393. “And Hashem saw that the wickedness of man was very great upon the earth, and the thought in man’s heart was continuously only evil” (Genesis / Beresheet 6:5). Of the verse, “For you are not El who pleasures in wickedness. Evil will not sojourn with you” (Tehilim 5:5), Rabbi Yehuda said: This verse has been discussed and explained, yet come and behold: he who cleaves to and is led by the evil inclination is defiled and will be led further into defilement, as we have learned.
394. “The wickedness of man was very great,” because men committed all sorts of sins and their guilt was not complete until they spilled blood in vain upon the ground. This refers to those who pollute their ways upon the earth, that is, they spill their sperm in vain. Thus, it was written: “Only evil (ra) all day.” In another place it is written: “And Er, the son of Yehuda, was evil (ra) in the eyes of Hashem” (Beresheet 38:7), because he spilled his seed upon the earth. this indicates that the word Ra refers to the wanton waste of seed.
395. Rabbi Yosi then asked, “Is not evil (ra) the same as wicked (rasha)?” So that you could not determine that ra is used solely to indicate those who waste their seed.
Rabbi Yehuda answered: No. Even he who lifts his hand against his friend is called wicked, even if he causes his friend no harm. It is written: “And He said to the wicked, why do you smite your friend?” (Shemot 2:13), and not ‘Why did you smite your friend?’ The latter would have indicated that he had already done so. Thus, even though he had not yet hit him, the scripture calls him wicked.
396. Yet, only he who corrupts his ways, thereby defiling himself and the earth, gives strength and power to the spirit of defilement called Ra. As it is written: “Only evil all day.” Such a person will not enter the palace of Hashem, nor gaze upon the Shechinah, because this sin causes the Shechinah to depart from the world.
397. From where do we know that the Shechinah leaves because of this sin? From Ya’akov. For when the Shechinah left him, he concluded that there was a defect in his sons as a result of their indulgence in the above mentioned sin. Because of this sin, he concluded, the spirit of defilement was strengthened in the world and the light of the moon, which is the Nukva of Zeir Anpin, was impaired and rendered defective. For this reason, the Shechinah was gone from him. One might wonder why he thought so. It is because this sin defiled the temple, and hence the Shechinah left Ya’akov, even though he himself did not sin. One who actually defiles his ways and himself gives all the more strength to the unclean spirit. Consequently, when he is defiled, he is called ra (evil).
398. Come and behold: when a man is defiled, by the above mentioned sin, he is not remembered by the Holy One, for merit, and he is constantly remembered by the spirit of defilement, called ‘evil’, for evil. Hence, the Shechinah leaves him as soon as he is visited by the spirit of defilement. Thus, it is said, “He who sleeps sated will not be visited by evil” (Mishlei 14:23), meaning that he who follows the right path and does not fall prey to the above mentioned sin will not be visited by evil. Thus, it is written: “Only evil all day” and also, “evil shall not sojourn with you” (Tehilim 5:5), and they are called ‘evil’ and not ‘wicked.’ Also, it is written: “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall not fear evil, for You are with me” (Tehilim 23:4). This is because it also works the other way: if the Shechinah is accompanying a man, he need not fear the spirit of defilement, as it is written: “I shall not fear evil, for You are with me.” Just as the Shechinah flees defilement, so defilement flees from the Shechinah. - Zohar Vol. 2B:66
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