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1) “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet over whims.” What is the difference for which it writes “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet” more than all the other prophets in the world? It is not written about them, “A prayer of Isaiah the prophet” or “Of Jeremiah” or Ezekiel or Hosea or any other prophet in the world.
2) Elisha was awarded in this world what no other prophet was awarded, other than Moses. It is written, “And there came a day, and Elisha passed over to Shunem, and there was a great woman there.” She was great in actions, the whole household was praised because of her, and she is the landlady. And because her husband was not at home, to be the prominent one in the house, he was not mentioned, but she was.
3) “There was a great woman there” means she is greater than all other women in the world. This is so because when the rest of the women in the world see a guest, they regret it and push him, much less spend money on him. But this one was delighted with a guest, spending money on him. When she saw Elisha she was delighted about him. Hence, all the praise is for the woman, since the guest in the house is the woman’s. This is why it is written, “And there was a great woman there,” greater than all other women.
4) “And she said to her husband, ‘Behold now, I know that this is a holy man of God.’” How did she know that Elisha was a holy man? She put a white sheet in his bed and never saw nocturnal emission on it. Also, there was never a fly on his table.
5) Why is it different, that it says that she did not see nocturnal emission in him? After all, many people in the world do not see nocturnal emission. Also, why does it say, “Behold now, I know,” since there was never a fly on his table? After all, all those who saw him eating at his table knew like her.
6) Yet, “Behold now, I know” means she knew and no other, since she would fix his bed when he laid in it at night and when he rose in the morning. And what was said, that she put a white sheet on his bed, so it was, and by that she knew, since usually, when one rises in the morning, the sheet he slept in has a foul smell. But while she lifted the sheet from the bed of this one, it would emit such fragrances as in the Garden of Eden. She said, “If he were not holy and his Master’s holiness were not on him, a holy scent would not come up from the sheet.”
7) For this reason, he should retire from the house, since one cannot be so careful in the house. However, she said, “Let us make a small attic for him and put there a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp,” which are the correction of the assembly of Israel, Malchut, who is called “an attic,” as it is written, “And Hezekiah turned his face to the wall.”
8) A bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. The order of the writing is not as the order of the use, since a chair is required first, then a table, then a lamp, and then a bed. Why did she say “bed” first? It is because she was more fond of the bed than of everything—and one puts what one is fond of first—since she saw higher sanctity in the bed than in all the others.
9) “One day he came there.” What is that day? It is the good day of Rosh Hashanah, in which the barren women of the world are counted and the people of the world are counted. He called Shunammite and said, “Behold, you have been careful for us with all this care. For this reason, I must scrutinize this day in the Dinim [judgments] of the world, since the Creator judges the world on this day. And because I have retired alone in this place, in the attic you have made for me, I must regard the Dinim of the world, since one who parts alone on judgment day, even if he is worthy, he is caught first.
10) “And what can be done for you? Would you be spoken for to the king or to the captain of the army?” Is this needed for a woman, who does not go out and does not go to the king’s palace? However, this day caused all the people in the world to be placed in Din [judgment], and on that day, the Creator is called “a King,” a “King of Judgment.” He told her, “If it is the high King that you need, to atone your actions, I will speak and ask on your behalf.”
11) “And she said, ‘I dwell among my own people.’” What is she saying? When the Din hangs in the world, one should not part from the collective by himself. He will not be mentioned above and he will not be known alone. This is so because when the Din hangs in the world, those who are known and are inscribed alone, though they are righteous, they are caught first. Hence, one must never retire from the people because the Creator’s mercies are always on the whole people together. This is why she said, “I dwell among my own people,” and I do not wish to part from them, as I have been doing thus far.
12) “And Gehazi said, ‘But she has no son.’” Elisha said to her, “Certainly, the time is right for you to be delivered with a son, since the day causes.” On Rosh Hashanah [Hebrew New Year’s Day], the barren are counted. “And he said, ‘At this time next year you will embrace a son’ … and the woman conceived and bore a son.” Afterwards, he died. Why did he die? It was because the son was given to her and not to her husband, and he was tied from the place of the female, and one who is tied to a female, death is his fate. How do we know that he was given to her? Because it is written, “You will embrace a son.”
13) It is written about Abraham, “I will surely return unto you,” and not to her. Indeed, to you, he was tied to you and not to the female, since one who comes from the side of the female, death catches up with him.
“She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God,” since she saw higher Kedusha [holiness] there, more than in all of them.
14) “And said unto her, ‘Are you well? Is your man well?’” This means that she was the lady of the house, since he greeted her before he greeted her husband. Moreover, she followed him, the prophet, and not her husband. “And Gehazi came near to push her.”
15) “And the man of God said, ‘Let her alone, for her soul is bitter within her.’” What is the difference for which here the text calls him “man of God,” and when he was in the city it called him Elisha? Here he is indeed the man of God, for here is his place, and not in the city, and not at a time when the sons of the prophets were before him. This is why he was not called “man of God,” but Elisha.
16) “And the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me.” It is written, “And the Lord showered Sodom.” “The Lord” means He and His courthouse. This is the courthouse below, Malchut. It is written, “And [he] has not told me.” What is the reason that Elisha did not know? The Creator said, “How will I kill this one? If I tell him, he will not die because it is his gift.” And he prayed for him and did not let him die. But he should die, of course, since we learned that it is written, “You will embrace a son,” so he was tied to the place of the female, and death is caused from the place of the female. This is why he did not tell him.
17) “And he said to Gehazi, ‘Gird up your loins … and lay my staff on the lad’s face,’” meaning that the miracle had parted from him because he was not worthy of it. “And the lad’s mother said, ‘As the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’” Why did she so plead him to go himself when Gehazi was going? She knew the ways of that wicked one Gehazi, that he is not worthy of a miracle being executed by him.
18) “And put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself on him; and the flesh of the child became warm.” Why did Elisha do so? Elisha looked and knew that this place of the female to which he was now tied is what caused him to die. Hence, “He put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes to tie him to another place, a high one, the place of the male, where there is life.”
19) But he could not uproot him from the place of the female to which he was tied from the beginning, until he evoked another spirit from above and was tied to that high place, and brought his soul back to him. Had he not done so, he would never have been revived. “And the lad sneezed seven times.” It did not amount to more than seven, which correspond to the seventy years of his life, as it is written, “The days of our years in them are seventy.”
20) This is Habakkuk the prophet, of whom it is written, “You will embrace a son.” Habakkuk is from the word Hibuk [embrace]. Thus, he should have been called Havuk [embraced]; why is he called Habakkuk, which means two embraces? One embrace is of his mother, and one embrace is of Elisha, who embraced him when he revived him.
Another interpretation: He had two embraces—from the side of his mother and from the side of the prophet. One embrace from the place on which he was initially dependent, the place of the female, and another embrace, which elevated him to the upper degrees, to the place of the male. Those two embraces are included in the embrace of his mother and the embrace of the prophet. This is why he was called Habakkuk, which means two Hibukim [embraces].
21) “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet over whims.” What is the prayer that he says here? It is the place to which he was tied in the beginning, from his mother’s side. It is the prayer of the hand, the Nukva de ZA. “For whims” means that on that day, to which he was tied, the whims of the world were hung before the Creator. It was the beginning of the year, and Gevura, the Nukva, was governing. This is why that prayer, the Nukva, was to him.
22) “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet” means “for Habakkuk,” for the two Hibukim [embraces] that the prophet made for him, as it is written, “Lord, I have heard the report of You and I am afraid.” When the spirit of the prophet awakened upon him—meaning the male, during his embrace over the spirit of the female, which is a prayer that he had from his mother’s embrace—he feared and was startled lest the Dinim of the Nukva would return to him. This is why he said, “Lord, I have heard the report of You and I am afraid.” It is like the allegory that one who was bitten by a dog is startled by its voice.
23) “O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years.” Who is “Your work”? He said about himself that he is His work. “Revive … in the midst of the years” means give me life for Your work among the upper years, which are the Sefirot. Another interpretation: “Revive him, so he will not die as in the beginning.”
24) “For whims,” as it is written, “A whim of David,” which is singing and praising. This is so because there were various praises before the prophet, with which to instill the spirit of prophecy over them. It is written about it, “And you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the stage, tambourine and flute before them.” And it is written, “And now bring me a minstrel.” It is all the more so with Habakkuk, who needed contentment more than anyone, to sweeten that place, the Nukva, to which he was tied in the beginning, to extend upon him the spirit of prophecy. It is similar with all the prophets, except Moses, who surpassed all the prophets in the world, happy is he.
25) When Israel came out of Egypt, their spirit was broken within them, and they heard the praises of the angels, but they could not rejoice. When all the camps of angels and the Merkavot [assemblies/chariots] went out with Divinity, they all raised their voices in praise and songs before the Creator, and the Creator awakened the spirit of Israel and they heard the praises of the angels, and their spirit stood within them, for it did not leave them.
26) When Israel went out of Egypt, they tasted the taste of death, and the Creator healed them, as it is written, “And the Lord walks before them by day.” All the roads smelled of healing, and they came to their bodies and they were healed. And from the voice of the praises that they heard, they were glad and their spirit was made content.
27) Pharaoh and all of his men followed Israel, accompanying them until they left the land of Egypt. Similarly, all the upper ministers, appointed over them and over the rest of the peoples, accompanied Divinity and Israel until they parked in Etam, at the end of the desert, as it is written, “And when Pharaoh had sent the people, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, for it was near.” “For it was near” means “For that oath that Abimelech would adjure the fathers is near,” for that good that the Philistines did to the fathers, as it is written, “As the grace that I have done with you, you shall do with me and with the land in which you have lived.”
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