Rabbi Elazar said: It is written, "Into Your hand I commit my spirit: You have redeemed me, the L-rd, G‑d of Truth." (Psalms 31:5) This verse must be examined. Have you ever seen someone who would deposit something in the hands of the King? [This is inappropriate to the honor of the King.] Therefore most certainly, worthy is the man that follows the ways of the Holy King and does not sin before Him.

Come and see
: as soon as night falls, the Tree of Death [the secret of malchut, "whose feet descend to death"] rules in the world and the Tree of Life [Zeir Anpin] disappears high above [to bina]. Then the Tree of Death is the sole ruler in the universe [because Zeir Anpin does not partner to sweeten the judgments of malchut] and all inhabitants of the world taste of death [for sleep is 1/60th of death]. What is the reason? Because this tree [which is malchut] causes this [by having power over man at night].

And a person should take precautions and entrust his soul in His [G‑d's] hand for deposit. This is as a man provides another man with a deposit. Even if he owes him more than the value of the security, it is not worthwhile for him to harrass him over it, since he gave a deposit. However, if he refuses [to provide a deposit] we should certainly examine him because he is not from the holy seed or from the faithful .

Likewise is this tree [malchut] to which people give their soul as a deposit. It receives all the souls of the inhabitants of the world. And everyone tastes of death because this is the Tree of Death [that rules the night]. In spite of the fact that these souls are all guilty before it and it is not appropriate to return the deposit to man, nonetheless, since they were presented to it as a pledge deposit, it returns all these deposits to their owners.

Come and see: This Tree of Death is not obligated to return the man the deposit, but when the Tree of Life [Zeir Anpin] awakens in the world. And when does that Tree of Life [Zeir Anpin] awaken [to rule over the world]? When the morning comes. Then, it awakens in the universe and all people alive, that Tree of Death leaves and returns all the deposits provided to it and goes away. What is the reason that they live? It is because of that Tree of Life [Zeir Anpin who rules over the day].

And you may ask why, if this is so [that only in the morning does the Tree of Life awaken to rule the world], we see many people getting up at night from their sleep while the Tree of Death still reigns. Most certainly the Tree of Life does this. What is the reason? Because it is written: "to see if there were any that understood, and sought G‑d," (Psalms 14:2) so there will be no excuse for the person to say that if he had been in control of his soul at night, he would have studied Torah. Rabbi Yehuda said: That is certainly for Israel, and so it is. However, for the nations of the world, we also see likewise. What is the reason? He told him: Most certainly, what you said is true.

He [Balaam] opened and said: "How shall I curse whom G‑d has not cursed? Or how shall I denounce whom G‑d has not denounced?" (Numbers 23:8) Come and see that which is there above, likewise is down below. [Just as there are 10 sefirot of Holiness above, so too are there 10 sefirot of impurity from the Other Side below.] Above there is right [holiness] and there is left [where the external forces are]. Down below are Israel and the other nations. Israel hold on to the right, to the holiness of the Holy King. The idolatrous nations hang on to the left, on the side of the defiled spirit which is the lowest level of the left. And all the levels are connected to each other until they hang from the top. And in the same manner as the head moves, the tail also moves below. The reason is that it is connected to it; the idolatrous nations are guided after the aspect of the defiled spirit.

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

The above Zohar provides mystical support for the requirement to wash one's hands immediately upon awakening in the prescribed ritual fashion. Right, Left, Right, Left, Right, Left. For we have disembodied death residue remaining on our fingertips, a residue left over from our "kiss of death" the previous night.

PS: A dear friend recently returned from a spiritual pilgrimage to India. He related that yes indeed it is a very spiritual place. But his sensitive soul "relearned" the lesson that where other gods are given power, an unbelievably strong defiled spirit attaches. Story after story after story after story confirmed his new realization. Here in the "clean" West we know relatively nothing of the suffering of mankind, compared to India. The above Zohar offends modern sensibilities, but as my friend just demonstrated, spiritual laws need not make us feel all warm and comfy. They just are. we pray that you take them and do not (G‑d forbid) leave them.

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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