179. Come and behold. HE ASKS, In the verse, "If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small" (Mishlei 24:10), what is the meaning of "you faint?" HE REPLIES, A man whose hands do not firmly hold on to the Holy One, blessed be He, to receive strength from Him. A man can be strengthened by stronger association with the Torah, for whoever is strengthened by the Torah holds more firmly to the Tree of Life, thereby giving power and strength to the Congregation of Yisrael, THE SHECHINAH.
180. But if he relaxes his hold on the Torah, then he faints, and if he is faint in his hold on the Torah, then "in the day of adversity," his "strength is small." When trouble comes, he presses (meaning?) the Shechinah, which is the power of the world.
181. Another explanation of the phrase, "your strength is small," is that when a man is faint in his hold on the Torah and walks a crooked path, many enemies wait to oppress him in a day of adversity. Even his own soul, his power and strength, become his foes and enemy. HE EXPLAINED THE WORDS, "YOUR STRENGTH IS SMALL (HEB. TZAR)," AS "YOUR STRENGTH IS AN ENEMY (HEB. TZAR)," WHICH REFERS TO HIS SOUL, WHICH REFLECTS A MAN'S STRENGTH.
182. Rabbi Aba said that when a man walks the path of the Torah and his ways are duly straight, many advocates stand ready to speak well of him. He opened the discussion with the verse, "If there be an angel over him, an intercessor, one among a thousand, to vouch for a man's uprightness, then He is gracious to him, and says, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom" (Iyov 33:23-24). We should study these verses carefully. Is not all revealed before the Holy One, blessed be He? Does He need an angel to announce before Him good and evil?
183. HE ANSWERS, ALTHOUGH HE KNOWS EVERYTHING, He surely requires AN ANGEL TO AROUSE MERCY, because when a man has good intercessors who remind the Holy One, blessed be He, of his merits, and no one who speaks of his sins, then "He is gracious to him, and says, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom."
184. Come and behold, this verse clarifies the matter. It is written, "If there be an angel over him," which should be sufficient. Yet it continues, "an intercessor, one among a thousand." WE SHOULD THEREFORE FIND OUT who he is. HE SAID, This is the angel whose duty it is to be on the left side of man, as it is written, "A thousand shall fall at your side" (Tehilim 91:7). We know this to be the left side from the following words, "and ten thousand at your right hand," (Ibid.) WHICH MEANS THAT "AT YOUR SIDE" (WHICH APPEARS EARLIER) REFERS TO THE LEFT SIDE.
185. The "one among a thousand" is the Evil Inclination, one of the thousand DEMONS of the left side. He ascends to receive permission TO COME DOWN AND KILL. But when a man walks the path of righteousness, the Evil Inclination becomes his servant, as it is written, "Better is one lightly esteemed who owns a servant" (Mishlei 12:9). He then ascends and becomes his advocate, recalling his merits before the Holy One, blessed be He, and the Holy One, blessed be He, says, "Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom."
186. With all that, the Evil Inclination does not return empty-handed. Another man is delivered to him, one whose soul he may take because this man's sins are already known. HE IS CHARGED FOR THEM and is held ransom for the man who escaped. This is the meaning of the sentence, "I have found a ransom," (to redeem him).
187. Another explanation of the words, "I have found a ransom," is that THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, SAYS TO THE ANGEL: The merit you mentioned shall be THAT MAN'S ransom. It will redeem him from dying and going down to Gehenom. Therefore, it behooves a man to walk the path of Truth, so that his accuser shall turn into his advocate.
188. Similarly, Yisrael employ such means on Yom Kippur, by giving THE EVIL INCLINATION, SAMAEL, a goat, NAMELY, A SCAPEGOAT, and thus engaging it until it becomes their servant and ascends to testify before the Holy One, blessed be He, as their intercessor. Solomon said of the Evil Inclination, "If your enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat: and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink" (Mishlei 25:21).