As She Spoke to Joseph

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223) When one sees that bad thoughts come upon him, he should engage in Torah, and they will go away. When that evil inclination comes to tempt a person, he should draw it unto the Torah, and it will depart him.

224) We learned that when this evil side stands before the Creator to accuse the world for the bad deeds that they had done, the Creator has mercy on the world and advises people how to be saved from it so it may not control them or their deeds. And what is the advice? It is to delve in the Torah, and they will be saved from it, as it is written, “For the commandment is a candle and the teaching is light,” “To keep you from the evil woman, from the smoothness of the alien tongue.” Thus, the Torah keeps one from the evil inclination.

225) This is the side of impurity, the other side, which always stands before the Creator to prosecute against people’s transgressions, and always stands to fool people downwards. It stands above, to mention people’s transgressions and to slander them for their deeds because they are given to his authority, as he did to Job, when the Creator told Satan, “he is in your hand.”

226) Thus he stands over them to accuse and to mention their transgressions in all that they had done. At such times when the Creator is judging them, on Rosh Hashanah [Hebrew New Year’s Eve] and Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement], he rises to slander them and to mention their transgressions.

And the Creator has mercy over Israel and gives them an advice by which to be saved from it: the Shofar [festive sounding of a ram’s horn] on Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur, and the scapegoat it is given so as to retire from them and occupy itself with the piece that it was given.

227) “Her feet go down to death.” It is written about faith, “Her ways are of pleasantness.” These are the ways and trails of the Torah, and they are all one. Thus, all the ways—the ways of impurity and those of holiness—are one. One is peace and the other is death, and they are complete opposites, for each path of impurity is the opposite of its parallel in holiness.

228) Happy are Israel, for they adhere to the Creator as it should be, and He gives them the counsel by which to be saved from all the other sides in the world, since they are a holy nation for His share and for His lot. Hence, He gives them advice on every single thing. Happy are they in this world and in the next.

229) When this evil side comes down and roams the world, and sees that the acts of people have all gone astray, he rises and slanders them. And had it not been for the Creator, who pities His creations, they would not have remained in the world.

230) “As she spoke to Joseph day after day.” “As she spoke” is the evil side, which rises and slanders daily, and speaks before the Creator (Joseph implies the Creator) plentiful evil and gossip, to blot out the people of the world.

231) “…but he did not listen to her, to lie with her or to be with her.” “…he did not listen to her” because the Creator has mercy on the world. “…to lie with her,” so as to receive governance to rule over the world, but a government does not rule until it is given permission.

“…to lie with her” means Zivug. Can it be that holiness would copulate with impurity? And he replies that the abundant reception of power from the Creator, when the evil side receives in order to punish, is considered a Zivug because abundance is drawn only through a Zivug. This is why it is written, “…to lie with her,” to give her abundant governance.

232) Moreover, “…to lie with her” is as it is written, “…or a man who lies with an unclean woman,” being with her, giving her governance and blessings and help, since without the help that she had from above, not a single person would remain in the world. But because the Creator has mercy over the world and helps the world through the Sitra Achra, the world remains standing while the Sitra Achra governs the world.

First he says, “…to lie with her,” which is imparting abundant governance and granting the Sitra Achra permission to punish. And here he says that laying with her concerns the abundance of governance over the world, which was given to the Sitra Achra while she rules the world so the world will persist.

233) The two interpretations are one thing, but the evil inclination seduces people, to lure them off their path and to cling to them. It distracts people from the path of truth every single day, to avert them from the way of life and to draw them into hell.

234) Happy is one who does good deeds and keeps His ways and trails so as to not cling to the evil inclination, as it is written, “As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her.” He would not listen to what she told him every day because the spirit of impurity, which is the evil inclination, seduces man daily to lie with her in hell and to be sentenced to being there with her.

235) When man clings to that side, he is drawn after her and is defiled with her in this world, and defiled with her in the other world.

The side of impurity is a villain, filth, a real feces. And one who strays from the Torah is sentenced to these feces. Also, those who have no faith in the Creator, the wicked of the world, are sentenced to it.

236) “Now it happened one day” is the day when the evil inclination rules the world and descends to fool people. This is the day when man comes to repent for his sins, or comes to engage in the Torah and to keep the commandments of the Torah. At that time, the evil inclination comes down to fool people and to avert them from repentance and from engaging in the Torah and keeping commandments.

237) “…that he went into the house to do his work,” to engage in the Torah and to keep the commandments of the Torah, which is man’s work in this world. And since man’s work in this world is the work of the Creator, that is, engagement in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments], one should be as strong as a lion on all of one’s sides, so that the Sitra Achra will not govern him and will not be able to seduce him.

“…and there was none,” meaning there was no one to stand up to the evil inclination and wage war with it as it should be.

238) What is the way of the evil inclination? Since it sees that no one rises up to it, to wage war against it, promptly, “She caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me!’” “She caught him by his garment,” when the evil inclination rules a person, he first mends and beautifies his clothes and does his hair, as it is written, “She caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me!’” Cling unto me.

239) One who is righteous, stands up to it and wages war against it, as it is written, “And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.” Thus, he leaves it, stands up to it, and runs away from it to be saved from it, so it will not govern him.

240) In the future, the righteous will see the evil inclination as a tall mountain. They will wonder and say, “How could we have conquered such a tall mountain?” Also in the future, the wicked will see the evil inclination as thin as a hair’s breadth. And they will wonder and say, “How could we not conquer this hair’s breadth thread?” These cry and those cry, and the Creator will uproot it from the world and He will slaughter them before their eyes, and it will no longer govern the world. Then the righteous will see and rejoice, as it is written, “Only the righteous will give thanks to Your name.”

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