In the true and direct path to the lower teshuvah, returning the latter hai noted above, there are two general elements. The first is to awaken supreme compassion from the source of mercy for his spirit (neshama) and divine soul (nefesh) that has fallen from a lofty peak, the true Life, into a deep pit, the chambers of defilement and sitra achra. Divine compassion is also to be aroused for the source of the soul in the source of life, the Name of G‑d, the Tetragrammaton. "He shall return to G‑d and He will grant him mercy." "Him" would refer to G‑d here, arousing mercies on the life-giving power issuing from His Name, that has descended into the chambers of the impure sitra achra, to give them vitality. This was brought about through the deeds of man, his scheming and evil thoughts. "The king is bound with tresses," is interpreted as "Bound with the tresses of the mind..." The King is "bound" by man's improper thoughts, the Divine Presence is in exile, as noted above. The auspicious time for this arousal of mercies is Tikun Chatzot, the midnight prayers, as noted in the Siddur, see there at length. We find there, "The crown of our head is fallen; woe to us, for we have sinned." Therefore the Holy One is called the "humiliated King" in Pirkei Hechalot, as R. Moshe Cordovero wrote, for there is no humiliation deeper than this. Especially when the thoughtful meditate on the greatness of the Infinite, who encompasses all worlds and permeates all worlds, each person according to the range of his intellect and understanding, will they be extremely grieved over this.

The second element is to crush and subdue evil, the husk and sitra achra, whose entire being is simply grossness and arrogance. "If you exalt yourself like the eagle..." This crushing and subjugation is to be literally into the ground, for this is its death and nullification. Evil is crushed through a broken and shattered heart, a sense of personal unworthiness, repugnance ... This is described in the Zohar on the verse, "The offerings of G‑d (Elokim) are a broken spirit, a heart broken and shattered..." All animal offerings are dedicated to G‑d (the Tetragrammaton), the attribute of mercies. To Elokim, the Name indicating the attribute of justice, no animal offering is brought. Instead the offering is the sundering and removing of the spirit of defilement and sitra achra. This is the meaning of a "broken spirit."

How is the spirit of the sitra achra broken? When the heart is broken and crushed... And how is the heart to be broken and crushed? Only a minor part of this can be through mortifications and fasts in our generations. We cannot fast as did King David. Our sages remark on the verse, "My heart is a void within me"— he destroyed it with fasts.

But the true humbling of the heart, that it be broken and crushed, and the removal of the spirit of impurity and sitra achra, is achieved through being a "master of accounting" with all the profundity of the mind. He must concentrate his intellect and understanding deeply for a period every day, or at night before Tikun Chatzot, to realise that through his sins he wrought the exile of the Shechinah, as noted above. He will also ponder that he [caused] the uprooting of his spirit and divine soul from the true Life, and demeaned it to a place of defilement and death, the chambers of the sitra achra. He must become deeply aware that his soul has become a vehicle for them, receiving from them vitality to endow his body, as noted above.

Our Sages declared that "The wicked while alive are dead." Their ability to live is derived from the site of death and defilement. (Hence, the verse, "The dead will not praise..." is no mockery of the impoverished, G‑d forbid. Rather, the reference is to the wicked who, while living, are called dead, for they are confused with alien thoughts while in their wickedness, and do not desire repentance, as is known.)

One who has never violated a sin of excision or a sin incurring death by divine agency, for example vain emission and the like, but other less severe sins, nonetheless suffers a defect in the spirit and divine soul, as in the analogy of the defects and severance of the fine strands of cord, as noted above! Through an accumulation of sins there can eventually be a defect as grave as from one prohibition involving excision or death. This would be true even when a single sin is repeated numerous times.

The prophet compares sins to a cloud that dims the light of the sun. "I have wiped away like a cloud your transgressions"— these are the grave sins [that are barriers] between the internal of the power flowing forth from G‑d and the divine soul. This barrier is like the separation of a thick cloud that stands between the sun and the earth with its inhabitants. "And like a cloud your sins"— these are the lesser sins that man tramples under heel, sins that separate as does a thin and wispy cloud.

In the illustration, if one obscures the sunlight streaming through a window with many fine and lacy curtains, they will darken as much as one thick curtain will, and even more. Exactly so is the parallel, all those sins man tramples indifferently, and certainly those sins our Sages stormed against, that are actually like idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed.

Examples of these are sins like ignoring the needy— "Beware lest there be in your heart something belia'al, unworthy ..." Belia'al, unworthy, is used in reference to idolatry... Or talebearing, the evil tongue that is equated with idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed. The vile-tempered is like the idolatrous, and so is the arrogant. There are many such described in the Talmud. Torah study equals them all, as our Sages assert, "G‑d has pardoned idolatry..."

For this reason the order of Kriat Shema at the bedside includes acceptance of the four executions of the Court... Besides, according to the mystical interpretation of sod, impairing the yud of the Name (Tetra-grammaton) is like incurring lapidation; impairing the hai is like incurring burning; impairing the vav is like incurring the sword, and the latter hai, is like incurring strangulation. Neglecting the Shema impairs the yud, and tefillin the hai, tzitzit the vav, and worship the latter hai ...

From this the intelligent can infer for other sins and transgressions, and for neglect of Torah, which equals them all.