Rabbi Elazar opened [the discussion by quoting the verse:] "Who is this coming up out of the wilderness?" (Song of Songs 3:6) "Who is this/mi zot" including two systems of holiness of two worlds [for 'mi' refers to malchut, called simply holy, and 'zot' refers to bina, called Holy of Holies] joined together into one firm bond. "Coming up out of the wilderness," means that it actually "comes up" to become the Holy of Holies [malchut elevates to bina, and then she too is called the Holy of Holies]. Because "Who" [bina] is the Holy of Holies and has joined "this,"[malchut, and thus bina gives abundant bounty of spiritual energy of mochin to malchut and this is their bond] so that it, becomes an arising to Holy of Holies.

"Out of the wilderness," [in the merit that Israel received the Torah and mitzvot there] for She [malchut] inherited [and was prepared] to become a bride and enter the bridal canopy from out of the wilderness. Furthermore [the verse can be interpreted as:] "She rose up from the verbal [toil in Torah, for the root of 'midbar/wilderness' is 'dibur', which means speech] as it is written, "And your speech/midbarech is comely", (Song of Songs 4:3) referring to that quiet utterance of the lips that "rose up" [in Hebrew, 'Olah'] (Song of Songs 3:6) [at night, for one learns quietly at night, and this elevates malchut to bina]. And we have learned why it is written, "these mighty divine powers; these are the divine powers that smote the Egyptians with all manner of plagues in the wilderness." (I Samuel 4:8)

But is it possible that all G‑d brought about occurred only "in the wilderness?" Was it not (also) in the settlement? [For the 10 plagues did not take place in the desert but rather in Egypt. But the phrase] ba-midbar [does not mean "in the wilderness" but] by the power of the spoken word (be-di-bur did G‑d strike the Egyptians). As it is written, "and your speech is comely." It is also written, "and the Shechinah arises through speech [of Torah] (Psalms 75:7) Similarly (the verse) "coming up out of the midbar" (Song of Songs 3:6) means "from the speech [of Torah and prayers] that is uttered by the mouth" She rises and enters between the wings of the Mother, [the place of the bridal canopy where male and female are united]. Afterwards, by the speech [of Israel] She descends and rests upon the heads of the leaders of the holy nation.

How does She [malchut] arise by the uttered word? Because when a person awakens in the morning - at the time that he opens his eyes - he first praises and blesses his Master [and through the morning blessings, malchut elevates to bina] This is what the early pious ones did: they prepared a vessel of water before[their beds] and when they awoke at night, they washed their hands, rose up, and studied Torah. And they blessed on their speaking Torah as well! The rooster crows and it is exactly midnight, then G‑d joins the righteous in the Garden of Eden.

It is forbidden to utter any blessing with unclean hands, as it is at any time of the day. When a person falls asleep, his spirit departs from him. And when the spirit departs from him, the spirit of impurity comes forth and defiles him. So it is forbidden to utter any blessing without first washing one's hands. If it is on a day when a person does not go to sleep and his spirit does not depart from him, the spirit of impurity does not defile his hands; when he enters the lavatory, he should not utter any blessing nor read the Torah - not even one word - until he washes his hands. And although you might say that it is because they are dirty, this is not so! Because how did they become dirty? Woe to those who are not aware of their Master's honor and do not pay heed to His Majesty, and do not know the purpose of this world. Because there is a certain spirit that dwells in every bathroom in the world, a spirit that enjoys making impure, and immediately settles on the fingers that belong to the hands of human beings.

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section?

The power of Torah-full speech is awesome, for the words elevate to higher worlds, to the Holy of Holies.

The desert is the place where the still small voice within remains strong. There are endless potentials for communication with the Divine. Yet one should not even contemplate Torah ideas in a place of filth and refuse.

What does the above Zohar mean to YOU?! Why are you reading it NOW?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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