The following section has the power to instill fear in us about the ever-present danger of of succombing to negativity. We become aware of the evil forces that stand ready to sabotage our spiritual efforts at the first sign of an opening.
388. "And Enoch walked with Elohim, and he was not, for Elohim took him" (Beresheet 5:24). Rabbi Yosi said: "While the king was still feasting, my spikenard sent forth its fragrance" (Shir Hashirim 1:12). This verse has been expounded on, yet come and behold: it is the way of the Holy One, blessed be He, that when a man cleaves to Him, He in turn sets His Shechinah upon the man. And when He knows that this man will sin, He acts preemptively, plucks away his good fragrance, and removes him from the world.
389. "The king" mentioned above is the Holy One, blessed be He. His feasting is the man who cleaves to Him, and follows in His path. The spikenard that gives fragrance consists of all the man's good deeds, in honor of which he is taken away from this world prematurely. THIS PREVENTS HIM FROM CORRUPTING HIS DEEDS.
390. King Solomon said of this, "There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there are righteous men, to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked" (Kohelet 8:14). There are righteous people who are rewarded as if they were wicked, as we have explained. For because of their good deeds the Holy One, blessed be He, removes them from the world prematurely and inflicts judgment upon them, SO THEY WILL NOT CORRUPT THEIR WAYS. And there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous" (Ibid.), for the Holy One, blessed be He, gives them a respite and is patient with them, AS IN THE DAYS OF THE FLOOD. And all this is, as we have explained, so that they should not sin AND CORRUPT THEIR GOOD WAYS. HENCE, THEY RECEIVE JUDGMENT AS IF THEY WERE WICKED, so that they may repent or because good children are expected to come from them, THEREFORE HE WAITS FOR THEM AND HOLDS BACK HIS ANGER; HENCE THEY RECEIVE A REWARD AS IF THEY WERE RIGHTEOUS.
391. Come and see: Enoch was a righteous man. The Holy One, blessed be He, saw that he was eventually bound to degenerate and took him before he sinned. This is what is meant by the "to gather lilies" (Shir Hashirim 6:2). THIS MEANS THAT because of their good scent, the Holy One, blessed be He, gathers them before they become corrupt. SIMILAR IS THE VERSE: "and he was not, for Elohim took him." "And he was not" means that he was not to live a long life, as did his contemporaries, because the Holy One, blessed be He, took him away before his time.
392. Rabbi Elazar said that the Holy One, blessed be He, removed Enoch from the earth, elevated him to the highest heavens, and handed him all supernal treasures as well as 45 keys to the concealed engravings used by supernal angels. They were all delivered to him. This has been already explained.