Behold, these are eight good qualities, all of them under the banner of humility, all of which are in the higher worlds in the Crown among the Supernal Limbs. Whenever man wishes to draw near to the higher worlds to resemble Him so as to open the heavenly sources of blessing to those beneath it is necessary for him to be well-versed in these two chapters.
Of course, we know that it is impossible to conduct oneself in obedience to these qualities continually for there are other qualities in which a man has to be well-versed, namely the lower qualities of Power, as we shall explain. But there are days when the Powers do not function and when men have no need of them, for in these days Crown reigns, or it is a time when Crown is required. Then it is necessary to resort to all the qualities we have mentioned. The other qualities, however, though needed for divine service in their proper time are not now resorted to, for they are cancelled in the light of the Crown. So, too, man should not resort to those harsh qualities. One the Sabbath, for example, when the world is sweetened, in accordance with the secret of delight, and the courts do not sit in judgement on the Sabbath, then should he use all these qualities in order to open the Higher Sources.
For if in his prayers a man directs his thoughts to the light of the Crown by behaves contrary to them in his actions how can the Source of the Crown open since he actually pushes it away by his deeds? Is it not an a fortiore argument? If the Crown cannot rest on the Supernal Sephirot of the powers of holy judgment and holy anger how much more is the Crown unable to spread its light on the man who bestirs external anger, even if it be for the sake of heaven? And especially if he seeks to bestir it among the Higher Qualities who will say: "How presumptuous is this one! The light of the Crown is not revealed in us because of our holy and pure judgment yet he demands its revealment though in anger and preforming ugly external actions." Consequently, a man should set his thoughts on all these qualities on the festivals, on Sabbath, on the Day of Atonement, and when praying and when studying the Torah, for these are not the periods of the divine powers but the times for revealing the Higher Will. At other times he should resort to the other qualities in the service of the Lord, not, however, the unworthy ones for there is not a time when these should be in control of man except to his harm, as we shall explain. Then, if he resort to these qualities, he will be confident and sure that the Higher Sources will be opened. It is therefore necessary for every man to accustom himself to these qualities little by little. The chief quality he should make his own is humility, for this is the key to them all for it is the chief of them all, the first aspect of the Crown, under which all are contained.
Behold, humility chiefly means that man finds no worth in himself but values himself as naught. As the humble one said: "What are we that ye complain against us?" until in his own eyes he is the lowest of creatures and exceedingly despicable and loathsome. Then when he strives constantly to acquire this quality all other good qualities will follow in its wake. For the first quality of Crown is that it considers itself as naught before the One from Whom it emanates. So, too, a man should consider himself as actually nothing and his non-existence far better than his existence. As a result of this he will behave towards those who offend him as if they were right and he the wrongdoer. And this will be the cause of acquiring the good qualities.
Now I have found a cure by which a man can accustom himself to these things little by little so that he may be cured of the disease of pride and enter the gates of humility. This ointment is made up of three balms. The first is that he accustom himself to flee honor as much as possible, for if he allows honor to be paid him he will become attuned to such matters of pride and his nature will find satisfaction in it and he will find it difficult to be cured. The second is that he should train his thoughts to appraise his own worthiness, saying: "What does it matter if people do not know how despicable I am, do I not know myself that I am despicable in this and that thing?" whether in lack of knowledge, or lack of power, the disgrace of eating and of excrement, and so forth, until he becomes despicable in his own eyes. The third is that he constantly think on his sins, desiring purity and rebuke and suffering. And he should say: "What are the best sufferings in the world, which will not deter me from God's service?' There are none better than that he be insulted, despised and railed against. For these will not withold his strength from him and he will not be sick. Nor will his food and clothing be witheld nor his life nor the lives of his sons. If so he should actually desire them saying: "Why should I fast and afflict by myself with sackcloth and flagellation which weaken my strength for God's service that I bring them upon myself? It is far better that I suffer men's contempt and insult that my strength does not depart and is not weakened.' In this way when insults are meted out to him he will rejoice in them and, on the contrary, desire them. From these three ingredients he should compound and ointment for the heart and accustom himself to this all his days.
I have further found a good medicine, though not as effective as the other. This is that man should train himself to do two things: first, to honor all creatures, in whom he recognises the exalted nature of the Creator Who in wisdom created man. And so it was with all creatures, that he wisdom of the Creator is in them. He should see for himself that they are therefore exceedingly to be honored for the Creator of all, the most exalted Wise One has busied Himself with them and if, God forfend, man despises them he touches upon the honor of their Creator. This can be compared to a wise artifcer who fashions a vessel with great skill and shows it to men, one of whom derides and speaks lightly of it. How angry that sage will be for by despising the work of his hands his wisdom is despised. It is evil, too, in the eyes of the Holy One, Blessed is He, if any one of His creatures is despised. It is therefore written: 'How manifold are Thy works,' not 'how great,' but rabbu, from the expression rabh betho, namely, very important. Thou hast made them all in wisdom and because Thy wisdom is attached to them important and great are Thy works. It is fitting that man see in them wisdom not cause for them to be despised. The second is to bring the love of his fellow-men into his heart, even loving the wicked as if they were his brothers and more so until the love of his fellow-men becomes firmly fixed in his heart. He should love even the wicked in his heart saying: "Would that these were righteous, returning in repentance, so that they were all great men, acceptable to the Omnipresent; as the faithful lover of all Israel said "Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets."
How can he love them? By recalling in his thoughts the good qualities they possess, by covering their defects and refusing to look at their faults and only at their good qualities. He should say to himself: "If this loathsome beggar were very rich how much then would I rejoice in his company, as I rejoice in the company of some other. But if he were to don the spendid garments of some other there would be no difference between him and his superior; why then should his honor be less in my eyes? Behold, in God's eyes he is superior to me for he is plagued with suffering and poverty and cleansed from sin and why should I hate one whom the Holy One, Blessed is He, loves?" In this way man's heart will turn towards the good and he will accustom himself to ponder on all the good qualities we have mentioned.
the secret of delight The Zohar teaches that the Sabbath is the day on which Crown rules and there is complete delight and no judgment, v. Zohar II, 88a-b.
the courts do not sit Jewish courts of law did not sit on the Sabbath (Mish. Betz. V,2). The Kabbalists extend this to the heavenly courts.
because of our holy and pure judgment i.e. because of our judgment, though it is holy and pure.
resort to the other qualities The qualities which belong to the other Sephirot to be explained later.
the humble one Moses, Num. XII. 3
What are we Ex. XVI. 7
How manifold Ps. CIV. 4
rabh betho "The important one of his household" Esther I:8, i.e. 'How rabbu are Thy works' can mean bother "How manifold' and "How important."
the faithful lover of all Israel Moses
Would that all the people Num. XI. 29.