"To comprehend the words of understanding" stated in the sacred book called Tzavaat Ribash— [though in fact it is not at all his testament, and he did not ordain anything before his passing; they are mere gleanings of his pure sayings that were gathered, "gleanings upon gleanings," and (the compilers) did not know how to determine the phraseology exactly in its proper fashion. The connotation, however, is absolutely true.]— we shall precede with the saying of our sages, of blessed memory: "Whoever is in a rage is as if he worships idols." The reason is clear to those that have understanding, because at the time of his anger faith has departed from him. For were he to believe that what happened to him is of the Lord's doing, he would not become angry at all. And though it is a person possessed of free choice cursing him, or hitting him, or causing damage to his money, and therefore guilty according to the laws of man and the laws of Heaven for having chosen evil, nevertheless, as regards the person harmed— this was already decreed from Heaven, and "The Omnipresent has many deputies." And not only this, but even at that particular time when he hits or curses him, there is vested in him a force from G‑d and "The breath of His mouth," blessed be He, which animates and sustains him, and as it is written: "For the Lord told him: 'curse!'." Now, where did He say (so) to Shimi? But this thought, that occurred in Shimi's heart and mind, descended from G‑d, and the "Breath of His mouth— which animates— all their hosts" animated the spirit of Shimi at the time he spoke those words to David. For if the "Breath of His mouth," blessed be He, had departed from the spirit of Shimi for a single moment, he could not have spoken at all.

(And that is the meaning of "For the Lord told him— [at that very moment, indeed]— curse David, who then shall say ..."

And as known what the Baal Shem Tov, of blessed memory, said on the verse "Forever, Oh Lord, Your word stands in the heavens": The combinations of the letters wherewith the heavens were created, i.e. the fiat "Let there be a firmament...", stand and remain vested in the Heavens forever, to vivify and sustain them. Thus unlike the theory of the philosophers who deny individual providence. They, in their false imagination, compare the work of G‑d, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, to the work of man and his schemes: when the metal-smith has completed a vessel, the vessel no longer needs the hands of the smith. For though his hands are removed from it, it remains intact by itself. But their eyes are bedaubed so that they cannot see the great difference between man's work and schemes— [which is (the production of) something out of something (yesh meyesh), except that he changes the form and the image]— and the making of heaven and earth [which is ereatio ex nihilo (yesh meayin)]. (The latter) is a wonder much greater than, for example, the splitting or the Red Sea— which the Lord caused to go back "By a strong east-wind all that night... and the waters were divided." If the wind had ceased but for a moment, the waters would again have flowed downward, as is their way and nature. They would not have stood upright as a wall, even though this characteristic of the water, too, was created and innovated ex nihilo (yesh meayin). A wall of stones stands erect by itself, without any wind, but this is not of the nature of water. Now, a fortiori, and a minori ad majus, with respect to the creation of substantiality ex nihilo [which transcends nature and is more wondrous than the splitting of the Red Sea], how much more so would a withdrawal, Heaven forfend, of the force of the Creator [(bringing about) substantiality ex nihilo] from the creature, cause the creature to revert to absolute naught and nothingness! The operative force thus needs to remain constantly in the effect, to vivify and sustain it. This aspect is the "word of the Lord" and the "breath of His mouth" of the ten fiats wherewith the universe was created. And even this material world, and the inorganic class in it, their vivification and sustenance is the "word of the Lord" of the ten fiats that has become vested in them and sustains them to be inorganic matter and substantiality ex nihilo, so that they will not revert to the absolute naught and nothingness they had been. And this is the meaning of the statement of R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, that there is a type of soul and spiritual vivification even in inorganic matter as stones, and dust, and water.

Now it is known to those adept in the esoteric science that the "word of the Lord" is referred to as Shechinah, in the terminology of our sages, of blessed memory, and as imma tataah and matrunita, in the terminology of the Zohar [especially at the beginning of section Vaeyra], because it dwells and vests itself in the creatures to vivify them. In the terminology of the Cabbalists it is called malchut, relating to "The word of the king is regnant," because the king conducts his kingdom through his edict; and also for other reasons known to those adept in the esoteric science.

Now it is known that there is a rank and level of malchut of Atzilut, and a rank of malchut of Beriah,,.. Malchut of Atzilut is the "word of the Lord" which vivifies and brings into being the great souls that are of the rank of Atzilut, as the soul of Adam of whom it is said "And He blew into his nostrils a soul of life;" and as the souls of the patriarchs, and the prophets, and the like ( who were truly a "chariot unto G‑d" and in a state of self-abnegation in relation to Him. Thus our sages, of blessed memory, said: "The Shechinah speaks from the throat of Moses;" and likewise with all the prophets and those possessed of the Holy Spirit: the Supernal Voice and Speech vested itself in their actual voice and speech, as mentioned by R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory).

Malchut of Beriah is the "word of the Lord" which vivifies and brings into being the souls and angels in the realm of Beriah, whose level is not like the level of Atzilut.... And makhut of Asiyah is the "word of the Lord" which vivifies and brings into this world, in its totality, including the element of dust, and the water that is below the earth.

[ However, in the countries of the heathens the vivification is by way of an investment of the extraneous patron-angels (sarim hachitzonim) that are appointed over the seventy nations. That is, a spark from the "word of the Lord," called makhut of Asiyah, descends and radiates over the supernal patron-angels in a way of encompassing from aloft, but does not truly vest itself in them. Rather, the vivification issues to them from this radiation shining over them from aloft, in a mode of encompassment. And from the patron-angels vivification issues to the heathens, and to the cattle, beasts, and fowl that are in their lands, and to the physical earth, and to the physical heavens, i.e. the planets. ( However, the heavens and the earth, and the cattle, beasts, and fowl that are pure, are influenced by the kelipat nogah. The impure (animals) and the souls of the heathens, however, are (influenced) by the other kelipot). Now, in the lands of the heathens, the heavens and the earth and all they contain, are all esteemed as truly nothing in relation to the patron-angels— which are their vivification and sustenance. The patron-angels themselves are esteemed as truly nothing in relation to the vivification issuing to them from the spark of the "word of the Lord" which radiates over them from aloft. And even so, the vivification issuing to them from this radiation is in them in a state of exile. That is why they are called elohim acherim (other gods) [while they call Him — "G‑d of the gods" ], as if they, too, are in the category of Divinity. The heathens who are influenced by them, therefore, are truly idolaters, until the time of the end when death and the sitra achara will be swallowed up, and "Then I shall turn to the nations ... that they may all call by the Name of the Lord." This is also referred to as the "exile of the Shechinah." For this vivification,, in a state of exile within them, stems from the radiation issuing to them from the spark of the "word of the Lord" called Shechinah. ( And this exile stems from the sin of the Tree of Knowledge and onwards, and is a rank of mere achurayim of holiness. But when the Israelites were exiled to be among the nations— and the attachment and root of the Israelites is in the rank of the Supernal Face (panim)— this became a total exile. Of this our sages, of blessed memory, said: "When they were exiled to Edom, the Shechinah went with them." )

Now, though "The Lord is one, and His Name is one" [that is, His speech and the "breath of His mouth," which in the sacred Zohar is referred to as His Name, is singularly and uniquely one], nevertheless, the radiation and efflux of vivification, issuing forth from the breath of His blessed mouth, divides into four different levels. These are the four worlds Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah. The difference is due to ( many) contractions and curtailments— screening and concealing the light and vivification so that it will not radiate in the world of Beriah as much as in the world of Atzilut; and in the world of Yetzirah it is by means of further contractions and curtailments... However, there is no change whatever, Heaven forfend, in the essence of the Shechinah, i.e. the "word of the Lord" and the "breath of His mouth." Also, as regards the radiation and efflux of vivification, the radiation which is in Atzilut pierces the curtailment and vests itself in Beriah. Likewise from Beriah to Yetzirah, and from Yetzirah to Asiyah. Thus it follows that the light of the blessed En Sof which is in Atzilut is also in Asiyah and in this material world, through its investment in the malchut of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, as everything is explained in the writings of R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory.

Now, it is known to all that the soul of man is compounded of the ten Sefirot: chochmah, binah, da'at— Though they are all of the breath of His blessed mouth [as it is written: "And He blew into his nostrils ..." ], nevertheless, more specifically the ChaBaD in his soul are analogous to the ChaBaD in the ten Sefirot, referred to as abba and imma; and the attributes of love and fear... in his soul are analogous to the midot in the ten Sefirot, referred to as zeyr anpin; and the faculty of speech in his soul is analogous to the Supernal Speech, referred to as malchut, and Snechinah. Hence, when speaking words of Torah one arouses the Supernal Speech to unify the Shechinah. That is why it is established that for the reading of the Shema, the grace after meals, and words of Torah, one has not discharged his duty by meditation without speech.

Now, with one corresponding to the other, there are "ten crowns of impurity." From these issue the souls of the heathens, also comprised of truly those ten ranks. And it is common knowledge that which has been stated in Sefer Hagilgulim on the verse "That man rules in man, to his evil," that it refers to the mystery of the Shechinah's exile in the kelipot "In order to vivify them, and to empower them to rule, now, in the time of the exile; but it is 'to his evil....'" And that is why the heathens dominate now over Israel. For the souls of the heathens are of the kelipot in which the Shechinah is vested in a state of exile.

Though this requires extensive exposition (as to) how and what, it is, nevertheless, fact. Despite this, the kelipot and heathens receive their nurture and vivification only from an aspect extended to them, of the Achurayim of holiness, "As with one that casts away behind his shoulders." And even that is by way of numerous and immense contractions and curtailments until this radiation became vested in the materiality of this world and diffuses wealth and honour, and all physical pleasures, unto the heathens. The Israelites, however, elicit from the aspect of the Supernal Face, as it is written: "May the Lord cause His Face to radiate unto you," in each one according to the root of his soul, even unto the peak of levels.

After these words and this truth, manifest and known to all, we shall return to our original subject with respect to anger— that one is as an idolater. This is so with respect to mundane matters, because "Everything is in the hands of Heaven except for the fear of Heaven." Hence, with respect to matters of Heaven, "To warn off from wrong-doing," the reason stated does not apply, and as it is written : "And Moses was enraged." This is different because G‑d caused him to encounter this mitzvah of "Warning off from wrong-doing" in order to make him meritorious.

But this applies (only) when he is able to prevent by his wrath and anger against his fellow-man. However, when he is unable to prevent, as in the case of the heathen speaking and disturbing him in his prayer, then "What is this that G‑d has done to him? It is but in order that he prevail and strengthen himself ever more in his prayer, in the profundity of the heart, and with so great a concentration that he will not hear the words of the heathen." However, for such a level one needs a great and immense arousal. And the counsel suggested for such an arousal is from the subject matter itself. He should consider and contemplate on the idea of the descent of the Shechinah, as it were: "She descended in wondrous fashion" to have a spark of her radiation invested. Thus she is in a state of exile among the kelipot, in a general way, in order to animate them. And now again, a spark of her radiation vests itself in a state of exile, in a particular way, in the speech of this heathen who speaks words that disturb the service of the Lord, i.e. the devotion of prayer. And as explained above, one corresponding to the other.... thus the Supernal Speech vests itself in the nether speech,... Now this is truly "That man rules in man, to his evil;" that is, because of this man is aroused to pray with greater devotion, from the profundity of the heart, until he will not hear his words.

As for the compiler writing "sharta" (dwelled), he did not know to determine the precise term. For the Ba'al Shem Tov, of blessed memory, used to deliver Torah-discourses in the Yiddish tongue, and not in the sacred tongue. He meant to say: "nitlabsha" (became vested)— that is, in a state of exile. And that is the meaning of "And especially when he is a heathen...", for then there is so much more of a state of exile.

There is no need to wonder at a spark of the Shechinah's illumination being referred to as Shechinah. Thus we find that even a created angel is referred to as G‑d: in the section of Vayera, according to the commentary of R. Moses Nachmanides; and as it is written: "And she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her..."; and many more (passages) like this.

It would seem to me that their seizing (this passage) is not because of the accuracy of the phraseology, but with respect to the very idea of the investment of the Shechinah in the kelipot. For they do not believe what R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, wrote in Sefer Hagilgulim. Should they want to distinguish between the spiritual kelipot and the physical idolaters, you have nothing more physical than the dust of the earth; nevertheless, the malchut of malchut of Asiyah vests itself in it, and within that the malchut of Yetzirah.... and as mentioned above. And should it be because of the impurity of the souls of the heathens, verily, their souls are from the conjunctio of the masculine and feminine (zivvug zun) of the spiritual kelipot, as mentioned in the writings of R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory. Hence it follows that the spiritual (kelipot) are the source of their impurity! But in truth, this requires extensive elucidation regarding this investment. But this complaint does not apply to us, but to the writings of R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory. And let not he who hears (this) suspect me that I imagine to have understood the words of R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, to divest them from their physical connotation. I came but to explain the words of the Ba'al Shem Tov, of blessed memory, and of his disciples, according to the Cabbalah of R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, especially since this matter is not of the science of the Cabbalah and of the things "Secret unto the Lord our G‑d," but of the "Things revealed unto us and unto our children"— to believe in full faith in the explicit verse, spoken by Scripture: "Do I, then, not fill the heavens and the earth, says the Lord." For Scripture does not lose its plain meaning. Also, it is a simple article of faith among the general totality of Israel, handed down to them by their saintly ancestors, who walked in wholeness with the Lord without searching the concept of Divinity by means of the human intellect; for it is infinitely beyond the intellect to know how He fills the earth. But new ones have recently come to examine this problem, and it is impossible to make them understand except by means of premises taken from the writings of R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, divested from their physical connotation, and according to what I heard from my masters, may their souls rest in Eden. However, it is impossible to explain this clearly in writing, only orally to "The ear that hears," to adept individuals, and to "The remnants whom the Lord calls," as it is written: "And they who seek the Lord understand all;" and from the affirmative you may infer..,

You have now seen an explanation of a single passage from the well-known books, as a sample and token that indeed all "astonishing passages" have an explanation and meaningfulness for those adept in the esoteric science. However, let them not hope for me to explain everything in writing. That is a hard and extensive labour, and absolutely impossible. But if you so desire, send from amongst you one that is "outstanding in the congregation," and, G‑d willing, I will talk to him "face to face." And may the Lord be with my mouth when my words will flow, and may the utterances of my mouth find favour.