Chapter 8

How should a man train himself to acquire the qualities of Endurance, Majesty, and Foundation? With regard to the Tikkunim of Endurance and Majesty some of the qualities apply to both of them together, others to each one distinctively.

Behold, first of all it is necessary to help students of the Torah and to support them either with money or deeds, so as to provide them with the things they require for their work, to prepare their food, and to fulfill all their desires, so that they do not cease in the study of the Torah. He should take care not to disparage their learning so that they do not weaken in their study of the Torah, but should honor them and praise their good deeds in order to encourage them in their work. And he should provide them with books with which to work and with a house of study. All such aid and support to those who study the Torah depends on these qualites; each person should do all he can, whether little or much. In short, whatever he does to honor the Torah and to strengthen it with speech, which his bodily actions and with his wealth, and to arouse people's hearts to the torah that they engage in its study, all this is firmly held and rooted in these two Sephiroth for they are known as 'them that lay hold upon her' and 'that holdeth her fast'[1].

Futhermore, he who studies the Torah must be prepared to learn from all men, as it is written: 'From all my teachers I have gotten understanding[2].' For the Torah cannot be adequately studied from one teacher alone. As a result of becoming a pupil of all he has the merit of becoming a chariot to Endurance and Majesty, those taught of the Lord, and the one who teaches him the Torah is in the degree of Beauty. So that when he sits down to study he merits that Beauty flow into Endurance and Majesty and then he is actually in their degree. Now, behold, when he studies the Bible, which is of the Right[3], he has a special association with Endurance. And when he studies Mishnah[4], which is of the Left, he has a special association with Majesty. And Gemara[5] includes everything, for it brings proof of the laws of the Mishnah from the Bible so that this is a Tikkun for both of them.

However, how should man train himself to acquire the quality of Foundation? A man must be on his guard against the kind of speech which brings to thoughts of sin, so that he should not be visited by a seminal emission. Needless to say, he should not speak obscenities but he should take care not to utter even clean words if they give rise to sexual thoughts. And this is contained in a careful examination of the verse: 'Suffer not[6] thy mouth to bring thy flesh unto guilt,' this is, take care not to suffer the mouth to give speech which can bring sin to the holy flesh, the sign of the covenant[7], with seminal emission. And it is written: 'Wherefore should God be angry . . .[8] ' Now if obscenity is meant what is the meaning of: 'bring to guilt' seeing that this itself is 'guilt'? But the meaning is that even if there is no sin in the actual word itself, for it is clean, he should take care if it is able to bring about sexual thoughts. This is why he says: 'To bring thy flesh to guilt. . . Why should God be angry?' He meants that when sin does result He will be angered by that speech thought it were permissible; for the voice and the speech revert to evil when the deed results from it. This is the extent of the care that must be taken with regard to the sign of the covenant that he should not have sexual imaginings and so destroy.

Further care is necessary, for Foundation is the sign of the covenant of the bow[9] and the Bow of the Upper World[10] is only outstretched in order to shoot arrows into the quality of Sovereignty, which is 'the target for arrows[11],' preserving the drop which shoots as an arrow[12] to bring forth branches and to bear fruit[13]. Now, just as the Supernal Bow is never stretched except it be toward this target, so, too, man should not stretch his bow and allow himself and erection under any circumstances except it be for the proper purpose[14], namely, for his wife when she is clean[15], which is the time of union. And not more than this, for it causes a flaw in this quality, God forend. Exceedingly great care must be taken and the main precaution is to guard oneself from sexual imaginings.

them that lay hold ... that holdeth her Prov. 3:18 ie, the Torah, the symbol of Beauty.

From all my teachers.. Ps. 119:99 The plain meaning of the verse is 'more than all my teachers' but the Hebrew mikkol can mean both 'more than all' and 'from all.' Ben Zoma (2nd cent.) interprets the verse in the second sense: 'Who is wise? He who learns from all men; as it is said, From all my teachers I have gotten understanding' ('Aboth 4:1)

which is of the Right V. Zohar 1, 27b.

Mishnah The code of Jewish Law edited by R. Judah the Prince and completed circa 200 c.e.

Gemara The discussions in the Palestinian and Babylonian schools in the post-Mishnaic period. The Babylonian Gemara was completed circa 500 ce. One of the chief functions of the Gemara is to find support for the laws of the Mishnah from the Bible.

Suffer not Eccl. 5:5

the sign of the covenant Of circumcision, Gen. 17:9-14. Foundation is symbolized by the penis.

Wherefore should God be angry Eccl. 5:5

covenant of the bow Both circumcision (Gen 17:10) and the rainbow (Gen. 9:12-13) are described as a covenant. Furthermore, the word 'bow' is used in Rabbinic literature as a synonym for penis.

Bow of the Upper World Foundation

the target for arrows Lam. 3:12 V. Tikkunim, Tikkun 13 end 25b-26a.

shoots as an arrow A Talmudic quotation: 'Samuel said: "A spermatic emission that does not shoot forth like an arrow cannot fructify"' (Hag. 15a)

to bring forth branches and to bear fruit Ez. 17:8

proper purpose Hebrew, mattrah, meaning both 'target' and 'purpose'.

when she is clean From her period of seperation.