Concerning Tithing

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493) The subsequent Mitzva is to bring the first fruit, and then to give thanks for the first fruit, and then to give thanks for the tithing. The authors of the Mishnah wish to understand in regard to the tithing: If he gives tithing before he gathers, should he give tithing when it is ripe or does he give after he collects. It is like a citron, of which they said, “In a tree, follow the ripening.” And some say that with a citron you follow the ripening of the fruits because a citron somewhat resembles a tree and somewhat resembles a grain, which are seeds, of which it is said that its tithing is after gathering it, not as the tree, but after it has fully ripened, after it is collected, as with seeds.

494) Because they established the blessing of “Who brings forth” from the place where the ripening is done, with the exception of burnt bread, but rather from a place that is tasteful for him, so it is with grains, you follow its gathering, for then it is as ripened fruit and is tasty.

495) Israel are compared to a tree and to crop, like a citron to a tree, of which it is written, “You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the Lord your God.” And also, “You shall give him … the first shearing of your sheep.” This implies to Israel, of whom it is written, “You are My sheep.” Similarly, Israel are akin to grain, of which it is written, “Israel are holiness to the Lord, the first of His harvest.” Hence, he gives tithing after he is gathered from the exile, for then they are considered holy to the Creator.

496) Israel are called “a great and strong tree, in which there is food for all.” The Torah is in it, meaning food above, from ZA, the prayer is in it, meaning food below, from Nukva. Even the angels have food only through Israel, for if Israel had not engaged in Torah, food from the Torah would not have come down for them. She is as a tree, as it is written, “She is a tree of life to they who hold her.” And on the part of the fruit of the Torah, which is a Mitzva.

497) The Torah is akin to water and to fire. Water would not come down from above, and the sun, which is fire, would not come down to ripen the fruits of the tree, but only by Israel’s merit. This is why it is written about Israel, “The fig tree has ripened its figs,” which are they who keep the Mitzvot, “And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance,” when they begin with repentance. At that time, it is immediately written about Israel, “Arise my wife, my beautiful one, and go away” from the exile.

498) This is the reason why in the tree—the tree of life, the Torah, ZA, those who engage in Torah follow the ripening right at the beginning of the engagement and tithe them, since the YodHochma, is on them, hence they tithe one out of ten. And in it they gather from the exile, the bottom Hey of HaVaYaH, Israel, the fruits of the tree, the Torah. The tree, the letter Vav, is ZA, the Torah. But the rest of the people give tithing after it is collected from the exile.

Yet, in regard to the righteous, it is written, “And you shall take you on the first day the fruit of a citrus tree,” who dwells in the actions that are gripped and done by the keepers of Torah and Mitzvot, in whom there are those who follow the ripening as a tree. Hence, it is written about them on the first day that they do not need to wait for the hour of gathering from the exile.

499) Vegetables have a way of growing over any water. Their tithing is while collecting them. Similarly, a citron grows on any water. Israel are like a citron—they grow on any water—since on the part of Hochma there is no water but Torah. A citron is equal to a tree in three ways. A citron is Malchut, gripped on two sides, HG, two ways, and a third way is that a citron has the shape of the heart: it is gripped above, the heart sees, Hochma, vision. It is also gripped below, in Daat, meaning that the heart knows. Daat is a tree, the interior of ZA. Torah is Guf de ZA, a fruit of the Daat that expands from the Daat. Eyes are Mitzvot, and in them the heart sees.

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