1. Rabbi Elazar opened the discussion with the verse: "Ask a sign (or: 'letter') of Hashem your Elohim; ask it either in the depths, or in the height above" (Yeshayah 7:11). I looked at the earlier generations and the later generations. What is the difference between the earlier generations and the later generations? The earlier generations knew and perceived the supernal wisdom and knew to permutate the letters, which were given to Moses at Sinai. Even the wicked people among Yisrael, SUCH AS ACHAZ, were familiar with letters of supernal wisdom, FOR THE PROPHET SAID TO HIM, "ASK A SIGN (HEB. OT)." IF ACHAZ WAS UNVERSED IN SUPERNAL WISDOM, THE PROPHET WOULD NOT HAVE SPOKEN TO HIM THUS. And through higher letters DRAWN FROM BINAH, and lower letters DRAWN FROM MALCHUT, they gained wisdom that helped them manage their lives.
2. This is because each and every letter (Heb. ot) that was transmitted to Moses was crowned and rose over the heads of the holy supernal living creatures, THE SECRET OF THE SUPERNAL CHARIOT, WHICH ARE CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET AND MALCHUT. All the living creatures were crowned WITH THE LETTERS, EVEN THE LIVING CREATURES OF THE LOWER CHARIOT, WHICH IS IN MALCHUT. They flew in the air OF YISRAEL-SABA AND TEVUNAH, which descends from the supernal air that is fine and unknown, WHICH IS IN SUPERNAL ABA AND IMA.
3. Both great letters and small letters would go up and down, great letters going down from the supernal chamber which is concealed from all, BINAH, and the small letters going down from another lower chamber, MALCHUT. All of these were transmitted to Moses at Sinai.
4. The joining of the letters, which secretly join in every letter, such as Aleph, which is a single letter secretly joined by two other letters, namely, Lamed Pe, IN PRONOUNCING THE LETTER. SO TOO, IN ARTICULATING THE NAME OF THE LETTER BET, IT IS JOINED BY YUD AND TAV. They were all transmitted to Moses at Sinai as well, and all are known in secret by the friends. They are fortunate.
5. "Ask a sign (Heb. ot)" MEANS literally a letter (Heb. ot). Everyone was conversant in the secrets of the letters. With Rachav, what is written? "and give me a true token (Heb. ot)" (Yehoshua 2:12). This refers to the letter Vav, which is called a true letter. If you infer from this that the other letters are not true, that is not so. Nonetheless, this letter Vav is called the true letter UNLIKE THE OTHER LETTERS WHICH ARE NOT SO CALLED, FOR VAV INDICATES ZEIR ANPIN, CALLED TRUTH, AS IN THE VERSE: "YOU SHALL SHOW TRUTH TO JACOB" (MICHAH 7:20).
6. "ask it either in the depths" refers to the last Hei of the Holy Name YUD HEI VAV HEI, while "or in the height above" refers to the letter Yud, the head of the Holy Name YUD HEI VAV HEI. This is the hidden meaning of the verse: "Ask a sign (lit. 'letter') of Hashem your Elohim" WHICH MEANS a letter from the Holy Name. It is implied by the verse: "A SIGN of Hashem," which is a name of the Holy One, blessed be He, one letter of it. The tabernacle, WHICH IS MALCHUT, WHICH IS CALLED YOUR ELOHIM, is based on this LETTER BECAUSE MALCHUT RECEIVES FROM ZEIR ANPIN, WHICH IS YUD HEI VAV HEI. THEREFORE, THE VERSE STATES "HASHEM YOUR ELOHIM."
7. Come and behold: When the cloud rose over the tabernacle and rested on it, all of those Chariots and all of those vessels of the supernal tabernacle, MALCHUT, were within the cloud. THEREFORE, it is written, "And Moses was not able to enter the Tent of Meeting, for the cloud rested on it" (Shemot 40:35). HE QUESTIONS: It is written, "And Moses went up into the midst of the cloud...and Moses was in the mountain forty days and forty nights" (Shemot 24:18). If Moses could not enter the tabernacle BECAUSE OF THE CLOUD WHICH RESTED ON IT, how could he ENTER THE CLOUD AND remain on the mountain for forty days?
8. HE ANSWERS, There were two clouds, one CLOUD which Moses entered AND IN WHICH HE REMAINED ON THE MOUNTAIN FORTY DAYS AND FORTY NIGHTS - THIS CLOUD IS OF MALCHUT - and one CLOUD which rested on the tabernacle. THIS CLOUD IS DRAWN FROM THE LEFT COLUMN OF BINAH AND MOSES WAS UNABLE TO ENTER IT. Come and behold what is written, "And the glory of Hashem filled the tabernacle" (Shemot 40:34). Literally it is not written, "filled," but "was full," WHICH IMPLIES THAT a fullness was achieved on high IN BINAH and below IN MALCHUT with THE ENCLOTHING OF THE CLOUD IN the tabernacle below. A concealed means of perfection WHICH IS CALLED "CLOUD" descended FROM THE LEFT COLUMN OF BINAH down TO THE SHECHINAH, WHICH IS CALLED TABERNACLE AND TENT OF MEETING, and the Shechinah was perfected.
9. Four aspects of camps OF THE ANGELS, WHICH ARE IN MALCHUT, CALLED LOWER CHARIOT were concealed BY THE CLOUD, WHICH DESCENDED ON THE TABERNACLE, WHICH IS MALCHUT. The first mending OF THIS CLOUD WAS in the first watch of the four camps OF THE SHECHINAH before everything was mended. The head of the right side is Tzadkiel, chief minister, superior of the camps under the dominion of Michael, and with him all the camps under him were mended.
10. One minister was placed in command over four TIMES three, WHICH ARE the four ASPECTS below, EACH COMPRISED OF THREE. When all of these supernal camps descend below, their names are changed into other names. When they remain on high, THEIR NAMES remain unchanged. That minister Tzadkiel stands over them from within and one letter glitters on their heads, a small Aleph. When this letter glitters, they all travel to the place where the sparkle glitters.