Leave off the Man whose Breath Is in His Nostrils

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51) “Leave off the man whose breath is in his nostrils, for why should he be regarded?” What is, “Leave off”? Was the prophet cautioning to avoid the rest of the people, and that the rest of the people should avoid him, so people will never draw near to each other? However, “Leave off” was said in regards to one who comes to visit his friend to, greet him before he blesses the Creator.

52) It writes, “Leave off,” and it is written, “He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be considered a curse to him.” Even though he already blessed the Creator and does not need to be cautioned, “Leave off,” about that. But what is “Leave off the man whose breath is in his nostrils”? Here the Creator commanded man and cautioned him to keep himself from those people who diverted their ways from the good way to the bad way, and defile themselves with the impurity of the Sitra Achra.

53) This is so because when the Creator created man, He did it in the higher form and breathed into him a holy spirit that consists of three: NefeshRuachNeshama. The Neshama is above all of them, since she is a high force, to know and to keep the commandments of the Creator. And if he puts that holy Neshama in another work, this is what defiles it and he leaves the work of his Master.

This is so because these three forces are all one—NefeshRuachNeshama—participating together. They are one, as in the upper one, where BinaZA, and Malchut are one. Similarly, NefeshRuach, and Neshama are one since they extend from them.

54) If you see a person with all the degrees, NefeshRuach, and Neshama, and he still did not learn who he is, how does one know if he should be approached or avoided? Indeed, he will know him and recognize who he is in his anger. If he keeps the holy Neshama while he is angry, so as to avoid uprooting it from its place so no foreign god will come to be in its place, this is a worthy man. He is a slave to his Master; this is a whole man.

55) And if that man does not keep it and uproots this high holiness because he came into anger, and places the Sitra Achra in its stead, it is certain that he has rebelled against his Master and must not be approached and bonded with. This is, “O you who devour your soul in your anger,” who devours and uproots his soul [Neshama] because of his anger and instills a foreign god in himself. It is written about him, “Leave off the man whose breath is in his nostrils,” for he devours that holy Neshama and defiles it because of his anger, since he has fallen into anger and replaced his soul with his anger. “For why should he be regarded?” That man is considered a stage on which idolatry is performed.

56) One who joins a foreign god, who speaks with him, it is as though he joins actual idolatry, since idolatry, a real foreign god is within him. Moreover, he has uprooted the upper holiness from its place and instilled idolatry, a foreign god instead. It is written about it, “Turn not unto the idols.” Similarly, it is forbidden to look at the face of one who is angry.

57) But there is anger of sages?! Anger of sages is good for all sides. The Torah is fire and the Torah makes him boil, as it is written, “Is not My word as fire? Says the Lord.” The anger of sages is in words of Torah; the anger of sages is to give glory to the Torah; it is all for the work of God. It was said about it, “For the Lord your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God.”

58) Yet, if the anger is in other things and not in words of Torah, it is not the work of the Creator, since of all the sins that man commits, none are as actual idolatry as is anger. It is forbidden to come close to it. And if one is angry for a time but then repents? It is not so, since because he uprooted the holiness of his soul from him and from her place, and that foreign god has robbed that place, he strengthens in him and does not leave him. An exception is when one is completely purified from everything and uproots the foreign god from within him forever, and then tries to be sanctified and extend holiness upon himself. Then, may it be that he will be sanctified.

59) When one uproots the holiness of his soul and a foreign god is in its place, that one is called “impure.” That man is defiled and he defiles those who come near him, and that holiness is uprooted from him. And since it was uprooted from him once, as much as one may do, it will never again return to its place.

60) If this is so, how many are the impure who are purified? Another impurity is different, for one can only defile oneself on the outside. But the anger is different from everything, since he has defiled his whole body from within and from without—the soul and everything is defiled. But other impurities in the world defile only the body, from without. This is why it is written, “Leave off the man whose breath is in his nostrils,” for he has replaced the sanctity of his Master with his anger, and this is impurity that defiles everything. “For why should he be regarded?” In idol worship he is certainly regarded.

61) That anger is idolatry, Sitra Achra. One should be wary of it and part from it. This is why it is written, “You shall make for yourself no molten gods.” “Yourself” means so you will not harm yourself. Afterwards it is written, “You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread.” “Keep” is the side of holiness, and one must keep it and avoid replacing it with the Sitra Achra. If he replaces it with the Sitra Achra, he is defiled and defiles all who draw near him.

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