399. "And Hashem regretted that He made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart" (Beresheet 6:6). Rabbi Yosi said upon this verse, "Woe to them who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with cart rope" (Yeshayah 5:18). Those who draw iniquity are the men who sin every day before the Holy One, blessed be He, and they regard their sins as worthless cord because they think that the actions they engage in and their iniquities are of no consequence and that the Holy One, blessed be He, does not watch them. They thus transform all of their sins into one big, powerful sin - as the cart rope which is strong and thick and cannot be destroyed.
400. Come and behold: when the Holy One, blessed be He, executes judgment upon the wicked of the world, even though they transgress before Him and anger Him all day, He still has no desire to destroy them. And when He reviews their deeds, he is consoled by the fact that they are His handiwork and He has patience with them in this world.
401. And because they are the work of His hands, He is consoled, gives them respite, and has mercy on them. And when He wants to execute judgment, He is saddened, as it were, because they are the work of His Hands and He is sad because of them, as it is written: "nor were entertainments brought before him" (Daniel 6:19).
402. It is written: "Honor and majesty are before Him, strength and joy in His place" (Tehilim 96:6). Rabbi Yosi said, come and behold: it is written: "And it grieved Him in his Heart," INDICATING THAT He was saddened in His heart, and not in another place. The words, "His heart" function here in the same manner as in the verse, "according to that which is in my heart and in my desire" (I Shmuel 2:35). Rabbi Yitzchak said that the words "Hashem regretted" are similar to "And Hashem relented of the evil He thought do to His people" (Shemot 32:14). THUS THE VERSE "AND HASHEM REGRETTED" HAVING MADE MAN TEACHES US THAT HE DID NOT WANT TO PUNISH THEM, AND WHEN THE TIME CAME TO EXECUTE JUDGMENT, HE WAS SADDENED IN HIS HEART.
403. Rabbi Yesa said OF THE PASSAGE, "AND HASHEM REGRETTED..." THAT IT WAS SAID for good, but Rabbi Chizkiyah said that it was said for bad. Rabbi Yesa EXPLAINED FURTHER BY saying that it is for good because the Holy One, blessed be He, regretted because those were the work of His hands, and pitied them. THE WORDS "AND HASHEM REGRETTED" TEACH US THAT THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, HAD PITY ON MAN BECAUSE HE MADE HIM, AND HE IS HIS HANDIWORK. "And it grieved Him" means that it saddened Him that they had sinned before Him.
404. Rabbi Chizkiyah said: It was all said for demerit, because when the Holy One, blessed be He, wants to destroy the wicked people of the world, He is consoled for their loss, like a person who resigns himself to the loss of something. And once He is comforted, judgment takes its course and repentance is of no avail.
405. So, when is repentance effective? Only up to the point when He is consoled. Once He is consoled, repentance is of no avail and judgment is carried out. THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, adds judgment upon Judgment and He gives strength to the place of judgment, so it will carry out the verdict. THE NUKVA CARRIES OUT THE VERDICT, and the sinners are completely destroyed. All this WE SEE in the passages "Hashem regretted" and "He was grieved to His heart." He gave strength to the place of Judgment, so that it could carry out the verdict. THE SECRET OF THE NUKVA IS HIS HEART, WHICH IS THE PLACE OF JUDGMENT. BY "GRIEVED," IT IS MEANT THAT HE GAVE THE NUKVA EXTRA STRENGTH.
406. Rabbi Chiya explained that the verse says, "And Hashem regretted (also: 'was consoled') that He had made man," because He received consolation and joy. When the Holy One, blessed be He, created man upon the earth, he was made in the supernal image. The angels of heaven praised the Holy One, blessed be He, and when they saw his supernal shape, they said: "You have made him slightly lower than Elohim and have crowned him with glory and honor" (Tehilim 8:6).
407. Later, when Adam sinned, the Holy One, blessed be He, was saddened, because Adam had now justified what the ministering angels asked Him when He wanted to create man: "What is this man that You are mindful of him and the son of man that You visit him" (Ibid. 5)? HENCE, THE VERSE "AND HASHEM REGRETTED..." MEANS THAT HE REJOICED AND WAS COMFORTED BY THE ANGELS BEFORE THE SIN, AND "GRIEVED" AFTER THE SIN.
408. Rabbi Yehuda said that "He was grieved to His heart" because He had to execute judgment upon them, as it is written: "As they went out before the army, and who should say, Give thanks to Hashem, for His steadfast love endures forever" (II Divrei Hayamim 20:21). Rabbi Yitzchak asks why it was not written, 'GIVE THANKS TO HASHEM for He is good'. HE ANSWERED: Because He was destroying the work of His hands for the sake of Yisrael.