Rabbi Yehuda opened [his discourse] with: "Preserve my soul; for I am pious; save Your servant..." (Psalms 86:2) One has to look at the end of the verse and then at the whole verse. At the end of the verse it says, "who 'boteach' to You [G‑d]." Should it not have said, "who trusts in [in Hebrew, 'boteach b-']You"? What's the meaning of 'boteach le'? But it means David 'hivti'ach/promised' [to G‑d] not to be asleep when midnight passed, as it is written: "At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You." (Psalms 119:62) He should have said, "I arose," but [it means, 'I promise that] I will arise [at midnight] and be bound to You for ever.'

"Preserve [in Hebrew, 'shomrah' – with an extra 'hei'] my soul." [One asks] He should have used 'shamor', but we have learnt that there is no letter in the Torah that does not have heavenly and precious secrets. 'Shomrah', for he was saying to G‑d, 'shamor Hei', [preserve (with) the letter Hei] for it is that element [of malchut, represented by 'hei'] which the soul holds onto. For when the soul departs this world to inherit its share in the World to Come, if it so merits, a number of heavenly hosts come out to greet it, guard it, and bring it into its rightful domain. That letter Hei [malchut] preserves it, to unite with it on Rosh Chodesh and Shabbat.

But if it does not so merit, a number of angels of destruction are directed against it and push it outside. Woe to that soul that wanders in vain, as a stone in the hollow of the sling. This is what was said: "and the souls of Your enemies, them shall He sling out, as out of the hollow of a sling." (I Samuel 25:29)

And David made his request before G‑d and said, "Preserve my soul" that it be not rejected,
and when they come out against it, may the portals be opened for it and may You accept it before You.

"For I am pious...": Was David really called 'pious'?
[King David's attribute was malchut, while pious/chasid is related to the attribute of chesed.] Rabbi Yehudah said, Yes [he is called also pious], for it is written, "the trusted chassadim of David" (Isaiah 55:3) and [since he is called pious] therefore "Preserve my soul," do not abandon it to wander on the outside.

Rabbi Yitzhak said: Everyone who has a portion in righteousness [by guarding the covenant of circumcision] inherits this land [malchut] as it is said: "Your people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever." (Isaiah 60:21) And this righteous one [who is yesod] is called 'pious' [for it showers kindnesses] which is why David said, "Since I am connected to that place [of righteousness] 'I am pious' and because of this, 'Preserve my soul' that it be bound up with You."

Rabbi Hiya opened
[his discourse] with: "he ordained it for Joseph for testimony. (Psalms 81:6) We have learnt [the angel Gabriel] taught Joseph seventy languages1 [likewise to Pharaoh] but [Joseph knew] an extra language, the Holy Tongue [which Pharaoh didn't know]. This is what is meant by "I heard languages that I had not known".

According to this, what is "testimony"? Come and see: When Potiphar's wife took hold of him to seduce him, Joseph made himself as one who did not know her language, and so it was each day until the last moment, as it is written: "And she caught him by his garment [in Hebrew, 'bevigdo'] ." (Gen. 39:12) What is the meaning of "she caught him"? Until that time he had pretended that he did not know her language. But then she realized that he understood her intent and this is what is meant: "she caught him in his deception." [in Hebrew, 'bevgidato'].

And the Divine Spirit [malchut] cried out to him, "that they may keep you from the strange woman, from the alien woman who makes smooth her words." (Prov. 7:5) What is this trying to teach us here? Everyone who keeps himself from such a thing [as Joseph did] is bound up with the Shechinah and connected to this testimony [malchut]. And which is it? This is the Hei that was added to [Joseph's name] as it is written: "This he ordained in Jehoseph for testimony."

Also here, a Yud [standing for malchut] was added to Pinchas' name because he was zealous over the same matter [of Zimri's illicit sex].

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

Oh, when will I merit to bond with Divine Presence. The trick is to stay in the Holy place, the place where we are imbued with His Divine Name through righteous actions. ALWAYS!!! Easier said than done. so be good and do good, for goodness' sake (for the Honor of Heaven)! The characters of David and Joseph and their life trials are offered to us as case studies on how to successfully deal with negativity. It is submitted that a review of their stories and character-building is oh so worthy an activity. Bless you in your study!

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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