He opened the discussion saying: This passage ["Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace." (Proverbs 3:17)] has two facets [namely ways and pleasantness, paths and peace] and [can be interpreted in] two [different] ways. You read in it of "ways", and read of "paths". You read in it of "pleasantness" and read of "peace". What is "ways" and what is "paths"? What is "pleasantness" and what is "peace"?

"Her ways are ways of pleasantness" resembles the words: "Who places a way in the sea" (Isaiah 43:16) for any "way" in the Torah is a road open to all, like a way that is open to everyone. Similarly, her ways are the ways that are open since the Patriarchs
[whose ways opened flows of lovingkindness, judgment, and mercy from Zeir Anpin] carved in the great sea [of malchut] and entering it [and giving it flow to be channeled downward]. and from these roads [of chesed-gevura-tiferet in malchut] open [channels for the flow of bounty] to all sides and all directions in the world.

And this pleasantness is the pleasantness that emanates from the World to Come [called bina] and illuminates all the candles [the sefirot of Zeir Anpin] and the illumination spreads to every side and in all directions. And that goodness [of chesed] and the light [of gevura emanating from bina, which is] the World to Come that are nurtured by the [attributes of the] Patriarchs is called pleasantness. Another explanation is that the World to Come is called pleasantness because when the World to Come is aroused, all goodness [chesed of da'at], all joy [gevura of da'at], all lights [mochin of chochma], and all the freedom of the world [mochin of bina] are awakened. Therefore it is called pleasantness [for all these aspects are pleasant].

Therefore we have learned, the wicked who are in Purgatory all have joy and rest on Shabbat, once Shabbat enters. As the Shabbat ends, we have to arouse the supernal joy over us in order to be delivered from the punishment of the wicked, who, from that moment onwards, are punished. We have to awaken, saying: "And let the pleasantness of the L-rd our G‑d be upon us" (Psalms 90:17) for this is the supernal pleasantness which is general joy. [We pray that the pleasantness of bina will rest upon us and we will be saved from punishment in Purgatory.] And on this [it is written], "Her ways are ways of pleasantness"

"And all her paths are peace," what are "her paths"? These are the paths and ways that emerge from Above. A lone covenant [i.e. yesod, before its unification with malchut] receives all [these illuminations], for it is called "peace", peace in the house [by its unification with malchut] and brings them [these illuminations] to the great sea [of malchut] when in full strength, and thus gives it peace [by giving malchut illuminations for sweetening her judgments]. Therefore it says: "And all her paths are peace."

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this in Hok LeYisrael?

We all can feel the difference between Shabbat and the weekday. On Shabbat there is joy and peace, whereas on the weekday we are faced with secular decisions that can preoccupy us. This is why we are told in our prayers for Saturday night to say the verse: And may the pleasantness of the L-rd our G‑d be upon us, may He establish the works of our hands [above], may the works of our hands [below] be established."

"Pleasant" does not just mean "nice" or "OK." Rather, mystically it involves the bringing down of Divine Flow from the World to Come. And that is what we try to do on Saturday night: to bring a taste of Shabbat/World to Come-ness to the 6 days of the week, from Supernal worlds to this world below. Stay in the moment. Eat a festive fourth meal with 2 breads while still wearing your Shabbat finery. Meditate on channeling the sacred energy of your past 25 hours to the next 6 days. It can and will make a difference. Trust me!

What does this text mean to you, and why is it being revealed now?

[Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries]