The Seven Palaces of the Sitra Achra

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836) It is written, “But they, like men, have transgressed the covenant. There they have betrayed Me.” Who will remove the dust from your eyes, Adam HaRishon? The Creator commanded you one Mitzva [commandment], but you could not keep with it, for you were seduced over the evil things that that evil serpent incited you, as it is written, ‘And the serpent was cunning.’ Afterwards, you were enticed by him and caused death to you and to all the generations coming out of you.” Anyone who is seduced by him and comes down to him will be lost to him in a moment; he will be trapped in his net.

837) David’s existence was pinched in the source of springing water, in Bina, since David is Malchut above the Chazeh, the place of Bina, from whom his vitality and existence come. When he was repelled into another land, fleeing from Saul, he was afflicted. By his affliction, he was repelled from the holy land, falling from his degree—the holy land. And even though he descended from his degrees into a low degree, he maintained his existence and did not enter the Sitra Achra, keeping safe from him, as it is written, “Yet, the Lord lives and your soul lives, for there is but a step between me and death.” It is so because he descended from his degrees until there was that much between him and death, the Sitra Achra, who is called “death.” Happy is he who keeps from that evil side, and from all the degrees of that side that are in the world.

838) There are several Behinot [discernments] and degrees to the evil inclination. These are Satan, the angel of death, and the evil inclination. Although he is called by these names, he has seven names in particular; Satan, Impure, Enemy, Stumbling Stone, Uncircumcised, Evil, and Northern. These seven names correspond to seven degrees of his palaces, all of which are from the side of Tuma’a. And opposite those are seven names by which Hell is named, where the wicked are sentenced: Hole, Pit, Dumah, Miry Clay, Sheol [netherworld], Shadow of Death, and Underland. The seven departments of Hell correspond to the seven names of the evil inclination, and the seven palaces of the Sitra Achra are named by those names of the seven departments of Hell.

839) As there are degrees and palaces on the side of Kedusha, there are also on the side of Tuma’a, and they are all present and ruling in the world on the side of Tuma’a. This is why there are seven palaces opposite the seven names of Hell, which are called by those names of the seven departments of Hell, and all are standing to judge and defile, for those wicked of the world to whom they have adhered, and who did not guard their ways while in this world.

840) It is so because one who comes to be purified in this world, on the side of purity, is purified in a place called “faith,” in Malchut de Kedusha. And several degrees and appointees are all standing to bring people closer to the work of the Creator and to purify him. And one who comes to be defiled is defiled on the other, impure side, as there are several degrees and appointees, all poised to defile people.

841) It is written of one who approaches them and comes to be drawn to the evil side, “What man shall live and not see death; he shall deliver his soul.” Who is the man who was born in the world and will not see death, after which the whole world is taken—the angel of death—since when he comes to answer to his Master, when he is about to depart from the world, before he passes away from this world, he sees the angel of death?

842) Those seven palaces, which are seven departments of Hell, are called “Twelve months.” As the side of faith, Malchut, has 12 months of holy degrees, the Sitra Achra has 12 months on which the wicked are sentenced, and the souls of the wicked are sentenced in them. Happy are the righteous, who avoided them in this world and did not approach their gates, to be saved from them in that world, so they are not sentenced under their hands in Hell.

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