The "intermediate man" (benoni) is he in whom evil never attains enough power to capture the "small city," so as to clothe itself in the body and make it sin. That is to say, the three "garments" of the animal soul, namely, thought, speech and act, originating in the kelipah, do not prevail within him over the divine soul to the extent of clothing themselves in the body — in the brain, in the mouth and in the other 248 parts— thereby causing them to sin and defiling them, G‑d forbid.

Only the three garments of the divine soul, they alone, are implemented in the body, being the thought, speech and act engaged in the 613 commandments of the Torah. He has never committed, nor ever will commit, any transgression; neither can the name "wicked" be applied to him even temporarily, or even for a moment, throughout his life.

However, the essence and being of the divine soul, which are its ten faculties, do not constantly hold undisputed sovereignty and sway over the "small city," except at appropriate times, such as during the recital of the Shema or the Amidah, which is a time when the Supernal Intellect is in a sublime state; and likewise below, this is a propitious time for every man, when he binds his ChaBaD (intellectual faculties) to G‑d, to meditate deeply on the greatness of the blessed En Sof, and to arouse the burning love in the right part of his heart, to cleave to Him by virtue of the fulfillment of the Torah and its commandments out of love. This is the essential aspect of the Shema, the recital of which is enjoined by the Torah, and of the blessings which precede and follow it, which are a Rab-bincal enactment, the latter being the preparation for the fulfillment of the recital of the Shema, as is explained elsewhere. At such time the evil that is in the left part is subjected to, and nullified in, the goodness that is diffused in the right part, from the wisdom, understanding and knowledge (ChaBaD) in the brain, which are bound to the greatness of the blessed En Sof .

However, after prayer, when the state of sublimity of the Intellect of the blessed En Sof departs, the evil in the left part reawakens, and he begins to feel a desire for the lusts of the world and its delights.

Yet, because the evil has not the sole authority and dominion over the "city," it is unable to carry out this desire from the potential into the actual by clothing itself in the bodily limbs, in deed, speech, and persistent thought to the extent of concentrating his attention on the enjoyment of the mundane pleasures, as to how to satisfy the lust of his heart, because the brain rules over the heart (as explained in Raaya Mehemna, Parshat Pinchas) by virtue of its innately created nature. For this is how man is created from birth, that each person may, with the will-power in his brain, restrain himself and control the drive of lust that is in his heart, preventing his heart's desires from expressing themselves in action, word or thought, and divert his attention altogether from the craving of his heart toward the completely opposite direction particularly in the direction of holiness.

Thus it is written: "Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly as light excelleth darkness." This means that just as light has a superiority, power and dominion over darkness, so that a little physical light banishes a great deal of darkness, which is therewith inevitably superseded, as a matter of course and necessity, so is much foolishness of the kelipah and sitra achra (as, indeed, our Sages say, "A man does not sin unless a spirit of folly enters into him" ) inevitably driven away by the wisdom that is in the divine soul in the brain, whose desire is to rule alone in the "city" and to pervade the whole body, in the manner already mentioned, by means of her three garments, namely, thought, speech and act of the 613 commandments of the Torah, as explained earlier.

Nevertheless, such a person is not deemed a tzaddik at all, because the superiority which the light of the divine soul possesses over the darkness and foolishness of the kelipah, wherewith the latter is expelled forthwith, exists only in the aforementioned three garments, but does not extend to its very essence and being in relation to those of the kelipah. For in the "intermediate" man (benoni) the essence and being of the animal soul from the kelipah in the left part remains entirely undislodged after prayer. For then the burning love of G‑d is not in a revealed state in his heart, in the right part, but is only inwardly paved with hidden love, that is the natural adoration in the divine soul, as will be explained later. Therefore it is possible for the folly of the wicked fool to rise openly in the left part of his heart, creating a lust for all material things of this world, whether permitted or, G‑d forbid, prohibited, as if he had not prayed at all. Nevertheless, in regard to a forbidden matter, it does not occur to him to actually violate the prohibition, G‑d forbid, and it remains in the realm of sinful thoughts, "Which are yet more heinous than sin itself," and which can be forceful enough to rise to his mind, to distract him from the Torah and Divine service, as our Sages said, "There are three sins against which a man is daily not safeguarded: sinful thoughts, distraction in prayer," and so forth.

However, the impression [of prayer] on the intellect and the hidden [i.e. innate] fear and love of G‑d in the right part [of the heart], enable one to prevail and triumph over this evil of passionate craving, depriving it from gaining supremacy and dominion over the "city," and from carrying out this desire from the potential into the actual by clothing itself in the bodily organs. Moreover, even in the mind alone, in so far as sinful thoughts are concerned, evil has no power to compel the mind's volition to entertain willingly, G‑d forbid, any wicked thought rising of its own accord from the heart to the brain, as discussed above. But no sooner does it reach there than he thrusts it out with both hands and averts his mind from it the instant he reminds himself that it is an evil thought, refusing to accept it willingly, even to let his thoughts play on it willingly; how much more so to entertain any idea of putting it into effect, G‑d forbid, or even to put it into words. For he who wilfully indulges in such thoughts is deemed wicked at such time, whereas the "intermediate" person is never wicked for a single moment.

So, too, in matters affecting a person's relations with his neighbour, as soon as there rises from his heart to his mind some animosity or hatred, G‑d forbid, or jealousy or anger, or a grudge and suchlike, he gives them no entrance into his mind and will. On the contrary, his mind exercises its authority and power over the spirit in his heart, to do the very opposite and to conduct himself towards his neighbour with the quality of kindness and a display of abundant love, to the extent of suffering from him to the extreme limits without becoming provoked into anger, G‑d forbid, or to revenge in kind, G‑d forbid; but rather to repay the offenders with favours, as taught in the Zohar, that one should learn from the example of Joseph towards his brothers.