Rabbi Shimon opened [his discourse] with [the verse], "From the [uttermost] corner of the earth have we heard songs, glory to the righteous..." (Isaiah 24:16) Woe to those people that are not concerned and striving for the glory of their Master, nor do they behold the supernal holiness to be sanctified in this world [in the holiness of malchut] so as to be holy in the World to Come [from the holiness of bina].

"The [uttermost] corner of the earth" refers to the supernal upper garment [of holiness which is malchut, the secret of the Tallit, that upper garment to which the Tzitzit fringes are attached, also referred to as Kanaf/corner and relating to malchut]. "We heard songs" as it says, "gives songs at night", (Job 35:10) songs of praise of the Congregation of Israel [malchut] to the Holy One, blessed be He [Zeir Anpin] at night [in exile, for She sings to Zeir Anpin also while in the depths of exile, calling Zeir Anpin to redeem Her]. Or: "At night" [can be interpreted literally as malchut praising Zeir Anpin each night] when she is readying herself and preparing to praise the Holy One, blessed be He. And when [does She praise Him]? From midnight onward. Then, "we heard songs" of praises [of malchut for Zeir Anpin].

Or "songs/zemirot" [can be interpreted] as in, "nor prune/tizmor" (Lev. 25:4) [meaning cutting, so the Shechinah cuts off the kelipot by way of praises] and as written, "so the cutting down of the tyrants he shall oppress [other people, that they shall then become submissive]" (Isaiah 25:5) that uprooting all these tyrants [i.e. the external forces, from their places]. For [immediately] when night falls, how many tyrannical [strong external forces which are] angels of destruction are present in the world, walking and roaming the world to bring accusations [against Israel]. From midnight onward, a spirit is aroused [from the north, the side of gevurot of malchut], and it uproots all [external forces] from their places and removes them [from the world] so they shall rule no more.

"We heard songs"
[as in the first interpretation of Zemer, songs of praise] refers to the praises of the Congregation of Israel [malchut to Zeir Anpin] at night. What is the reason for all this? It is "glory to the righteous," [Tzadik is yesod, meaning] to unite in a single union with the Holy One, blessed be He [Zeir Anpin] and be sanctified with Him in one holiness. [Malchut approaches unification with Zeir Anpin through yesod and therefore praises yesod.]

[and malchut says:] "But I said, My secret, my secret"; [the first 'secret'] is a supernal mystery [that bounty that is received from tiferet directly above; the second'secret'] is a holy mystery [that bounty that is received from bina directly above tiferet].

But "woe to me" for the generation and for the world
[who prevent unification due to their sins]; "traitors have dealt treacherously," for they are all false to Me [i.e. they have all betrayed G‑d] and are false to themselves [i.e. they betrayed themselves and their souls by not sanctifying themselves in marital intimacy, as they could for instance by constraining themselves from Friday night to Friday night]. Not only do they betray themselves, but the children they beget [by blemished marital intimacy] would be treacherous due to their own falseness [for their children's souls are not drawn from a holy place, rather from where the kelipot attach themselves] and they are blemished above [by not allowing for supernal unification] and below [for they and their children are blemished].

When Isaiah saw this
[that the generation was blemished], he gathered all those who fear sin and taught them the holy way of being sanctified with the holiness of the King [namely by having marital relations only on Friday night and with modesty] so their children would be holy. Once they were sanctified, the children they begot were named after him [Isaiah; they were considered his children]. This is the meaning of, "Behold, I and the children [his students' children] whom G‑d has given me [for they were considered his] are for signs and for portents in Israel" (Isaiah 8:18), for they are separated from the other nations' [customs and impurities].

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
"To thine own self be true." Perhaps this is the best advice a father could give his son. When false to others and false to oneself, we put on a mask throughout our lives. What is behind the mask is the focus of teshuvah. For teshuvah means a return to the essence of one's self, that centered balance point of equipoise, where we move in the straight direction in a way that is uniquely personal. Traitors to themselves don't know such focus. Rather, they pursue the vanities of this world and sacrifice the reward of the next. We have been allotted 10 days to get in touch with our core. To rid ourselves of pretense and get to the Real Thing. More than anything, the righteous knows himself, his strengths and deficiencies, his goals and desires. To spend some time on this matter can only help us to learn more about our chapter in the Book of Life.

What does this mean for your teshuvah for Yom Kippur, and why is it being revealed to you now?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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