219. "And it came to pass, as she spoke to Joseph day by day" (Beresheet 39:10). Rabbi Elazar began the discussion with the verse, "To keep you from the evil woman" (Mishlei 6:24). Happy are the righteous who know the paths of the Holy One, blessed be He, and tread them, for they are occupied in the study of the Torah day and night. And whoever is occupied with the Torah day and night inherits two worlds, the upper and the lower. He inherits this world even though he does not study the Torah for its own sake, and inherits the upper world if he does study it for its own sake.
220. Come and behold, it is written, "Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand are riches and honor" (Mishlei 3:16). "Length of days is in her right hand," means that whoever walks to the right of the Torah, THAT IS STUDIES THE TORAH FOR ITS OWN SAKE has length of days in the World to Come, where he attains the glory of the Torah. This is the Glory and Crown which adorn everything, for the crown of the Torah abides only in the World to Come. "And in her left hand are riches and honor," in this world, as even he who does not study the Torah for its own sake merits riches and honor in this world.
221. When Rabbi Chiya came FROM BABYLON to the land of Yisrael, he read the Torah until his face shone like the sun. Those who studied the Torah stood before him, and he would say this one studied it for its own sake and this one did not. He would pray for the one who studied it for its own sake, prayed that he would do so always and merit the World to Come. And he prayed for he who did not study it for its own sake, that he would come to do so and thereby merit everlasting life.
222. One day, he saw a student who studied the Torah. The student's face was pale. He said to himself that he assuredly contemplates sin. He made him come before him and spoke to him the words of the Torah until he composed himself. From that day on, the student resolved not to seek evil thoughts, but to study the Torah for its own sake
223. Rabbi Yosi said that when a man notices that he is assailed by evil thoughts, he should study the Torah and they will pass. Rabbi Elazar said that when the Evil Side comes to crush man, he should draw it toward the Torah and it will part from him.
224. Come and behold, we have learned that when the Evil Side stands before the Holy One, blessed be He, and indicts the world for its evil sins, the Holy One, blessed be He, pities the world and advises men on how to be saved from it, so it will not control them or their deeds. The advice is to escape the Evil Side by studying the Torah diligently. HE ASKS, How do we know this? HE ANSWERS, From the verse, "For Your commandment is a lamp; and Torah is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life," which is followed by the verse, "To keep you from the evil woman, from the smoothness of the tongue of an alien" (Mishlei 6:23-24). THE TORAH THEN PRESERVES ONE FROM THE EVIL INCLINATION.
225. The Side of Defilement, the Other Side, is always before the Holy One, blessed be He, blaming men for their transgressions. It also stands below to accuse men of their sins. HE EXPLAINED THAT it stands above to remind men of their sins and to accuse them for their deeds, because they were given over to its power, as was Job WHEN THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, SAID TO THE SATAN, "HE IS IN YOUR HAND" (IYOV 2:6).
226. It also accuses them and when the Holy One, blessed be He, judges them ON ROSH HASHANAH (THE NEW YEAR) AND YOM KIPPUR (DAY OF ATONEMENT), it remembers every sin and deed. It stands over them and brings accusations, but the Holy One, blessed be He, pities Yisrael and advises them on how to escape the Evil Side. How? By blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah day and giving of the scapegoat on Yom Kippur, so the Evil One will leave them and busy himself with the portion GIVEN HIM.
227. Come and behold, it is written, "Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold of Sheol" (Mishlei 5:5). Of the secret of the faith it is said, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace" (Mishlei 3:17). These are the ways and paths of the Torah, and all are one; THAT IS, THE ROADS - THOSE OF DEFILEMENT AND THOSE OF HOLINESS - ARE ALL ONE. The one is of Peace, and the other is of Death. And they are complete opposites to each other, FOR EACH AND EVERY PATH LEADING TO DEFILEMENT HAS AN OPPOSING PATH LEADING TO HOLINESS.
228. Happy is the portion of Yisrael who cleave faithfully to the Holy One, blessed be He, for He advises them on how to be saved from all the other sides in the world. Because they are a Holy Nation - His lot and portion - He helps them in every THING. Happy are they in this world and in the World to Come.