15. Rabbi Elazar said: Why is the Holy One, blessed be He, so particular with the righteous? He replied: Verily, He is and He takes note of all their errors, for He desires to raise their Holiness. This donkey did not guard my Holiness; THEREFORE, it was hurt and this snake is a messenger. How many messengers the Holy One, blessed be He, has! And He sends all of them, even the beasts of the field, to fulfill His mission, as it is written: "I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children" (Vayikra 26:19), and even the heathen nations "Hashem shall bring a nation against you from far away, from the very ends of the earth" (Devarim 28:49).
16. Rabbi Elazar ASKED: Does THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, make Yisrael His messengers TOO? He replied: Yes, He sets the righteous to punish the wicked; but not one wicked person from Yisrael is set to punish another - except for the time when one of them does so accidentally, as it is written: "And if a man did not lie in wait, then Elohim permitted it to happen..." (Shemot 21:13). "Did not lie in wait," is precise, for he did not INTEND to kill him, but "Elohim permits it to happen" in order to punish both of them, both THE KILLER AND THE ONE BEING KILLED.
17. Rabbi Elazar said: How does the Holy One, blessed be He, use such children of Yisrael and idolaters as His messengers? He said to him, Has not your father told you? He answered: I have never asked him.
18. He opened the discussion, saying: "When He is quiet, who then can condemn?" (Iyov 34:29). "When He is quiet," means that when the Holy One, blessed be He, gives quietness to a man, no one is authorized to injure or malign him. "And when He hides his face, who then can behold Him?" (Ibid.) means that when He withdraws His watchful providence from him, who can keep watch over him to protect him. THEN THOSE MESSENGERS COME AND INJURE HIM. The ways of the Holy One, blessed be He, are "unto a man or a nation alike," MEANING the same for the world as they are for a people, or for an individual.
19. HE EXPLAINS HIS WORDS: Come and behold. When men's actions are virtuous below, the right hand of the Holy One, blessed be He, is active for them above. Many loving ones, many Protectors of the world and Protectors of men, come forward on the right and left, TO GUARD HIM FROM THE SIDE OF CHESED AND FROM THE SIDE OF GVURAH. Then, the left side is subdued and cannot gain control. But when men's actions are not virtuous below, then the left side, WHICH IS JUDGMENT, is awakened upon them, and those who come from the side of the left are all aroused and become messengers to harm men. All who transgress the laws of the Torah receive a mark on their faces through which they are recognized by those who rise up from the side of the left.
20. Therefore, the beasts and idolaters, and all those who come from the left side, are called 'messengers' - with regard to those who bear this mark ON THEIR FACES - and they rise up against them. Although the actions of Yisrael are not virtuous, all of them come from the right side. The right is subdued as a result of the EVIL actions OF THOSE WHO HAVE THE MARK ON THEIR FACES; THEREFORE, the left has power over them, and over all those who come from the left side. Therefore, the mission is in the hands of the beasts and idolaters, and all those who are like them, being from the left side. It is not in the hands of one of Yisrael, for although a man may be wicked, he still comes from the right side, WHICH IS SUBDUED BY THEIR OWN ACTIONS.
21. A sinful Yisrael can fall into the hand of another sinner of Yisrael ONLY at the time when THE WICKED PERSON has no intention OF KILLING HIM, SINCE THEN HE DOES NOT COME AS A MESSENGER - BUT both of them must be punished and purified by their punishment. Rabbi Elazar asked: Whence do we learn all this? He replied: They are from the right and do not cleave to the left, and are never mingled with it, FOR BOTH OF THEM ARE THE CHILDREN OF YISRAEL. THEREFORE, NEITHER OF THEM CAN BE A MESSENGER OF THE LEFT TO PUNISH THE OTHER. And thus, at another time WHEN THE WICKED OF YISRAEL INTEND TO KILL, they are removed FROM THE WORLD.
22. Rabbi Elazar asked: Whence do we learn that IF THE WICKED OF YISRAEL INTEND TO KILL, THEY PASS AWAY? He answers: Come and behold. Think of the incident of the concubine in Giveah. Although those WHO LIVED IN GIVEAH were sinners, the Holy One, blessed be He, was unwilling that other sinners of Yisrael SHOULD PUNISH THEM. Therefore, numbers of them fell time after time, IN THE FIRST BATTLES, until all the sinners who came to punish them perished, and only those more righteous were left - for they executed the work more appropriately. Even though they are righteous at a time when the worlds are considered to be one - when the lower world CONDUCTS ITSELF like the upper one - permission is given only to some, MEANING THOSE WHO COME FROM THE LEFT, WHO ARE THE BEASTS AND IDOLATERS. FOR WHEN THE LOWER WORLD BEHAVES AS THE UPPER ONE, THE BRANCHES OF THE RIGHT ARE NOT ABLE TO BE THE MESSENGERS OF THE LEFT'S ACTIONS - NAMELY, TO KILL AND TO PUNISH. FOR SUCH MISSIONS ABOVE ARE NEVER CHANGED. At the time OF THE BATTLES OF THE CONCUBINE IN GIVEAH, the worlds were not balanced - THE ONE IN THE LIKENESS OF THE OTHER. THEREFORE, THE RIGHTEOUS COULD KILL AND PUNISH, ALTHOUGH SUCH A THING NEVER HAPPENS ABOVE.
23. Therefore, the sinners of Yisrael are not the messengers of the King to punish other sinners of Yisrael, because they do not come from the left side. As in the parable of certain men having offended the king, an officer was charged to arrest and punish them. One clever fellow among them went and mixed himself with the staff of an officer. The officer detected him and said: Who said you could join us? Are you not one of those who have offended against the king? You shall be punished first! Then they took him and killed him.
24. So Yisrael comes from the right side and never cleaves to or mingles with the left. When THE WICKED subdue the right by their sins, and the left and all those who come from it are awakened TO PUNISH THEM, then if one of Yisrael from the right tries to situate himself among them, they recognize him and say to him: Are you not one of those who come from the right side, who is subdued because of the sins of the wicked? Are you not one of those who have sinned against the King? Who allowed you to come among us? So he is punished first. King Solomon cried to them: "There is a time when a man rules over another to his own hurt" (Kohelet 8:9). "To his own hurt," assuredly, because he is not the messenger of the King and does not come from that side - NAMELY, FROM THE LEFT.