How should a man train himself to acquire the quality of Beauty? There is no doubt that the quality of Beauty is to be found in the study of the Torah. However, great care must be taken that man does not exalt himself in pride because of the words of the Torah, in order that he does not cause great evil. For just as he elevates himself in pride he causes the quality of Beauty, which is the Torah, to elevate itself and remove itself upwards, God forend. But he who abases himself over words of Torah causes Beauty to descend and lower itself to pour out its influence upon those beneath.
Now behold, there are four Sephiroth, embracing three qualities, below Beauty. First, he who proudly exalts himself over his pupils causes Beauty to raise itself and be exalted over Endurance and Majesty, for they are those learned of the Lord, the pupils of Beauty. But he who lowers himself to teach in love causes Beauty to lower itself to the Pupils and give of its influence to them. Therefore, a man should be pleasantly disposed towards his pupils, to teach them as much as they can absorb and, in his merit, Beauty will pour its flow into the Pupils according their capacities, in fit measure.
Secondly, he who proudly exalts himself by virtue of his Torah over the poor man and despises him. As in the incident when Elijah appeared to R. Simeon ben Eleazar in the guise of an ugly beggar, despicable and loathsome, in order to trap him. Feeling superior to the beggar he insulted him and was rebuked openly for this defect. For he who proudly raises himself above the poor causes Beauty to elevate itself above Foundation and to fail to pour out its flow to it. But if the sage is considerate to the poor then Beauty will pour out its flow into Foundation. THerefore, the poor should be highly esteemed by the sage and he should cheer them. And so it will be in the Higher Worlds that Foundation, too, will be highly esteemed by Beauty and be bound to it.
Thirdly, he who raises himself in pride by virtue of his Torah over the ignorant, namely the people of the Lord as a whole, causes Beauty to raise itself above Sovereignty and to fail to pour its flow into it. But he should be pleasantly disposed towards all creatures and all civilised people should be significant in his eyes for they are those beneath, according to the secret of the earth . And, God forfend, if he calls them asses he brings them down to the Shells, as a result of which he will not merit a son in whom there is the light of Torah, as is stated in the Gemara. But he should conduct himself pleasantly towards them according to their fashion, on the analogy of Beauty, which pours its flow into Sovereignty and controls Her, according to the to the poverty of Her mind, for the mind of woman is light. Included in this is that he should not exalt himself proudly over all those whose minds are weak for they are included in the dust of the earth. Because of this the former teachers never exalted themselves in their learning, as can be seen from the incident of R. Hamnuna in the first section of Genesis, and of R. Hagai, and the incident related in the Tikkunim about the old man who fled when they wanted to kiss him, for he did not want to take pride in his learning.
He should further accustom himself, when he debates words of Torah, to have the intention of adorning the Shekinah, to adorn and decorate Her for Beauty, and this is the meaning of Halakhah for Truth. And this is the meaning of a debate for the sake of Heaven, namely, between Lovingkindness and Power to result in Beauty (Heaven), to agree that the Halakhah is in accordance with His ruling. And man should be apart from every debate which goes beyond this measure for Beauty does not desire to seize on that which is outside (even if it is in words of Torah) if it is to be disputatious and the end is Hell, God forfend. The only quarrel which does not make a flaw in Beauty is the debate of Torah for the skae of Heaven, for all her paths are peace and there is love in the end.
And he who derives benefit from words of Torah makes a flaw in this quality. For it is hold and he uses it for secular things. But happy is his portion if he studies the Torah for the benefit of the Most High.
The most important thing of all is to purify the mind in the test of thought and to examine oneself in the course of the debate so that if the slightest trace of a shameful thing is found one should reject it. ANd one should always admit to the truth in order that Beauty, the quality of truth, be found there.
in the study of the Torah. Torah represents the Sephirah of Beauty, v. Tikkunim, Intro. 2b
four Sephiroth. Endurance, Majesty, Foundation, and Sovereignty.
learned of the Lord. Is. 54:13 'The Lord' = the Tetragrammaton is the Kabbalistic name for the Sephirah of Beauty. Endurance and Majesty, which are lower than Beauty, are 'the disciples of the Lord,' v. Zohar III, 61a
when Elijah 'Once R. Elezar ben Simeon was coming from Migdal Gedor, from the house of his teacher, and he was riding leisurely on his ass by the riverside and was feeling happy and elated because he had studied much Torah. There chanced to meet him an exceedingly ugly man who greeted him. He, however, did not return the salutation but said to him: "Good for nothing, how ugly you are. Are all your fellow citizens as ugly as you are?" The man replied: "I do not know, but go and tell the craftsman who made me, how ugly is the vessel which You have made"' (Ta'an. 20a-20b). There is no reference to Elijah, but C. follows the Tos. (s.v nizdamen), who state that the ugly man was Elijah in disguise. The Gemara's account speaks of Eleazar ben Simeon, C.reads Simeon ben Eleazar, v. 'Aboth DRN. 41
above Foundation Foundation is called 'the poor'
the ignorant Lit. 'the people of the land,' a common Rabbinic expression for the ignorant.
the people of the Lord as a whole The general run of people as opposed to the scholars.
above Sovereignty The mystical archtype of the Community of Israel.
all civilised people Lit. 'all the people of the yishubh' (from the root yashabh, 'to dwell'). The word is used in the sense of civilised people in Mish. Kidd. I, 10. In modern times, 'the Yishubh' is the colonised part of Palestine. It is possible that the word was used in this sense in C.'s day and his reference would then be to the general colony of Jews in Palestine.
the secret of the earth Sovereignty is known as 'the earth' because it is the lowest of the Sephiroth and is made fruitful by the others.
Shells Or 'bark' or 'husks,' the Kabbalistic name for evil, which surrounds the good as the bark the tree or the shell the nut, v. Scholem, Major Trends, pp 238-239
in the Gemara Ned. 81a
poverty of Her mind This is the correct reading as in the earlier editos. The laters editions have 'their mind'.
the mind of a woman is light A Rabbinic saying to the effect that women are of an unstable temperament, v. Sabb 33b Kidd, 80b. C. applies this saying to Sovereignty, the feminine principle, which recieves from the other Sephiroth.
R. Hamnuna Zohar, Prologue, 5b, the son of the great R. Hammnuna was an ass-driver and he refused to allow the sages to pay him for his learning.
R. Hagai R. Hagai refused to disclose his identity to the sages to whom he had taught words of wisdom, Zohar III, 157a-158a.
in the Tikkunim End of Tikk. 26, 71a
for Beauty That She be attractive to Beauty
>Halakhah for Truth Halakhah = 'legal decision,' here used symbolically for Sovereignty. Truth = Beauty. By studying the Torah (=Halakhah, the chief subject of Rabbinic study) in truth the Shekinah is adorned for Beauty.
debate for the sake of Heaven 'Any controversy that is for the sake of Heaven shall be in the end of lasting worth. Such was the controversy of Hillel and Shammai' ('Aboth v. 17).
Lovingkindness and Power Which fuse into Beauty
Heaven. Symbolic term for Beauty
His ruling ie, that Sovereignty and Beauty are in accord.
all her paths are peace Prov. 3:17
love in the end 'Said R. Hiyya b. Abba, Even father and son, master and disciple, who study the Torah. . .become enemies of each other, yet they do not stir from there until they come to love each other, for it is written: "Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord, love (a play on the word vahebh) is be-suphah" (Num. 21:14), read not be-suphah (meaning "in Suphah") but besophah (meaning "in the end")' (Kidd. 30b)