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14) Once, he [a man] was praying. While he was praying, a serpent wrapped itself around his ass’ legs. The ass was startled and brayed twice. When he concluded his prayer he said, “This must be painful to my beast. It is punished because today I was early and my lips were speaking the Torah, and the ass took me through a place where there is filth, and now it is being afflicted.” He rose and saw the serpent tied to the ass’ leg and said, “Serpent, serpent, go and tie your knots in the slopes of your hole.” At the same time, he removed the serpent from the ass’ leg and it fell, pieces over pieces.
15) The Creator is meticulous with the righteous and guards them, since He wishes to add holiness to their holiness. And this ass was afflicted because he was keeping my holiness. That serpent was a messenger. The Creator has several messengers, and He carries out His mission, even in animals of the field, as it is written, “And I will send the beast of the field among you, which shall rob you of your children,” and with idol worshippers, as it is written, “The Lord will bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth.”
16) The Creator delivers His message through Israel, as well, such as a wicked through a righteous. But a wicked in the hand of another wicked from Israel does not carry out his mission, except in a time when he is not intending, as it is written, “And if a man did not lie in wait, but God caused it to come to his hand.” It is written precisely, “did not lie in wait,” for he did not intend to kill him but God caused it to come to his hand, to punish both of them, the killer and the killed.
17) How does the Creator carry out His mission through those and through idol worshippers?
18) “When He is quiet, who will condemn?” “When He is quiet,” when the Creator gives man peace and quiet, who has permission to harm him and accuse him? “And when He hides His face, who can behold Him?” “When He hides His eyes from watching over him, who will watch over him and guard him and keep him?” Then come the damagers and harm him, and the Creator’s way is on a nation and on a man alike, whether for the whole world, for one nation, or for one person.
19) When people’s deeds are good below, the right hand of the Creator awakens on them from above. Then, several lovers, several keepers of the world, and several keepers of man awaken from the right and from the left, from the side of Hesed and from the side of Gevura, to watch over him. And then the left surrenders and cannot govern.
And when people’s deeds are not good below, the left side awakens upon them, meaning judgments. And all those that come from the left side awaken and become emissaries to harm people, since all those who breached the words of Torah are written before them, and they are evident to those who awaken from the left side.
20) Hence, the animals and idol worshippers all come from the left side; they are all called messengers to those who are written before them, and they awaken toward them. And although the deeds of Israel are not good, they all come from the right. And since the right surrenders through the evil deeds of those who are written before them, the left, and all those who come from the left, govern them. For this reason, the mission is in the hands of the animals and the idol worshippers and all that are similar to them, which are from the left side. It is not in the hand of Israel, since even though he is wicked, he comes from the right side, and this side surrenders through their actions.
21) And a wicked from Israel who falls into the hands of Israel is only when the wicked did not intend to kill him. At that time, it is not because of an emissary, but because they are both punished and suffer punishments to purify them. They are on the right, and did not cling to the left, and never mingled with it, since they are both Israelites. Hence, he cannot be an emissary of the left, to punish anyone. And for this reason, when wicked Israelites intend to kill, they are removed from the world.
22) We know this from the mistress in Gibeah. Even though the people of Gibeah were wicked, the Creator did not want them to awaken to punish other wicked from among the children of Israel. This is why they died all the times that they died, in the first wars, until all the wicked that were awakened to punish them died and were lost, and only the most righteous remained, for they did this in the way of truth.
And although they are righteous, when the worlds are as one, that is, when the lower world behaves as though it is an upper world, it is given only to those who come from the left—the animals and the idol worshippers. This is so because when the bottom world behaves as the upper, the branches of the right cannot be emissaries to the actions of the left, to kill and to punish, since these matters are never replaced above. And at the time of the wars with the mistress in Gibeah, the worlds were not corresponding, one similar to the other. Hence, the righteous could punish and kill, although no such thing occurs above.
23) Hence, to other wicked, the wicked of Israel are not the king’s messengers, since they do not come from the left. This is akin to people who sinned against their king. The officer rose toward them, to catch and punish them. One sage from among the people of the city rose up and mingled with the officer’s assistants. The officer looked up, saw him, and said, “Who put you here among us? Are you not one of those who sinned against the king? Hence, you will be punished first.” They took him and killed him.
24) Such are Israel: they come from the right side, are not attached to the left, and never mingled with it. And when the transgressions of the wicked cause the right to surrender and the left to awaken—including all those who come from there to punish them—if one from Israel, from the right, arises to mingle with them, they know him and tell him: “Are you not one of those who come from the right, who surrendered because of the transgressions of the wicked? Are you not one of those who sinned before the king? Who put you among us?” Thus, he is punished first. King Solomon cried against them and said, “Wherein a man has exercised authority over another man to his hurt.” Certainly, it is to his hurt, since he is not the king’s emissary and he does not come from the left side.
25) Right and left, mercy and judgment. Israel are to the right and the idol worshipping nations are to the left. Israel, even when they are wicked and yielding, they are on the right; they do not cling to the left, and never mingle with it. This is why it is written, “Save with Your right hand, and answer me,” for when the right ascends, Israel—who cling to it—rise and are crowned in it. Then the left side and all who come with it surrender, as it is written, “Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.”
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