"Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your G‑d…and a curse if you will not." (Deut. 11:26-27)

Rabbi Yehuda opened [his discourse] with the quote: "for the paths of G‑d are straight and the righteous will walk on them, but the wicked will stumble on them." (Hoshea 14:10) All the paths of G‑d are straight and His paths are truth [even if it appears to a person that he is being unjustly punished] but the majority of people don’t understand this and aren’t conscious that everything concerning their existence is due entirely to His mercy.

Everyone who strives to understand the Torah knows these paths of life and flows with them….

This is why the conscious person will walk with ease on his path [since he knows that everything that happens to him is for his good]; he knows the way and strives to learn what are the commandments of G‑d to make the path even clearer. Everyone who strives to understand the Torah knows these paths of life and flows with them. They don’t veer too much toward the right or the left, being neither overly indulgent nor strict.

The wicked on the other hand, fall on their paths. These are the wicked who don’t strive to understand the Torah and look at the instructions that guide them down the paths they are on in this world. They don’t know where their path is leading them, and because they don’t know what to look out for, and don’t learn Torah, they are failures in both the physical and spiritual worlds.

Come and see. Every person who strives to understand Torah, when his soul leaves his body, it soars up through the spiritual roads and pathways of the Torah. The soul is conscious of these roads and pathways and those who became conscious of those roads and pathways through their study in This World, retain that consciousness when they are in the Spiritual World. If the person didn’t strive to study Torah in This World, and as a result isn’t aware of the spiritual roads and pathways, then when their soul departs from This World, they don’t know how to travel the spiritual roads and pathways and fail to move in the right direction. Then that soul wanders down paths unconnected with the Torah and stirs up trouble for itself and is punished by the very trouble it has stirred up.

When your body sleeps in the grave, the Torah protects your soul….

Now one who occupies himself with Torah study is the subject of the verse "when you sleep, it shall keep you; and when you awake, it shall talk with you" (Proverbs 6:22). When your body sleeps in the grave, the Torah protects your soul from the harsh judgements of the spiritual world. When the body awakes at the time when the Holy One Blessed Be He resurrects the dead, the Torah it has learned merits that body to be among the first to be resurrected. Those who learned Torah in order to fulfill its instructions will be the ones who will arise first to everlasting life, as is referred to in the verse: "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." (Daniel 12:2) They will arise to everlasting life because they were engaged in the life force of the universe - the Torah.

Zohar, parashat Vayishlach, p. 175b; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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