Even he who is innocent of the grievous sins of youth, but wants to attain a broken spirit, should set his heart to fulfill the counsel of the holy Zohar13—to be “a master of accounts.”

וְגַם מִי שֶׁהוּא נָקִי מֵחַטֹּאות נְעוּרִים הַחֲמוּרִים, יָשִׂים אֶל לִבּוֹ לְקַיֵּים מַאֲמַר זֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ, לִהְיוֹת מִ"מָּארֵי דְחוּשְׁבָּנָא",

This means that he should do the spiritual accounting described below as a “master,” a proprietor, to whom each set of figures represents either a profit or a loss that directly affects him—rather than as a “servant,” a hired accountant, who can view whatever bottom line eventuates with academic detachment.

This means that he should take stock with his soul of all his thoughts, utterances, and actions that have come and gone since the day he came into being and until the present day. Were they all of the realm of holiness or of the realm of impurity (G-d deliver us)? This latter realm includes also any thought, utterance, or action not directed toward G-d, His will, and His service even when they are not actually sinful, since this is the meaning of the term sitra achara: not necessarily “evil” but simply “the other side”—the “side” (realm) that is not holy; thus, anything that does not contain holiness belongs to the realm of impurity, as explained earlier (in ch. 6).

דְּהַיְינוּ, לַעֲשׂוֹת חֶשְׁבּוֹן עִם נַפְשׁוֹ, מִכָּל הַמַּחֲשָׁבוֹת וְהַדִּיבּוּרִים וְהַמַּעֲשִׂים שֶׁחָלְפוּ וְעָבְרוּ מִיּוֹם הֱיוֹתוֹ עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה, אִם הָיוּ כּוּלָּם מִצַּד הַקְּדוּשָּׁה, אוֹ, מִצַּד הַטּוּמְאָה רַחֲמָנָא לִצְּלָן, דְּהַיְינוּ, כָּל הַמַּחֲשָׁבוֹת וְהַדִּיבּוּרִים וְהַמַּעֲשִׂים אֲשֶׁר לֹא לַה' הֵמָּה וְלִרְצוֹנוֹ וְלַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ, שֶׁזֶּהוּ פֵּירוּשׁ לְשׁוֹן "סִטְרָא אָחֳרָא", כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל [בְּפֶרֶק ו'].

Now, it is known that whenever a person thinks holy thoughts, he becomes, during that time, a “chariot” for the “chambers” (heichalot) of holiness whence these thoughts originate, or, more precisely, whence their vitality originates.

וּמוּדַעַת זֹאת, כִּי כָּל עֵת שֶׁהָאָדָם מְחַשֵּׁב מַחֲשָׁבוֹת קְדוֹשׁוֹת – נַעֲשֶׂה מֶרְכָּבָה בְּעֵת זוֹ לְהֵיכְלוֹת הַקְּדוּשָּׁה, שֶׁמֵּהֶן מוּשְׁפָּעוֹת מַחֲשָׁבוֹת הַלָּלוּ.

Becoming a “chariot” means that he becomes completely subservient to these heichalot to the same degree that a vehicle, having no will of its own, is completely subservient to its driver’s will.14 When he meditates on the love of G-d, for example, he becomes a “vehicle” for the supernal “chamber of love,” and so on.

Conversely, when he thinks impure thoughts, he becomes an unclean “vehicle” for the heichalot of impurity, from where all impure thoughts originate. So, too, with speech and action.

וְכֵן לְהֵפֶךְ, נַעֲשֶׂה מֶרְכָּבָה טְמֵאָה בְּעֵת זוֹ לְהֵיכְלוֹת הַטּוּמְאָה, שֶׁמֵּהֶן מוּשְׁפָּעוֹת כָּל מַחֲשָׁבוֹת רָעוֹת, וְכֵן בְּדִבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה.

Thus, even one who cannot call to mind any past sins can humble his spirit by contemplating how often he has become a vehicle for impurity through his thoughts, words, and actions which, though not sinful, were still of the realm of the sitra achara—since they were not directed toward G-dliness.

Let him further consider his dreams in order to humble his spirit, for one may learn more about himself from his dreams than from his waking, conscious thoughts. For the most part, they are “vanity and an affliction of the spirit,”15 because his soul does not ascend heavenward during his sleep, since it is written: “Who shall ascend the mountain of the L-rd?”16meaning, in our context, “Whose soul shall rise heavenward while he sleeps to see and absorb matters of Torah and holiness, which will in turn be reflected in his dreams?” And the next verse gives the answer: “He that has clean hands and a pure heart”—implying that the soul of one whose hands and heart are not pure does not ascend, and that is why his dreams are a patchwork of vanity and foolishness.

עוֹד יָשִׂים אֶל לִבּוֹ, רוֹב חֲלוֹמוֹתָיו, שֶׁהֵם הֶבֶל וּרְעוּת רוּחַ, מִשּׁוּם שֶׁאֵין נַפְשׁוֹ עוֹלָה לְמַעְלָה, וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "מִי יַעֲלֶה בְּהַר ה', נְקִי כַפַּיִם וְגוֹ'",

Furthermore, “those originating from the ‘evil side’ come and attach themselves to him and inform him in his dreams of mundane affairs…and sometimes mock him and show him false things and torment him in his dreams,” and so on, as stated in the Zohar on Vayikra (p. 25a, b). See it there discussed at length.

וְ"אִינוּן סִטְרִין בִּישִׁין אָתְיָין וּמִתְדַּבְּקָן בֵּיהּ וּמוֹדְעִין לֵיהּ בְּחֶלְמָא מִילִּין דְּעָלְמָא וְכוּ', וּלְזִמְנִין דְּחַיְיכָן בֵּיהּ וְאַחֲזִיאוּ לֵיהּ מִילֵּי שְׁקָר וְצַעֲרִין לֵיהּ בְּחֶלְמֵיהּ כוּ'", כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּזֹּהַר וַיִּקְרָא [דַּף כ"ה עַמּוּד א' וְעַמּוּד ב'], עַיֵּין שָׁם בַּאֲרִיכוּת.

We thus see from the Zohar that one may evaluate himself by studying the content of his dreams. Thereby, he can humble his spirit even if he finds himself free of sin, and in this way, he may crush the sitra achara within him, as explained above.