"And you take to you" (Ex. 28:1). Rabbi Shimon said: Moses who was [a chariot for the sefira of tiferet also known as] the sun, was not able to cause a unification in [malchut, which is called] the moon until he comprised all aspects of the secret meaning of the letter Vav [all 6 sefirot – but especially those higher than tiferetchesed and gevura – as well as netzach, hod, and yesod all included in tiferet, as alluded to by the gematria of vav that is 6], as we have established [upon expounding the conclusion of this verse previously: "And take to you" means to include within yourself, "Aaron your brother", the aspect of the priests which is chesed, "and his sons", with the aspect of the Levites which is gevura].

Come and see: it is written, "From among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me" (Ibid.) 'To minister' is spelled with an extra Vav, 'for its service' - for the service of the letter Vav [which is Torah study], certainly for its service [to use] 'for Me' [malchut] which is the letter Hei, so as to bring the Vav to unite with the Hei, so everything will become one [in the secret of "G‑d (Vav/tiferet/Zeir Anpin) is One and His Name (malchut/Final Hei in the Name Havayeh) is One"].

Blessed are the children of Israel who entered [in the secrets of the Torah] and came out [in peace]. They know the secrets of the ways of the Torah [and so can make correct new interpretations of it] so as to walk the true path.

Why "from among the children of Israel"? (Ibid.) Because all of the higher Faces/partzufim are only properly unified when they are from within the Children of Israel [those] from among the children of Israel [who keep Torah and mitzvot]. For the children of Israel stand below [to cause an arousal in the spiritual realms through their good deeds, and through this] - open the ways [from tiferet to malchut via the yesod, that is called a byway, and after] to illuminate the paths [those paths leading to the sefira of wisdom/chochma on the right] and kindle the lamps [the sefira of bina/understanding on the left] and take everything from below upwards, so that everything shall be one [in a higher level of consciousness]. Therefore, it is written: "But you who did cleave to the L-rd your G‑d [are alive - fully conscious - this day]" (Deut. 4:4).

[But how can this verse be explained as referring to a unification in malchut; "coming close" refers to one who is far away, and not unification?] Rabbi Shimon said: [unification means coming near for] all is brought near to the one who knows how to affect unity and to serve his Master, for when the sacrificial offering1 [and all the different midot are included in each other]. The shining divine countenance is present in the world inside the Temple, and the Other Side is subdued and concealed, and the side of Holiness rules with light and joy.

But when the offering is not found to be proper or the unity was not properly affected, then the divine countenance is sad [the Divine Presence/Shechinah in the lower world is hidden] and the light is not prevalent. And the moon [the light of Shechinah] is concealed [it doesn't have influence] and the Other Side [of impurity] rules in the world, because there is no one who knows how to unite the Holy Name properly.

Rabbi Shimon said: G‑d did not test Job and did not bring him to a test like the tests of other righteous people. [Job's tests were not those of love, as of the other righteous, and did not cause the Shechinah to rise and be united with her mate, as tests of love do.] For is it not written of him: 'G‑d tested Job', as is written about Abraham: "G‑d tested Abraham" (Gen. 22:1), who offered his only son to Him with his own hand. Job did not give Him or hand Him anything, nor was it said to him [that he should give] but he was given over to the instigator through the judgment of G‑d, as He aroused the instigator against him, which he [the instigator, Satan] did not request. The instigator is constantly coming to denounce people but here, G‑d aroused the instigator against him, as is written: "Have you considered My servant Job" (Job 1:8) but this is a deep secret [for Job was used as a decoy to distract the accusing forces away from Israel as they left Egypt].

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section? What do they want us to learn?

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am for myself only, what am I? And if not now, when?" (Pirkei Avot 1:14)

I simply cannot get enough of this teaching! Above, it is revealed that Moses, our first and primary teacher, had to do his own work by healing his capacities for lovingkindness, severity, beauty, endurance, humility, and connection, before he could seek to unite with that which he wished to share. The "sun" had to perfect itself before illuminating the moon. Note, though, that this was the plan from the start, that Moses knew that he could not be for himself only, rather that he had to fix himself first. All of his work was with the goal of unity.

Sometimes we shelve important connections because we say we are "not ready." Perhaps so. But it is not for us to complete the work; the process of coming together is the work. Sadness is a trap for the unwary. Joy is a path to redemption.

What does the above mean to you, and why is it revealed to you now?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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