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A little of the good of a righteous person can be in an evil person, and a little evil can be found in the righteous person.

Redeeming Good

Redeeming Good

Gate of Reincarnations: Chapter Twenty, Section 5

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Know that as a result of Adam’s sin, good and evil became intermixed. Therefore, sometimes a little of the good of the Nefesh of a righteous person can be in an evil person, and a little evil can be found in the righteous person. This is the meaning of, "There are some righteous people who are reached by [can perform] acts of the wicked" (Eccl. 8:14). Thus you find some righteous people who sin in ways that even evil people do not, and just the opposite: evil people can be particular about specific mitzvahs all of their lives.

You find some righteous people who sin in ways that even evil people do not.

From this you can also understand the concept of a 'tzaddik gamur' [a completely righteous person], 'rasha gamur' [a completely evil person], and 'beinoni' [an average person.] Each one is the product of a different combination of good sparks and bad sparks.

This is no contradiction to free will. It only comes to explain people's tendencies. The final choice of one's spiritual status always remains with the person.

Furthermore, the way in which one transgresses or performs mitzvahs will also depend upon the level of the sparks he has received, from which limb [of the inclusive soul of Adam] they have came, and whether or not they are good or evil. This will affect a person’s desire to perform mitzvahs and can explain why they pursue mitzvahs more than other people.

Thus, the Sefer HaBahir insists that a person pursue the guilty in order to find merit for them1, like one who runs after [saving] his own life. This is because the evil person, whom the righteous person pursues to find merit, may possess good sparks that the righteous person lacks, while he himself may have received the evil person’s bad sparks. However, through a loving relationship, he [the righteous person] can extract the good sparks from him and achieve completion, while giving away the bad sparks and completing the other's evil. This is the secret meaning of, "The righteous person takes his portion and that of his friend in the Garden of Eden; the wicked one takes his portion and that of his friend in Purgatory". (Chagigah 15a)

Who could be your enemy when one is supposed to love everyone?

This is also the meaning of, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him bread" (Proverbs 25:21), for it says, "When you see the donkey of your enemy" (Ex. 23:5). [Who could be your enemy when one is supposed to love everyone? Hence] it must be referring to an evil person who hates God, as it says, "Those who hate You G‑d, I hate" (Psalms 139:21). Yet it says, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him bread." Thus it means, for the sake of the good spark that is in him which drives him to do good, feed him the bread of Torah and mitzvahs and cause him merit. For the "coals," that is the bad sparks within you, which you "pour on his head" (Proverbs 25:21) by joining with him - they will [thereby be] removed from you.

The tsadik magnetizes the spark by feeding it good.

The tsadik has to retrieve the sparks that really belong to his soul. Yet how can he extract the little good found in a wicked person and leave him empty? The Ari says, "for the sake of the good spark that is in him which drives him to do good, feed him the bread of Torah and mitzvahs and cause him merit". The tsadik magnetizes the spark by feeding it good. Even though he takes it away, he gives other sparks to the wicked person in its place. This can result in inspiring him to turn over a new leaf. (See Likutei Maharan 282)

This is also like what is written, "The goat shall bear all the sins upon it into a desolate land" (Lev. 16:22). That is, the good sparks in it shall be removed and G‑d shall repay them to you and make you completely good and him completely evil.2 For, as the sages say, "Don’t read ‘repay you,’ but rather ‘He will complete you’". For God, since He is good, will not mention His Name in conjunction with the wicked, as it says, "through the coals of fire that you pour on his head" (Proverbs 25:21). However, with respect to good, He will mention His Name, as it says, "G‑d will repay you" (Ibid.) - because he does this good.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is set aside for forgiveness. Part of the way it works is through this that God looks at the good and judges in the scale of merit. He reckons that all of the sins really don't come from us, rather from the evil inclination, represented by the goat. He bears all the sins (Lev. 16:22) and is send away, to be pushed down the mountain. All the sins are thereby dissolved.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]

Footnotes
1.
Likutei Maharan: “...That we find that tsadikim run after people to bring them close to God...”
2.
Here we are speaking about the negative energies being transferred to the goat, therefore is it left completely evil. Whereas in the previous case of the wicked person, the tsadik gives him some merit, which remains by him to help him repent.
Rabbi Yitzchak Luria […Ashkenazi ben Shlomo] (5294-5332 = 1534-1572 c.e.); Yahrtzeit (anniversary of death): 5th of Av. Buried in the Old Cemetery of Tzfat. Commonly known as the Ari, an acronym standing for Elohi Rabbi Yitzchak, the
G-dly Rabbi Isaac. No other master or sage ever had this extra letter Aleph, standing for Elohi [G-dly], prefaced to his name. This was a sign of what his contemporaries thought of him. Later generations, fearful that this appellation might be misunderstood, said that this Aleph stood for Ashkenazi, indicating that his family had originated in Germany, as indeed it had. But the original meaning is the correct one, and to this day among Kabbalists, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria is only referred to as Rabbenu HaAri, HaAri HaKadosh [the holy Ari] or Arizal [the Ari of blessed memory].
Yitzchok bar Chaim is the pseudonym of the translator, an American-born Jerusalem scholar who has studied and taught Kabbala for many years. He may be contacted through: webmaster@kabbalaonline.org. He translated the Ari's work, "Shaar HaGilgulim;" his translation into English (but with much less extensive commentary than offered here). Information about his translation in book form may be obtained through www.thirtysevenbooks.com
Rabbi Chaim Vital c. 5303-5380 (c. 1543-1620 CE), major disciple of R. Isaac (Yitzchak) Luria, and responsible for publication of most of his works.
Rabbi Peretz Auerbach, originally from New York, has been living and learning Torah and kabbala in Jerusalem for 18 years. He teaches at Shvu Ami beit medrash, lectures in Kabbalah and chassidut at the Jerusalem Connection and Heritage House and to private groups. Rabbi Auerbach is also a talented musician. He is currently working on an all new translation of the Zohar into English with extensive commentary as well as a disc entitled "Music, Meditation and Mysticism."
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