Our understanding of cause and effect is limited by our perception of time as a straight line, starting at one point and finishing at another. Spiritual giants such as the holy Ari, the Baal Shem Tov and Rebbe Shimon could see the causes of worldly events in the spiritual [timeless] realms and explain them by relating them to incidents that may have happened generations before. In this translation, Rebbe Shimon gives some examples to help explain this concept. A second theme deals with the recognition of the "Other Side" by holiness as a level one ought to be conscious of in order to assist in keeping it in its place. Remember the Other Side is not separate from the Holy - it is the force of negativity that receives a tiny life force from the Holy and plays a role in testing a person, thereby giving him freedom of choice.

Come and see. At a time when [the forces of] judgment and suffering [pervade Israel], if a small thing [like a bribe] is given to the Other Side to occupy it, it will be distracted from all prosecution.

This is the secret behind "mayim achronim", act of washing the ends of the fingers at the end of a meal. This activity suffices to show that one is conscious of the forces of the animal soul that eats out of lust. The very acknowledgment of this keeps the Other Side at bay, since one recognizes the reality of this force. This recognition is sufficient to enable one to say grace after meals without the negative intruding into one's consciousness.

An example of this is the sacrifice of a goat on the New Moon [and] the goat on the Day of Atonement. This is so [the Other Side] will be involved with that offering and leave Israel with their King. Satan is…like a faithful servant with a nasty job to do…

The goat is a kosher animal that is different to all the others in that it will eat anything. This indiscriminate lust for eating makes it a symbol of the Other Side whose ultimate spiritual representative is called the Satan. The word "Satan" in Hebrew is related to the word "sitna", meaning to accuse and hate. This hints at the fact that the Satan is an enemy always trying to make a person fall into his base animal desires and distance him from his holy spiritual source. The English concept of "the Devil" is always linked with the symbol of the goat, but there is an important difference that should be noted: Satan is not separate to G‑d - all is one in its source; he is more like a faithful servant with a nasty job to do.

Now [with the imminent exodus from Egypt] came the time to give this small part from the seed of Abraham to the Other Side, as is written "It was told to Abraham saying, Behold Milcah has also borne children to your brother Nahor. Utz his first borne…" (Gen. 22:21-22).

The Other Side did not want to see Israel grow closer to G‑d and so recalled that the seed of Abraham was blemished by the fact that Isaac was offered up on the altar but was not sacrificed. He was taken down from the altar and a ram offered in his place. This was a breach of the law that a sacrifice, once offered up, can not be removed from the altar. Since Israel was about to be in great danger from the pursuing Egyptian army, the Satan brought this misdeed to the attention of the Heavenly Court and demanded payment in the form of the death of the seed of Abraham. G‑d had in advance prepared another branch of the family of Abraham in the form of a descendant of Utz. This was Job, who was a wealthy advisor to Pharaoh.

And come and see. At the time when [the Satan said to G‑d] that he had been going "to and fro in the earth" (Job 7:1), his intention was to demand that [G‑d] judge Israel. He had a case against Abraham to bring before G‑d because judgment had not been executed against him when Isaac was offered on the altar, since an offering should not be exchanged once it is brought up on the altar. This is as is written, "He shall not swap it" (Lev. 27:10). Everything that the Satan claims, he does in accordance with the law…

Here, Isaac was already placed upon the altar but his being sacrificed was not completed, and the law was not properly executed. He [the Satan] made this claim before G‑d [since if Isaac had have been sacrificed, the Satan would have had some share]. This is similar to the judgment of [the brothers who sold] Joseph that was delayed many generations. Everything that the Satan claims, he does in accordance with the law; and at that time when Isaac was saved and not slaughtered and another sacrifice was brought in his place, G‑d prepared a portion for that accuser.

This is as we have said "Behold, Milcah has also borne children to your brother Nahor. Utz his first borne…" And at this point, when the time had come to take his portion from all the seed of Abraham, [he was permitted to examine Job, but] the Other Side would not come close [to the rest of Abraham's family]. All was done in accordance with strict justice. Just as he [Job] judged others, so was he himself judged…

Just as he [Job] judged others, so was he himself judged. Job was one of the closest advisors to Pharaoh, and when Pharaoh rose up over the People of Israel to kill them, [Job] told him otherwise. [He advised Pharaoh] to take their wealth and rule over their bodies with hard labor instead of killing them. The Holy One Blessed be He said to him, By your life, according to the judgment you passed, so will you be judged. This is as is written "Behold he is in your hand, but spare his life." (Job 2:6). Just as he judged others so was he judged himself, even though in all other aspects he feared G‑d.

The words that come out of one's mouth create reality. If you say life is great - then you give yourself the power to realize the greatness in it.

Zohar, Pg. 33a; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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