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THE ZOHAR

by translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon
1984 by The Soncino Press, Ltd.
London, England

We have learnt that on the dread day when a man's time comes to depart from the world, four quarters of the world indict him, and punishments rise up from all four quarters, and four elements fall to quarrelling and seek to depart each to its own side. Then a herald goes forth and makes proclamation, which is heard in two hundred and seventy worlds. If the man is worthy, all the worlds welcome him with joy, but if not, alas for that man and his portion! We have learnt that when the herald makes proclamation, a flame goes forth from the North and passes through the "stream of fire", and divides itself to the four quarters of the world to burn the souls of sinners. It then goes forth and flies up and down till it alights between the wings of a black cock. The cock then flaps its wings and cries out at the threshold of the gate. The first time it cries: "Behold, the day cometh burning like a furnace, etc." (Mal. III, 19). The second time it cries: "For lo, he that formeth the mountains and createth the wind and declareth unto man what is his thought" (Amos IV, 13); that is the time when a man's deeds testify against him and he acknowledges them. The third time is when they come to remove his soul from him and the cock cries: "Who would not fear thee, King of the nations? For to thee doth it appertain, etc." (Jer. X, 7).  Said R. Jose: 'Why must it be a black cock?' R. Judah replied: 'Whatever the Almighty does has a mystic significance. We have learnt that chastisement does not fall save upon a place which is akin to it. Now black is the symbol of the side of Judgement, and therefore when the flame goes forth, it strikes the wings of a black cock, as being the most appropriate. So when man's judgement hour is near, it commences to call to him, and no one knows save the patient himself, as we have learnt, that when a man is ill and his time is approaching to depart from the world a new spirit enters into him from above, in virtue of which he sees things which he could not see before, and then he departs from the world. So it is written: "For man shall not see me and live"; in their lifetime they may not see, but at the hour of death they may. We have further learnt that at the time of a man's death he is allowed to see his relatives and companions from the other world. If he is virtuous, they all rejoice before him and give him greeting, but if not, then he is recognized only by the sinners who every day are thrust down to Gehinnom. They are all in great gloom and begin and end their converse with "woe!". Raising his eyes, he beholds them like a flame shooting up from the fire, and he also exclaims "woe!". We have learnt that when a man's soul departs from him, all his relatives and companions in the other world join it and show it the place of delight and the place of torture. If he is virtuous he beholds his place and ascends and sits there and enjoys the delights of the other world. But if he is not virtuous, his soul remains in this world until his body is buried in the dust, and then the executioners take hold of him and drag him down to Dumah and to his appointed storey in Gehinhom.' R. Judah said: 'For seven days the soul goes to and fro from his house to his grave, and from his grave to his house, mourning for the body, [219a] as it is written: "His flesh shall suffer pain for him, and his soul shall mourn for it" (Job XIV, 22), and it grieves to behold the sadness in the house. We have learnt that after seven days the body begins to decay, and the soul goes in to its place. It enters the cave of Machpelah, where it is allowed in up to a certain point according to its deserts. It then reaches the place of the Garden of Eden and meets the Cherubim and the flashing sword which is in the lower Garden of Eden, and if it is worthy to enter, it enters. We have learnt that four pillars [4] are waiting there with the form of a body in their hands, and with this it gleefully clothes itself and then remains in its appointed circle in the Garden of Eden for its allotted time. Then a herald makes proclamation and a pillar of three colours is brought forward, which is called "the habitation of Mount Zion" (Is. IV, 5). By means of this pillar it ascends to the gate of righteousness, in which are Zion and Jerusalem. If it is worthy to ascend further, then happy is its portion and lot that it becomes attached to the Body of the King. If it is not worthy to ascend further, then "he that is left in Zion and he that remaineth in Jerusalem shall be called holy" (Ibid. 3). But if it is privileged to ascend further, then it beholds the glory of the King, and enjoys the supernal delight from the place which is called Heaven. Happy he that is vouchsafed this grace.' R. Jose said: 'There is a superior grace and an inferior grace. The superior grace is above the heavens, as it is written: "For great above the heaven is thy kindness" (Ps. CVIII, 5). Of the inferior grace it is written: "For great unto the heaven is thy kindness" (Ibid. LVII, 11), and to this class belong the "faithful kindnesses of David" (Is. LV, 3).'

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'Jacob made him swear by the sign of the covenant which was stamped on his flesh, since the patriarchs assigned more importance to this than to anything else ... "Swear to me by that holy impress which has brought holy and faithful seed into the world and which has ever been preserved from defilement that you will not bury me among those unclean who have never guarded it, and of whom it is written, "whose flesh is the flesh of asses and their neighing the neighing of horses" (Ezek. XXIII, 20).'

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'God in His great love for Israel allows no one to sit in judgement on them save Himself, and when He tries them, He is filled with compassion for them like a father for his children, and when He finds they have done wrong, He removes their offences one by one until there are none left to place them in the power of the other side. Hence it says, "let thy mercies prevent us", because otherwise Israel would not be able to exist, in face of all the accusers and all the adversaries who are lying in wait for them above. Hence it continues "for we are very poor", that is, poor in good deeds in the sight of God. For were Israel rich in good deeds before God, idolatrous nations would not be able to exist in the world. It is Israel who enable other nations to hold their head high, because but for their sins the nations would be subdued before them. And, as we have already said, had not Israel by their sins brought the other side into the Holy Land, the idolatrous nations would not have gained possession of it, and Israel would not have been exiled from their land. Hence, because "we are brought very low", therefore "let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us".'

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'When God created the world, He established it on seven pillars, but upon what those pillars rest no one may know, since it is a recondite and inscrutable mystery. The world did not come into being until God took a certain stone, which is called the "foundation stone", and cast it into the abyss so that it held fast there, and from it the world was planted. This is the central point of the universe, and on this point stands the holy of holies. This is the stone referred to in the verses, "Who laid the corner-stone thereof", "the stone of testing, the precious corner-stone" (Is. XXVIII, 16), and "the stone that the builders despise became the head of the corner" (Ps. CXVIII, 22). This stone is compounded of fire, water, and air, and rests on the abyss. Sometimes water flows from it and fills the deep. This stone is set as a sign in the centre of the world. It is referred to in the words, "And Jacob took a stone and set it as a pillar" (Gen. XXXI, 45). Not that he took this stone, which was created from the beginning, but he established it above and below, by making there a "house of God". This stone has on it seven eyes, as it is written, "On one stone seven eyes" (Zech. III, 9), and it is called "foundation stone", for one thing because the world was planted from it, and for another because God set it as a source of blessing to the world.

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JUDAH, THEE SHALL THY BRETHEN PRAISE, THY HAND SHALL BE ON THE NECK OF THY ENEMIES. R. Jose discoursed here on the verse: He made the moon for seasons (Ps. CIV, 19). 'God', he said, 'made the moon for us to sanctify by it new moons and new years. Now the moon never shines except from the reflection of the sun, and when the sun is aloft the moon does not appear, but only when the sun is gathered in does the moon rule the heavens, and the moon is of no account save when the sun is gathered in. God made both of them to give light and also "for signs", to wit, Sabbaths, "and for seasons", to wit, festivals, "and for days", to wit, new moons, "and for years", to wit, New Year days, so that the Gentiles should reckon by the sun and Israel by the moon. This accords with R. Eleazar's exposition of the verse: "Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased its joy" (Is. IX, 2), where he refers "nation" to Israel and "it" to the moon, which gained accession of light for the sake of Israel. Which are superior, Israel or the Gentiles? Assuredly, the moon [237a] is highest, and the sun of the Gentiles is under this moon, and this sun derives light from this moon. See, then, the difference between Israel and the nations. Israel cling to the moon and are linked with the supernal sun, and are attached to the place which gives light to the supernal sun, as it is written: "But ye who cleave to the Lord, are alive every one of you this day" (Deut. IV, 4).'

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BINDING HIS FOAL UNTO THE VINE. The vine is the Community of Israel, so called also in the verse: "Thou didst remove a vine from Egypt" (Ps. LXXX, 9). By "his foal" is meant the Messiah, who is destined to rule over all the hosts of the peoples, that is to say, the heavenly hosts who have charge of the Gentiles, and from whom they derive their strength. The Messiah will prevail over them, because this vine dominates all those lower crowns through which the Gentiles have dominion. This will be the victory above. Israel, who are "a choice vine", will conquer and destroy other hosts below; and the Messiah will prevail over all. Hence it is written of him that he will be "poor and riding on an ass and on a young ass's colt" (Zech. IX, 9). "Colt" and "ass" are two crowns by virtue of which the Gentiles have dominion, and they are from the left side, the side of uncleanness. It is strange that the Messiah should be called "poor". R. Simeon explained that it is because he has nothing of his own, and he is compared to the holy moon above, which has no light save from the sun. This Messiah will have dominion and will be established in his place. Below he is "poor", because he is of the side of the moon, and above he is poor, being a "mirror which does not radiate", "the bread of poverty" . Yet withal he "rides upon an ass and upon a colt", to overthrow the strength of the Gentiles; and God will keep him firm....

Thus the words "binding his foal unto the vine" indicate that all the forces of the Gentiles are to be subdued beneath that vine, as we have said, their power being bound up and subdued.' R. Simeon said: 'There are two kinds of vine. There is the holy celestial vine, and there is the vine which is called "the vine of Sodom, the strange vine"; and therefore Israel is called "this vine". And when Israel sinned and abandoned "this vine", then it was said of them: "For from the vine of Sodom is their vine" (Deut. XXXIII, 32).'

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Observe this. The twelve tribes are the adornment of the Matron....The twelve tribes correspond to the twelve oxen which were under the sea of bronze made by Solomon (I Kings VII, 23 sqq.), three for each of the cardinal points. Three of them represented the right Arm, three the left Arm, three the right Thigh, and three the left Thigh. There were three tribes for each, because in each of these limbs there are three joints.

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"Dan shall judge his people" at first, and then "the tribes of Israel as one", that is, as the one Being of the World. [243b] This was realized in Samson, who single-handed wrought judgement on the world, and both judged and put to death without requiring a helper. R. Isaac said: 'Dan is compared to a serpent lying in wait in the way. But there is also a reference to another serpent above, lying in wait in ways and paths, from whom issue those who lie in wait for the sons of men on account of the sins which they cast behind their backs.' R. Hiya said: 'The primeval serpent above, before he is appeased with gladdening wine, is "a serpent by the way". As there is a "way" above, so there is a "way" below, and the sea is divided into various paths on every side. There is one path which has abundance of water and breeds many kinds of evil fishes, just as the waters below breed good and bad fishes. When they escape from the path of the sea, they appear like riders on horseback, and were it not that this serpent who is the rearward of all the tents lies in wait at the end of the path and drives them back, they would destroy the world. It is from the side of these that sorcerers come forth. Dan is called "a serpent by the way", because he that goes after the serpent repudiates the celestial household which is the supernal path that issues from above. To go after the serpent is like going to repudiate that celestial way, because from it the higher worlds are sustained. If it is asked why Dan is in this grade, the answer is given in the words, "That bites at the horse's heels", i.e. to protect all the camps. R. Eleazar said that he was one of the supports of the Throne, because on the throne of Solomon there was a serpent attached to his sceptre above the lions. It says of Samson that the "spirit of God began to move him in the camp of Dan" (Judg. XIII, 25). Samson was a Nazirite, and a man of huge strength, and he was a serpent in this world in face of the idolatrous nations, because he inherited the blessing of his ancestor Dan.' R. Hiya said: 'We know what a serpent is, but what is an adder (shephiphon)?' He answered: 'This word alludes to the practices of sorcerers, since it is written of Balaam that he went shephi (alone). If it is said that this was not properly the grade of Dan, that is true, but he was appointed over this grade to be the last side (of the Israelites' host), and this was his honour, since some officers of the king are appointed to one post and some to another, and all are honourable, and the king's throne is supported by all. Various paths and grades spread out beneath them, some for good and some for evil, and all help to support the throne. Therefore Dan was on the north side. In the hollow of the great abyss, which is on the north side, there are many demons endowed with power to do mischief in the world. Therefore Jacob prayed, saying, I HAVE WAITED FOR THY SALVATION, O LORD. He mentioned God's salvation here because he saw here the might of the serpent setting in motion chastisement.'

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Through the impulse from below there is a stirring above, and through the impulse from above there is a stirring higher up still, until the impulse reaches the place where the lamp is to be lit and it is lit. Thus by the impulse of the smoke (of the sacrifice) from below, the lamp is kindled above, and when this is kindled all the other lamps are kindled and all the worlds are blessed from it. Thus the impulse of the sacrifice is the mainstay of the world and the blessing of all worlds. When the smoke commences to rise, the holy forms in charge of the world derive satisfaction, and are disposed thereby to stir the grades above them; and so the impulse rises until the King desires to associate with the Matron. Through the yearning of the lower world the lower waters flow forth to meet the upper waters, for the upper waters do not flow save from the impulse of the desire from below. Thus mutual desire is kindled and the lower waters flow to meet the upper waters, and worlds are blest, and all lamps are kindled, and upper and lower are endowed with blessings.

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I WAIT FOR THY SALVATION, O LORD. R. Hiya said: 'This refers to the time of Samson, of whom it was said: "He shall commence to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines" (Judg. XIII, 5).' R. Aha said: 'How could Jacob say "I wait", seeing that by that time he had been dead many years? The truth is, however, that the word "Israel" in the above passage has its esoteric meaning.' Said R. Hiya: 'Assuredly that is so. Happy are the righteous who know how to study the Torah in such a way as to earn by it celestial life.'

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NAPHTALI IS A HIND LET LOOSE, WHO GIVETH GOODLY WORDS. It has been affirmed that the upper world is of the male principle, and therefore whatever the Community of Israel causes to ascend on high must be male. We know this from the name of the offering ('olah, lit. going up), so called because it rises above the female. Hence it has to be a "male without blemish" (Lev. I, 3). By the words "without blemish" is meant that it must not be castrated. It may be objected that we find the words "without blemish" applied also to the female. This is true; nevertheless it does not alter the fact that the burnt-offering rises from the female to the male, and from this point upwards all is male, while from the female [246b] downwards all is female. It may be said that there is a female principle above also. The truth is, however, that the whole body takes its description from the end of the body, which is male, although the beginning of the body is female. Here, however, both the beginning and end are female. Observe the recondite allusion in this matter. We see that Jacob blessed Joseph along with his brothers, but when God arranged the tribes under four standards He omitted Joseph and put Ephraim in his place. This cannot have been for any sin of Joseph's, but the reason is this. Joseph was the impress of the male, and since all the adornments of the Shekinah are female, Joseph was removed from the standards and Ephraim was appointed in his place. On this account he was stationed on the west, the side where the female abides, and the impress which is male was removed from her adornments. We thus see that all the twelve tribes are the adornment of the Shekinah after the supernal pattern, save for the grade of the Zaddik, who makes all the limbs male.

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Observe that Thought is the beginning of all. This Thought is recondite and inscrutable, but when it expands it reaches the place where spirit abides and is then called Understanding (binah), which is not so recondite as the preceding. This spirit expands and produces a Voice composed of fire, water, and air, which corresponds to north, south, and east. This Voice embraces in itself all forces, and speaks to Utterance, and this shapes the word properly. When you examine the grades closely, you find that Thought, Understanding, Voice, Utterance are all one and the same, and there is no separation between them, and this is what is meant by the words: "The Lord is one and His Name is One."

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BENJAMIN IS A WOLF THAT RAVINETH. 'Benjamin is called a wolf because he was imprinted in this form on the Throne, all animals great and small being delineated there. The throne which Solomon made contained similar designs. He is also called a wolf because the altar was in his territory, and the altar is called "wolf" because it consumed flesh every day. Again, we may translate: "Benjamin shall feed the wolf", to wit, the adversaries who are posted above to accuse, and who are all appeased by the sacrifice. IN THE MORNING HE SHALL DEVOUR THE PREY. This means that in the morning, when Abraham stirs in the world and it is the time of grace, the sacrifice brings appeasement and rises to the place called 'Ad (perpetuity). We may also translate "In the morning 'Ad shall eat", this being the supernal throne which is forever and ever ('ade 'ad). The smoke ascends and love is awakened above, [248a] and a lamp is kindled and shines forth through this impulse from below. The priest is busy and the Levites sing praises joyfully, and wine is poured forth to be united with water (wine being good below to cause gladness to another wine above), and all is at work to link the Left with the Right. The bread, which is the "fine flour" used for royalty, and which gave the impulse, is received by the Left and the Right and joined to the Body. Then the supernal oil flows forth and is taken up by the hand of the Zaddik (hence the impulse must be given by means of fine flour and oil commingled, so that all should be linked together). So a complete unity is formed, with its resulting delight and the gratification which is gathered up by all the crowns. These all join together, and the moon is illumined through being joined with the sun, and there is universal delight. This is indeed "an offering for the Lord", and for no other.

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There are three types of men who drive away the Shekinah from the world, making it impossible for the Holy One, blessed be He, to fix His abode in the universe, and causing prayer to be unanswered. One is he who cohabits with a woman in the days of her separation. There is no impurity comparable with this. He defiles himself and all connected with him. The child born of such a union is shapen in impurity, imbibes the spirit of impurity, and its whole life is founded on impurity. Next is he who lies with a heathen woman, for he profanes herewith the sacred sign of the covenant which constitutes the support of the sacred Name and the essence of faith. As soon as "the people committed whoredom" with the daughters of Moab, the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel (Num. XXV, 1-3). The leaders of the people, who did not endeavour to prevent them, were the first to be punished (Ibid. 4), and in every generation it is the leaders who are made responsible for all the members of the community in regard to the profanation of the sign of the covenant, which is "sun and shield" (Ps. LXXXIV, 12): as the sun gives light to the world, so does the holy sign give light to the body, and as the shield protects, so does the holy sign protect. He who keeps it in purity is guarded from evil. But he who transfers this sign of holiness into a strange domain, breaks the commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods but Me"; for to deny the king's seal is equivalent to denying the king himself. Next is he who purposely prevents the seed from coming to fruition, for he destroys the King's workmanship and so causes the Holy One to depart from the world. This sin is the cause of war, famine, and pestilence, and it prevents the Shekinah from finding any resting place in the world. For these abominations the spirit of holiness weeps. Woe to him who causes this: it were better that he had never been born.

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Said R. Isaac: 'See now, the Shekinah went down with Jacob into Egypt, but She also had with Her six hundred thousand holy Chariots (angelic beings), for it is written, "and the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about (lit. like) six hundred thousand on foot" (Ex. XII, 37). Now it does not say "six hundred", but "like" six hundred, etc., which suggests that there was an equal number of celestial beings who went out with them. The deeper meaning of the passage is as follows. When these holy Chariots and holy Hosts were about to leave Egypt, the children of Israel at once realized that it was for their sake that the celestial beings were detained, and therefore they hastened to get ready and leave as quickly as possible. Hence it says "they could not tarry" (Ex. XII, 39), not "they did not want to tarry". From this we learn that the expression "children of Israel" in all these passages refers to the celestial hosts. Moreover, it stands to reason that, as the Holy One promised Jacob that He would go down with him into Egypt, He would take His ministering angels with Him, for where the Master is there must His servants also be, and especially when we consider that even when Jacob was saved from Laban, "the angels of God met him" (Gen. XXXII, 2).' R. Abba cited here the verse: "Come, behold the works of the Lord who hath made desolations in the earth" (Ps. XLVI, 8). 'The term shammoth (desolations)', he said, 'can also be read shemoth (names). This corroborates what R. Hiya said, namely, that whatever is in heaven, the Holy One, blessed be He, has made a counterpart thereof on earth. Thus, as there are hallowed names in heaven, so there are hallowed names on earth.' Said R. Jose: 'When Jacob went down to Egypt, sixty myriads of celestial angels accompanied him.' R. Judah illustrated from the verse: "Behold, it is the couch of Solomon, threescore mighty men are about it, of the mighty men of Israel" (S.S. III, 7), which he expounded thus: 'Six luminosities form a circle surrounding a seventh luminosity in the centre. The six on the circumference sustain the sixty valiant angels surrounding the "couch of Solomon". The "couch" is an allusion to the Shekinah, and "Solomon" refers to the "King to whom peace (shalom) belongs": "threescore mighty men are about it" -- these are the sixty myriads of exalted angels, part of the army of the Shekinah which accompanied Jacob into Egypt.'

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'If men only knew the love which God bears for Israel, they would roar like a lion till they could follow her!

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All the judgements passed upon the world, and all decrees and decisions are stored in a certain palace, where seventy-two members of Sanhedrin deliberate upon them. The palace is called "the Palace of Acquittal", because the judges there lay stress on whatever can be pleaded in favour of the accused. Not so the "other side", where there is a place called "Accusation", because in that abode of the Serpent, the "Wife of whoredom", every effort is made to procure the condemnation of humanity, and to prejudice the servant in the eyes of the Master.

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'It says in the Book of R. Hamnuna the Elder, in connection with the words, "Now there arose a new king over Egypt", that all the nations of the world and all their kings become powerful only on account of Israel. Egypt, for instance, did not rule over the whole world before Israel settled there. The same is true of Babylon, as well as of Edom (Rome). Before that all these nations were utterly insignificant and contemptible: Egypt is described as a "house of slaves" (Ex. XX, 2), Babylon as "a people who was not" (Isa. xx, 11-13), and of Edom it says, "Behold, I have made thee small among the nations, thou art greatly despised" (Obad. I, 2). It was entirely due to Israel that they became great. As soon as Israel was subjected to any of these nations, it immediately became all-powerful, since Israel singly are on a par with all the rest of the world.

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As R. Eleazar was sitting one day at the gate of Lydda along with R. Abba, R. Judah, and R. Jose, R. Jose said: 'Listen, and I will tell you the sights which I have seen this morning. I rose early and beheld a bird which flew up three times and down once, exclaiming: "Ye celestials, ye angels of the higher sphere! In these days three heavenly Chieftains are raising up rulers on the earth. One is dislodged from his throne and made to pass through the Fiery Stream. He and his power are annihilated. But three mighty pillars of great height still stand upon the world." I threw a stone at the bird and cried: "Bird, bird! Tell me, who are the three who remain upright and the one whose power is taken from him?" He threw down to me three feathers from his right wing and one from his left wing. I know not what it all portends.' R. Eleazar took from R. Jose the feathers, smelt them, and lo, blood issued from his nostrils. Said he: 'Verily, three great rulers are now at Rome, and are about to bring evil upon Israel through the Romans.' Then he took the feather of the left wing, smelt it, and behold, black fire burst from it. He said: 'The power of the Egyptians is coming to an end; a Roman king is about to pass through the whole land of Egypt, appoint governors over it, and destroy buildings and erect new ones.' Then he threw the feathers on to the ground, and the three which were from the right wing fell on that which was from the left wing. As they were thus sitting, a young child passed by and recited the verse: "A burden concerning Egypt! Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt" (Isa. XIX, 1). A second child passed by and declaimed: "And the land of Egypt shall be desolate" (Ezek. XXIX, 9). A third child passed by and recited: "Make thee instruments of captivity, O daughter of Egypt!" (Jer. XLVI, 19). Then they saw that the feather of the left wing was burning, but not the three feathers of the right wing. Said R. Eleazar: 'These two incidents, that of the bird and that of the children, are in truth but one -- and they convey a prophecy from above. The Holy One, blessed be He, desired to reveal to us His hidden plans, as it is written, "Behold, the Lord will do nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets" (Amos. III, 7). And the wise are greater than prophets, for on the prophets the holy spirit rests intermittently, but the wise He never leaves, as, although they know what is above and what is below, they keep it secret.'

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R. Simeon lifted up his hands and wept. 'Alas,' he said, 'for him who will live at that time! Yet happy he who will live at that time! When the Holy One comes to visit the "Hind" (Israel), he will examine who it is that remains loyal to her at that time, and then woe to him who shall not be found worthy, and of whom it shall be said, "I looked and there was none to help" (Isa. LXII, 23). Many sufferings shall then befall Israel. But happy he who will be found faithful at that time! For he shall see the joy-giving light of the King. Concerning that time it is proclaimed: "I will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried" (Zech. XIII, 9). Then shall pangs and travail overtake Israel, and all nations and their kings shall furiously rage together and take counsel against her. Thereupon a pillar of fire will be suspended from heaven to earth for forty days, visible to all nations. Then the Messiah will arise from the Garden of Eden, from that place which is called "The Bird's Nest". He will arise in the land of Galilee, and on that day the whole world shall be shaken and all the children of men shall seek refuge in caves and rocky places. Concerning that time it is written: "And they shall go into the holes of the rocks and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth" (Isa. II, 19). "The glory of his majesty" refers to the Messiah when he shall reveal himself in the land of Galilee; for in this part of the Holy Land the desolation first began, and therefore he will manifest himself there first, and from there begin to war against the world. After the forty days, during which the pillar shall have stood between heaven and earth before the eyes of the whole world, and the Messiah shall have manifested himself, a star shall come forth from the East variegated in hue and shining brilliantly, and seven other stars shall surround it, and make war on it from all sides, three times a day for seventy days, before the eyes of the whole world. The one star shall fight against the seven with rays of fire flashing on every side, and it shall smite them until they are extinguished, evening after evening. But in the day they will appear again and fight before the eyes of the whole world, seventy days long. After the seventy days the one star shall vanish. Also the Messiah shall be hidden for twelve months in the pillar of fire, which shall return again, although it shall not be visible. After the twelve months the Messiah will be carried up to heaven in that pillar of fire and receive there power and dominion and the royal crown. When he descends, the pillar of fire will again be visible to the eyes of the world, and the Messiah will reveal himself, and mighty nations will gather round him, and he shall declare war against all the world. At that time the Holy One shall show forth his power before all the nations of the earth, and the Messiah shall be manifested throughout the whole universe, and all the kings will unite to fight against him, and even in Israel there will be found some wicked ones who shall join them in the fight against the Messiah. Then there will be darkness over all the world, and for fifteen days shall it continue, and many in Israel shall perish in that darkness. Concerning this darkness it is written: "Behold, darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the peoples" (Isa. LX, 2).'

***

This is a mystery which has been transmitted to the wise. The spirit which enters into the children of men, and which emanates from the Female (Malkuth) makes an impression after the fashion of a seal. That is to say, the form of the human body in this world is projected outwards, and takes the impress of the spirit from within. So when the spirit separates itself from the body it returns to the earthly Garden in the actual form and pattern of the body that was its garment during its sojourn in this world, and upon which it acted like a seal. Hence it says, "Set me as a seal" (Ibid. VIII, 6): as the seal presses from within and the mark of it appears outwards, so the spirit acts upon the body. But when it separates itself from the body and returns to the terrestrial Paradise, the aether there causes this impress in turn to project itself outwards, so that the spirit receives an outward shape in the likeness of the body in this world.

***

It is written here: "And she opened it and saw the child", which, being interpreted, means that the Shekinah, who always hovers over Israel like a mother over her children, and pleads in her defence against her accuser, opened it "and saw the child, and behold the babe wept". The Shekinah saw the "child", the people of Israel, which is called "the child of delight" (Jer. XXXI, 20), in remorseful tears, pleading with the Holy One like a child with his father, and she "had compassion on him". She said: "This is one of the Hebrews' children", that is to say, of the Hebrews, who are gentle and tender-hearted, and not of the Gentiles, who are stiff-necked and stubborn of heart; they, the Hebrews, are tender-hearted and eager to return to their heavenly Master.

***

'The redemption of Israel depends only on weeping.

***

R. Eleazar and R. Abba were once walking from Tiberias to Sipphoris. On the way a Jew joined them. Said R. Eleazar: 'Let each one of us expound some saying of the Torah!'

***

 'If the spirit of man is endowed in Paradise with the form of the body which it is to assume in this world, should it not have been said: "Come from Paradise, O spirit!" and not "from the four winds"?' R. Eleazar replied: 'Before descending into this world the spirit ascends from the earthly Paradise to the Throne which stands on four pillars. There it draws its being from that Throne of the King, and only then does it descend to this world.

***

"This is R. Simeon ben Yohai, the world-shaker; who can stand before him? When he opens his lips to expound the Torah, all the thrones, all the firmaments, all the angelic hosts, all who praise their Lord, do listen to his voice. No mouth is opened: all are silent, and not a sound is heard until his words break through all the firmaments above and below. But when he ends, then the song and the rejoicing of them who praise their Lord is such as was never before heard; it echoes through all the firmaments of Heaven -- and all this on account of R. Simeon and his wisdom! They bow before their Master, the perfume of the spices from Eden ascends in sweetness to the Throne of the Ancient of Days -- and all this on account of R. Simeon and his wisdom!".'

***

The world was created only for the sake of Israel.

***

When the Holy One beheld the exceeding joy of this lower world at being completed after the fashion of the world above, He said: "Should they (the Israelites) mingle with the other nations, a blemish would be caused in all the worlds". What, then, did He do? He caused them to wander over the face of the earth and from one nation to another until, in Egypt, they fell among those of a stubborn race, who, deeming them but slaves, despised their customs and abhorred their ways, and would not mingle with them or have a part in them. Both male and female among the Egyptians loathed them, and thus the whole Divine purpose could come into completion within the holy seed itself, whilst at the same time the guilt of the other nations became complete.

***

'That which God has made on earth corresponds to that which He made in heaven, and all things below are symbols of that which is above: When R. Abba once saw a bird flying away from its nest in a tree, he wept, saying: 'If men only knew what this means, they would rend their garments for the knowledge which has perished from them.

***

Once, when going up to Jerusalem, R. Joshua saw an Arab and his son meet a Jew. The Arab said to his son: "See! There is a Jew whom God has rejected. Go and insult him. Spit in his face seven times, for he is of the seed of the exalted ones, and I know that the seventy nations shall be ruled by them". The boy went and took hold of the Jew's beard, whereupon R. Joshua said: "Mighty ones, mighty ones, I call upon the supernal ones to come down below!" And even before he had finished, the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the Arabs.'

***

'All the nations of the world derive their power from their celestial prototypes, but Israel only from God, therefore she is called "the people of the Lord".'

***

R. Johanan said: 'Why are the nations of the celestial chieftains kept in safety and the people of the Holy One not?' R. Isaac replied: 'A poor man needs to take care of his goods, but not a rich one. Further, Israel belongs to the King who loves truth and justice, and therefore He punishes principally and first of all the members of His own family, in order that they may guard themselves from sin more than the outsiders, as it says: "Only you have I known from among all the families of the earth, therefore I will visit upon you all your iniquities" (Amos III, 2).'

R. Jose one day went for a walk with R. Aha bar Jacob. Neither spoke, but whereas R. Aha meditated on spiritual matters, R. Jose's mind was occupied with worldly things. As they were thus proceeding, R. Jose suddenly beheld a wild beast running after him. He said to R. Aha: 'Dost thou not see the beast running after me ?' 'No,' replied R. Aha, 'I see nothing.' R. Jose ran, pursued by the beast. He fell, and blood gushed from his nose. Then he heard a voice say: "You only have I known, etc." Musing on these words, he said: 'If I have been punished because my mind was but for one moment separated from the Torah, what must await him who is for ever apart from her! It is written, "Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents and scorpions" (Deut. VIII, 15). Why fiery serpents? To punish Israel should she separate herself from the Tree of Life, which is the Torah. God punishes the students of the Torah in order that they may not be separated from the Tree of Life even for a single moment.'

***

"Taste and see that the Lord is good."

***

Said R. Isaac: 'What do you make of the remark of R. Joshua, son of Levi, that "the angel of death once said to me: Were it not that I have regard for the dignity of mankind I would cut their throats as is done to an animal"?'

***

R. Isaac asked: 'When the Holy One, blessed be He, judges the family above (the angelic principalities), in what does the judgement consist?' R. Eleazar answered: 'He makes them pass through the fiery stream, and takes away from them their power as representatives of the nations and appoints the principalities representing other nations to rule instead of them.'

***

Sin is red, as it says, "Though your sins be as scarlet"; man puts the sacrificial animal on fire, which is also red; the priest sprinkles the red blood round the altar, but the smoke ascending to heaven is white. Thus the red is turned to white: the attribute of Justice is turned into the attribute of Mercy....[A]s a substitute for this (since the destruction of the Temple) man sacrifices his own fat and blood (by fasting) and so obtains atonement. As the lily, which is red and white, is turned entirely into white by means of fire, so the sacrificial animal is turned entirely into white (smoke) by means of fire. Also at the present time (when there are no sacrifices) when a man offers in his fast his fat and his blood, the sacrifice has to go through fire if it is to be turned into white (bring down mercy), for, said R. Judah, fasting weakens the limbs and causes the body to burn, and just then is the appropriate time to offer up the fat and the blood on that fire; and it is this which is called "an altar of atonement". That is why R. Eleazar, when fasting, used to pray: "It is known to Thee, O my God and God of my fathers, that I have offered unto Thee my fat and my blood, and that I have heated them in the warmth of my body's weakness. May it be Thy will that the breath coming out of my mouth at this hour should be counted unto me as if it were the odour ascending from the sacrifice brought on the altar by fire, and grant me favour." Therefore prayer was instituted to take the place of sacrifices, provided that it is offered with this sacrificial intention.'

***

As thorns are scattered among the lilies, so does the Holy One, blessed be He, permit in His world the wicked to be found among the righteous, for, as without the thorns the lilies could not exist, so would the righteous go unrecognized in the world were it not for the wicked, as R. Judah said: "How are the righteous recognized? By contrast with the wicked! If it were not for the one, the other would not be known."

***

Why did Moses tend sheep and not oxen?' R Judah said: 'Israel are called sheep, as it says: "And ye, my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are men" (Ezek. XXXIV, 31), and again, "As the flock of holy things, as the flock of Jerusalem" (Ibid. XXXVI, 38). As the sheep sacrificed on the altar becomes a means of propitiation, enabling the sacrificer to inherit the world to come, so does Israel enable her leader, if he be a good shepherd, to inherit the world to come.

***

Said R. Isaac: 'From sunrise until the sun declines westward it is called "day", and the attribute of Mercy is in the ascendant: after that it is called "evening", which is the time for the attribute of Severity. We derive the same lesson from the text: "Between the evenings ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread" (Ex. XVI, 12). "Between the evenings" -- this is the time of the sway of Severity -- then "ye shall eat flesh", with the result, as the Scripture says, that "while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people" (Num. XI, 33), for between-the-evenings is under the sway of Severity -- "and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread", the morning being identified with Mercy, as Scripture says, "the mercy of God endureth all the day" (Ps. LII, 3), to wit, in the morning, as it says: "And God called the light day", referring to the morning.' R. Tanhum said: 'The one is symbolized by red, the other by white. The between-the-evenings period is red, so it is written, "between the evenings ye shall eat flesh"; whereas the morning hours are white, so it is written, "and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread".' R. Isaac cited the verse: "And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it between the evenings" (Ex. XII, 6), the reason being, he said, that that is the time for the execution of judgement.

***

AND I WILL TAKE YOU TO ME FOR A PEOPLE AND I WILL BE TO YOU A GOD, AND YE SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD. This is the first of all commandments, the root of all precepts of the Law: the knowledge of God in a general way, namely that there is a Supernal Ruler, Lord of the universe and of all life, Creator of heaven and earth and all their hosts. But this general knowledge of God must lead on to a particular knowledge of Him. This is the inner meaning of man being "male and female together".

***

Said R. Jose: 'What of the verse, "I am the God of Abraham and of Isaac" (Gen. XXVIII, 13)?' R. Judah replied: 'When that was said, Jacob was included in Isaac, who was blind at that time, and a blind man is counted dead; for as long as a person is alive, the Holy Name is not joined to his name (i.e. the God of so-and-so), therefore Jacob was included in Isaac and not directly mentioned; but Jacob being now dead, the Holy Name could be connected with him.

***

Said R. Simeon: 'It is written, "Be ye afraid of the sword, for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is judgement". The "sword" is the one of which it says, "it shall avenge the covenant"; (Lev. XXVI, 25), it is the punishment awaiting him who nullifies the (sign) of the Covenant and thereby also the union of which it is a symbol. But he who brings the Covenant into its place and so guards it in purity becomes a channel of blessing both to the upper and lower worlds. Hence it says here, "Be ye afraid of the sword", for if this commandment does not awaken the sense of awe in a man, no other commandment will.

***

AND THE LORD SPAKE UNTO MOSES AND AARON AND GAVE THEM A CHARGE UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL AND UNTO PHARAOH. According to R. Jose, the charge consisted in this, that they should speak gently to Israel and respectfully to Pharaoh. Gently to Israel, for, although for the time being they were slaves, yet they were of royal descent. For this reason the section dealing with the names of the heads of the tribal families comes immediately after this verse (vv. 14-25). R. Hiya says that this is to show that they did not change their customs nor intermarry with the natives. But according to R. Hiya, the purpose is to introduce Moses and Aaron and to show that they were worthy to bring forth the people and to act as spokesmen before Pharaoh, for among the heads of the tribal families there were none like them.

***

He also said that sinners impair the supernal world by causing a separation between the "Right" and the "Left". They really cause harm only to themselves, as it is written, "He (Israel) hath corrupted himself (lo) that they are not (lo) his children; it is their blemish" (Deut. XXXII, 5). "Lo" (himself), and "lo" (not), in this verse suggest that they both cause and cause not: they cause, i.e. prevent the descent of blessings from above, as it is written: "and then the Lord's wrath be kindled against you and he shut up the heaven that there be no rain" (Deut. XI, 17); and they cause not, as the heaven keeps the blessings to itself. Thus the sinners' separation of the good inclination from the evil one by consciously cleaving to evil separates, as it were, the divine attribute of Grace from that of Judgement, the Right from the Left. Consider the tribes: Judah [27a] emanated from the Left and clave to the Right, in order to conquer nations and that his hand might be "in the neck of his enemies" (Gen. XLIX, 8). Had he not clung to the Right, he would not have broken down their armies. But does not the Left awaken Judgement? The truth is that when He judges Israel He pushes them away from Him with His "Left Hand" but brings them near to Him with His "Right Hand", but with the Gentiles it is just the opposite, as it is written, "Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power; thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy" (Ex. XV, 6). Therefore Judah, who is of the Left, clave to the Right, and the other tribes of his company (v. Numbers II) also clung to the Right; Issachar, who devoted himself to study of the Torah, which comes from the Right (Deut. XXXIII, 2: "from his right hand went a fiery law for them"), and Zebulun, who supported Issachar in his studies by supplying his material needs (cf. Gen. 241b), also clave to the Right. Therefore Judah effected a double union: north with water, left with right. Reuben, who sinned towards his father, started with the Right, joined the Left and clave to it, therefore all who belonged to his company were of the Left, viz. Simeon, symbolized by an ox (d. Gen. XLIX, 6), of which it says: "The face of an ox on the left" (Ezek. I, 10), and Gad, who represents the left thigh (v. Zohar, Gen. 24Ib). Here the south was fused with fire, right with left. Thus this is the meaning of the words, "Know therefore this day, etc.", to unite the Right with the Left and so to "know that YHVH is ELOHIM".

***

Said R. Eleazar: 'Thirteen springs emerge in the upper world, on the right side, which give rise to thirteen deep streams. Of these streams, whilst some are rising others are falling, and their waters mingle with each other. These thirteen streams, issuing from thirteen springs, branch out besides into a thousand rivers, flowing in all directions, namely, four hundred and ninety-nine and a half to the one side, and four hundred and ninety-nine and a half to the other side, the remaining two half rivers being joined into one and metamorphosed into a Serpent, whose head is red as the rose, and whose scales are solid as iron, and who has fins by means of which he propels himself through all the rivers. When he raises his tail he strikes against all fishes coming in his way so that none of them dare stand in his path. His mouth emits a flaming fire. When he sets out to traverse the rivers, all the fishes fall a-trembling, take flight and precipitate themselves into the great ocean. Once every seventy years he crouches on the one side and once every seventy on the other side; the thousand rivers less one are thus filled with him. So he remains for a time; but when he bestirs himself there issues from him a strip of fire in his scales, which stand out and quiver, and the waters of the rivers become turbid and assume a dark-blue colour, and waves surge in every direction. He then lifts his tail and lashes with it upwards and downwards, so that everything flees before him; until finally a flame of fire is projected from the North and a proclamation goes forth, saying: "Arise, ye old females, be scattered into all the four corners, for, behold, there is awakened the one who is about to put fetters on the jaws of the monster." So Scripture says: "And I will put hooks in thy jaws", etc. (Ezek. XXIX, 4). Then they all scatter, and the monster is seized and pierced through his jaws and thrust into the cavern of the great abyss, so that his power is broken. After that he is brought back to his rivers. This performance is repeated every seventy years in order to prevent him from doing damage to the heavenly regions and their foundations. For this we all give thanks and offer up praise, as it is written: "O come, let us bow down and bend the knee; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker" (Ps. XCV, 6). The superior dragons abide on high, to wit, those that were blessed, as we read: "And God blessed them" (Gen. I, 22). These rule over all the other fishes, of whom it is written, "and fill the waters in the seas". Concerning this it is written: "How manifold are thy works, O Lord! In wisdom hast thou made them all" (Ps. CIV, 24).'

***

The Holy One has many messengers, and not living creatures only, "For the stone crieth out of the wall and the beam out of the timber answereth it" (Hab. II, 11). How careful, therefore, should a man be not to sin before the Holy One, blessed be He, in secret, imagining that no one can testify against him: the stones and stocks of a man's own house shall cry out against him. Aaron's rod was a piece of dry wood, and yet the Holy One used it for His first sign in Egypt, performing through it two miracles: it swallowed up their serpents, and for a time was turned into a living being. Curse on those who say that the Holy One will not raise the dead, because it seems to them an impossibility! ... 'And what is more, from the words, "Thy dead ones will live" (Isa. XXVI, 19), it is evident that not only will there be a new creation, but that the very bodies which were dead will rise, for one bone in the body remains intact, not decaying in the earth, and on the Resurrection Day the Holy One will soften it and make it like leaven in dough, and it will rise and expand on all sides, and the whole body and all its members will be formed from it, and then the Holy One will put spirit into it.' Said R. Eleazar: 'Assuredly so. And the bone will be softened by the dew, as it says: "Thy dead ones shall live ... for thy dew is the dew of plants".'

***

AND THE RIVER SHALL SWARM WITH FROGS, WHICH SHALL GO UP AND COME INTO THINE HOUSE. R. Simeon quoted here the verse: "A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, because they were not" (Jer. XXXI, 15). 'The Community of Israel is called "Rachel", as it says, "As a sheep (rahel) before her shearers is dumb" (Isa. LIII, 7). Why dumb? Because when other nations rule over her the voice departs from her and she becomes dumb. "Ramah" (lit. high) refers to the Jerusalem which is above. "Rachel weeping for her children": as long as Israel is in exile, Rachel weeps, for she is their Mother. "She refuseth to be comforted over her children for he (singular) is not": it ought to be "they are not" (enam); why is the singular used? Because it refers to Israel's Spouse (God), who is her "Voice", and has departed from her and they live in separation. It was not once only that Rachel wept over Israel, but whenever they are in exile she weeps over them so. Because of this the Holy One gave the Egyptians another kind of "voice", in the croaking of the frogs, who made a noise in their insides.'

THEY SHALL COME INTO THY HOUSE AND THY SLEEPING-CHAMBER AND THY BED. The bed here is mentioned only in connection with Pharaoh, not with his servants and people. The reason is this. It is written concerning Sarah: "The princes of Pharaoh saw her and commended her before Pharaoh, and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house" (Gen. XII, 15). The threefold repetition of "Pharaoh" in this verse corresponds to the three Pharaohs, one in the time of Sarah, one in the time of Joseph, and one whom Moses punished with his rod. The first Pharaoh, seeing that Sarah was a beautiful woman, commanded his artists to make a likeness of her. They painted her picture on one of the walls of his bed-chamber, but he was not satisfied until they made a picture of her on wood, which he took with him to bed. Each successive Pharaoh used similarly to feast his eyes on that picture. For that reason Pharaoh was punished more severely than his subjects; the frogs entering even into his bed. R. Abba said: 'Israel praise God day and night, and in response the Holy One, blessed be He, remembered them in Egypt and brought against Pharaoh creatures that remain still neither day nor night, to wit, the frogs, whose sounds never cease, in punishment for his having made heavy the burden of the holy people, who cease not day or night to chant praises to the Holy One, blessed be He. Through the croakings of the frogs no one in Egypt could converse with his neighbour; through them the very soil became polluted, and babes and young children died from their chatter. Why, it may be asked, were the Egyptians not able to slay them? The explanation is that for every one an Egyptian attempted to kill with a stick or a stone, six came forth out of its belly, running hither and thither, so that people refrained from touching them. Observe that ever so many streams and rivers rise out of the Supernal Sea, which in their courses divide and subdivide again into many other rivers and streams: and the portion that fell to the side of Egypt were waters swarming with such creatures.

***

Observe that whatever is engendered on earth grows through the stimulus of a celestial Chieftain who has charge over it, and that all on earth is shaped after a celestial pattern. There are on high seven firmaments, and seven zones of earth. Correspondingly, in the lower world there are seven graded firmaments and seven zones of earth. These, as the Companions have expounded, are arranged like the rungs of a ladder, rising one above the other, and each zone has ten divisions, so that there are seventy in all. Each one of these is presided over by a Chieftain, and these seventy Chieftains have under their charge the seventy nations of the earth. These seventy earth-divisions, again, border on and surround the Holy Land, as Scripture says: "Behold, it is the couch of Solomon; threescore mighty men are about, of the mighty men of Israel" (S.S. III, 7), there being, in addition to the threescore mentioned, ten concealed among their number. All these surround the Holy Land. This alludes to the upper world, and the same is reproduced in the lower world.

***

For as there are accusers of man here below, so there are also accusers above. But those who keep the commandments of the Torah and walk in righteousness, in fear of their Lord, will never lack intercessors in heaven, for is it not written: "If there be with him an angel-intercessor, one among a thousand ... then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom" (Job XXXIII, 23-24)?' Said R. Hiya to him: 'Why should man need an angel to intercede for him? Is it not written: "The Lord shall be thy confidence and shall keep thy foot from being taken" (Prov. Ill, 26); "The Lord shall keep thee from all evil" (Ps. CXXI, 7)? Yea, verily, the Holy One Himself beholdeth all that man does, whether it be good or evil, as it is written: "Can a man hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him?" (Jer. XXIII, 24).' R. Judah replied: 'Indeed, thou speakest truth! But it is also written that Satan said: "But put forth thine hand and touch his bone and his flesh", and that the Holy One Himself said to Satan, "And thou movest me against him" (Job II, 3-4); which proves that permission was given to the powers of the "other side" that they might so rise up against man on account of the deeds he had done in this world. And in all this the ways of the Holy One are hidden, and it is beyond me to follow them, for these are the statutes of the Holy One, which men must not examine too closely, save those who walk in the way of wisdom.

***

R. Eleazar then discoursed on the verse: And there was a day when the sons of God came to stand before the Lord, and Satan came also among them (Job I, 6). 'This "day"', said he, 'was New Year's Day, on which the Holy One sits in judgement on the world. "The sons of God" are the supernal beings who are appointed to watch the actions of mankind. The expression "to stand before the Lord" is parallel to the verse, "All the hosts of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left" (I Kings XXII, 19). But in this verse it has a more special significance, viz. to make manifest the love of the Holy One for Israel. For these messengers who are appointed to watch over the works of men roam hither and thither throughout the world, gathering up the deeds of all creatures so that on New Year's Day, the day of judgement, they may stand before the Lord with their burden of accusations.

***

Mark this! When in the hour of need something is thrown as a sop to the "other side" -- like the lamb thrown to the wolf -- the representative of the "other side" soon ceases to attack its original victim. This is the reason for the offering of a goat at the New Moon and on the Day of Atonement; for Satan occupies himself with these and leaves Israel in peace. Now the time had come for the "other side" to have its due from the whole seed of Abraham. For Satan had a case against Abraham for having brought as a sacrifice an animal instead of Isaac -- an unlawful transaction, since it says, "he shall not alter it (an animal destined for sacrifice) nor change it" (Lev. XXVII, 10). His claim, therefore, was quite reasonable. Thus, from the time when Isaac was saved and an animal substituted for him as a sacrifice, the Holy One, blessed be He, apportioned unto Satan another branch of Abraham's family that he might accuse it, namely the (heathen) descendants of his brother Nahor, the family of Uz (and Job was from the land of Uz). Now Job was one of the closest counsellors of Pharaoh, and when the latter formed the intention of exterminating the children of Israel, Job advised him: "Do not kill them, but take their possessions from them and subject their bodies to severe toil." Then said the Holy One: "As thou livest, thou shalt be judged according to thine own judgements!" Therefore, when Satan said, "But put forth thine hand now and touch all that he has and touch his bone and his flesh" (v. 11), the Lord placed in his power all Job's possessions and his flesh, only bidding him to "save his soul" (v. 12) -- that is, his life.

***

Now we read in regard to Job that "his sons went and feasted ... and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them" (Job I, 4.).While they thus feasted and made merry the Accuser was daily present in their midst, but he could not prevail against them, as it is written: "Hast not thou made an hedge about him and about his house?" And when Job made sacrifices, he did not give Satan any part whatsoever, for it says, "He offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all" (Ibid. 5), this being an offering which ascends ('olah) entirely on high, so that he gave no portion to the "other side". Had he done so, the Accuser would not have been able to prevail against him. Hence in the end he only took what was his due. As to the question which might be asked, why then did God allow Job to suffer thus, the answer would be that, had he given Satan his due, the "unholy side" would have separated itself from the holy, and so allowed the latter to ascend undisturbed into the highest spheres; but since he did not do so, the Holy One let justice be executed on him. Mark this! As Job kept evil separate from good and failed to fuse them, he was judged accordingly: first he experienced good, then what was evil, then again good. For man should be cognizant of both good and evil, and turn evil itself into good. This is a deep tenet of faith.'

***

R. Simeon continued: 'It is now fitting to reveal mysteries connected with that which is above and that which is below. Why is it written here, "Come (bo) unto Pharaoh"? Ought it not rather to have said "go" (lekh)? It is to indicate that the Holy One, blessed be He, guided Moses through a labyrinth right into the abode of a certain supernal mighty dragon -- that is to say, Egypt's celestial representative -- from whom many lesser dragons emanate. Moses was afraid to approach him, because his roots are in supernal regions, and he only approached his subsidiary streams. When the Holy One saw that Moses feared the dragon, and that none of the supernal messengers was able to overcome him, He proclaimed: "Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon (tanim) that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said: My river is my own, and I have made it for myself" (Ezek. XXIX, 3). Yea, truly, the Lord Himself had to war against this dragon, and no lesser being. This is the mystery of the "great dragon" for those who are familiar with the esoteric lore.' Said R. Simeon further: 'It is written: "And God created the great dragons (taninim) and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind" (Gen. I, 21). This verse', he said, 'we have already discussed, but the words "He created the great dragons" contain a yet more special and particular mystery: they refer to the Leviathan and his mate, which last was slain and is preserved by the Holy One for the regaling of the righteous (in the days of the Messiah). The great dragon reposes between nine rivers, the waters of which are turbulent; and there is a tenth river whose waters are calm, and into the depth of which the blessings of the waters of Paradise descend three times a year. Into this river the dragon enters, making there his habitation; and thence he sallies forth and swims down to the sea, and devours there fish of all kinds, and then returns again to the river. The nine swift rivers are banked by trees and fringed with flowers. The parent river issued from the Left Side and from it three drops fell into a certain channel, and each of the three was divided again into three, and every drop became a river. These are the nine rivers which flow through all the firmaments. And from the final moisture that remained when all the drops had issued forth yet another drop was formed, which issued gently, and of this drop was formed that tenth river, which flows calmly. Into this river also flows a drop from the blessings poured forth from the Right side by the "perennially flowing stream", and it is greater than all the rest. When the four rivers which flow out of the Garden of Eden divide, the one called Pison flows into and is fused with the calm tenth river of which we have spoken. Out of the calm river, thus augmented, are fed and filled all the other rivers; in each of which a dragon dwells, so that the number of the dragons is nine. And each of these nine has a hole in his head, and the great dragon as well, because each of them emits breath upwards and not downwards. It is written: "In the beginning God created ..." and also "And God created the great dragons". This indicates that all the ten acts of Creation had their counterpart in these ten rivers, on each of which one of the dragons breathes heavily. Now, that great dragon, when he raises his fins, heaves up the waters around him, and all the earth is shaken and all the lesser dragons, and this takes place every seventy years.' Said R. Simeon: 'Verily, though the members of the Fellowship are students of the story of Creation, having knowledge of its wonders and perception of the paths of the Holy One, blessed be He, yet even among them there are few who know how to interpret it in connection with the mystery of the great dragon.'

***

[T]he Holy One made the blood a symbol of mercy.

***

[W]henever the word "pass" is used of the Almighty, it means "constraining or forcing Himself", whether to exercise mercy or severity.

***

Could a man so great, who ascended to degrees not attained by any other, have spoken with such a lack of precision?

***

 "Three times in the year all thy males shall be seen before the face of the Lord" (Ex. XXII, 17). Who then is this "face of the Lord"? None other than R. Simeon ben Yochai! And as to the reference to the "males" appearing before him, indeed only "the males of the males" (the truly manly, i.e. students of the esoteric lore) may draw near to him.'

***

You ask why the smiting of the firstborn took place at night. It was because then they were all at home, and not abroad in the fields. Further, tradition tells us that night was as bright as a day in Tamuz, therefore the whole Egyptian people could witness the mighty hand of the Holy One: "the night shined as the day; the darkness was as light" (Ps. CXXXIX, 13). Nothing so miraculous was witnessed since the creation of the world. 'Come and see,' he said, 'it is written: "It is a night (leyl) of observations unto the Lord for bringing them out from the land of Egypt; this is that night (ha-layla) of the Lord, observations to all the children of Israel" (Ex. XII, 42). Now, why "observations" in plural, and "night" first in the masculine gender (layil), and then in the feminine (layla)? To indicate the union which took place on that night between the Masculine and Feminine aspects in the Divine attributes, and also the same union which will take place in the future Redemption: "As in the days of thy coming out of Egypt will I show unto him marvellous things" (Micah VII, 15).'

***

"All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a righteous man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in wickedness" (Eccl. VII, 15). How could Solomon, the wisest among men, have spoken thus? He must have intended some inner meaning, for we see for ourselves that the ways of the Holy One, blessed be He, are not thus, for He "giveth every man according to his ways and according to the fruit of his works" (Jer. XVII, 10). But Solomon hinted here at two things. When the "eyes" of the Holy One "run to and fro through the whole earth" (Zech. IV, 10), and the world is full of sinners, their guilt is visited upon the one righteous of his generation, whereas God is patient with the wicked and waits for their repentance. If they do not repent, they are left without an intercessor, for "the righteous perisheth", i.e. he has been taken away from the world. It is on this account that the Rabbis have warned us to live only in a place which is the abode of men of pious deeds, and woe betide him who fixes his dwelling among the wicked! He will surely be "seized" for their sins!

***

[A]ccording to the well-known dictum the world is upheld only by the merit of the "breath" of little school children who have not yet tasted sin. Breath is itself a mixture, being composed of air and moisture, and through it the world is carried on. Esoterically speaking, the breath of the little ones becomes "voice", and spreads throughout the whole universe, so that they become the guardians of the world.

***

WITH BITTER HERBS THEY SHALL EAT IT ... NEITHER SHALL YE BREAK A BONE THEREOF. The bitter herbs signify the Shekinah's exile with Israel in all their bitter afflictions in Egypt. Why were the bones of the Passover lamb not allowed to be broken? So that the dogs might drag them about and the Egyptians be thus made to realize the nothingness of that which they worshipped, and so be put to shame, and the Holy One be glorified.

***

Then they looked back, and lo! there was Pharaoh with all his hosts and their manifold weapons! Their fear increased at this sight, and their terror knew no bounds. Then "they cried". Thus they came near to their heavenly Father, whose aid they invoked; and of this Pharaoh was indirectly the cause.'

***

'We have been taught that the Name YHVH in every connection signifies mercy; even when it is related to war and judgement, the judgement is executed in mercy; but here we read, "YHVH shall fight for you", and yet the attribute of mercy was not manifested at all in the Egyptians' defeat, for "there remained not so much as one of them" (v. 28).' R. Judah replied by quoting a remark of R. Simeon on this subject, showing that here also mercy and kindness was manifested (in the execution of judgement). For when the Egyptians were drowned, the sea spat them out, while the earth refused to take in the bodies, until the Holy One, in order not to deprive them of the last honour, stretched out to the earth His right hand and commanded her to receive them, as is indicated by the words, "Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them" (XV, 12). Therefore the Israelites had to be silent, for had they caused an awakening from below, it was not the attribute of Mercy that they would have awakened, and so judgement would have been executed on the Egyptians without mercy, and the heavenly design would have been frustrated.' Said R. Jose: 'What of the verse: "And YHVH will come out and fight against those nations" (Zech. XIV, 3)?' R. Judah replied: 'There also mercy will be shown in that God will allow them to die without suffering. In fact, this Name always signifies judgement in mercy, except in one connection, namely the war of the future, of which it says: "The Lord shall go forth as a giant ... like a man of war" (Isa. XLII, 13). But even here all that is meant is that the judgement will be exceptionally severe, and mercy will still be fused with it: the particle "ke" (like) has a qualifying effect, showing that the Lord is only compared to a "giant" and to a "man of war"; and although He will exercise judgement, He will have mercy on those whom He created.'

***

Mark also this! All the supernal hosts with their cohorts and lightful chariots of celestial speed are joined one to another, grade to grade, the lower to the higher, each to its counterpart; and above them all a holy "Living being" (Hayah) (cf. Ezek. I) is set, and all those myriads of armies move and rest according to its will and direction. This is that Living Creature to which all Hayoth are linked, as each is also to each, all moving and swimming in the sea, concerning which it is written: "This is the great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts" (Ps. CIV, 25). Now, when the wheels of the sea arise all the boats which sail thereon do heave and toss, and air and waters are mightily stirred so that a great storm arises; and the fishes that dwell in the depths of the sea are whirled about by the violence of the tempest, and are buffeted towards the four corners of the earth, some to the east, and some to the west, some to the north, and some to the south; and there they are caught by the nets of fishermen, as they reach the ocean's shallower depths, where the sands of the shore slope down to meet the breakers of that sea. At that time the boats steer no course, either certain or uncharted, but only toss and heave in one place. At last a swift but subtle current arises amid the tumult of the stormy waters, and gradually their strife is stilled and peace descends upon the waves; then the boats steer a straight course for their bourne, and swerve not nor falter; concerning which it is written: "There go the ships; there is that Leviathan whom thou hast made to play therein" (Ibid. v, 26). And all the fishes of the sea gather to their places, and all the creatures rejoice over it and the Hayoth of the supernal fields, as it is written: "And all the beasts of the field play there" (Job XL, 20). Come and see! The likeness of that which is above is that which is below, and what is below is also in the sea, and the likeness of that which is above is that which is in the supernal sea, and what is below is also in the lower sea. As the higher sea has length and width and head and arms and hair and a body, so also the lower sea.' Said R. Simeon: 'How many chariots there are whose wheels run speedily, carrying the framework upon them without delay! Yet here "God made him drive heavily". We interpret these words of the heavenly chariot, which was the guardian angel of Egypt, and which then was rendered imperfect. There were many others dependent on this one, and when it lost its power the lower chariots lost their power, as it is written: "Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh and all them that trust [49a] in him" (Jer. XLVI, 25). At that time Egypt's Principality was superior to that of all other nations, but as soon as its power was broken, the power of all the other nations was also broken, as it is written: "Then the dukes of Edom were amazed, the mighty men of Moab, trembling took hold upon them ..." (Ex. XV, 15). For they were all in Egypt's vassalage, and were linked with Egypt and were dependent on her for their existence, and therefore when they heard the mighty works of the Holy One in Egypt, they lost courage, and fear and trembling fell upon them. Verily, as soon as Egypt's power was broken above, the power of all those who were joined to her was also broken. Therefore it says: "and removed the wheel (ofan) of his chariots, not "wheels", signifying that when this was removed all the chariots dependent on it were unable to proceed. Happy are the Israelites who are linked to the Holy One who chose them to be His portion: "Ye who cleave to the Lord your God, ye are all alive to-day" (Deut. IV, 4). He brought them forth from the holy seed in order that they might be His portion, and therefore He gave them His Torah, the holy one, the supernal one, which was hidden for two thousand years before the creation of the world. He gave it to them out of love, so that they may cleave to it. Now all the supernal hosts and chariots are linked to one another, grades to grades, lower to higher, wheels within wheels: and a holy Hayah is over them all, and all the multitudinous hosts and powers are under her direction and control; when she moves they move, when she rests they rest. Therefore when the Holy One, blessed be He, desired to bring the hosts of Pharaoh down even unto the depths, He first removed that supernal influence which led and directed all the other powers and principalities. When that guardian was removed the others could not continue on their way, and as soon as their power was removed the guardian of Egypt lost his power as well, and had to pass through the Fiery Stream, and thus the dominion of Egypt came to nought. Therefore the Egyptians said: "Let us flee from the face of Israel" (v. 25).'

***

Said R. Abba: 'How many thousands, how many myriads, of celestial cohorts surround the Holy One and follow in His train! Princes of supernal countenances are there, and beings full of eyes; lords of the sharp weapons, lords of the piercing cry, lords of the heralding trumpet, lords of mercy, lords of judgement; and above them the Lord has appointed the Matrona to minister before Him in the Palace. She for her own bodyguard has armed hosts of sixty different degrees. Holding their swords, they stand around Her. They come and go, entering and departing again on the errands of their Master. Each with his six wings outspread they circle the world in swift and silent flight. Before each of them coals of fire burn. Their garments are woven of flames from a bright and burning fire. A sharp flaming sword also is at the shoulder of each to guard [51a] Her. Concerning these swords it is written: "The flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life" (Gen. III, 23). Now, what is "the way of the Tree of Life"? This is the great Matrona who is the way to the great and mighty Tree of Life. Concerning this it is written: "Behold the bed which is Solomon's; the three score valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel" (S.S. III, 7), namely, the Supernal Israel. "They all hold swords" (Ibid. 8), and when the Matrona moves they all move with her, as it is written: "and the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them" (Ex. XIV, (9). Is, then, the Shekinah called "the angel of the Lord"? Assuredly! For thus said R. Simeon: "The Holy One prepared for Himself a holy Palace, a supernal Palace, a holy City, a supernal City, which is called 'Jerusalem, the holy city'. He who wishes to see the King, must enter through this holy City and thence take his way to the King: 'this is the gate of the Lord into which the righteous shall enter' (Ps. CXVIII, 20)." Every message which the King wishes to send out is sent through the Matrona, and, conversely, every message sent from the lower spheres to the King must first reach the Matrona, and from her it goes to the King. Thus the Matrona is the messenger between the upper regions and the lower. For this reason she is called "the angel (messenger) of God". It may be asked, is it consonant with the dignity of the King that the Matrona should declare war for him and receive petitions to him? The following parable may explain. A king married a noble lady, whose worth he esteemed so highly that in comparison with her he regarded all other women as a mere vulgar herd. "What shall I do to honour her?" he thought. "I will give her full control over the palace and over my whole household!" So he made a proclamation that all the king's business should pass through the hands of the queen. He also handed over to her all the weapons of war, all his military advisers and generals, all his regalia, and indeed all his treasures of every sort, and said: "From now anyone who wishes to speak to me must first make known his suit unto the queen." Similarly, the Holy One, blessed be He, out of His great love for the Community of Israel (represented by the Shekinah) has entrusted everything to her (i.e. the Shekinah), proclaiming all the other nations to be of no account in comparison with her. "There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number; but my dove, my undefiled is but one" (S.S. VI, 8, 9). He resolved that His whole household be given into her keeping, and delivered to her all his armoury, all the lances, all the swords, all the bows, all the arrows, all the spears, all the catapults, all the citadels, and all weapons of warfare, the "sixty valiant men, the valiant of Israel". He said: "From now let My warfare be entrusted to Thee; My weapons, My fighters! From now Thou must guard them all. From now, he who wishes to speak to Me must first make known his concerns to Thee! " Hence "the angel of God went behind them." Why behind them? In order to face all the grades of fighting principalities and powers, all the hosts of celestial representatives of the enemy who had come to fight against Israel. For, as we have learnt, at that hour the greatest prince appointed to represent Egypt in the supernal spheres arrived and with him six hundred chariots; directed by six hundred angelic adversaries of Israel. That prince was Samael. [51b] When did the Holy One requite him? In the battle of Sisera, when He rooted out all those chariots and delivered them unto the Matrona, as it is written, in the Song of Deborah: "The river Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon" (Jud. v, 21). And in the future all of them shall be delivered up, as it says: "Who is this that cometh from Edom ...?" (Isa. LXIII, 1). And this indeed is the significance of the words: "And he went behind them" -- that the Shekinah will uproot them all at the end of days.'

***

[W]e must picture a king who combines in himself the balance and harmony of all attributes, and therefore his countenance always shines like the sun, and he is serene because of his wholeness and perfection; but when he judges, he can condemn as well as acquit. A fool, seeing that the king's countenance is bright, thinks that there is nothing to be afraid of; but a wise man says to himself, "although the king's countenance shines, it is because he is perfect and combines benevolence with justice, and in that brightness judgement is hidden, and therefore I must be careful".

***

When she is about to bear a child and is in difficulty, she puts her head between her knees, and cries bitterly, and the Holy One sends a serpent which stings the place, and straightway deliverance comes to her.'

***

R. Simeon added that it is always for the sake of the patriarchs that the Lord redeems Israel, as it is written: "And I shall remember my covenant with Jacob, also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham, and the land I shall remember" (Lev. XXVI, 42); the "land" representing King David, who completes a Chariot with the Patriarchs.

***

AND ISRAEL SAW THE GREAT HAND WHICH THE LORD DID UPON THE EGYPTIANS. They had seen how God had smitten the Egyptians even before this; but only now did they behold the Hand of full five fingers, which hand is called "great" because it includes other "five fingers", namely those of the Left Hand, as we have already made clear, and every "finger" symbolizes many Divine powers and signs, by means of which all the grades of inimical celestial powers were brought to nought; and it is of this that the Israelites had a revelation at that moment by the sea shore.

***

Where now is this "book of the wars of the Lord"? What is meant is, of course, the Torah, for, as the members of the Fellowship have pointed out, he who is engaged in the battle of the Torah, struggling to penetrate into her mysteries, will wrest from his struggles an abundance of peace. All other wars involve strife and destruction, but the war of the Torah is one of peace and love: "Vaheb in Supha" may be read "ahabah be-sophah", "love is in her end", for there is no love nor peace like this. The word "book" is used, and not "torah" as we might expect, for an esoteric reason, viz. that there is a divine sphere called "Book", as it says: "Seek ye out of the book of the Lord and read" (Isa. XXXIV, 16), on which all the mighty works of the Lord depend and from which they emanate. With this, God made war against a certain sphere at the end (soph) of the grades called Yaheb. God also fought against the "brooks", the subsidiary principalities attached to it. He waged war from the region called "Amon", which is the sphere of the supernal marital union which is never dissolved. Therein it is rooted and spreads its branches to make war on every side and to manifest great and glorious power. When the mighty works of the Lord are roused and His battles begin to be waged, how many celestial warriors are stirred up to do martial deeds on every side! Then swords and spears are whetted, and mighty deeds begin. The sea grows stormy and the waves thereof rise mightily, and the boats toss on the heaving waters. Then the fray commences with catapults, spears, swords, and arrows, and the Lord takes command of His hosts to conduct the battle. Woe unto those against whom the Holy One declares war! "The Lord is a man of war." From the letters of this phrase lines of battle are formed against the wicked, the enemies of the Lord. These letters are known to the initiated, as has been explained elsewhere. In time to come the Holy One, blessed be He, will conduct a stupendous warfare against the heathen nations, to the glory of His Name: "Then shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations" (Zech. XIV, 3); "Thus will I magnify myself and I will be known in the eyes of many nations" (Ezek. XXVIII, 23).'

***

Said R. Eleazar: 'Behold, how many chariots, how many hosts, the Holy One has formed above! How many camps, how many divisions! And all of them are [56b] linked to one another, all are chariots one to another, manifold grades, diverse and yet united! From the left side the chariots of the unholy principalities rise up. They also are linked one with the other, grade to grade, the greatest of them being, as we have already pointed out, "the firstborn of Pharaoh", whom the Holy One killed. All of these unholy powers are delivered unto the judgement of the Kingdom, the which is called "the great sea", in order that they may be uprooted each in his own grade, and be utterly cast down, and when they are broken above, all their counterparts below are also broken and lost in the "lower sea". As to the "captains" (shalishim) who were drowned in the Red Sea, it has already been made clear that all these grades consist of three (shalosh) attributes each (two and one, the triad, corresponding to the holy triad above). They were all delivered unto Her (the Shekinah's) hand, that their power might be broken. All the ten punishments which the Holy One brought on Egypt were achieved by the power of one "hand", for the "left hand" is included in the right, the ten fingers forming one entity in correspondence to the Ten expressions by which the Holy One is designated.

***

Now all light, all blessing, all joy, emanates from the "Right Hand" of the Holy One, blessed be He. Yet at the same time the "Left Hand" participates in the activities of the Right, just as in a human being, for though the right is the leader, yet when it is active the left becomes active likewise. When a man raises up his hand in prayer, his purpose is to bless God. But with God it is the reverse: when He raises up His right hand, then woe unto those below, yea, woe and tribulation; for then all blessing and support is removed from them. We learn this from the verse: "Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them" (Ex. XV, 12), meaning, that so soon as God raised His right hand they perished. (The Targum also renders, "Thou liftedst up Thy right hand".) When the Right Hand is in its place, the Left Hand is under its dominance, therefore stern justice can have no power among men. But if the Right Hand is lifted up, the Left remains alone, and stirs up mighty judgement in the world.' Each time that R. Simeon came to the words, "He hath drawn back his right hand" (Lam. II, 3), he used to weep, interpreting them to mean that the Lord permitted the Left Hand to be powerful and to have sole dominion over the worlds, while the Right Hand remained in another place, far off.

***

 'It is written: "Doth the serpent bite without enchantment? (lit. whispering)" (Eccl. X, 11). The serpent does not bite unless it be whispered to from above and commanded to kill some one, so as to prevent that person from committing some evil; thus the very poison is used by the Holy One in order to perform some miracle.  It is, in truth, all in His hands; it is all according to His plan, and if it had no purpose He would not have created it. And if it is wrong to despise anything in this world, how much more sinful must it be to think lightly of any word or act of the Holy One, blessed be He. It is written: "And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Gen. I, 31). The "living God" (Elohim Hayyim,) purposed to give us light and to care for us in His Providence; and in His creation all are united, above and below, the "Right Side" and the "Left Side", the angel of life and the angel of death: all are part of His plan, and it is "very good"; it is all part of the same mystic doctrine, apprehended by those who contemplate the mystery of wisdom.

***

 'We have been taught that Jethro had been a heathen priest, and as soon as he saw that there was no truth in paganism he renounced it and ceased to worship the idols, and then his people excommunicated him, and when they saw his daughters they drove them away, for previously the shepherds used to pasture Jethro's flocks. When Moses saw through the holy spirit that the shepherds acted as they did on account of their idolatrous religion, he straightway stood up and helped the daughters and watered their flocks, acting wholly from zeal for God in all things.'...

Moreover, Moses "tended the flock of Jethro", not his own sheep, though he must have possessed some, for, as R. Jose remarked, "Jethro was a rich man, and, surely, he must have given to his son-in-law sheep and cattle!" Yet he did not tend his own sheep, for then people might have said, "he treats them so well because they are his own". Although Jethro was a "priest of Midian", that is to say, a pagan, yet because he was kind to Moses, the latter served him well and tended his flock with all due care in good and fat pasture.'....

So one must beware of despising anyone, since the words of an ordinary person may be of great consequence, as it says of Moses that he "hearkened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said" (Ex. XVIII, 24).'

R. Eleazar continued: 'It is written, "Therefore I shall praise thee, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises unto thy name" (Ps. XVIII, 50). David said this under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, when he saw that the glory of the Holy One is not exalted and honoured in the world as it should be, unless other nations also contribute. It is true that the Holy One is glorified for Israel's sake alone; but while Israel are the foundation of the divine light from out of which issues forth light for the whole world, yet when heathen nations come to accept the glory of the Holy One and to worship Him, then the foundation of the light is strengthened, and all its rays are unified, and then the Holy One reigns above and below. This is exactly what happened when Jethro, the high priest of paganism, was converted to the worship of the true God of Israel: the whole world, hearing of the mighty works of the Holy One, and seeing that the great sage, Jethro, had been drawn to worship the God of Israel, gave up their idols, realizing their impotence, and in this way the glory of the Holy Name of God was exalted on all sides. For this reason the narrative concerning Jethro has been preserved in the Torah, with Jethro's name at the head.

***

YE HAVE SEEN WHAT I DID UNTO THE EGYPTIANS. AND HOW I BARE YOU ON EAGLES' WINGS. What do "eagles' wings" denote? According to R. Judah, the "eagles" are a symbol of mercy, as it says: "As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings, so the Lord ... " (Deut. XXXII, 11). As the eagle watches lovingly over its own young, but is cruel towards others, so does the Holy One manifest His loving mercy to Israel and His severe judgement to the heathen nations.

***

R. Jose remarked that all the prophets are in comparison with Moses like females in comparison with males.

The Grandees, by Stephen Birmingham
The Sepher Ha-Zohar, by Nurho de Manhar, edited by H.W. Percival, further edited by J.B. Hare
Wilhelm Meister, Volume 2, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated by Thomas Carlyle
The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth, by James Lovelock
Paolo Soleri: What If?, Collected Writings 1986-2000, by Paolo Soleri

VOLUME ONE

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VOLUME TWO

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VOLUME THREE

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VOLUME FOUR

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VOLUME FIVE

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