83. "And there was a famine in the land..." (Beresheet 26:1). Rabbi Yehuda opened the discussion with the verse, "Hashem tries the righteous, but the wicked and him who loves violence His soul hates" (Tehilim 11:5). How orderly and right are the deeds of the Holy One, blessed be He, and all He does is according to justice and truth, as it is written, "He is the Rock, His work is perfect..." (Devarim 32:4).
84. Come and behold, the Holy One, blessed be He, did not judge Adam before He commanded him for his own good not to let his heart and will stray in another direction - THAT IS, NOT TO EAT FROM THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE - so that he would not be defiled. But he was not careful, and transgressed the precepts of his Master BY EATING FROM THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE. Then the Holy One, blessed be He, judged him.
85. Even then, the Holy One, blessed be He, did not judge him as harshly as he deserved, THAT IS, ACCORDING TO THE VERSE, "FOR ON THE DAY THAT YOU EAT OF IT YOU SHALL SURELY DIE" (BERESHEET 2:17). He refrained from wrath and let him be among the living for one day, THAT IS, THE DAY OF THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, which is one thousand years, AS IT IS WRITTEN, "FOR A THOUSAND YEARS IN YOUR SIGHT ARE BUT LIKE YESTERDAY WHEN IT IS PAST" (TEHILIM 90:4), minus the seventy years that he gave to king David, who had no life of his own. THEREFORE HE LIVED 930 YEARS, NAMELY, ONE THOUSAND YEARS MINUS SEVENTY.
86. Similarly, THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, does not judge man according to his evil deeds, which he continually does, for if He did so, the world would not have survived. But the Holy One, blessed be He, refrains from wrath with the Righteous and the wicked. With the wicked, HE IS EVEN more FORBEARING than with the righteous, so that they may repent completely and exist in this world and in the World to Come. As it is written, "'As I live,' says Adonai Elohim. 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live'" (Yechezkel 33:11), WHICH MEANS to live in this world and in the World to Come. For that reason, He is always forbearing. Another reason is that good stock may issue from them, as Abraham was begotten of Terah, who issued good stock and good origin and portion in the world.
87. But the Holy One, blessed be He, is always strict with the Righteous in every deed they do. Because He knows they will not turn away, neither to the right nor the left, He constantly tests them. Not for His own sake DOES THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, TEST THEM, as He knows their desire and the firmness of their faith and has no need of trying them. He tries them only to lift up their heads, to give them confidence as they earn their merits through these EXPERIENCES.
88. THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, behaved similarly toward Abraham, as it is written, "that the Elohim did test Abraham" (Beresheet 22:1). What is meant by "test (Heb. nisah)?" It means the raising of the banner (Heb. nes), as it is written, "lift up a standard" (Yeshayah 62:10), and "set up the standard" (Yirmeyah 4:6). He raised his standard over the whole world. And for this, FOR THE TEST AT THE SACRIFICE, the Holy One, blessed be He, raised the banner of Abraham before everybody's eyes, as it is written, "Did test Abraham." Thus the Holy One, blessed be He, in order to lift the standard of the righteous, tries them, so they will lift up their heads throughout the world.
89. "...Tries the Righteous..." (Tehilim 11:5): What is the reason thereof? According to Rabbi Shimon, it is because the Holy One, blessed be He, wishes for the Righteous. As it is written, "But it pleased Hashem to crush him by disease" (Yeshayah 53:10). This has already been explained. The Holy One, blessed be He, wishes for the soul and not the body, because the soul resembles the supernal soul, NAMELY, THE SHECHINAH, and the body is not worthy of being united WITH THE SHECHINAH above. Thus, although the shape of the body is in the image of the supernal secret, THAT IS, ALTHOUGH THE BODY IS DRAWN FROM THE SHECHINAH, NAMELY MALCHUT, NEVERTHELESS IT IS NOT WORTHY OF BEING UNITED WITH HER.
90. Come and behold, when the Holy One, blessed be He, wishes to illuminate the soul of a man, He crushes the body so that the soul will govern. As long as the soul is with the body, THEY ARE EQUAL, AND the soul cannot rule. After the body is crushed, the soul becomes powerful. What is the meaning of the verse, "...tries the righteous..." (Tehilim 11:5)? It is as is written, "...a tried stone..." (Yeshayah 28:16); in the same way He "tries the righteous," which means that He strengthens him by this "tried stone," which is a precious cornerstone. So does He try the righteous!
91. "But the wicked and him who loves violence his soul hates" (Tehilim 11:5). What is the meaning of "his soul (lit. Nefesh) hates?" COULD IT POSSIBLY ALLUDE TO THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, WHOSE NEFESH HATES THE WICKED? FOR THE WORD NEFESH IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE. The explanation is that the very level upon which all souls depend, MALCHUT, hates the Nefesh of that wicked man. For it does not want it [this soul] TO CLEAVE TO IT in this world or in the World to Come. For that reason, it is written, "but the wicked and him who loves violence his soul hates." Another explanation of, "His soul hates," is as it is written, "Adonai Elohim has sworn by His Nefesh" (Amos 6:8), WHICH MEANS THAT THE WORD NEFESH IS USED IN RELATION TO HASHEM. IF SO, THEN THE EXPLANATION IS SIMPLY THAT THE SOUL OF HASHEM HATES THE WICKED AND HIM WHO LOVES VIOLENCE. For that reason He "tries the righteous," for He loves him.
92. Come and behold, when the Holy One, blessed be He, created Adam, He commanded him NOT TO EAT OF THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE, in order to benefit him. He gave him wisdom, so he would ascend through the grades TO THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE. When he descended, he saw the desires of the Evil Inclination and clung to it, thereby forgetting all that he beheld of the Supernal Glory of his Master.