"And G‑d spoke to Moses, saying, 'Take also the sum of the sons of Gershon.'" (Num. 4:21-22) Rabbi Aba opened [his discourse] by saying, "Blessed is the man to whom G‑d ascribes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." (Psalms 32:2) The beginning and the end of this verse do not agree [for the beginning seems to allude to a sin that exists but isn't ascribed, while the end claims there is no sin at all]. It should be looked into but it has already been established.

Come and see: during the afternoon prayers, judgment dwells in the world and Isaac [who is Supernal gevura] established the afternoon prayer; [therefore] supernal gevura [of Zeir Anpin] rules the world [to do judgment] until the onset of night as gevura receives the night [i.e. malchut, which draws from gevura, rules then]. When the time of the afternoon prayer begins, the left separates to receive [malchut] and the night [malchut] is aroused.

After it is aroused, all the guards of the external gates are aroused in the world and spread out, and all the inhabitants of the world taste death [as sleep is 1/60 of death].

We have learned that at exactly midnight, the left is aroused as before [as at the time of the afternoon prayers]. The holy rose [malchut, who is the rose amongst the thorns, hinting to the exile of the Shechinah] exudes fragrances and raises a voice in praise. Then [in the power of these praises and of the Torah learning of the righteous after midnight] her head [keter] rises and dwells above in the left, and the left [arm of Zeir Anpin] receives her [is under her head in the secret of "His Left arm under my head".1]

Then [at midnight] it is proclaimed in the world: "The time has come to rise from sleep and praise the King. Praises then awaken and everything is fragrant [sweetened]. Praised is the lot of the one who awakens to effect this bond when morning approaches and the right [chesed of Zeir Anpin] awakens and hugs her [malchut], there is universal union [between malchut and chesed, whereas earlier in the night there was no chesed].

Come and see: during the time when people sleep and taste of death, the soul rises up and stands in its place, where it is examined about its daily activities which get recorded in the book. What is the reason for this? Because the soul rises up and testifies about all the person's activities and every single word that came out from his lips.

When that word that exits from the mouth of a person is worthy, a holy word of Torah study and prayer, that word then rises and splits the firmaments. It stands there until nightfall, when the soul rises and grasps that word and brings it before the King.

When the is word improper, one of evil words or speech, that word rises to wherever it does to be recorded as a sin of that person. This is the meaning of: "Keep the doors of your mouth from her [your soul] that lies in your bosom" (Micah 7) [so that it won't testify badly about you]. About this, it is written: "Blessed is the man to whom G‑d ascribes no iniquity". When is that? When "in whose spirit there is no guile" [and no sin or evil words].

BeRahamim LeHayyim: What does the above mean to you, and why is it being revealed now?
Every moment is unique. Science will justify this on the fact that the earth, moon, sun, and solar system change constantly. Above we learn the specialness of halachic midnight, which is 12 hours after mid-day. This opens the Sweetest Hour, where the severity of the night is sweetened by the kindness of the night. To be awake at this time to "catch this wave" is highly recommended for intense prayer, powerful learning, and deep contemplation. The distractions of the day—cell phones, crying children, demands of the house—are gone. It is just you and G‑d, together.

We begin our service with an accounting of the day, not unlike that of the bedtime Shema. To open up to this sacred energy requires return and repair.

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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