"And G‑d spoke to Moses, saying, Pinchas, the son of Elazar..." (Num. 25:10) Rabbi Elazar opened [his discourse] with: "Hear, my son the instruction of your father and do not forsake the Torah of your mother." (Prov. 1:8) "Hear, my son, the instruction of your father..." - this refers to G‑d. "And do not forsake the Torah of your mother." This refers to the Congregation of Israel [the Shechinah]. What is the instruction of your father? Instruction is the Torah which contains a number of rebukes and punishments1 as it is said: "My son, do not despise the chastening of G‑d, nor be weary of His correction." (Prov. 3:11)

And since everyone who strives in Torah in this world is worthy that a number of gates, a number of lights to the next world, be opened for him, therefore when he departs from this world it [the Torah] precedes him, going to all the gate-keepers proclaiming, "Open the gates, that the righteous nation...may enter in." (Isaiah 26:2) Prepare a seat for so-and-so, the King's servant! G‑d has no joy other than with one who strives in Torah.

How much more so with a man who is awake at night to engage in Torah, for all the righteous in the Garden of Eden are attentive to his voice and G‑d is among them, as they explained: "You that dwell in the gardens, Colleagues hearken to your voice, cause Me to hear it." (Songs 8:13)

Rabbi Shimon said that this verse has in it the secret of wisdom. "You that dwell in the gardens" refers to the Congregation of Israel [the Shechinah] which is with Israel in exile and accompanies them in their troubles. "The Colleagues hearken to your voice..." refers to the camps of the higher heavenly [angels], all of whom listen to your voice, the voice of your praises in exile. "Cause Me to hear it" is as it is said: "let Me see your countenance, let me hear your voice." (Songs 2:14) "Let Me hear your voice" refers to the voice of those Colleagues who engage in Torah, for I have no praise such as for those who engage in Torah.

Rabbi Shimon said that all those who are privileged to engage in Torah at midnight, as the day begins to dawn, come with the Matron [Shechinah] to welcome the King; he inherits and grows stronger in (his connection to) the Shechinah. Moreover, a thread of kindness rests on him2 as the Sages have explained.

Come and see: Everyone who merits to be strengthened with the Shechinah should guard himself from those matters that are caught in opposition to [the Shechinah]. What is this referring to? Those who do not falsify the sign of the Holy Covenant by [becoming joined] with a daughter of an idol-worshipper. And all who watches over himself, the Congregation of Israel [the Shechinah] is, as it were, linked to him and protects him and greets him peacefully. And this is even more so if he has merited to zealously guard [the Holy Covenant] and acquire it .

Rabbi Shimon said that Israel at that time would have deserved to have been removed from the world had not Pinchas first done the deed [of killing Zimri and Cozbi] and thus the anger abated. This is what is said: "Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned my wrath away." (Num. 25:11)

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

Good deeds, religious service, Torah study. These are the three things on which the world depends. (Avot 1:2)
The Holy Zohar gives over the power of after-midnight Torah study as well as zealous/jealous action in the defense of G‑d, like the actions of Pinchas in his killing two coupling lovers.

"Where there is no [other] man [taking responsibility], you be the one!" {Avot}

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

[Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries]
Copyright 2003 by KabbalaOnline.org, a project of Ascent of Safed (//ascentofsafed.com). All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, unless with permission, in writing, from Kabbala Online.