Come and see: the Just that merit to be bound in the bundle of Life [in yesod of Zeir Anpin] are worthy of seeing the glory of the Supernal Holy King [the light of chochma of malchut], as it is written: "to behold the pleasantness of G‑d [for that light is called pleasantness] and to visit His Chamber." (Psalms 27:4) Their dwelling is higher than all the holy angels and all their levels, since neither the upper nor the lower levels merit to gaze upon it. This is as it is said: "no eye has seen that Elokim [higher Eden], besides You..." (Isaiah 64:3)

Those who do not merit to rise as much as these, occupy a place below according to their deeds. They do not merit that location and see what those above see; they merit to remain in the lower Eden and not more. If you wonder what the lower Eden is, it is the Eden that is considered lower chochma [malchut] and is located over the Garden on earth. It is this Eden which supervises him. And these righteous remain in this Garden of Eden [on earth] and enjoy [lower chochma] in this Eden.

What is the difference between the lower Eden and the higher Eden? It is "as the advantage of light over darkness." (Eccl. 2:13) The lower Eden is called 'pleasure' (in Hebrew, 'edna'), which is female, and the higher Eden is considered 'delight' (in Hebrew, 'eden'), which is male. About this it is written: "neither has the eye seen that Elokim, besides you." This lower Eden is considered a garden in comparison to the Eden above, and that garden is considered Eden in comparison to the Garden below [i.e. the world of Asiya]. Those who exist in the lower garden receive pleasure from the Eden that is above them, every single Shabbat and every new moon, as it is written: "And it shall come to pass, that every new moon, and every Shabbat." (Isaiah 66:23)

About these, Solomon said: "...from these living that are still alive..." since these are in a level higher than them. Who are they? This refers to those who have already died before and received their punishment twice. They are considered like refined silver that has entered the oven once, then twice, and has had the impurities sorted out, cleansed. "But better than both of them is he who has not yet been." (Eccl. 4:3) That is the wind/spirit that remains above and is restrained from coming down, since that one is still in its original state [without sin]. It does not need to receive punishment and obtains sustenance from that so very supernal source of sustenance [from the supernal dew from Arich Anpin which comes down many levels until it approaches the souls in Garden of Eden].

"But better than both of them" is he [who comes down to this world] and does not part [from G‑d] and is not revealed. All his matters are concealed. That is the meritorious pious one that kept the precepts of the Torah and upheld them, and was engaged in the Torah day and night. Such a person is unified and enjoys the higher level, above all other people, and all the rest are burned [by merely looking at] this one's canopy.

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section? What do they want us to learn?

Heaven on earth or Heaven above earth. Which is it? Similarly, is Purgatory on earth or is Purgatory below earth. Inquiring minds want to know! And where is the Garden of Eden?

This place of pleasure really has two levels, one higher and one lower. How can we guarantee a "Get into Eden Free" as well as a "Get out of Purgatory Free" card for the parting moment of our lives? The Zohar says to be a meritorious pious person.

Being wholesome leads to being Holy. "Be Holy" is our commandment. Stay connected below and above. "More other, less self" as one of my teachers likes to say. Balance oneself before G‑d always, (Cf Psalm 16:8) and we are told that our right hand, that place of loving-kindness, will never falter.

What does the above mean to you, and why is it being revealed to you now?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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