"Behold, the people shall rise up as a lioness..." Which nation is as strong as Israel? When the morning light begins to shine, it rises and strengthens itself like a lion for the devotional service of his Master with many songs and praises, studying Torah all day.

At night, "he shall not lie down until he eats of the prey" . When a person wishes to lie down on his bed, he sanctifies the Holy Name [by saying the Shema] and crowns Him King above and below. How many masters of judgment are bound before them at the time they open their mouths on their bed with Shema Yisrael and beg for compassion before the Holy King with numerous verses of mercy!

Rabbi Aba said, "Behold, the people shall rise up as a lioness;" a time will come when this nation will rise over all heathen nations like a powerful mighty lion, and will cast himself upon them. It is the manner of all lions to lie down over their prey; however, this nation "shall not lie down until he eats of the prey."

Another explanation of" Behold, the people shall rise up as a lioness": [they will] bring sacrifices and burnt offerings before the King upon the Altar. We have learned that when an offering is being burnt on the altar, they perceived the form of a lion crouching over the sacrifice and eating it.

Rabbi Aba said that Uriel was a most supernal angel and was perceived in the form of a mighty lion crouching over the altar and consuming the sacrifices. When Israel were not so worthy, they perceived the form of an impudent dog [representing the external forces - Ed.] crouching over it; then the children of Israel would realize that they had to repent, and they repented. "He shall not lie down until he eats of the prey" refers to the night sacrifices that must be completely consumed by fire, such as burnt offerings. "And drink the blood of the slain" (Num. 23:4) means that G‑d will fight their battles with their enemies for them.

Rabbi Elazar said that it is written "He shall not lie down." What is the meaning of "He shall not lie down"? This means that every single night, when a person follows as his Master commands, he does not lie down on his bed until he kills 1,125 of those types of evil spirits which are accompanying him. Rabbi Aba said that one thousand are from the left side, as it is written: "A thousand shall fall at your side" (Psalms 91:7) and it is also written: "Let the pious be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud upon their beds. The high praises of E-l are in their mouth, to execute vengeance upon the nations..." (Psalms 149:5-7) Hence, it says, "He shall not lie down..." which is the meaning of, "To execute upon them the judgment..." (Psalms 149:9)

Rabbi Hizkiyah said that corresponds with the three times that Balaam beat his donkey and loaded her up with his tools of sorcery, Israel was blessed three times. Rabbi Hiya said that corresponding to this Israel were blessed to ascend three times a year [to the Temple Mount] to appear before the Holy King.

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

Just as we rise like a lion to serve G‑d, so too must we be deliberate on how we surrender our soul at day's end. In the morning we are grateful for our soul being returned to us. At night, we need the faith to let go and trust that we will wake up the next day. That is the power of the Shema said before retiring for the night. It works on many levels. To contemplate accepting the Yoke of G‑d's sovereignty. To mouth the sacred words said by millions of Jews millions of times for thousands of years ties us into a web and wave of tremendous spiritual magnitude. In addition, we are promised that Above it will negate psychic demons that seek to attach to us when we are our most vulnerable physically and mystically.

The nighttime ritual found in prayer books also contains prayers of forgiveness of others who may have hurt us, a confession of one's miss-takes, Psalms of protection, contemplations for soul elevations, and finally, the offering of oneself into G‑d's hands. To spend a few moments at this time we are promised exceptional reward. Perhaps tonight is the best time to begin a new project?

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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