"The fifteenth day" (Lev. 23:34) Rabbi Yehuda opened [his discourse to explain this verse with another verse:] "And when the Canaanite, the king of Arad heard". (Num. 21:1) [Rashi explains that the king of Arad heard that Aaron passed away, for the Clouds of Glory that had protected Israel until then had vanished, as] we learned that three supernal gifts were given to Israel by the three siblings, Moses, Aaron and Miriam - the Manna through the merit of Moses, the clouds of glory through the merit of Aaron and the well through the merit of Miriam. [Taanit 9a] They are all attached above [to their sources in Atzilut].

The manna is by the merit of Moses, as written, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you"; (Ex. 16:4) "from heaven" refers to Moses [who was a chariot for tiferet called "heaven"].

The clouds of glory are by merit of Aaron [a chariot for chesed], as written, "that You G‑d are seen [Nir'ah] face to face..." (Num. 14:14) [for 'Nir'ah' has the same letters as Aaron and that verse continues: "and that Your cloud rests over them"] and [the verse says concerning burning the incense in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur:] "the cloud of the incense may cover". (Lev. 16:13) As in the other verse, there are seven [clouds of incense] so in this [verse referring to the clouds of glory] there are also seven. For there were seven clouds of incense joined together and Aaron is the uppermost of the seven clouds [as he was the source of chesed]and connects and includes in it the six other clouds each day [so they would not separate from the first of the six, and thus they descended together as one. So the 7 clouds in the desert were in the merit of Aaron who embodies chesed].

The well comes by merit of Miriam [the Chariot for the Shechinah, called well] since she [the Shechinah] is surely called a well. [See Sha'ar HaKavanot] In the book of Agadah [it explains the verse:] "And his sister stood afar off, to know…[what would be with him - Moses]." (Ex. 2:4) [‘his sister’ is the Shechinah, sister to Zeir Anpin.] This is [the secret of] a well of living water and all these 3 are bound into one.

When Miriam died, the well was gone, as written, "And there was no water for the congregation". (Num. 20:2) At that time [of her death], another well [the Shechinah also] wished to depart [from the world and arise to the heavens], for She had been with Israel [but there wasn’t another tzadeket like Miriam now in this world to be a chariot for Her]. When She saw the six clouds that were connected to it [meaning it saw the 6 chassadim of the 6 extremities of Zeir Anpin illuminating Her], it became connected to them [i.e. to the rest of the clouds of chassadim of Zeir Anpin in the merit of Aaron, and this is the secret of what our Sages said that when Miriam died, the well left but it returned in the merit of Aaron].

When Aaron died, the clouds of glory were gone, and with them the cloud and the well [the chesed of the Shechinah] also departed [for after the death of Miriam, the cloud of the Shechinah was in the merit of Aaron. When he died, this cloud left together with the other clouds.] Moses came and returned [them – both the well and the clouds of glory] to them [to Israel] as written, "You have ascended on high, you have led captivity captive. You took gifts to be among men". (Ps. 68:19) Indeed, "You have received gifts from men," surely he took gifts, those presents that were there before - the well and the clouds. [Moses was praised here for two things: that “he ascended on high” at the time of the giving of the Torah and that “he took gifts to be among men”, at the time of the death of Aaron.]

This well is Isaac’s well [in gevura, for the building of the Shechinah is by the gevura of Zeir Anpin, called Isaac]. These clouds are Aaron's clouds [in the aspect of chesed, as Aaron was]. Rabbi Yitzhak said, what is the reason Aaron was worthy [that the 7 clouds were in his merit]? This is because he was the clouds’ head [for his source was in chesed]. And chesed connects all [the sefirot under it] into one daily, for they all are blessed through it [for the light of the Ein Sof is not able to vest in the 6 extremities of Zeir Anpin without vesting first in the light of chesed].

Come and see, for each kindness the Holy One, blessed be He, did to Israel, He attached the seven clouds of glory to them [from the side of chesed of Aaron, for all G‑d did for them in the Wilderness was from the side of chesed]. And He connected them [the clouds] to the Congregation of Israel [which is the Shechinah] since her cloud was connected to the others six [of the 6 extremities of Zeir Anpin]. Thus Israel walked in the desert with all seven clouds. What is the reason [that they needed 7 clouds]? for they were all the bonds of faith.[the bond of Zeir Anpin and Nukva called Emet/Truth and Emunah/Faith, for there is never truth without faith (Zohar Pinchas 230a)].

In relation to that [is written:] "You shall dwell in booths seven days" (Lev. 23:42) [for the 7 days of Succot relate to the 7 encompassing lights drawn from Imma to the Shechinah, and these are the secret of the clouds]. What does that teach us? It is written, "I sat down under its shadow with great delight, and its fruit was sweet to my taste". (Songs 2:3) Man should display himself while sitting in his succah as sitting under the shadow of faith [meaning under the lights of chassadim of the encompassing lights of Imma].

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

"Return again, return again, return to the land of your soul. Return to who you are, Return to what you are, return to where you are, born and reborn again."

Return — Do Teshuva, repent, and return to the place you left because of your miss-take. Return to the Sukkah, our wombing chamber where all is safe, and where we, like newly-conceived fetuses on Rosh Hashanah, can know everything and can see from one end of the universe to the other.

This is a time for our head to be yes in the clouds, the Supernal Clouds. Connect to each day, make it special, and G‑d willing learn the secrets of our heritage.

Moses is the opener of all gates. But Aaron the Priest brings us inside. Succos we live Inside. Simchat Torah we can go out into the world again - after being Inside, we can go anywhere in the world, because we shall always remain Inside.

What does this mean for your Sukkot, and why is it being revealed to you now?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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