[Rabbi Shimon opened his discourse with the verse:] "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me always." (Ps. 51:5) How important it is that people be staunchly on guard against sinning before G‑d, because after a person has sinned, his sin is recorded in the upper world [which is the source of his soul] and can only be blotted out by the power of the great effort a person makes in doing teshuva. This is as it is written: "For though you wash yourself with nitre (carbonated soda), and use a lot of soap ("borit" or caustic soda – stronger than the nitre; both were among the ingredients used to clean the bloodstains from the robes worn by the kohanim in the Temple), yet the stain of your iniquity remains before me." (Jeremiah 2:22) [It still remains a stain before G‑d until complete teshuvah is done.]
The first time a person sins before G‑d he leaves a stain.
Come and see: The first time a person sins before G‑d he leaves a stain
[at the level of "Nefesh" of his soul]. If he sins a second time, the stain is darkened [it now stains the level of Ruach of the person’s soul]. If he sins a third time, the stain spreads to all sides [of his soul including the level of Neshama – the soul's source]. This is suggested by the words: "your iniquity has become a [permanent] stain before Me [G‑d]." (Jeremiah 2:22)

Come and see: When King David sinned with Bat-Sheva before G‑d, King David thought that the stain of this sin would last forever
[however he returned to G‑d and did teshuvah and confessed when he told Natan the prophet "I have sinned against G‑d"] then what is written? [Natan said to him]"G‑d also has put away your sin, you shall not die," (II Samuel 12:13) that stain has been blotted out [before Him].

Rabbi Abba then asked him as it was taught that Bat-Sheva belonged to King David
[as his soul mate] from the day the world was created, (Sanhedrin 107a) why did G‑d give her first to Uriah the Hittite?

Rabbi Shimon told him that these are the ways of G‑d
[in the secret of reincarnation]. Although a woman may be destined to become a certain man's wife, another man may marry her first. But as soon as the time has come for the destined man to marry her, the latter is removed from this world because of the other that comes after him. And it is very hard and painful for G‑d to remove that person from the world before his time has come.

The secret of why Bat-Sheva was given first to Uriah the Hittite lies in the answer to the question of why the Holy Land was given first to Cana'an, before the nation of Israel existed. From this
[secret], you shall understand. Both questions are connected to one secret and one matter.

(The King has founded his kingdom of the world thus that both darkness and kelipot were in the world before His rule. After this came the ruling of the light of holiness. This is also connected to Adam’s eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, causing him to internalize it and thereby mixing good and evil into everything in his world. Man's work in this world is to separate the evil from the good.

The first Edomite is the secret of the kelipa...

It says of Esau when he was born: "the first one came out red (Edom)". The first Edomite is the secret of the kelipa and the secret of "Who takes the pure out from the impure?" It was necessary for the Land of Israel to be under the power of Cana'an, which is the kelipa, so that its portion of evil would be separated out to the kelipa and the good portion would remain for Israel. "These are the kings who ruled in the land of Edom before the Children of Israel ruled." (Gen. 36:31)

Similarly, Bat-Sheva could not be married first to David until the evil portion would be separated from her. The spirit that remained in her was good and David could marry her.)

Come and see: Even though David confessed his sins and repented, he was not able to completely forget and remove them from his heart, especially the sin related to Bat-Sheva. Because he always feared that even one of his minor sins might reappear and persecute him in time of danger, he never forgot them or blotted them out of his memory
[as he said "for I know my transgressions and my sin is before me always"].
The moon's defect was not corrected until Solomon appeared.
Another interpretation of the verse, "For I know my transgressions" is, 'I am familiar with all the
[supernal] levels connected to the sins of humankind.' On the other hand, "my sin is before me always" refers to their lack of completion – like the moon [representing malchut, the place of the source of the soul] that lacks completion almost her entire cycle. The moon's defect was not corrected until Solomon appeared. [King Solomon was the 15th king/leader of Israel and his reign is compared to the moon on its fifteenth day when she shines in her full glory.] Then, the world was sweetened and Israel dwelled in security, as it is written: "And Judah and Israel dwelled safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree." (I Kings 5:5) Yet, with all this, "My sin is before me always"--it shall not be removed from the world until the King Mashiach appears, as is described in the verse: "And the spirit of uncleanliness I will cause to pass out from the earth." (Zachariah 13:2)

[After the moon was filled at the time of Solomon, it began to lessen and be blemished, until the days of Zedekiah when the darkness was complete, in the secret of Zedekiah's blinding by the Babylonians. Then the Temple was destroyed and the kelipot ruled over the world. Now we need to heal the blemish in the Shechinah. Then the blemish in the moon will be filled and the moon complete; there will be no deficiency in the universe.]

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
"I'm gonna' wash that sin right out of my..." Such is the power of water. Which is why, according to the Arizal, Jewish men should immerse in a mikveh each day during Elul and do 13 dunks corresponding to the 13 qualities of mercy.

Now, just because one has been forgiven, and thus cleansed of sin, does not mean that one forgets. Forgiven does not = Forgotten. A key feature of teshuvah sheleimah/complete return is that if one is faced with the identical situation as when one sinned, this time one does the right thing.

So, one needs to keep one's miss—takes before oneself, always. Only then can we rewrite the past, to engrave a different chapter in the Tablets of our Life. Not from guilt, which is the shackles of the past, nor worry, which is the shackles of the future. Rather from the shame of not wanting to mess up our relationship with our Eternal Friend, our Dearest, our Beloved.

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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