And G‑d said to Moses, 'Come to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart...'" (Ex. 10:1). [If Pharaoh's hardening of heart was G‑d's doing, why was he punished?] Rabbi Yehuda began by saying: "Happy are the people that know the joyful note; they shall walk, G‑d, in the light of Your countenance". (Psalms 89:16) How much should people walk in the ways of G‑d and observe the commandments of the Torah in order to merit the World to Come and that they may be delivered from all Accusers above and below. For as there are Accusers in the world below, so are there Adversaries above whose function is to accuse people.

Good advocates are situated above those who observe the commandments of the Torah and walk the right path in fear of their Master, as is written: "If there be an angel over him, an interpreter, one among a thousand...then He is gracious to him, and says, 'Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom'" (Job 33:23). Therefore, fortunate is he who observes the commandments of the Torah [for he will create many good angels for his benefit].

Rabbi Hiya said to him: If so, why is it necessary to have an angel to intercede for the person, seeing it is written: "For G‑d will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught". (Proverbs 3:26) "G‑d will guard you from all evil". (Psalms 121:7) For G‑d sees everything that a man does in the world, both good and evil. And so He says, "'Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him?' Says G‑d" (Jeremiah 23:24). [If G‑d can see all even in secret places, why is an angel necessary either to assist or obstruct one?]

Rabbi Yehuda said: Certainly it is so. But [understand from Job that even a complete tzadik has accusers, as] it is written: "And touch his bone and his flesh" (Job 2:5) [but not his life force/nefesh] and "although you did move me against him to destroy him without cause" (Ibid. 2:3). This shows that permission was granted to the Other Side to accuse in worldly matters, and that they could be given into his hands.

All these pathways are to stay concealed before G‑d and you are not worthy to follow them, because they are G‑d's statutes. Humans are not permitted to be particular about them except for those truly Righteous who know the secrets of the Torah and and travel the paths of wisdom to know these hidden things in the Torah [including why Pharaoh was punished, even though G‑d hardened his heart].

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
Why did the Ari and Chida include this section, and what are they trying to teach us?

We have no idea of the reward we shall receive for following G‑d's Will, whether it be for an "easy" mitzvah as sitting in a Sukkah during the holiday of Sukkot, or a "difficult" mitzvah such as cleaning one's house of all leavened products before Pesach. That is TOP SECRET knowledge that only the most spiritually sensitive of us are privy to obtain. But what we are allowed to know is that for each positive thing we do, we bring more merit to the world; for each negative thing we do, we subtract. At the end of the day, we are told to do a spiritual accounting to determine just how well we succeeded. Here More is not Less! Better to have a full basket than one half empty. And if indeed we create general positivity by such actions, this—we are told—will bring the redemption before its predetermined time.

What does the above mean to you?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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