Walk, Don't Fly
From Zohar Chadash (p.18b)
Translation and commentary by Shmuel-Simcha Treister
Rosh Hashana the entire world is judged, both the physical bodies of mankind
and the souls. They are all brought to attention and are judged on everything
that they did over the entire year that passed. We have been taught that
even the footsteps that a person makes are counted and are brought for
judgement on that day as is written in Job 31, 4 "All my steps are
It is explained in the commentary Chaim Umazon that the reason that man
was not created with wings is so that he would not be able to fly immediately
to do a sinful act. Since a person has to walk to do so, it is possible
that as he proceeds he will have second thoughts and a more pure spirit
will be aroused within him, counteracting the wicked thought and giving
him the chance to repent before acting. Walking, instead of flying, gives
him time for this introspection. His steps are therefor counted and he
is punished for failing to take advantage of this time (and the signs
along the way) in order to repent of his bad intentions. Conversely he
receives a reward for the very steps he takes to perform a mitzvah.
Rabbi Yossi taught that three groups enter [for judgement] on the day
of Judgement. The group of the completely righteous, the group of the
completely wicked, and the group of those in between/beinonim. Corresponding
to these there are three powers in a person. The power of the holy neshama
[the righteous empower their soul to control their body], the power of
lust and desires [the wicked empower their lust driven illusions to defeat
the desire of their holy soul], and the power to prevent wrongdoing.
What is the power to prevent wrongdoing [which corresponds to the group
in between the wicked and the righteous]? Rabbi Yehuda explained that
this is a power that grows and prevents the body achieving all its requirements.
The third group, the beinonim, is controlled by the nature of their bodies.
This nature dictates to them what they think they need to do. Their failure
is that they don't bring the actions so generated, such as eating and
talking etc. which are not forbidden, into the realm of the holy.
Rabbi Yossi ben Pazzi said, Come and see the mercy shown by the Holy
One Blessed be He. Even though the heavenly court comes to stand in judgement
[for misdeeds] there also appears those who give evidence before Him of
a persons merits and not just their misdeeds. This is as he taught that
three groups of heavenly angels stand in the judgement [to be heard] on
Rosh Hashana. There are those that give evidence on the good that a person
has done [including even his intention to do good!] on the side of his
merits. There are those that show his bad deeds to the side of his guilt
[and the third group are to execute the judgement].