"And I sought G‑d at that time, saying, the L-rd Elokim, You began to show Your servant." (Deut. 3:23-24) Rabbi Yosi opened his discourse with the verse: "Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to G‑d." (Isaiah 38:2) (Though his prayer nullified the decree, "you will die and not live," this was via the power of the Torah.) Come and see how powerful is the force of the Torah and how superior it is to anything else. For whoever is occupied with the Torah does not fear the higher or lower beings (that may come against him), nor fear evil incidents in the world, because he is connected to the Tree of Life [i.e. the secret of Zeir Anpin, the source of the Torah] and eats daily from it.

For the Torah teaches man to walk the path of truth and gives him counsel how to repent before his Master. Even if he is sentenced to death
(like G‑d sentenced Hezekiah), all is repealed and removed from him and does not rest upon him.

Therefore he should be occupied with the Torah day and night and not leave it. This is the meaning of, "but you shall meditate on it day and night." (Isaiah 1:8) If he removes the Torah from himself or separates from it, it is as if he separates from life.

Come and see! There is advice for man: When one climbs into his bed at night, he should accept upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven wholeheartedly [through the reading of the Shema] and hasten to give Him the deposit of his soul (as in the verse "Unto Your hand I give over my spirit"]. It was explained (Zohar Bamidbar 57b) that this is since every man tastes the taste of death [at night], because then the tree of death [i.e. the Other Side] influences the world. And all the spirits of people come out, rise and hide in it [malchut]. Since they are [given] as a deposit, all return [afterwards] to their places.

Come and see, when the north wind awakens at midnight and the announcement is made [via the Angel Gabriel, to wake man from his sleep] and G‑d comes to the Garden of Eden to delight in the spirits of the righteous, and all the members of the Queen's [Shechinah's] household [the souls in malchut of Atzilut] and all the members of the chamber [the souls in the lower palaces of Beriya] are roused to praise the Holy King [i.e. Zeir Anpin, at Midnight]. Then the deposits of the spirits which were handed to her are all returned to their owners. Most people awaken from their sleep at that time, and their deposits are returned to them all [and are not exchanged for others, as we bless in the morning: "who has not made me a non-Jew, a servant, or a woman"].

The members of the highest chamber take resolve and get up [at midnight] to be occupied in the praises of the Torah. They join the Congregation of Israel [the Shechinah, who descends at midnight to the World of Beriya and, through the learning of Torah, elevates to Her place in Atzilut] until daylight.

When morning comes, he, together with all the members of the King's chamber
[of Atzilut], comes to the Holy King. They are called the children of the King and Queen [as is written: "you are children to the L-rd your G‑d"]. This was already explained.

When morning comes, one should clean himself in every respect
[by relieving himself and washing hands], put on his weapons [the Tallit and Tefillin], and then seek to be by the Holy King, since at night he sought [in his Torah study to rectify the attribute of malchut] by the Queen. Now he comes with the Queen to join her to the King.

He comes to the synagogue, cleanses himself by reciting the offerings,1 and sings the praises from King David
(Pesukei D'Zimra). Fastened with Tefilin on his head and Tzitzit at the corners of his garment, he recites "A praise of David." (Psalms 145 - See Pinchas, Day 4) It was explained [already by the colleagues] that a person praying before his Master must stand up in prayer like the supernal angels, connecting to them, for they are called the "omdim" (literally "ones who stand").

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

"The most important thing is not to fear at all." Such were the parting words of wisdom given over to the Baal Shem Tov by his father. Such was a motto of his great grandson Rebbe Nachman. Those who are totally occupied with Torah fear no harm, even if they walk through the valley of the Shadow of Death, for G‑d is with them. (Psalms 23) Those who knew R. Shlomo Carlebach tell of his fearless attitude, how he would walk anywhere to give a fellow a hug and an encouraging word.

This level of faith is what sustains the righteous. (Habakkuk 2:4) By being connected to the Tree of Life, they—as its supporters—are happy, content, and survive on the spiritual sustenance afforded by it. (Prov. 3:18) For us, we may marvel at this dedication. And we can gather strength from the words of the prophet that "all of your people are righteous," and that we too can achieve this level if we really want to!

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

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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