Again, he opened [his discourse] by saying, "When you shall besiege a city many days, in making war against it to capture it..." (Deut. 20:19) How wonderful are the ways and paths of the Torah, since in every single word there are a variety of advice and so many benefits to human beings, so many gems that sparkle in every direction. There is no detail in the Torah that does not contain many lamps giving light to all directions. This scriptural verse is in accordance with its simple meaning and it contains much in accordance with the deeper, interpretive meaning and it has supernal wisdom to warn whoever requires it. Happy is the lot of he who always strives in the Torah.

It is written about whoever strives in the Torah: "But his delight is in the Torah of G‑d; and in His Torah he meditates day and night. And he shall be like a tree." (Psalms 1:2) Why is it [like a tree] mentioned close to this? because whoever toils in the Torah day and night will not be like a dry tree, but rather "he shall be like a tree planted by streams of water" [for a tree has 7 components paralleling the 7 sefirot]. Just like a tree contains roots, has outer bark, has a core, and branches, and leaves, and produces flowers and fruit, these seven components amount to seven times ten is seventy [faces of the Torah - KOL].

Torah words include also the literal meaning of the text, homiletic discourses, hints that allude to wisdom, numerical values, hidden secrets and concealed secrets, one on top of the other, proper and improper, pure and impure, forbidden and permissible. From here on, the branches extend to every direction. "And he shall be like a tree" truly, but if not
[if he does not have these branches, alluding to the various interpretations of the Torah], he is not a man of wisdom.

Come and see how beloved before G‑d are those who study the Torah. Even at a time when judgment impends upon the world and the permission is given for the destroyer to destroy, G‑d commands him [the destroyer] concerning those occupied with Torah. Thus speaks G‑d, '"When You shall besiege a city" (Deut. 20:19) because of their many sins and iniquities to Me and because they were found guilty in judgment. "Many days": What is many? It is three consecutive days when the plague is known throughout the city. How do we know that "many days" are three days? Because it is written: "And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days." (Lev. 15:25) Are they, then, many? Only three days in a row is it called "many days." Here too, "when you shall besiege a city many days" means three consecutive days, by which the plague is established to exist in the city. 'Come and I will instruct you regarding the members of My household. "You shall not destroy its tree:"' (Deut. 20:19) that is the scholarly student of Torah that resides in the city, who is the Tree of Life, a tree that provides fruit.

Another explanation: "Its tree" is the one who gives counsel [in Hebrew, "its tree" is spelled the same as "counsel"] to the inhabitants of the city on how to avoid the harsh judgment and teaches them the lawful way to follow. Hence, "you shall not destroy its tree by forcing an ax against it" meaning to force sentence upon him and not to draw upon him the fiery sword, a sharp sword. That sword that kills the rest of the people in the world, "for you may eat of it". Does the saboteur then eat [the scholarly student of Torah]? No, but rather "for you may eat of it" is that hard rock [malchut], the one from where all the holy, strong and mighty spirits emerge. Because the Divine Spirit has no pleasure or desire in this world, except for the Torah words of the righteous who sustain her, so to speak, and provide for Her [for malchut] food in this world more than all the sacrificial offerings in the world.

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

"I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a Tree." That could be a motto for the Jewish nation, who compare the Torah to a Tree of Life, who derive the entire law of wasteful destruction based on the wrongful killing of fruit trees, and whose mystical vision binds to a supernal Tree of sublime emanation.

With roots in Heaven, the Tree of Life sprouts "downward" to us, sheltering us with its limbs, providing sustenance to us with its fruit, keeping our eyes focused on high. This Tree is a Tree of Life for those who hold fast to Her. And all of Her supporters—yes, you who are taking some precious time of your day to learn Torah—are Happy! Not the Happy face temporal sort of Happy [

] rather, the deep sense of connection and completion, the wholeness, that results from daily dedication to Torah Study.

BeRahamim LeHayyim's mission is to serve as a mystical way station to enable scriptural sojourners to connect with the revealed secrets of Torah for a couple of minutes a day. But be forewarned! If one only reviews the Sod/secrets of the PaRDeS, one remains a PeReD/mule who has no inner sense of how to order its life. This should ideally be the icing on the cake, the dessert for those who have filled their belly with meat and wine.

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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