Even if by prolonging the deep concentration on the aforementioned matters for an hour or two, in order to acquire a humble spirit and a contrite heart, the individual will lapse into a 'profound dejection, he should not worry. For although sadness stems from the realm of kelipat nogah and not from that of holiness, since in regard to holiness it is written, "Strength and gladness are in His place," and "The Divine Presence (Shechinah) abides only in joy ... as is the case also in the study of the law," and so on, except that if the sadness comes from reflections about celestial [i.e. spiritual] things, it is derived from the realm of goodness that is in nogah (hence Rabbi Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, wrote that even worry about sins is only fitting during confession but not during prayer and Torah study, which should be conducted with joy derived from the side of holiness, exclusively)—

Nevertheless, the method of subduing the sitra achra is on the latter's own ground, as the Rabbis of blessed memory have said, "From the forest itself is taken the axe wherewith to fell it," and "He met his equal." With regard to this it is written, "In all sadness there is profit," the profit being the joy that follows the sadness, as will be explained later.

In truth, however, a contrite heart and the bitterness of the soul because of its remoteness from the light of the Divine countenance and its being clothed in the sitra achra— are not called atzvut (dejection) in the sacred tongue, for atzvut implies that the heart is dull like a stone and is devoid of vitality. But in the case of merirut (bitterness) and a broken heart, the contrary is surely true— there is vitality in the heart fermenting agitation and bitterness, except that this vitality stems from the attribute of the holy gevurot (severity), whereas joy comes from the attribute of chasadim (kindness), for the heart is comprised of them both.

Thus it is sometimes necessary to awaken the attribute of the holy gevurot in order to ameliorate the stern judgments, arising from the animal soul and evil nature, when triumphing, Heaven forfend, over man. For the stern judgments can be sweetened only at their source. Therefore the Rabbis, of blessed memory, said that "A person should always excite the good nature," that is, whenever he perceives in his soul that he is in need of it. But the propitious time, which is the time specifically fitting for the majority of people, is when one is in any case troubled by mundane worries, or, simply, without apparent cause. Then is the appropriate time to transform the sadness by becoming one of those "Masters of account" mentioned earlier and to act on the counsel of the Rabbis "Constantly to excite," and so on, as has been mentioned above. Thereby will he rid himself of the dejection occasioned by mundane affairs.

Following this he will attain true joy when he will reflect in his heart and gain a double measure of comfort, in view of what has been said above in truth, saying to himself: "Truly and without doubt I am far removed from G‑d, and I am abominable and loathsome.... Yet all this is myself alone, that is to say, the body with its vivifying soul. Yet, there is within me a veritable part of G‑d, which is found even in the most worthless of the worthless, namely, the divine soul with a spark of veritable G‑dliness which is clothed in it and animates it, except that it is, as it were, in [a state of] exile. Therefore, on the contrary, the further I am separated from G‑d, and the more contemptible and loathsome, the deeper in exile is my divine soul, and the more greatly is she to be pitied; therefore I shall make it my whole aim and desire to extricate her and liberate her from this exile, in order to restore her 'To her Father's house as in her youth,' before she was clothed in my body, when she was absorbed in His blessed light and completely united with Him. Now she will again be thus absorbed and united with Him, may He be blessed, if I will bend my whole aim toward the Torah and the commandments, to clothe therein all her ten faculties, as mentioned above, especially in the precept of prayer, to cry unto the Lord in her distress of exile in my despicable body, to liberate her from her prison, that she may attach herself to Him, blessed be He."

This is the essence of "Repentance and good deeds," the latter being the good deeds which one performs in order to restore the portion of the Lord to the Source and Root of all the worlds.

And this shall be his service all his life in great joy, the joy of the soul in her release from the despised body and "Returning to her Father's house as in her youth," when engaged in Torah and prayer. Indeed, the Rabbis, of blessed memory, have said, that one should be in a state of repentance throughout one's life. For there is no greater joy than the escape from exile and imprisonment, as in the example of the king's son who was kept in captivity, grinding [corn], in prison and becoming covered with filth; then he is liberated and he returns to his father's royal house.

And although the body is still in its contemptible and abominable state— it is referred to in the Zohar as "The skin of the serpent"— inasmuch as the essence and substance of the animal soul have not converted to good, so as to merge into holiness, nevertheless his soul will become more precious in his eyes than the despised body, and he will rejoice in her joy, and not confound and confuse the joy of the soul with the misery of the body.

This [release of the soul from her exile in the body] is in the nature of the "Exodus from Egypt," in connection with which it is written, "The people had fled." At first sight it is strange that it should have happened in this way. For had Pharaoh been requested to liberate them for ever, would he not have been compelled to let them go? But because the evil in the souls of the Israelites was still in its strength in the left part— for not until the Giving of the Law did their impurity cease— yet their aim and desire was to free their divine souls from the exile of the sitra achra, which is the "Defilement of Egypt," and cleave to Him, blessed be He, as is written, "The Lord is my strength and my fortress and my refuge in the day of affliction,..." "my high tower and my refuge, . . ." "and He is my escape,..." [so, too, was the physical exodus from Egypt in a manner of escape]. Hence in the rime to come, when the Lord will remove the spirit of impurity from the earth, it is written of it, "[ye shall not go out in haste], nor go by flight, for the Lord will go before you...."

The quality of this repentance will be stronger and more intense, from the depth of the heart, and likewise the joy of the soul will be with an added measure of light and joy, when he will reflect in his heart with knowledge and understanding, to console himself from his distress and sorrow, saying, as above: "Truly and without a doubt,..." "but it was not I who created myself. Why, then, has G‑d done such a thing, to cause a portion of His blessed light, which fills and encompasses all worlds, and before Whom everything is of no account, to descend and to be clothed in a 'serpent's skin' and in a fetid drop? It cannot be otherwise than that this descent is for the purpose of an ascent— to raise up to G‑d the whole vital animal soul, which is of the kelipat nogah, and all her 'garments,' namely her faculties of thought, speech and action, through their being enclothed in the act, speech and thought of the Torah." (As for the meaning of this ascent— how this is the ultimate purpose of the creation of the world— it will be later explained at length.) "If this is so, there is one thing for me to do, and this will be my sole aim all the days of my earthly life, to fully occupy therein the life of my spirit and soul, as is written, 'Unto Thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul,' that is to say, to bind my thought and speech with His blessed thought and speech, which are the very laws which have been set before us, and likewise my action— in the performance of the commandments."

For this reason the Torah is described as "Restoring the soul," i.e. [restoring it] to its source and root. Concerning this it is written, "The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart."