On the seventh day of the festival [of Sukkot, the day called Hashanah Rabah] is the completion of the judgment of the world [which began on Rosh Hashanah, for on this day the sentence is sealed]. And the missives [containing these sentences] are sent out from the King's house and gevurot are aroused and completed and sweetened on that day [for judgment has no more power anymore]. [Gevurot] depend upon the willows of the brook. One needs to arouse gevurot [the source of rains of blessing] on the water and to circle the altar [with willows of the brook] seven times in order to saturate the altar [representing malchut] with Isaac's water [i.e. gevurot, Isaac's main characteristic] in order that water [of gevurot] will fill Yitzchak's well. When it is filled, the whole world is blessed with water.

On that day [we need] gevurot for the water to finish, complete, and sweeten them later. For on that day, judgment is concluded and sweetened. Thus, one needs to beat [the willows] on the ground and sweeten them so there will not be any left [for the kelipot to attach themselves to]. On that day, there is the arousal [of judgment] and conclusion [its sweetening as well] and we make use of the willows of the brook.

Rabbi Hiya said: This is surely so, and it is well spoken. The willows of the brook come from the side of the brook [bina, from whence] gevurot come. On that day, they [gevurot] are aroused and completed.

About this day, it is written: "And Yitzchak dug again the wells of water". (Gen. 26:18) The word 'Be'erot/wells' is written without the Vav [of the usual plural form, hinting to malchut that needs rectification and is singular]. What is "again"? The first day of the month [of Tishrei, Rosh Hashanah] is the day of the beginning of judgments throughout the world, and Isaac sits on the throne of judgment to sentence the world. On that day [Hashanah Raba], Isaac stands on the throne of judgment to stir up decrees again and bring verdicts to an end [in malchut, that the kelipot won't attach themselves to them]. "Isaac dug the wells of water;" he pours gevurot upon the Congregation of Israel [malchut] in order to arouse the water, for water descends upon the world through gevurot.

Since these gevurot [i.e. rain] descend only by means of clouds [which hint to judgments] and on a cloudy day the spirit of the pillars of the world [the tzadikim] are restless, but so it must be [that it rain] only since the world needs them. Why is it so [that the rain descends through the gevurot]? Because the world was created through judgment. Therefore everything must be this way.

Therefore, all depends on the actions of those [in the world] below. Because of this, the kohen with action and rectification that he does [in the world] below awakens and rectifies Above and below and they are rectified through him.

Rabbi Yosi said: We learned that willow resembles lips, why on that day, what is the meaning of this [the significance of this resemblance on this day]? Rabbi Hiya said: This is only according to homiletic interpretation, yet it is surely so. It [the sweetening of the decrees] depends upon [the teshuvah and many prayers that Israel say with their] lips, since on that day that the King orders the verdicts given to the officer in charge of [executing] them, judgments are brought to an end and slander [against the Jews] is ended in the world. The beginning of the verdict is on the first day of the month [Rosh Hashanah] and its completion is on this day [Hashanah Rabah], as has been explained.

Come and see: on that day [of Hashanah Raba], the heathen nations complete and terminate their blessings [that they received through the 70 bullocks sacrificed on their behalf throughout Sukkot] and [from now they will] reside in Judgment. On that day, the children of Israel complete their judgments and reside in blessings, since on the next day [Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah] they will take delight with the King and take blessings from Him for the whole year. On that festival day, Israel alone are with the King and only he sits with the King and receives all his needs. Whatever he wishes he asks, and He gives him. Israel therefore begin [to receive blessings] and the heathen nations cease. It is therefore written: "'I have loved you [and the nations of Esau I hated and will lay their mountains desolate]', says G‑d." (Malachi 1:2)

He said to him: Yet we see Esau lived calmly, reigning in great, superior cities, ruling over the world, and yet you say, "And laid his mountains desolate"? (Ibid. 1:3) He said to him: It is always so. When the Holy King pronounces a decree and places it amongst His verdicts, Scripture testifies to it as if it has already been performed. It therefore says: "And laid his mountains desolate" since I have already considered in My verdict. This is also true for the goodness He decreed for Israel, as written: "I G‑d have spoken and have done it". (Ezekiel 17:24)

BeRahamim LeHayyim: What does this mean to you, and why is it revealed to you now?

Here we learn the secret of the process of Hashanah Raba and Shemini Atzeret. Through our work below, amazing healing take place above. But the question remains: if we are so well connected, how could the nations of Esau prosper so well and rule over us for so long? The Holy Zohar answers that G‑d has promised us, and so shall it be.

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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