observed it, He decided whether it would be male or female.
10. Rabbi Acha said, "And born a male child" (Ibid.). Does she give birth once she conceives, that the verse says, "If a woman has conceived seed, and given birth to a male child?" BUT IT DEPENDS UPON PREGNANCY, and the verse should have read, 'If a woman has been pregnant, and given birth to a male child.' Why then, "have conceived seed, and born?" Rabbi Yosi said, From the day THEY HAVE CONCEIVED, women talk of nothing except whether their baby will be male. Hence SCRIPTURE SAYS "If a woman has conceived seed, and given birth to a male child."