"This is the offering of Aaron." (Lev. 6:13) Rabbi Hizkiyah opened with the verse: "G‑d is righteous in all His ways, and gracious in all His works." (Psalms 145:17) We learned how much men should look at the glory of their Master [to help his good inclination prevail over his evil inclination, to walk in the straight path in the service of his Creator] and not deviate from their ways outwards [to the side of impurity], for each and every day there is a decision impending upon the world. The world was created and exists in judgment.

For each and every day, judgment dwells in the world...

Man should therefore keep himself from sinning, since he knows not the time when judgment will rest upon him. He sits at home and judgment rests upon him, he goes outside his house and judgment dwells on him, and he cannot know whether he shall return home or not. When traveling, all the more so, since then judgment [surely] goes out before him, as written: "judgment goes before him." (Psalms 85:14) Man should therefore hasten to ask for mercy before the King, to be saved from the judgment when it dwells upon the world. For each and every day, judgment dwells in the world, as it says: "And an E-l/G‑d who is indignant every day." (Psalms 7:12) [Our Sages say, man should always preface his prayers concerning any distress by arousing upon himself mercy from heaven to sweeten judgment.]

Now is the time to raise a question. We learned, and our colleagues have remarked, that the name 'E-l' is always of chesed, as written: "The Great [signifying chesed] E-l." (Deut. 10:17) This is the illumination of the supernal chochma [which illuminates chesed, and there is no judgment in it at all]. You say, "And an E-l who is indignant every day" (Psalms 7:12) in which the verse disregards all those names [such as Elo-kim, that signifies judgment] and holds on [specifically] to this [name E-l, which signifies mercy, is indignant] These matters are not stable then. It is also written: "A mighty E-l" (Isaiah 9:5) [here E-l is next to gevura/might]; we need to establish that it is either of judgment or of mercy.

...the wicked turn even mercy into judgment...

I have heard this, that the wicked turn [even] mercy into judgment [even though E-l is kindness, they have turned even the merciful E-l into an indignant one], for throughout the supernal Sefirot of the Holy King there are none in which [a little] mercy is not included within judgment, and [a little] judgment within mercy. The wicked [blemish the supernal Sefirot through their wicked actions and] turn mercy into judgment [strengthen the judgment within mercy so that it now prevails].

Rabbi Yehuda said to him: This is a good explanation for the [verse] that says: "A mighty E-l ," but [what of the verse that says:] "And a E-l who is indignant every day" (Psalms 7:12) meaning, E-l is of judgment each and every day, whether people in the world be righteous or not? [We can't explain it by saying that the wicked transform the mercy into judgment every day; this isn't possible.] He was not able to reply.

They went to ask Rabbi Shimon. He said to them: Surely, E-l is indignant every day. It has already been explained by our colleagues that it [E-l] is at times judgment and at times mercy. If people of the world have merit, the Name E-l prevails as chesed. If they have no merit, it prevails as 'Might'. That is on a daily basis.

The better explanation is that E-l is universally the illumination of the supernal chochma [which is complete chesed]. It prevails daily, as written: "The Mercy of E-l endures continually" (Psalms 52:3) [every day draws from the arousal of the attribute of chesed]. Were it not for the awakening of it in the world, the world would not have endured for an instant under the harsh judgments daily aroused in the world. Hence, "these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth when they were created." (Gen. 2:4) Do not read it Be'Hibaram ['when they were created'], but [by switching around the letters] as Be'Abraham ['by Abraham']. Heaven and earth remain through Abraham awakening [and arousing the attribute of chesed in the world]. When Abraham stirred himself in the world, he pushes away all the judgments that are present each and every day, and they can not stand up to him.

E-l is indignant at the judgments and He pushes them outside...

"And an E-l who is indignant every day": It does not say 'E-l is angry' or 'made indignant', but that E-l is indignant [at others], for each and every day that there is a decree, [E-l is indignant at the judgments and] He pushes them outside, and He remains to perfume [and to sweeten the judgment of] the world. Hence, it is written: "G‑d will command His love in the daytime [and sweeten all judgment]." (Psalms 42:9) Were it not for this, the world would not have been able to remain even for a single moment [because judgment would have overpowered all]. The existence of everything is therefore due to Abraham.

BeRahamim LeHayyim:

We are privy above to a Zoharic discussion what the Holy Name E-l stands for: is it of mercy or is it of judgment?

And then the nice soft landing: the Name E-l is indeed related to chesed/lovingkindness, all due to the merit of our first father Abraham — related also to the upcoming Passover Holiday — who served G‑d through the attribute of chesed so well he eventually became a Chariot for Hashem of this quality. That means that chesed so permeated his entire existence that he "became" chesed. Most of our early life lessons relate to chesed: "Everything I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten"; most of those rules deal with being kind and nice to another. May we merit to keep all of our doors open to assist the stranger — like Abraham did — and thus help to build the world. "The earth is built on kindness." (Psalms 89:3)

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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