39. "And Elohim looked on the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt" (Beresheet 6:12). Why was the earth corrupt? CAN IT BE THAT IT DESERVED TO BE PUNISHED? AND HE ANSWERS: YES, "because all flesh had corrupted its way" (Ibid.), as has already been explained. Rabbi Chiya opened the discussion, saying, "And Elohim saw from their deeds that they had repented from their evil way" (Yonah 3:10). Come and behold: when the people are righteous and observe the commandments of the Torah, the earth is invigorated and full of joy. And why is that? Because the Shechinah dwells upon the earth and everyone - both above and below - is joyous.
40. But when people corrupt their ways, do not observe the commandments of the Torah, and sin before its Master, then it is as if they drive the Shechinah out of the world. Then the earth is left corrupt, for the Shechinah is repelled by it and does not dwell on it. Then, the earth is corrupt. And why should the earth be corrupt? Because a different spirit rests upon it, causing the corruption. (The rest of this paragraph is a latter addition.)
41. Can the same be applied to the land of Yisrael as well, THAT IS ANOTHER SPIRIT COULD BE DWELLING THERE? But we have learned that no other spirit rests upon the Land of Yisrael, and there is no other appointed angel beside the Holy One, blessed be He Himself. IF SO, THEN WHY WAS THE LAND OF YISRAEL CORRUPTED? AND HE REPLIES: Come and behold: it is true that no other appointee or messenger dwells in the land of Yisrael, beside the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself, but there is one time that the evil spirit may govern the land in order to destroy people. How do we know about that? From David, as it is written: "And he saw the angel of Hashem standing between the earth and the heavens, with a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem" (I Divrei Hayamim 21:16) and then the land was destroyed.
42. Rabbi Elazar said: Even in that time, WHEN HE SAW THE ANGEL OF HASHEM STANDING, it was the Holy One, blessed be He. Because what is written here, "the angel of Hashem," is analogous to "The angel who redeemed me" (Beresheet 48:16) and also to "the angel of Elohim" (Shemot 14:19). AND AS THESE VERSES REFER TO THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, SO DOES THIS ONE. Be it for the best or the worst, the Holy One, blessed be He, shall always govern this land. For the best - because the land of Yisrael was never passed on to any other supernal governor, AND THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, ALONE CAN DO IT GOOD. And all the other inhabitants of the world should be ashamed of their deeds, BECAUSE THEY ARE UNDER MINISTERS. For the worst MEANS THAT ONLY THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, RULES OVER THIS LAND to prevent the other ministers from delighting in ruling over it.
43. And if you will ask is it not written: "For she has seen that the heathen nations invaded her sanctuary" (Eichah 1:10) and destroyed the Temple, WHICH IMPLIES THAT if really no other ministers ruled, then the Temple would not have been destroyed! Come and behold: it is stated, "For you have done" (Ibid. 21) and "Hashem has done that which he devised" (Eichah 2:17). SO YOU CAN SEE THAT IT WAS DONE BY THE HOLY ONE, HIMSELF, BLESSED BE HE, AND NOT BY MINISTERS.
44. Come and behold: it is written, "And Elohim looked on the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt" (Beresheet 6:12). It was surely corrupt. And furthermore, it is also stated: "And Elohim saw their deeds, in that they turned from their evil way" (Yonah 3:10). Because then the earth calls out to the higher, TO ZEIR ANPIN, and rises to an upper grade; it beautified its face, as though it were a woman beautifying herself for a man. In the same manner, the earth pleased the "King," WHO IS ZEIR ANPIN, for it raised righteous children for Him.
45. While on this subject, what is written about the generation of the Flood that did not repent? "And Elohim looked on the earth, and, behold it was corrupt," like a wife who committed adultery and hides her face from her husband. When the sins of people multiply and they sin openly, the earth becomes brazen like a woman who has no shame. As it is written: "And the earth was defiled under its inhabitants" (Yeshayah 24:5). And so it is said, that He "looked" it was corrupt" assuredly. You may ask, why? Because "all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth."