22. Rabbi Yitzchak and Rabbi Yehuda were traveling from Usha to Lod. Rabbi Yehuda said, Let's discuss some Torah as we go. Rabbi Yehuda opened the discussion with the verse: "If a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit..." (Shemot 21:33). The following verse says: "The owner of the pit shall make it good..." (Ibid. 34). Therefore whoever harms the world with his sins should most certainly make it good. However, I wonder. Since he caused harm to the universe, why does repentance help as it says, "When a man or a woman shall commit any sin...then they shall confess their sins...and he shall make restitution" (Bemidbar 5:6-7).
23. HE REPLIES: Assuredly it helps them because when he repents, it is as if he causes it in reality, SINCE REPENTANCE (LIT. 'RETURN') RETURNS THE HEI TO THE VAV. He restored whatever he damaged above. How? By repentance, as it is written: "When a man or a woman shall commit any sin...then they shall confess their sins...and he shall make restitution (return)." Repentance restores everything. It repairs above and it repairs below, restoring himself and restoring the whole universe.
24. Rabbi Yitzchak opened next the discussion saying, "When you are in distress, and all these things are come upon you..." (Devarim 4:30). "When you are in distress:" From here, we see that best of all is repentance before Judgment steeps the world, because once Judgment has settled, its power increases. Who will be able to remove it or make it go away? Once the Judgment begins, it does not disappear until it is fulfilled. Following the completion OF THE JUDGMENT and repenting, he restores the worlds. That is deduced from the scripture: "And all these things are come upon you, in the latter days...if you turn to Hashem your Elohim...for Hashem your Elohim is a merciful El" (Ibid. 30-31).
25. HE INQUIRES: "In the latter days?" What is the connection of this verse to here? HE REPLIES: It is in order to include the Congregation of Yisrael, WHICH IS REFERRED TO AS THE LATTER DAYS, that is in exile, being with them in their distress and never leaving them. Although the Holy One, blessed be He, has steeped the world in Judgment, He wishes that Yisrael will repent to better their position in this world and in the World to Come. There is nothing that can withstand repentance.
26. Come and see that even the Congregation of Yisrael, WHICH IS MALCHUT, is called repentance. You might say the uppermost repentance, WHICH IS BINAH, is not found everywhere. But MALCHUT is called repentance when mercy THAT IS ZEIR ANPIN returned before her, and she returned again to nourish all her multitudes. The best way to repent is when the sinner risks his life for it. It is received during a time that he is in repentance. Then everything is restored above and below, and he and the worlds are restored.
27. How many others are hurt because of one wicked person in the world. Woe to the wicked and woe to his neighbor. Look at Jonah. Because he had no wish to go on his Master's mission, how many people could have perished at sea because of him, until they all gathered about him to judge and convict him, TO THROW HIM into the sea. Then all were saved and the Holy One, blessed be He, had mercy upon him. Afterwards, he saved a great many in the world; THAT IS, THE PEOPLE OF NINEVEH. When WAS THIS? When he repented before his Master, in his distress. This is what is meant by: "I cried to Hashem out of my distress, and he heard me" (Yonah 2:3), and: "Out of my distress I called upon Yah: Yah answered me with liberation..." (Tehilim 118:5).
28. Ra'aya Meheimna (the Faithful Shepherd). This commandment is that of repentance, and that is Binah. Because of our sins when the Temple was destroyed, nothing was left for us except verbal confession alone, which is Malchut REFERRED TO AS A VERBAL CONFESSION. What is Binah? IT CONSISTS OF THE LETTERS Ben (Eng. 'son') Yud-Hei, and that son is surely Vav, WHICH ALLUDES TO ZEIR ANPIN WHO IS CALLED SON THAT IS ATTACHED TO HER AND RECEIVES THE MOCHIN OF YUD-HEI FROM HER. For everyone who repents, it is as if he returned the letter Hei, WHICH IS MALCHUT, to the letter Vav, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, which is the son of Yud Hei. Thus, through him Yud Hei Vav Hei is completed, BECAUSE THE SON IS THE SECRET OF VAV AND TOGETHER WITH YUD-HEI IT FORMS YUD-HEI-VAV, AND WITH MALCHUT, THAT IS THE HEI THAT RETURNED TO HIM, THE WHOLE NAME WAS MADE COMPLETE. That is repentance (Heb. teshuvah) for sure, WHICH CONSISTS OF THE LETTERS tashuv (Eng. 'return') Hei to the Vav.
29. The letter Hei definitely is verbal confession and the secret meaning of: "Take with you words, and turn to Hashem: say to him...so we will offer the words of our lips instead of calves" (Hoshea 14:3). When a person sins, he certainly causes the Hei to distance itself from the Vav, since the son of Yud -Hei, MEANING THE VAV THAT CONTAINS Yud-Hei-Vav, removes himself from the Hei. Because of this, the Temple was destroyed and Yisrael were driven away from there and dispersed among the nations. Because of this, whoever repents affects the return of the Hei to the letter Vav, and redemption depends upon it. Consequently, everything depends on repentance. That is what the ancient sages said. The intimated term for the coming of the Messiah has passed - worse has come to worst - and it is contingent upon repentance only, which is the completion of his Name, WHICH IS THE SECRET MEANING OF HEI THAT COMPLETES HIS NAME WHEN ADDED TO YUD-HEI-VAV.
30. Therefore, "I acted for my name's sake" (Yechezkel 20:14), NAMELY TO COMPLETE THE NAME YUD HEI VAV HEI and also "for my own sake, for my own sake, will I do" (Yeshayah 48:11). If they do not return, then I will set upon them a king whose decrees are harsher than those of Pharaoh. Then they will repent in spite of themselves. This is what is meant by: "If you turn to Hashem your Elohim" (Devarim 4:30), to Yud Hei Vav Hei certainly, NAMELY TO COMPLETE THE NAME YUD HEI VAV HEI.
31. This repentance, WHICH IS MALCHUT AND THE HEI OF YUD HEI VAV HEI, is called life, AS IT IS WRITTEN: "For out of it are the issues of life" (Mishlei 4:23). These are the souls of Yisrael, THE ISSUES OF MALCHUT, REFERRED TO AS LIFE, and MALCHUT is the breath that a person exhales and inhales through the mouth without toil or effort. IT IS THE SECRET OF Hei of "When they were created (Heb. BeHibar'am)" (Beresheet 2:4), SINCE THE LETTER HEI IS VOCALIZED THROUGH THE MOUTH MORE EASILY THAN THE REST OF THE LETTERS. About this, it is written: "But by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of Hashem does man live" (Devarim 8:3), SINCE MALCHUT IS REFERRED TO AS "WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF HASHEM," which is above the head of the man, THAT IS, 'AND OVER MY HEAD THE SHECHINAH OF EL.' About this, it says: "And the likeness of Hashem does he behold" (Bemidbar 12:8), BECAUSE MALCHUT IS REFERRED TO AS THE LIKENESS OF HASHEM, AND ALSO: "Surely every man walks in a vain show (image)" (Tehilim 39:7).