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31 Appendix

31.1 Encounters on the Internet

Being active on ‘news’ groups is extremely helpful for improving character. One can share spiritual, scientific, or any ideas. This is similar to being a teacher, which is beneficial for the soul.

31.1.1 Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Forum RaZ

Here are some references in the Tanach for the following which I stated:

: Moshe alludes to Netzah and Aaron to Hod. The
: source of the most esoteric of prophecy and
: divination is hidden in RaZ.

RaZ is mentioned in only one place in the entire Tanach and that is in the book of Daniel:

6. O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy
gods is in you, and no mystery troubles you, tell me the visions of my dream that I
have seen, and its meaning.

Belteshazzar is Daniel's name from Nebuchadnezzar.
Here the word for mystery is RaZ and the
verse refers to visions of prophecy, hence
Netzah and Hod.

7. Thus were the visions of my head in my bed; I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst
of the earth, and its height was great.
8. The tree grew, and was strong, and its height reached to heaven, and it was visible
to the end of all the earth;

There may be an allusion here to the Tree of

Now as for a reference to Moshe and Aaron,
RaZ is mentioned in only two places in all
of Rashi on the Tanach.

Numbers 17:11

11. And Moses said to Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire in it from the altar, and put
on incense, and go quickly to the congregation, and make an atonement for them; for
anger has come out from the Lord; the plague has begun.

Rashi comments on "atonement for them":
"This secret did the angel of death give
over to him when he (Moses) ascended to
the heavens, that incenses stays a plague;"

RaZ is on the level of Netzah and Hod
clearly from this verse, symbolized by Moshe
and Aaron. The use of incense is an example
of such a secret that Moshe learned by
ascending to the level of RaZ.

And Rashi refers to Tractate
Shabbas 88a which also mentions RaZ.

R. Eleazar said: When the Israelites gave precedence to ‘we will do’ over ‘we will
hearken,’ a Heavenly Voice went forth and exclaimed to them, Who revealed to My
children this secret, which is employed by the Ministering Angels, as it is written,
Bless the Lord, ye angels of his. Ye mighty in strength, that fulfill his word, That
hearken unto the voice of his word: first they fulfill and then they hearken?

RaZ is the way of the ministering angels.
Moshe and Aaron together being on this level
could understand these secrets.

: This knowledge is not meant for this world
: and hence the quasi-sefira
: is not revealed like Daat.

RaZ is more the knowledge of the world of


: Jeff,

: Up till now, have been working under the assumption that the
: Quasi Sefirah RaZ does not exist, while looking for proof
: that it does. However, your last couple of posts have given
: me reason to stop and think, what if it does exist?

:: Rashi says ...
::"This secret did the angel of death give
:: over to him when he (Moses) ascended to
:: the heavens, that incenses stays a plague;"

I consider the Rashi highly significant. The reason
is that it doesn't make too much sense. Whenever
Rashi says something that doesn't make sense
it is usually hiding the theme of the entire
matter (taught to me by Rabbi Gedalia Meyer[2935]).

Rashi's reference to Shabbas 88a clears
the mystery which he explains with the statement,

"... Who revealed to My children this secret,
which is employed by the Ministering Angels ..."

RaZ is a level of prophetic revelation from
angelic knowledge.

: This would then brings up the question, if RaZ does exist, why
: is it so different from the well known Quasi Sefirah Daat? Is
: there some principle at work here that is not widely known?

: --------------

: Following is pure hypothetical guess work.

: The result of Daat is Knowledge, which flows freely down upon
: Malkhut – Kingship (physical earth). In Genesis we read how
: Adam & Eve ate the fruit of Knowledge of Good & Evil. Do you
: think, this might be the reason why Daat is always visible
: and working? Because Adam & Eve ate of it? And further, for
: this reason, it's referred to in numerous places in the Bible?

Daat refers to knowledge while RaZ is
secret knowledge from the world of the
angels. Until Adam and Eve ate from the
fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil, they may
have been permitted the understanding of
RaZ. After eating the fruit they lost
the easy accessibility of RaZ but
gained a closer attachment to Daat. In some
ways Daat is a more intimate knowledge
of G-d produced out of great love and
longing. Sometimes committing a sin
can create this great longing for tshuvah
that I believe Daat represents. Our great
longing for tshuvah brings a longing by
Hashem for us.

In some sense this is quite different from
the angelic knowledge of RaZ. Perhaps
the knowledge at the level of RaZ appears
more powerful in terms of its direct effects
like the incense:

:: Num. 17:11. And Moses said to Aaron, Take a
:: censer, and put fire in it from the altar,
:: and put on incense, and go quickly to
:: the congregation, and make an
:: atonement for them; for anger has
:: come out from the Lord; the plague has
:: begun.

But, atonement through Daat, through knowing
Hashem, longing for Hashem,
and loving Hashem is quite beautiful.

Daat is closer to Hesed and Gevurah and
RaZ is closer to Netzah and Hod. They
are different aspects of a relationship with
Hashem. Both can effect atonement.
Both are important. One is more intimate,
the other more demonstrative. One is more
accessible, the other more a mystery.

: Considering your posts on RaZ.

: On the other hand, the result of RaZ is an understanding of
: deep mysteries, allusions, and prophesizing. The main difference
: between the way these Quasi Sefirah appear is, where Daat is
: always visible, RaZ only becomes visible, under meditation, and
: only when probed from the Sefirah Yesod – Formation. Further,
: in that case, it's only visible to the one who is doing the
: probing (receiving the results of RaZ).

: When one considers that very little is know about how the
: Prophets actually prophesied. The idea of a hidden Quasi
: Sefirah begins to make sense. And since this knowledge was
: deliberately kept from the world, hence so few references
: to RaZ.

I agree.

: --------------

: And finally, here's another big question. Considering the
: above, is there other Quasi Sefirah that we've not heard
: about? Is there more fruit on the Tree?

I think understanding all 22 of the connection
paths to be a highly valuable study and
meditation. Poem

Posted by Jeff Spiegel on April 22, 1998 at 22:21:46:

In Reply to: Re: His Name,His Essense, and the Tzimtzum posted by zalman hakotan on April 22, 1998 at 12:24:27:

SG refers to the value 63 which points to Hashem's name with this value. The four levels above Keter are defined by the four different spellings of the name of Hashem. At each level are letters in chains spelling the expanded name of Hashem respectively: BN, MH, SG, AV. There are also discs of light which precede the sefirot.

I went back before the trees to the days of
creation. I saw the creation of the animals,
the grass and all plant life, the creation of
the Sun, Moon, and Stars in the heaven. Finally
I saw the creation of the first light and then
the Tohu and Bohu that preceded. The first light
was the first line of light that flowed into the
empty space (the place of G-d’s withdrawal in the
tzimtzum). The chaos before was the emptiness of
G-d’s withdrawal. The emptiness represented the
quality of Din, judgment or constriction.

I preceded into the emptiness and felt the
withdrawal of Hashem. I knew the withdrawal was
preceding at a speed beyond physical travel and
I wondered how I would reach the receding point.
The Kol told me to travel by spirit and will
myself to reach the boundary. This I did and saw
the edge of light in the distance. I willed
myself through the edge and now I stood in the
undifferentiated form of the first light. I could
not comprehend what was around me. I tried to
recall some daat – knowledge that would help me
understand. This place was before and beyond the
creation of the Sefirot. There was not even the
place of Hashem’s Ratzon – Will yet in this light.
I glimmered above the sefirot and the Kol asked me
what I saw. I told her I saw of BN, MH, SaG, and
AV, the realm of the Hebrew letters.

I saw the Hebrew letters traveling in chains.
There were also the 10 numerals but they were
separate like flying disks in this space. I moved
my mind to the source of the letters in the light
and saw the primordial form of the Torah in the
light. I heard this song:

Love the Torah, learn the Torah, dance with the Torah, dwell with the Torah ...

There were no angels yet created as there were no
worlds but I still heard the Kol and wondered
about its existence. I sought out the voice and
noticed a small space in the light, a small
tzimtzum. I saw a thread of light entering the
space which was like a mouth transmitting the
words. Here I learned how G-d speaks to Moses
and the angels face to face but to the rest of us
through angels. The Torah was one of 10 forms
that existed prior to all creation.

There was no sense of a personal G-d in the Ayn
Sof. I felt only Nothing and I didn’t understand
why. I wanted to find my personal G-d but even
this is a result of creation! The Kol asked me
what I could know? I told him I could not know
anything else while in my separate spirit.
I realized that even beyond the heaven of G-d’s
creation and man’s comprehension lies the Ayn Sof
of G-d which dissolves all identity back into

I have noticed the bittul in your dual postings. Now I see that it is bittul that creates the space of the tzimtzum for the line of light to enter the space.

: I'm sorry I don't know what "level" you are referring to when everything was in chains. But what I've seen in seforim is that the 22 lettters plus the five final mantzepach letters emanate from the gevuru elah of atik yomin called botzina d'krdinusah. In more simple words the letters in the upper worlds aren't actually forms, rather the forms of the letters that we see hint or meramez to the different levels and forms of shefa from the Ain Sof to the low worlds. Therefore in order for there to be duality or difference in shefa it perforce requires tzimtzum. So again the question returns, how is it possible to have even letters before the Tzimtzum. I'd like to quote from the Tikuney Zohar in order that we can have a clear point of reference that sheds light on this topic, "Every sefirah has a known name... You have no known name as You fill all the names. You are the perfection of all the names." As Hank pointed out earlier there is no name for Hashem that can describe his Essence rather we give him a name according to how we perceive Him, but when we call him by that name we are not calling that attribute rather Him Himself. But it still remains unclear how there was an existence of letters or names before the tzimtzum as I wrote earlier.

Shalom Poem on Mystic Life

Posted by . on February 21, 1999 at 13:00:04:

been up and down the tree, all around mitzvot glow to keep
seen angels high above, the water fall between
looked down at the throne, stood before Unknown, now what is left of life

seen the cubic aleph, the letter chains in light
danced with the angels, seen the burning bush, glimpsed MT, now what to do

brought forth the demon AS, bound him to answer true, but what is left to know
traveled to the past, witnessed the creation, saw the first light

Spring is filled with beauty, the ocean shores of time,
the forests with their fragrance, the starlit skies with chimes
but what is left of life

I understand Solomon, Reb Meir, Ben Azi, Ben Zoma,
to have seen too much and then to fall away, to wonder what is left of life

to slip further and further away knowing all along the truth,
so Hashem spoke to Job and put him in his place, G-d save us from this fate

one day we will see how the 7th beggar without feet
heals the prince and princess with our dancing Yetzirah Plane

Re: Yetzirah plane

Posted by jeff on May 21, 1997 at 15:30:45:

In Reply to: Re: Yetzirah plane posted by Jeff Spiegel on May 20, 1997 at 02:53:47:

: This plane is filled with immense angels. You will have no possibility of
: "manipulating" this plane. These angels can do
: with you as they like so it is best to behave. In
: order to reach the world of Yetzirah, one must
: have already achieve a high degree of humble
: perfection and would not be interested in
: "manipulation" at that level. As far as the
: sights, Yetzirah parallels our world in activities.
: The angels are busy in constructing palaces as
: we are in buildings. There are seven palaces in this
: world:

: 1. The Seven Palaces of Yetzirah
: Perkei Hekhalot – Chapters of the Palaces contains a formal description of these palaces. The following contains my own
personal experiences of these heavens. In the world of Yetzirah there are 7 heavens . These are:
: a) Shamayim (Sham – Mayim : There is water -> Firmament)
: This is the location of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars. Yet how can this be since we see them in our world and know of
their places. I have seen a star in Yetzirah and its light source is a precious soul that serves Hashem like an angel . Some of
these souls were once from our world, others are of angelic source.
: b) Shemai Hashamayim (Water above the Waters -> Nehar Di-nur)
: In this heaven new angels are born each day to utter praises to Hashem. They are born from the spring of fire each morning.
They first dip their hands into the fiery waters and bring a taste to their mouths. Then they sing the holy Kadosh to Hashem and
praises from sunrise to sunset.
: c) Zevul (Habitation -> prince) lwbz
: This heaven is the place of the "prince". He is surrounded by his ministering angels. He is called Meattah for he is from G-d.
This heaven may be the residence of Zer Anpin in the world of Yetzirah.
: d) Araphel (Fog or mist -> Torah) lpru
: This is like the morning mists and clouds that cover mountain tops. Moshe’s tent was said to be enclosed in araphel when the
Shechinah dwelled within. It represents Mt. Sinai and the place of the giving of the Torah.
: e) Shehakim (Heavens) syqjc
: The rebuilt Jerusalem is prepared in this heaven. The Temple, Table, Ark, Menorah and all the utensils are here.
: f) Mahon -> Aravot
: It is five hundred year journey from Shehakim to Mahon. In the midst are the storehouses of snow and hail as well as the
rewards for the righteous and punishments for the wicked. Five hundred years further is the Aravot whose merkavah is called
Av bu which means cloud. There are some souls yet to be born.
: g) Throne of Glory
: This is the heaven of the Throne of G-d.

: The descent from the heaven of the ‘Throne of Glory’ leads to the place of the Merkavah or the ‘Throne of G-d’. Beneath
the throne souls await their entry into our world.

: There are angelic guards for each of these
: palaces that will turn one away unless key
: answers are known.

: The general landscape of Yetzirah is mountainous,
: the color is brown, brown-red, a touch of orange,
: and of course the white light of white angels and
: black light of dark angels. The angels are
: extremely tall such that a human in this world
: might bearly approach 1/6th the height of the
: smallest!

: The world of Yetzirah is associated with the
: morning service of Psukei D'zimra or the reciting
: of the Psalms of David. By reading the Psalms
: of David, one can prepare one's soul to be worthy
: of entering the world of Yetzirah while still
: in the land of the Living.

WHOA!! that was great, what an intense answer.
Is this kabbalah?
If so could you tell me how I can do such a thing?
Is the Yetzirah Plane another name for the 7 levels of heaven? Colors

Re: Tree Of Life

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Posted by Jeff Spiegel on May 20, 1997 at 03:10:16:

In Reply to: Tree Of Life posted by Jonathan Blair on May 16, 1997 at 14:33:17:

The Jewish color system contains the following

D. Sefirot Colors and Lights
There are different colors associated with each sefirot. These colors can be visualized during meditations for enhancing the
realism of the vision. When the correct authoritative kabbalistic associations are adhered to the vision comes in loud and clear.
Similarly a radio receiver will exhibit a lot of static until it is finally tuned. The Gate of Kavannah describes the experience of the
quality of 8 types of light. Here is the description of the Crown:

Above it is the Crown. This is the light that crowns the desires of the mind and illuminates the paths of the imagination,
enhancing the radiance (zohar) of the vision. This light has no end, and it cannot be fathomed. From the glory (Kavod) of its
perfection comes desire, blessing, peace, life (chaim), and all good (tov) to those who keep the way of its unification.

Table 16: Sefirot and Colors
Sefirah Color Light Quality Names Of G-d
Concealed Light Ayn Sof
Keter – crown,will, or desire blinding invisible light Crown Ehyeh asher Ehyeh
Hochmah – wisdom a color that includes all colors Yah
Binah – understanding yellow and green Hashem (Elohim)
Hesed – kindness white and silver Tov – Good El
Gevurah – judgment,discipline red and gold Nogah – Glow Elohim
Tiferet – Beauty yellow and violet Kavod – Glory Hashem
Netzah – eternity,victory, prophecy light pink— the color of the upper eyelid Bahir – Brilliance Hashem Tzavaot
Hod – thankfulness, acceptance, prophecy dark pink— the color of the lower eyelid Zohar – Splendor Elohim Tzavaot
Yesod – righteousness Orange Chaim – Life El Chai, Shaddai Living G-d
Malchuts – kingdom, Shechinah Blue Adonai

Why is the light of Keter called a blinding invisible light? Blinding, since no objects can be seen in this place. Invisible since the
light does this without being seen. Light, since the vision is clear.
The color of wisdom includes all colors for
wisdom includes all knowledge in its synthesis.
Yellow is associated with illumination and
green with fertility which together represent the
understanding of Binah with the fertility of
the mother partzuf. White and silver are
traditional associations with kindness and red
and gold for judgment. With the sefirah of
splendor is the illumination of the truth, i.e.
Yellow, and mysteries of Torah, i.e. violet.

The light pink and dark pink colors of Netzah
and Hod are the colors of the upper and lower
eyelids which symbolize the experience of
prophecy, i.e. sunlight shining through ones
closed eyes. The orange of Yesod is the color
of righteousness which is based on the discipline
of gevurah, red, with the illumination of tiferets,
yellow, and the prophecy of Netzah and Hod combined,
pink, which together is Orange.

Kingship is blue, i.e. royal blue.

: Please could you explain the following :

: I have come across different Kabbalistic Tree Of Life's, with different colour arrangements eg. those which appear in
traditional plain Queen scale colours, those which appear speckled, and those with very different colour arrangements eg.
"School Of The Soul by Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi . Could you please explain to me their purpose, and use, or failing this point
me at literature that does explains this?

: Many thanks, Jonathan Hashmal

Re: Hashmal

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Posted by Jeff Spiegel on May 20, 1997 at 03:29:51:

In Reply to: Hashmal posted by Gerard Zonus on May 15, 1997 at 02:28:47:

: Shalom,

: What do the Kabbalists say about the 'Hashmal' in Ezechiel vision.

Kabbalists say that the vision of the Hashmal should
not be openly discussed. Suffice it to say that
the Hashmal is the garment of G-d in our Universe,
has the sound of electrum, and the appearance of
a small voice.

: Is there still in Israel an hermetic tradition whose goal is the universal medecine needed for spiritual and physical regeneration

The use of herbs and grasses for healing is
definitely within the domain of Judaism. The Breslov
Hasidim practice a hermetic like tradition.

"KNOW that there is a field where the most beautiful
and pleasant trees and herbs grow. The precious beauty
of this field and its plants and trees is impossible to describe. Happy is the eye that has seen it! "
(Likutey Moharan I:65 quoted in Garden of the Souls, page 37)

He invests the grasses and herbage with healing properties.
He gave decaying mold the most powerful of healing properties
as He chose a lowly mountain to reveal the Torah,
a lowly people as his chosen nation,
an impaired speaker to be his greatest prophet,
and "the stone that was despised" to become the
cornerstone of His temple.

: Thank you for answering my question.

: Gérard Zonus
: Lag Ba Omer

> WHOA!! that was great, what an intense answer.
> Is this kabbalah?
> If so could you tell me how I can do such a thing?
> Is the Yetzirah Plane another name for the 7 levels of heaven?

You should congratulate yourself for recognizing the true Kabbalah! I will try to give some instruction
on how to achieve the experience. It took me over ten years of kabbalistic study before I had my
first experience, so patience is required as well as hard study, good deeds, and a humble nature.
The name Yetzirah, means formation from the Hebrew word, yotzer, meaning to 'form'.

The four worlds are associated with the following:

The Four Universes and Our Connection to Them
Expression Worlds Tetragrammaton
Ta’amim – Cantellation Notes Atzilut – Nearness Yod
Nekudot – Vowel Points Beriyah – Creation Heh
Tagin – Ornaments Yetzirah – Formation Vav
Otiot – Letters Asiyah – Making Heh

Asiyah is our physical world. Yetzirah is the world of the lower angels that parallel our world. Beriyah is the world of the throne of God. This is also the world of the upper angels and souls to be born. There are seven chambers in the world of Beriyah which describe the process that the soul goes through before it is born into our world and after death when it returns to God. Atzulut the highest world contains the Ten Sefirot and the word Atzulut is from the Hebrew, Etzel which means 'adjacent'. I think learning
Hebrew is important to Kabbalah study since much of the mysticism is based on the Hebrew alphabet, i.e. aleph – bet.

On Lag Ba Omer Rabbi Akiva’s students died of a terrible plague. The plague was attributed to the conflicting opinions the students held towards one another. Some thought that Bar Kochbah was the Messiah. They differed on how to deal with the Romans. The lack of unity led to the plague.[2936]

Today is Lag B'omer which is the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer which associates with the sefirot combination of Hod in Hod. In general this would be an ominous day due to the passive nature of Hod which while representing peace and thankfulness also permits evil to exist in this world. Nevertheless Shimon bar Yochai helped rectify this day by revealing a great light of mystical knowledge to his followers which filled them with joy. Joy above all other emotions brings the Shekhinah into this world which is
the presence of God.

There is also a tradition that his death on the same day also brought great light in this world as he died by the kiss of God.

Its a day of great light, dance with all your might!

Unlike the rest of the Omer period one can get married on Lag B’omer.[2937]

Shimon Bar Yochai died on Lag B’omer while revealing the last of the great light of the Zohar. The word Zohar comes from the book of Daniel where he refers to the radiance increasing with the stars of the sky. In any case there is no Capera here but illumination.

31.1.2 Breslov Discussions Nachal Novea Makor Hochmah

Posted by Jeff Spiegel on January 27, 1998 at 20:17:22:

What is Novea mean in the statement? Does this mean a "a brook flowing with prophecy, source of wisdom"? If someone could elaborate on RebenuZ"L's inspiration on this passage, I would appreciate it.

Posted by Benyamin Pilant on January 28, 1998 at 01:59:24:
In Reply to: Nachal Novea Makor Hochmah posted by Jeff Spiegel on January 27, 1998 at 20:17:22:

The simple explanation is that the letters Nachal Novea Makor CHochmah spell NaCHMaN, and that Rabbi Nachman wasn't the founder of a chasidic dynasty rather a luminary in and of himself, similar to the Arizal – that is a source of wisdom.

Posted by Jeff Spiegel on January 29, 1998 at 01:59:54:
In Reply to: Re: Nachal Novea Makor Hochmah posted by Benyamin Pilant on January 28, 1998 at 01:59:24:

I really needed to know that Reb. Nachman was not intending to found a dynasty. I study the teachings of Reb. Nachman regularly like an inspirational text and have never seen anything that would demand a dynasty affiliation. Still, most Hasidim seem to be organized in dynasties. How does Breslov differ based on your explanation?

Posted by Benyamin Pilant on January 29, 1998 at 11:23:10:
In Reply to: Re: Nachal Novea Makor Hochmah posted by Jeff Spiegel on January 29, 1998 at 01:59:54:

Breslov chasidus differs from most chasisidim in this point. This is the explanation why there is no Breslov Rebbe today. Breslov differs from most chasidim in that it is inclusive, rather than exclusive. There is no particular Breslov nusach (prayer book), no mandated dress code (some long coats and payos, some short coat, some in knitted kipa), and encourages people to follow the minhagim of their fathers (this is a major difference between Breslov & Habad as practiced today). This has had the effect that the majority of people who follow Rebbe Nachman are Sefardim (many Askenazim too). The concept of Rebbe Nachman's role as leader of the Breslover Chasidim is involved in the Mystical / Breslov concept of the Tzaddik. There are many differing details on this inside of Breslov, but basically it goes something like this: HaShem created Man, and before the fall in the Garden of Eden, he was referred to as the Perfect Man (or Primordial Man). Mashiach either is, or is an aspect of this Perfect Man. Mashiach is the living embodiment of Torah, and through the light of Mashiach flows our understanding of Torah. But we don't get it directly. This light flows from Mashiach down to Joseph haTzadik, Moshe Rabbenu, the Arizal, the True Tzaddik, the Tzaddikim of each generation, to hidden Tzaddikim – hidden in every moment of
our life, down to us. (The order listed here isn't exact) There are many Tzaddikim in the world, yet there is one proto-typical Tzaddik who "breaks ground" allowing all Tzaddikim to function, paving the way for Mashiach. This is Rebbe Nachman. Some explain that Rebbe Nachman is a reincarnation of the Arizal.
So, although no one would say that Rebbe Nachman was Mashiach, for us (not just Breslover Chasidim), on our level, he is a source of advice, guidance, and helps us to get plugged into the flow of Torah down to this world, as Mashiach will do when he comes, speedily in our days! In this context Rebbe Nachman is "a brook flowing with prophecy, source of wisdom"

Posted by Jeff Spiegel on January 29, 1998 at 21:53:51:
In Reply to: Re: Nachal Novea Makor Hochmah posted by Benyamin Pilant on January 29, 1998 at 11:23:10:
I am sure viewing Reb Nachman like the Arizal is appropriate but I don't understand the idea of the Tzadik-Hasid relationship after a Tzadik has died?

I always thought that one travels to hear the words of the Tzadik and this is what elevates one. Of course learning his teachings does remind one of his presence in the world. If Reb Nachman is still the Tzadik of the Breslov Hasidim then they must still be hearing his words! Is this correct? This would suggest that it would be possible to have a Tzadik-Hasid relationship with many of our ancestral Tzadikim if we were extremely familiar with their teachings. I guess what I don't understand is what makes the Breslov's relationship with Reb Nachman unique.

> Mashiach either is, or is an aspect of this Perfect Man.
> Mashiach is the living embodiment of Torah, and though
> the light of Mashiach flows our understanding of Torah.
> But we don't get it directly.

Adam Kadmon was the universal soul of all people combined. The Moshiach is an anointed leader of the people of Israel, i.e. a righteous king. Why the idea that Torah can only flow through Mashiach? I can understand that Hashem sends angels and other forces to reveal Torah to Klal Israel, but where is it said that all these forces of Torah revelation go through Moshiach?

> This light flows from Mashiach down to Joseph haTzadik,
> Moshe Rabbenu, the Arizal, the True Tzaddik, the Tzaddikim of
> each generation, to hidden Tzaddikim – hidden in every moment of
> our life, down to us. (The order listed here isn't exact)

I thought that the teaching of the Tzadik assumed that even he is not perfect but that his challenges are on a much higher level like Moshe Rabenu instead. So what is the meaning and source of the concept "True Tzaddik"? In Israel I visited the tomb of the Arizal and was quite awed by feeling at the graveside. But I also was awed at the tombs of Shimon HaTzadik Z"l in Jerusalem, Rachel Z"l wife of Akiva, Jonaton ben Uziel Z"l, Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess Z"l, Yosef Karo Z"l, David HaMelech Z"l. What would make the Arizal the "True Tzaddik" before Reb Nachman?

You have described a line of light that passes through only one person in some generations. This is an interesting idea, although why can there be only one, if this is the same as the potential Moshiach? Why
do Breslov stop with Reb Nachman as the True Tzadik, instead of believing there may be a True Tzadik in a future generation?

> There are many Tzaddikim in the world, yet there is one
> proto-typical Tzaddik who "breaks ground" allowing all
> Tzaddikim to function, paving the way for Mashiach.
> This is Rebbe Nachman. Some explain that Rebbe Nachman is a
> reincarnation of the Arizal.

I guess I still have difficulty with the idea of a single True Tzadik. I am not aware of any traditional kabbalistic Torah teachings that say there is such a single person. There is much spoken on the idea of a potential Moshiach in each generation. Maybe the True Tzadik is more of the Moshiach ben Yosef that may be born in a generation and this is why there is only one. Is that what you mean? The idea of a spiritual leader of all Tzadikim of a generation is quite reasonable, although I would think he would be amongst the living of the generation.

> So, although no one would say that Rebbe Nachman was Mashiach,
> for us (not just Breslover Chasidim), on our level, he is
> a source of advice, guidance, and helps us to get plugged into
> the flow of Torah down to this world, as Mashiach will do when
> he comes, speedily in our days!

His teachings and recorded writings definitely leave me with this feeling. When you say a "source of advice, guidance", do you mean from his teachings or is there a personal attachment that you feel and
an inspiration from his will that you still sense in the land of the living.

Posted by Benyamin Pilant on January 30, 1998 at 00:09:54:
In Reply to: Re: Nachal Novea Makor Hochmah posted by Jeff Spiegel on January 29, 1998 at 21:53:51:
This is not the place to go into any depth, but as far as a Kabalistic reference for Torah coming through Adam Kadmon / Mashiach, this is the aspect of the Histashelut of the "Kav" through each one of the Sefirot in turn, but first coming through Keter = Adam Kadmon~= Meshiach (Meshiach is more formally Malchut)
As far as the Hasid / Tzadik relationship goes, Breslovers take two views 1) that Rabbi Nachman is alive today, and just as gazing on the Chosen Mishpat cause "truth" to become clear, learning Rabbenu's works, davening at his tzion, and "speaking to another breslover at least once everyday" clarifies "truth" 2) that Rabbi Nachman broke new ground and provided insight that was previously lacking. He tapped into and strengthened the place (Yesod) that enables us to connect to a greater degree with *other* Tzaddikim, Rabbonim and Torah Scholars. The Tzadik is Yesod, Mashiach is Malchut. One prepares for the other.

And although it is not explained explicitly, Rebbe Nachman had some very close connection to the Supernal Sefirah of Yesod. Just as each of the Ushpizin (Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaacov, Aaron, Moshe, Yosef and David) are the physical embodiment, on one level, of the Sefirot. By finding the Hidden Tzaddik in every situation (the good points), by learning and connecting to a Rav in a Torah Shiur, by asking shailos and advice from True Tzaddik, we are approaching the Sefirah of Yesod (Foundation / Righteousness) along the path that was made by Mashiach using the signposts that were put up by Rebbe Nachman. By reading and following those signposts, were are connecting with the work and essense of Rebbe Nachman, our Rebbe.

Posted by Jeff Spiegel on January 30, 1998 at 03:02:21:
In Reply to: Re: Nachal Novea Makor Hochmah posted by Benyamin Pilant on January 30, 1998 at 00:09:54:
To associate the Ushpazim with the sefirot teaches us to see how the sefirot or tzelem manifest in our world and how man at best behaves in the image of G-d. Nevertheless, we do not say the sefirot are the Ushpazim. Joseph's qualities are representative of the sefira of Yesod but the moral energy of Hashem sustaining this world is not transmitted for eternity through Joseph because of this association. And similarly the association of an anointed king (Moshiach) with the sefira of Malchut. What is your source for the Adam Kadmon equivalence with Mashiach? Adam Kadmon is the primordial purpose of all creation and the concept of the soul of man in totality. Certainly the Torah is part of this initial blueprint. On the other hand, Moshiach is an anointed king who will lead Israel. Your implication is that the Universe was created for Moshiach if he is equivalent to Adam Kadmon.

Instead the universe was created for imperfect man to raise himself through hard soul work back to the level of Adam Kadmon with the help of tzadikim and moshiachim. The Breslov concept of Moshiach seems quite metaphysical. I always look at Moshiach as an anointed king that we should expect and be worthy to follow to live in the land of Israel with. The concept seems so down to earth to me. The concept of Moshiach being Adam Kadmon, the purpose of all creation, and encompassing the souls of all people uniting them into an entirety seems beyond the scope of an anointed king who wages G-d's battles and returns victoriously.

> as far as a Kabalistic
> reference for Torah coming through Adam Kadmon / Mashiach, this is
> the aspect of the Histashelut of the "Kav" through each one
> of the Sefirot in turn, but first coming through Keter = Adam Kadmon
> ~= Meshiach (Meshiach is more formally Malchut)

Posted by Benyamin Pilant on January 30, 1998 at 10:21:56:
In Reply to: Re: Nachal Novea Makor Hochmah posted by Jeff Spiegel on January 30, 1998 at 03:02:21:
Breslov has a tighter and more simplified scheme of the Sefirot. A "Universal story" as it were. The basic theme is that if any two objects have the same quality, they are at their root the *same object*. This is the whole premise of Likutei Halachot, where rapid fire relationships are made between many, many diverse objects. And is related to the concept of Rabbi Nachman’s ability to reunite the sparks / essence of diverse objects and people. Disclaimer, this is only one approach to a complex and complicated set of teachings within Breslov.

31.1.3 Greek Qabalah

Kieren Barry is the author of the Greek Qabalah.

To: 'Jeff Spiegel' <>
Subject: RE: The Greek Qabalah

Dear Jeff,

Nice to hear from you. I agree 100% with everything you say. My book in no way detracts from the glories of Hebrew Qabalah or its authenticity or value, and please do not think that is what I intend. That would be like saying Christianity means any less because it derives from Judaism. It only enriches Hebrew Qabalah even more to discover new depths in its historical origins and cultural sources, and my intention was only to make more people aware of those depths. I am pleased that you found the book interesting historically, and thank you very much for reading it.

Best regards,

Kieren  Barry

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Spiegel []
Sent: 27 March 2001 15:14
To: ISL HKG HK Barry Kieren
Subject: The Greek Qabalah


I read your book.  Einstein realized that good science is applicable to ideas today no matter where it came from and he borrowed heavily from scientists such as Galileo in developing the theory of Relativity.   You have shown some Jewish kabbalah to be similar.  I think your book overlooks the prophetic experience as a form of kabbalah of the highest level.

Neitzche's idea of eternal recurrence teaches that there is very little in this world that is a new idea and that what happens today has repeated itself ad-infinitum.  

Jewish Kabbalah is authentic no matter its origin.  It has been purified from the dross of other traditions to produce pure silver and gold.  Today we know that the Egyptians practiced circumcision, but it took Moses to purify the concept and invest the idea with divine meaning and the sign of the covenant.

So your book on Greek Qabalah is an interesting text historically.

31.1.4 Pluto

Jeffrey Wolf Green is the author of Pluto Volume,

(Question) 22-Feb-1999 Male Souls/Female Souls
I purchased Pluto Volume II today. There is a reference to the soul being non-sex based and evolving by being both male and female in different life times.

I believe this would differ from the Jewish mystical perspective. The idea is that G-d's first thought is Adam Kadmon, the primordial man. Each of us represents a spark of this idea. Each of us is unique in our place on the body. Each place is unique with either a masculine tone or feminine tone to its function.

At the end of times G-d will make a new world wherein will be the resurrection of the dead. Each of our souls will have its true body. Each of us will either be male or female in our true form. Hence our identity body and soul is male or female. Jeff Spiegel
it is stated in the book that our souls are equally male and female, as is that which is called God. God is the origin of all things, obviously. Thus the origin of male and female. Thus each of our souls is simultaneously male and female... that which you site is simply another version of patriarchal first jeffrey
In Hebrew we call G-d's essence Ayn Sof which is beyond male and female.
The sefirot or Tree of Life containing pillars of male character, female character and a central pillar reveal G-d's highest image that we can know is equally male and female as you have pointed out to me.

We are created in the image of G-d so our soul contains both male and female aspects; the sefirot manifest in each of us reflecting the same image. Still we have a body which is not equally male and female. In Judaism the body is also an aspect of the soul, the Nefesh (body spirit) is the lowest level of the soul. The body is part of the soul's identity.

The concept of being male combined with male and female qualities or female combined with female and male qualities better matches the essence of who we are. This is also a reflection of the image of G-d where each sefira whether male or female has an aspect of each of the other sefirot within.
Getting back to your book: Your concept of a composite chart from Pluto Volume II helped me understand the dynamics of a couples direction together. Previously I had only looked at synastry for understanding.

Is there a place where you describe the soul affects of Pluto's place in the other party's chart (constellation and house)? Is this in Volume I which I haven't purchased yet? Currently I only see a description of the composite Pluto's connection. Jeff Spiegel

31.1.5 Ransom or Atonement and Closeness or Sacrifice

>My L-rd, here in one hand, a bowl, filled to the brim with a drop of blood
>from each of the sacrifices please accept this as atonement, grant
>forgiveness, let no more blood be spilled. Let the blood of this year’s
>Passover offering be of a sacrificial lamb, and not of sacrificial people,
>sacrificial Jews.

The words atonement and sacrifice are not accurate Hebrew translations of CaPaR and KaRoV respectively.

The word CaPaR means 'ransom'. We diminish our property by offering G-d a ransom to forgive us. The prophets taught that we must do this with a contrite heart. The source verses here are Leviticus 16:21 and 17:11.

The word KaRoV means 'closeness'. Animals and food were a form of currency in the biblical time. Presenting offerings would feed the priesthood. Shalom offerings were actually like barbeques, where the food would be shared amongst everyone involved.

Literal interpretations of these sections of the bible are the pillars of Christianity: (Leviticus 16:21)

And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat,
and confess over him all the iniquities of the people of Israel,
and all their transgressions in all their sins,
putting-NaTaN-giving them upon the head of the goat,
and shall send him away by the hand of an appointed man into the wilderness;

Furthermore: (Leviticus 17:11)

For the soul-Nefesh-BodySoul of the animal is in the blood;
and I have given it to you upon the alter to ransom-CaPaR your souls,
for this blood, with this soul, I will ransom you.

G-d is accepting the goat as a ransom. In the process, G-d nullifies the sins of Israel. They only appear to be placed on the goat as a way of ACTING OUT THE PROCESS. Teachers use theatrics or models to teach children examples without the models being reality. G-d is acting the same way here.

Sins are intrinsically connected with deeds; the goat could never possess these, as it never committed these sins. Now, if one wishes to interpret these verses literally, one may do so and there were Jews who did this, and perhaps the early Christians did likewise. Still, the majority of Jews does not take these verses literally and does not believe in the idea of sin transference and atonement in this manner.

31.1.6 Love of God

Subject: Re: Hasidic view?

‘This fringe Jewish view exists today in some Hasidic sects and has an ancient mystical origin.  Early Christianity followed this approach.  Modern Christianity apostatized it.  Talmudic academies have believed in their rabbi as the messiah.   Hasidim attach to their tzaddik and believe that the True Tzaddik, the Tzaddik Emet can even lift them out of sin.  Rabbi Nachman of Breslov even taught that “he who will visit my grave, I will even reach down and pull him out of Gehinnom by his peahs (ear locks).”’

Meditation 26-2:  Son of man and forgiveness of sin:  The hand of the messiah descends from heaven.   Let our hands rise to grasp his.  His words speak out to us, “Your sin is forgiven.”  We ask, “how is it that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sin?”  G-d says,  “the Son of Man has been given authority to forgive sins.”  The Son of Man says, “Take hold of my hand and your sins are forgiven. Let me into your heart, and when you listen you will hear my Will.”  The Son of Man is our mortal king.  He is not G-d, but his will is G-d’s.  He has chosen us to be his servant as a servant is to a king. 

The fringe view that exists in certain Hasidic sects is that a tzaddik may take upon himself/herself suffering for the sins of another, aka Isaiah 53.  And this suffering can lift off the sins of another. 

The original followers of Yehoshua had this view.  Today there are Nazarenes who are reaching towards this view, but have not gotten there yet. 

I sympathize with your position, as I feel similar at times, and I attend a Habad synagogue.  The issue doesn't seem to be one of Yehoshua but more of letting the love he felt into ones heart for others.  There is also a communion aspect to this type of love.  Jeremiah was hinting at this when he said that God will put the law into your hearts.   But it is more than the law; we must learn to listen with our hearts.  Solomon said cultivate a ‘heart that hears’, Lev Shema (Kings 1:3:9).   The Nazarene focus offers this perspective while striving to keep the Jewish law.  There is the love of God and God’s love for us and our love for each other.   Rabbi J. was an example of this, but this does not make him into the Nicene Creed, a trinity, and a god who must die for our sins.  That is Roman thinking; to save a life is Jewish thinking.

Love enters and there is Truth. The soul we have includes our body, our spirit, our neshamah, the community consciousness, and an aspect that is always one with G-d. The practice of letting the Shechinah, the divine presence into our lives is to be sensitized to G-d.

The Torah does not pursue the idea of divine possession. This was a practice of pagans who drank wine thinking that a god would enter them or consuming the flesh of a deity. Letting love for others into your heart is quite another matter. This could be based on the example of Yeshua or the teachings of Hillel.

Dying to ones flesh was a teaching of Paul. This meant really to die in ones desire to sin. Nevertheless, the flesh that G-d has given us is holy and is a gift. It is one of the levels of our soul. Yhoshua never taught that the body is evil.

Of course one is allowed to read the Zohar. The Hasidim teach that since the coming of the Baal Shem Tov the requirement to be at least 40 before studying Zohar does not apply, when one is filled with hassidus in studying. The Zohar discusses all the secrets of Torah. It does not specifically mention Yeshua. Messiah, moshiach means anointed referring to a king in Torah. Savior, moshiah is a different word and always refers to God. Mithraism was a religion where the servant Mithra was commanded to offer a bull. The blood of the bull nourished all the vegetation of the world. The Romans took this Iranian religion and made Mithra the demiurge, the creator of the world. The god of this religion was the Sun and the worship was on Sunday. Mithra’s birthday was on December 25th. It is important to realize the belief that Yeshua is a god comes from Mithraism and that Yeshua being the god of the Old Testament and creator of the world is pagan. L’havdil, God is our only Savior, the moshiach is His anointed king to help point the people back to God. That he may serve in a capacity with authority does not make him one to worship. The first Christians did not worship Yeshua, but they learned from him. He was foremost their teacher.

Jeremiah says as you pointed out in the messianic era we will be led “from within” since G-d will put the law into our hearts. Also as you point out Christianity has become idolatry. Jews do not avoid the Zohar. The Zohar is an interesting work. It does not attest to Yeshua or for that matter anyone else as being messiah. Isaiah said Cyrus is the messiah:

Thus says the Lord to his anointed – moshiach to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him doors and gates; and the gates shall not be closed; I will go before you, and make the hilly places level; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze, and cut in sunder the bars of iron; And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.

For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel my elect, I have called you by your name; I have surnamed you, though you have not known me. I am the Lord, and there is no one else, there is no God beside me; I girded you, though you have not known me; That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is no one else.

The prophets understood the messiah to be one who would enable the Jews to return to Israel. Isaiah 53 does not have the word anointed anywhere within nor the word savior. In fact, the word atonement, Kippur, never occurs in Isaiah 53. This is why the Jews don’t look at Yeshua as a messiah. Nevertheless, a tzaddik, can suffer and others witnessing that suffering may feel guilt and repentance and their sins may be lifted ala Isaiah 53. Moreover that there is only one be all and end all messiah does not explain why the prophets repeatedly use the term for different people. Cyrus wasn’t even Jewish and Isaiah called him messiah. Furthermore, Isaiah’s authority as a prophet exceeds Shimon Bar Yochai and the Zohar.

31.1.7 Soc.culture.jewish Baseless Love

From: Jeff Spiegel (
Message 1 in thread
Subject: Rav Kook Z"l on baseless love
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish

View this article only
Date: 1995-01-04 20:18:47 PST

I read that Rav Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook taught that if the temples
were destroyed because of baseless hatred, the Third Temple will only be built
because of baseless love.


| Jeff Spiegel 408-433-4291|
| LSI Logic Corp. G-813 FAX: 408-954-4874 |
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From: Gideon Ehrlich (ehrlich@sunlight)
Message 2 in thread
Subject: Re: Rav Kook Z"l on baseless love

Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish

View this article only
Date: 1995-01-09 20:25:35 PST

Jeff Spiegel ( wrote:

: I read that Rav Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook taught that if the temples
: were destroyed because of baseless hatred, the Third Temple will
: only be built because of baseless love.

The rav (Zvi Yehuda son of Rav) says that Kook Hasidim quote the above humoristic statement as originated by Rav Kook while it was known several generations before he was born.

One can find it in several Hasidic books. I think that the 1st one to formulate the idea of the need for more AHAVAT YISRAEL in the humoristic way (The ~love" is either forbidden or a mitzva – so advocating for a "baseless love" as a mitzva is a cleer absurdity) was HACHOZE MILUBLIN. In his book about the Torah thievery idea that since the 2nd temple was ruined because of SINAT-HINAM (Baseless - hatred - implied that there is a non-baseless hatred), we have to be careful about Ahavat yisrael appear before.

Note: some did not pay attention to the humoristic character of the old saying and explained that baseless-love ' means a love without any selfish motivations. Shalom with love to all good one's

Gideon The Chosen House

From: Jeff Spiegel (
Message 1 in thread
Subject: Re: LOSHON HORA 2 of 3: The 31 Averahs of Loshon Hora by the Chofetz Chayim
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish

View this article only
Date: 1994-06-17 14:07:34 PST

Great Stuff! Maybe we should repost this every month. If all of us Jews
avoided Loshon Hora for just 2 days in a row, probably we could rebuild the
Bet Behira (Bet Hamikdash) and the Moshiach would emerge without a question.

-- Jeff Spiegel408-433-4291 Philosophy

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov condemned philosophy as a study that leads to atheism, has vshalom. In this regard I wrote:

From: Jeff Spiegel (
Message 29 in thread
Subject: Re: "Why should there be a God?"
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish

View this article only
Date: 1994-06-17 10:56:02 PST

The cause of these questions is “philosophy”; may G-d obliterate this disgusting field of thought from our minds forever! Amen.

Nevertheless, even the hermeneutical rules to interpret the Talmud are a type of philosophy. Mathematics is the structuring of philosophical thought with theory. Nevertheless, philosophy is the creating of new ideas; hence, it is not per say, a field to be studied as more the process and evolution of knowledge. Hence, academia refers to its highest degree, as the Doctorate in Philosophy, PhD, even for the field of science since it is the hypothesis that leads to discovery. There is a clear process for proof in math, science, and engineering. Qualitative ideas can only be tested on a subjective level for how they improve a person’s life. Religions are qualitative philosophies. Rebbe

From: Jeff Spiegel (
Message 1 in thread
Subject: Re: A Few Thoughts on the Rebbe and His People
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish

View this article only
Date: 1994-06-13 16:08:14 PST

A gentile described the Rebbe from a program she saw as the cute guy who
would snap his fingers. For a moment I was there seeing the Rebbe snap
his fingers winding his arm like a young man to the songs of his followers.
Like David said when he was 70 years, “I feel like a young man.”

From: Jeff Spiegel (
Message 1 in thread
Subject: Re: What if the Moshiach dies. He has!
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish

View this article only
Date: 1994-06-13 15:24:43 PST

First, of all; of course there is G-d. Second, while the Rebbe was the potential Moshiach of our generation, there is already another one in this world.

Yesterday I was flying above the mountains of the S.F. bay area, admiring how G-d had splashed trees on the mountains in their creases instead of on the ridges. I saw the islands below and the Golden Gate, as well as Pt Reyes just North of the city on the coast. This world was created with so much beauty and wonder that we can only comprehend a smidgen of the intention of the Creator.

And as wondrous as the physical world, so is the Torah and our prayers. I learned that the meaning of 18 in the name of the Amidah represents its 18 instances of the name of G-d (4 letters) which makes for 72 letters. The high Priest would utter the mystical 72 letter name of G-d on Yom Kippur and the people would respond with second verse of the Shema. The 3 paragraphs of the Shema also contain the name of G-d 18 times alluding to the 72 letter name. Finally the Song of Moses contains the name of G-d 18 times as well.

18 is also the gematria for the word for life, Chai (chet = 8 yod = 10); and through the Torah we gain eternal life.

-- Jeff Spiegel 408-433-4291 Criticism

From: Jeff Spiegel (

Subject: Re: Talk to Yourself ?
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish
View this article only
Date: 1994-05-27 13:42:33 PST

Its kind of refreshing reading Albert's criticism and insults. Obviously,
he has a lot of bitterness from his experiences. Hopefully his criticism,
while not entirely accurate will help us do Tshuvah and express more
ahavah-hesed, loving kindness, in dealing with our fellow Jews, whatever
their religious level.

Shabat Shalom!

-- Jeff Spiegel 408-433-4291 Moshiach

From: Jeff Spiegel (
Message 1 in thread
Subject: Long Live Moshiach (was Re: What if the Moshiach Dies?)
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish
View this article only
Date: 1994-05-25 18:57:22 PST

Obviously, what we are looking for in Moshiach is a King, i.e. the next
King of Israel, much like King David who will lead his people spiritually
as well as militarily. Immortality and miracles do not play a role in
relation to this idea. Furthermore, since King David was chosen as a
young man to lead Israel, I think it would be fair to be searching for
Moshiach amongst the youth of our generation. The Baal Shem Tov says that
every Jew has a spark of Moshiach. I believe we should be searching for
Moshiach all the time and encouraging every Jew to manifest his/her potential
for being Moshiach. Waiting for Moshiach is the wrong approach; living, being,
supporting, encouraging, the youth of every generation to be the highest
spiritual strong Jews they can be will increase the likelihood of Moshiach
quality leadership and a new monarchy in Israel after the manner of David
HaMelech, let's make it happen in our lifetimes!

-- Jeff Spiegel 408-433-4291

From: Jeff Spiegel (
Message 3 in thread
Subject: Re: Mortality of the Moshiach
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish
View this article only
Date: 1994-05-24 06:02:08 PST wrote:
> Tell that to the Lubavitchers ! Too bad the *rebbe* has no children.
> I'm just intrigued how they are going to weasel out of that one.

The Lubavitchers are doing exactly what they should be doing by believing
in Moshiach. Also it says in Pirkei Avot that one should make for oneself
a teacher. Similarly, we should be aware and support the potential for
Moshiach in the great one of our generation.

Being ready for Moshiach means seeing the greatness of our fellow Jew and
the potential of his growth into a leader. During an all night study
on Shavuot I noticed a young man teaching Gemara to group a students.

For a moment I saw Moshiach in him as well.

-- Jeff Spiegel 408-433-4291

From: Jeff Spiegel (
Message 2 in thread
Subject: Re: Lubavitcher Rebbe - News,Prayers & Health
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish
View this article only
Date: 1994-05-17 12:03:59 PST

David Ferleger ( wrote:
> I thought it would be good to have a topic/title
> to urge/prompt prayer and good wishes for a full recovery
> for the Rebbe, and also for anyone with any current
> news to post it immediately, and also to express
> support for all in this difficult time.
> tcher myself, I feel support and
> closeness to the Rebbe and the whole Lubavitch community.

Last I heard his body was responding to treatment for pneumonia.
Thankyou for your request.

There is a Reb Nachman story describing the death of Rabbi Yehudah
HaNasi. He was so well revered by his community that when he became
deathly ill, all the rabbis of the time prayed for his recovery.
Nevertheless, there was one woman in the community who prayed that
G-d should show mercy on his suffering and take him swiftly to
alleviate his final pains.

Her prayer was answered over all the Rabbis because it was merciful.

The bottom line is it is not good to be hooked up to machines and sustained
indefinitely. There will come a point when the Luavitcher community
will have to ask which is more important, letting the sufferings of
their leader end or holding him in this world indefinitely.

-- Jeff Spiegel 408-433-4291 Levi Yitzhak

From: Jeff Spiegel (
Search Result 63

Subject: Re: Heavenly ascent without death
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish
View: Complete Thread (5 articles)
Original Format
Date: 1994-02-16 14:19:57 PST

Certainly many Hasidic leaders have been able to do this.

A story is told about Levi Yitzhak of Berditchov who on the non-Jewish
new year came out of his study and wished everyone a good year and to be
inscribed in the book of happiness and health.

When asked his reason he responded that it was only on the non-Jewish new
year that the good decree written on Yom Kippur was signed, because Hashem
saw how the Jews studied on that day and had spent their own New Year in prayer
and reflection, while the non-Jews were drinking and involved in corruption.
This was brought before the heavenly tribunal by a defender angel silencing
the satan.

There are many such stories told of Hasidic masters who were privileged to
ascend on high to witness the spiritual battles in heaven in correspondence
to the physical battles in our world.

This Shabbas being Shabbas Zachor reminds us of how Moshe held his hands up
and the Jews were victorious while Joshua led the battle below. Moshe waged
the battle in the heavens while Joshua in the physical world.

-- Jeff Spiegel 408-433-6713 David and Bathsheva

From: Jeff Spiegel - 4291 (
Search Result 72
Subject: Re: Orthodox Gay rabbi sp
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish
View: Complete Thread (46 articles)
Original Format
Date: 1993-11-15 18:37:23 PST

Jack Love ( wrote:
> In article <2c5ml1$> (Len Moskowitz) writes:
> >What I
> >recall is that Batsheva and Uriah had never consummated their marriage
> >because Batsheva was in a perpetual state of Nidah (ritual impurity)
> >from the time she married Uriah. This is the significance of the text
> >noting that Bathsheva was purified from her uncleanness. She was kept
> >in such a state because Batsheva was David's soulmate, though he was
> >kept from marrying her until he was worthy. Note also that Nathan
> >refers to the ewe as being treated as a "daughter" (12:3).
> All this seems to indicate that it was no big deal. So why was Nathan
> so angry? Why was David and his linneage punished? Why did David's son
> lose his life? Where is the source of this knowledge about the marriage
> never being consummated? The text is quite explicit that Uriah was such
> a saint that he was unwilling to have sex with his wife while his
> comrades were on the firing line. I didn't notice anything about this
> "perpetual state of Nidah"...
> >A side question: if Uriah was a Khiti (Hittite), was the marriage
> >recognized as a marriage by Jewish law?
> Evidently the author of Samuel had no trouble with it.
> >If David commanded Uriah to go down to his house and wash, and Uriah didn't,
> >is this a case of publicly ignoring the King's command?
> And is it your position that *every* command of the king need be
> obeyed? In any case, it certainly looks as if God thought Uriah
> was in the right. Unless perhaps Nathan wasn't really a prophet
> and couldn't pronounce the word of the God? And perhaps David
> didn't say "I stand guilty before the Lord"? (2 Sam 12:13).

Here is the relevant prophetic text:

SA2 12:5 And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to
Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
SA2 12:7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of
Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand
of Saul;
SA2 12:9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil i
n his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken h
is wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Amm

SA2 12:10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because
thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wi
SA2 12:13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Natha
n said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die
SA2 12:14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the e
nemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall sur
ely die.

The words of the prophet are quite clear. Nevertheless, the strength of David
HaMelech's tshuvah should be a lesson to us all. David Hamelech knew the 10
songs of repentance revealed again by the Tzadik Rebenezal (Reb Nachman of
Bratslav Z"l) and he wrote these songs in the T'hillim. We should all realize
that no matter how deep we may fall into sin, that we can do complete
repentance to the point where our sin will be turned into a blessing
as the marriage of Batsheva and David became.

-- Jeff Spiegel 408-433-4291 Torah is Not a Work of History

From: Jeff Spiegel - 4291 (
Search Result 78
Subject: Re: Status of Midrash
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Date: 1993-10-05 11:41:07 PST

alan pfeffer ( wrote:
> As I understand the Orthodox position, the material in the Tanakh
> itself is regarded as historically true. Thus, there was a person
> named Abraham, he defeated the king Cedarlaomer, he fathered Ishmael
> and Isaac and Midian and others, and so on. But what about the
> stories of Abraham's youth, that his father made idols, and the like?
> Do some, many, most Orthodox Jews regard some, many, most of these
> materials as historical also?

The Tanakh is not a work of history. Rabbi Twersky Z"l of Denver once pointed
out that the Torah is the "blueprint" of the world. Nevertheless, the Torah is
not a work of science or a book of architecture. When the Torah needs to be
exact it enumerates events historically, i.e. the 10 generations from Adam
Harishon to Noach or from Noach to Avraham Avinu. In other places historical
facts are not presented in time order.

The purpose of the Midrash is to teach lessons not necessarily facts. Midrash is probably
the verb form for drash suggesting that it was compiled for
deriving sermons or lessons from the Torah.

Nevertheless, we do not poskin Halakha based on Midrash. In this respect
the Talmud is held to a higher degree of factual authenticity.

-- Jeff Spiegel 408-433-4291 Cain’s Wife

From: Jeff Spiegel - 4291 (
Search Result 79
Subject: Re: Cain's wife
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Date: 1993-09-29 18:01:47 PST

The bible doesn't explicitly say that Adam and Eve were the only people created,
though they were the first people.

Let's take a Kabbalistic route to understanding the situation. The Kabbalists
say that when G-d created the world He withheld some of the light, and this
is the light that righteous souls bathe in until the judgment day.

There is also mention of an upper Eden, which is associated with G-d's attribute
of Tiferets (beauty). There are stories of academies of our great sages that
exist at this level. Anyway let us suppose that Adam was created and
placed in the upper Eden, a world above our physical world, a world where the
"lion would lay down with the lamb" and world without violence.

In addition, the bible mentions that there were the Kings of Edom who died.
Kabbalistically, these kings are identified with previous worlds G-d fashioned
and destroyed. Perhaps our world is the last of the line though existing for
billions of years. There is a Jewish derivation for the age of the universe
that agrees somewhat with scientific deductions by noting that the length of
a day for G-d in Bereshis may be vastly longer then our own. Of course there
are opposing opinions as well.

Now Adam is unhappy in the upper Eden. He is lonely, so G-d takes from his
side, part of his soul and places it in a woman and there are two of them both
different from the original Adam. In this process G-d moves Adam and Eve
down to the lower Eden[2938] which is a garden in our world. The lower Eden is
identified with Malchuts (kingdom and Shekina). Yet, there are other people in
this world already (outside of Eden) who were made-evolved on a cruder level,
but nevertheless based on the original blueprint of man. Since the upper Eden
is above time Adam was the first man, and since the physical world had other
people they are from the lower light that G-d gave the physical world.

When Adam and Eve are cast out of the garden, they discover another world,
where animals can be violent, and agriculture must be cultivated. Their souls
though are from a higher level like the Sons of G-d mentioned in Bereshis and
the other people in this world are called the Sons of Men.

Cain is the first one to take a wife from the Sons of Men.

(Note: Some of these ideas are mehadesh on my part. The traditional viewpoint
is that Cain married his sister whose birth while not mentioned in the bible
is not precluded either.) Sukkot

From: Jeff Spiegel - 4291 (
Search Result 80
Subject: Re: Another Question
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Date: 1993-09-15 16:53:42 PST

Susan Miller ( wrote:
> I have a question. I realize that the Jewish religion recognizes some of God's
> Holy Days (but have their own meaning attached to them) but why do you all
> completely omit the Feast of Tabernacles, especially the First and Last Great
> Day, which are high holy days ?

The Feast of Tabernacles is the holiday Sukkot. It occurs a week after Yom
Kipper. It is observed by building temporary shelters, which are covered by
fresh large leafy branches called Sehak. During this week one is supposed to
eat meals in the Sukkah and spend a good portion of time there. The first two
days of the holiday and the last two correspond to those days mentioned in the
bible. Outside of Israel, two days are celebrated for the beginning and ending
holidays. Work is prohibited and there is much rejoicing and festive meals.
Sukkot is one of the 3 pilgrimage holidays where one was supposed to bring
an offering to the temple along with Pesach and Shavuot.

Sukkot occurred during the time of the harvest and was accompanied with
fresh fruits. The Etrog which is a sweet smelling lemon-like fruit is
used in the temple service during this holiday. Lashon Horah

From: Jeff Spiegel - 4291 (
Search Result 83

Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish
View: Complete Thread (7 articles)
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Date: 1993-09-13 10:22:50 PST

Here are some more pshat on Loshon Hora and Midots Development:

Mosad Eliezer Hoffner's 'Guide to Midoth Improvement' pp 40-41 based on Sefer
Taharath HaLashohn Vehanefesh (with approbation of the Geonim
Rav Mosheh Feinstein Z"l and Rav Eliyahu Lopian Z"l states:

The following commandments
1. You shall walk in His ways (Devarim 28:9).
Just as He is kind and merciful, you should also be kind and merciful.
(Shabat 133b(Abba Shaul))
2. And you shall like another person as you like yourself (Vayikra 19:18).
3. Do not hate your brother in your heart (Vayikra 19:17).
4. Judge the other person fairly (Vayikra 19:15).
are transgressed by
1. "Anyone who engages in Leshohn-Horah, since there is a chance that a
listener (or reader) may believe it, thus committing a serious sin
(of believing Leshohn-Horah) -- and the more such listeners
(or those who read the Leshohn-Horah e.g. in a newspaper),
the greater will be the sin of the person who started the slander!"

In the RAMBAM's Mishneh Torah, Sefer HaMidah (Book of Character) ch. 6:8:

8. -- The sages declared: "Whoever shames a fellow man in public has no share
in the future world" (Bava Metsia 59a). One should therefore be careful not
to offend anybody in public, whether young or old. One must not call a person
by a name of which he feels ashamed, nor tell in his presence anything that
embarrasses him. --"

9. If an offended person is unwilling to criticize or say anything to the
offender, who happens to be grossly vulgar or mentally disturbed, and
heartily forgives him without resenting or rebuking him, he performs a
saintly deed. The Torah only objects to bearing a grudge.

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch states ch. 30:2:

"There is a much graver sin [than tale bearing (rawchyl)] which is classified
under this prohibition and that is slander (LaShon Harah) ... "

In the Mishnah's Pirkei Avots ch. 3:11:

"Rabbi Elazar of Modin says: He who ... puts his fellow man to shame in public,
violates the covenant of our father, Avrohom. And he who interprets the
Torah contrary to the Halakha---Even though he is learned in Torah and
possesses good deeds---has no share in the World To Come."

Reb Nachman of Breslov Z"l in AZAMRA (I will sing) Likutey Moharan I 282 says:
KNOW! You must judge all people favorably."

-- Jeff Spiegel 408-433-4291

From: Jeff Spiegel - 4291 (
Search Result 85

Subject: Re: GIVE BACK LAND?
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish
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Date: 1993-09-08 19:13:37 PST

Here are some pshat on Loshon Hora from Rabbi Pliskin on the Chofetz Chayim Z"l
in Guard Your Tongue.

You are forbidden to insult others. Some people try to conceal insults in
witticisms. This causes the bystanders to laugh at the victim and
greatly increases the victim's embarrassment. Anyone who compliments
such people on their wit will be held responsible for being an accomplice.

"Loshon Hora said in Jest
You are forbideen to speak loshon hora even in jest. The Torah prohibits
derogatory statements, even if they are said without hatred and without
the intention of degrading the person being spoken about."

"Rebuking the Speaker of Loshon Hora
If your are in the company of people who are speaking loshon hora you
are obligated to rebuke them. If you remain silent, you will be held
responsible for their sins"

-- Jeff Spiegel 408-433-4291 Reincarnation

From: Jeff Spiegel - 4291 (
Search Result 88
Subject: Re: Judaism and reincarnation
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish
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Date: 1993-08-31 11:34:26 PST

Here are some possible references to reincarnation:

In Job 33, one of Job's friends Elihu ben Barachel defends G-d before Job's friends and Job himself. Up until this point, Job has been the victim of L'Shon Hara by his other friends and has become despondent.

Here is some of the text: "If an angel intercedes on behalf of the goodness of a man then He is gracious
unto him... He returneth to the days of his youth. He prays and G-d see's his face with joy. He confesses his sin and redeems his soul.

Lo all these things doth G-d work, twice yea thrice, with a man, to bring his soul from the pit, that he may be enlightened with the light of the living."

The obvious interpretation is that no matter how far a person may fall in his current life he should never give up, for G-d can restore him/her to the "light of the living." Nevertheless, this has been interpreted as denoting reincarnation.

In the Ramal's (Moshe Luzzatto Z"l) Derech Hashem: 2:3:10, "A single soul can be reincarnated a number of times in different bodies and in this manner, it can rectify the damage done in previous incarnations.
Similarly it can also achieve perfection that was not attained in its previous incarnations."

In the Bahir 194, "Rabbi Rahumai said: This I received. When Moses wanted to know about the
glorious fearsome Name, may it be blessed, he said (Exodus 33:18), 'Show me please Your Glory'; he wanted to know why there are righteous who have good and righteous who have evil, why there are wicked who have good and wicked who have evil." .... This is because the righteous person was wicked previously and is now being punished ..."

The obvious interpretation is that the righteous suffer so that they may be rewarded forever in the world to come. Nevertheless, this has been interpreted as a reference to reincarnation.

Overall, Judaism does not come forth definitively for this belief. There are arguments from both sides. Resurrection

From: Jeff Spiegel - 4291 (
Search Result 89
Subject: Re: Resurrection: was Re: Judaism and reincarnation
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View: Complete Thread (12 articles)
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Date: 1993-08-26 18:50:29 PST

Samuel R. Kaplan (srk7a@poe.acc.Virginia.EDU) wrote:
> My question is whether there is any text before this in favor of
> resurrection--I thought it was always some vague share in the world to
> come. So is this really essential to Judaism, or is this just 12th
> century Reform Judaism, Hispanic variety?

Towards the end of the Book of Ezekiel is the prophecy of the 'Valley of the
Dried Bones'. Here Ezekiel is very wrought over the situation of the
Jewish people in exile.

I'll paraphrase the vision since I do not have the text in front of me.

G-d to Ezekiel:"Can these bones yet live".
Ezekiel responds: "Oh G-d only thou knowest."
G-d:Prophesize unto the bones that they have sinews put upon them,
and that flesh cover the sinews and bones.
G-d: Now prophesize that there be breath in the bodies and that
they live and walk upon the land.
G-d: These bones are the whole House of Israel and although
they have lost hope, they shall yet live.

This prophecy continues with a description of the complete restoration of
the Jewish people to its full glory and a rebuilding of the temple.

The prophecy has been interpreted as both a vision of hope given to our
people at that time as well as a prophecy for resurrection in the future.

Currently at end of page 9 on page 10

31.1.8 Talk.religion.newage No Man Can Be God

From: Jeff Spiegel (
Message 4 in thread
Subject: Re: Why Men Will Not Come to Christ
Newsgroups: talk.religion.newage
View this article only
Date: 1994-04-19 18:12:09 PST

Patrick Walsh ( wrote:
> In article <2p15l7$>, (Jeff Spiegel) wrote:
> > No man can be G-d.
> >
> > --
> > -- Jeff Spiegel408-433-6713
> BUZZZZZZ! Wrong. Next?

Actually this is true: "no man can be G-d". I had a dream where I was being
asked why I did not believe in C. and I looked at the person and uttered
"no man" and then looked to the heavens and uttered "can be G-d" and a
brilliant light of warmth descended upon me and I knew this was True! Vision

From: Jeff Spiegel (
Message 1 in thread
Subject: messiah vision II
Newsgroups: talk.religion.newage

View this article only
Date: 1994-04-25 17:17:09 PST

7/27/93 B"H
Tish B Av
5 PM

Decided to do a meditation to keep my mind off of food. Quickly rose
to the level of Malchuts. I felt the whole floor elevated as I entered
this level on my own. I then lifted myself to Yesod. All around were
towering angels. With the slightest thought Gavriel, Michael, Uriel
and Raphiel descended to the 4 corners of my body. They lifted me as
I looked upwards towards Tiferet like a spread sheet. A 5th angel
joined by the name of Nuriel and Uriel took a center position under my
body. We ascended above Tiferets and I felt as if I was floating in
clouds and blue sky.

As we rose higher, I thought about what I wanted to do. I wanted to
know of the Messiah some more. I then saw one like the Son of Man
coming down and there was a crown upon his head lowered quickly from
above. I prostrated myself before him and he turned his head upward
towards G-d saying, "why do you prostrate before me, there is only G-d."
He lifted me up and we were the same height for he was a man and not an

He told me to find the answers, I should look into his eyes. The eyes
were a swirling blue and green like water currents and I began to feel
faint. I felt like I might lose consciousness if I gazed too long upon
them. I opened my eyes and said I must eat. The experience was too


The above transcript is directly copied from the original journal entry
written soon after the vision.

Tish B'Av - 9th of Av # Jewish fast day commemorating the destruction
# of the Second Temple.
B"H - With G-d's blessing # abbrev of Hebrew "baruch Hashem"

Tiferets - upper Eden # energy of Truth and beauty, as well as the
blue sky # balance of mercy and judgement from above.
Yesod - righteousness # the angels descend and ascend through the
place of angels # world of Yetzirah (formation) which parallels
Jacob's ladder # the sefirah of Yesod.
Malchuts - our world # receptacle for G-d's energy Virgin Birth

From: Jeff Spiegel (
Search Result 65
Subject: Re: I believe
Newsgroups: talk.religion.newage
View: Complete Thread (87 articles)
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Date: 1994-02-09 16:46:47 PST

Arnold E. Nordeng (nordenga@tc.fluke.COM) wrote:
> in Jesus Christ. That far, far fringe, way out of there. The
> one that believes in a literal resurrection, a literal virgin
> birth, a literal second coming, and that Jesus is literally God's
> Son.

Believing in a literal virgin birth; why bother? ISA 7:14 never used the word for virgin; actually the phrase should be translated "this young woman will conceive and bear a son." The Hebrew is clearly referring to someone present and the word "almah" means young woman not virgin. The English word alum or alumni evolved from the Hebrew word.

The idea of the trinity or 3 divine entities is also quite foreign. The Jewish idea is that there is only one G-d whose essence is referred to as Ain Sof, without end.

In DEU 6:4, it states clearly "Hear Israel! the L-RD our G-d the L-RD is one".

In Judaism there is the concept of the Tzaddik (righteous person) of the generation who is especially dear to G-d. While Hasidic Jews will often follow such a person with the idea that attachment will raise them spiritually, they would never consider worshipping him even if he did turn out to be the Messiah.

EXO 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

-- Jeff Spiegel 408-433-6713

31.1.9 Messianic

I am 100% certain that Rashi would not modify his commentary to purposely differ from Christian interpretations of the suffering servant. He would have had no qualms about recording a 'suffering servant messianic' idea if it was authentic. Most likely this was a Post-Isaiah innovation. Isaiah referred to Cyrus as the messiah because this was a messianic idea in his time. On the other hand Isaiah 53 was not messianic to Isaiah.

Isaiah 41:8 But you, Israel, are my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.
Isaiah 41:9. You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called you from its farthest corners, and said to you, You are my servant; I have chosen you, and not cast you away.
Isaiah 41:10. Fear not; for I am with you; be not dismayed; for I am your God; I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.

Tanach - Isaiah Chapter 44

1. Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen;
2. Thus says the Lord who made you, and formed you from the womb, who will help you; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.

21. Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for you are my servant; I have formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you shall not be forgotten by me.

Isaiah 49:3. And said to me, You are my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

Sometimes the servant is the prophet himself:

Isaiah 49
5. (K) And now, says the Lord who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, that Israel should be gathered to him, and I was honored in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.
6. (K) And he says, It is a light thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give you for a light to the nations, that My salvation may be to the end of the earth.

Salvation does not come from the servant, but Only from G-d.

Rashi is an authentic commentator par excellence. His opinions have withstood the test of time. Though many would disagree with his concise opinions they are an accurate record of the ancient authentic ideas surrounding the text of the Tanach.

Rashi brings an ancient tradition of the belief that the Nephilim were "fallen angels" in his commentary of Numbers 13:37, "Giants, of the children of Shamhazzai and Azael who had fallen from heaven in the days of the generation of Enosh."

The concept of fallen angels no matter how ancient is paganism IMHO, yet Rashi records it. The Nephilim idea as fallen angels existed BEFORE the recording of the Torah. Hence, the trace remnants that are still in the Torah. Similarly certain aspects of the Yom Kippur sacrifice like the "sins of the people being PLACED onto the head of the Goat" are pagan and yet still in the Torah. They are there because these ideas preceded the writing of the Torah not because they are literally true. Living Atonement

Some more follow-up below, red was an available color.
Dr. Jeff Spiegel

Hi Craig,
The word in Isaiah 48:8 is belly and not womb, and Isaiah being a prophetic poet chose his words deliberately.  I corrected the translation.  The other translations that you and I have seen for this word are simply wrong in trying to diminish Isaiah’s careful selection of words. 
Rahum, the word for womb also means mercy!   However, Beten suggests that folks at this time were born from a belly which when hungry rules the human being!   Of course Isaiah is very metaphorical and he is suggesting this is the way that folks lived at this time and that is why they were transgressors. 
To interpret Isaiah literally in order to contrive the existence of Original Sin is to denigrate the careful selection of words by this great prophet. 
Dr. Jeff Spiegel

Jeff, Shalom. 
May HaShem be pleased with our dialogue.
Isaiah 48:8 belly/womb translate beten as womb--not just belly. The Tanakh translates Is 48:8:
8. Neither did you hearken, neither did you know, nor was your ear opened from then, for I knew that you would deal treacherously, and you were called transgressor from the womb.
There are 36 verses of the Tanakh that translates beten as belly.
My understanding in this is that not from outside the womb, but from the womb itself.
This is the belief in Original Sin.
  And I agree that we are born with, at the moment of birth, an evil inclination that we must defeat.  And, we are born into a world where the evil inclination of all that came before has had a negative effect on the Creation.  This is why we are to defeat our own evil inclination and to work to repair the damage done to the Creation by sinful men.
And this is my understanding of we were all born "into" sin/impurity, with a nature towards sin, a predisposition to gratify the evil inclination.  And we were given the good inclination to defeat the evil in ourselves and the world. 
I would qualify "defeat".  "Defeat" suggests that the evil inclination and the sin are the same, which is not quite right.  This is a fundamental difference between Judaism and Christianity where in Christianity the thought of sinning like "adultery", the evil inclination, is considered the same as the sin of adultery.  In Judaism, the evil inclination is conquered by not succumbing to the sin even if one has the thought!, has vshalom.
The evil inclination is the tendency to sin.  The evil inclination can be harnessed for good.  This is the idea that the Right hand rules over the Left.  Abraham on the Right Side symbolizing Mercy bound Isaac on the Left Side symbolizing Harshness.  Religious Jews button their coats Right over Left.  This is not to say that the left side is evil without purpose.
That a person is born means that a person needs to work on matters in this world to improve.  And also there is an evil inclination that is present from birth in different forms in each person, but STILL EVERYONE IS BORN FREE OF SIN.

Which would be helpful to understand and reach that conclusion if only the Tanakh had said so directly instead of making clear statements to the opposite by saying such as, we (House of Jacob, Israel) were called transgressor from the womb.
Isaiah's metaphor is that the Belly tries to rule over man with its grumbling and desires.  When is the day that we conquer the Belly?  This is the Day of Atonement when we fast and prove that our righteousness rules over our transgressions the womb rules over the belly.  We cannot blindly apply Isaiah's words to all generations and say that Israel is always wicked, has vshalom.  One must understand the prophets in the context of when they are speaking. 
Not that the person is born with sin, but there is a crooked tendency, an evil inclination that must be harnessed controlled and shaped in each one of us until it serves the good will.

Again, we are in agreement--there is a crooked tendency, an evil inclination, that must be harnessed and controlled, but often is not.  You call it a crooked tendency, an evil inclination, I believe the Tanakh calls the results of the evil inclination, sin.  In any event, we must control the evil inclination we are all born with that we do not sin.  For if we do not, then sin is the natural consequence.  And most of our children are not little saints from their earliest--we are often scolded to learn that our actions are wrong--and this is from our birth.  By this we learn to control our evil inclination and avoid, even prevent the sin our nature towards sinning produces
I think you are striving away from Original Sin here.  I would agree with this.  

It is 100% false to say, “there is no atonement without the shedding of blood.”  
That is to say there are many other forms of atonement.  Even the goat that was sent to the Azazel Wilderness was a LIVING ATONEMENT.  Flower was acceptable as an atonement offering by the very poor:
"But if his means are insufficient for two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then for his offering for that which he has sinned, he shall bring the tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall not put oil on it or place incense on it, for it is a sin offering." (Leviticus 5:11)
This text proves blood is not required!
So it is a false statement, “there is no atonement without the shedding of blood.”    And even between man and G-d this quote from the New Testament is 100% wrong.
This does not abrogate the sacrifice; on the contrary, we wait to rebuild the Temple again to enrich the experience of offering and eating meat to a higher level instead of slaughtering cattle in slaughterhouses demeaning their life essence, which is in the blood.
Furthermore the atonement of sacrifices was only for transgression and not for crime and iniquity so that Tshuvah, Tzedakah, and Tefilliah; repentance, charity, and prayer were always applied to atonement as well.
Deeds of loving-kindness may also serve to atone.  Fasting is a means to atonement too.

First, regarding Azazel from
A man was selected, preferably a priest, to take the goat to the precipice in the wilderness; and he was accompanied part of the way by the most eminent men of Jerusalem. Ten booths had been constructed at intervals along the road leading from Jerusalem to the steep mountain. At each one of these the man leading the goat was formally offered food and drink, which he, however, refused. When he reached the tenth booth those who accompanied him proceeded no further, but watched the ceremony from a distance. When he came to the precipice he divided the scarlet thread into two parts, one of which he tied to the rock and the other to the goat's horns, and then pushed the goat down (Yoma vi. 1-8). The cliff was so high and rugged that before the goat had traversed half the distance to the plain below, its limbs were utterly shattered. Men were stationed at intervals along the way, and as soon as the goat was thrown down the precipice, they signaled to one another by means of kerchiefs or flags, until the information reached the high priest, whereat he proceeded with the other parts of the ritual.
The scarlet thread was a symbolical reference to Isa. i. 18; and the Talmud tells us (ib. 39a) that during the forty years that Simon the Just was high priest, the thread actually turned white as soon as the goat was thrown over the precipice: a sign that the sins of the people were forgiven. In later times the change to white was not invariable: a proof of the people's moral and spiritual deterioration, that was gradually on the increase, until forty years before the destruction of the Second Temple, when the change of color was no longer observed (l.c. 39b).J. Sr. I. Hu.

—Critical View:
There has been much controversy over the function of Azazel as well as over his essential character. Inasmuch as according to the narrative the sacrifice of Azazel, while symbolical, was yet held to be a genuine vicarious atonement, it is maintained by critics that Azazel was originally no mere abstraction, but a real being to the authors of the ritual—as real as HaShem himself.
This relation to the purpose of the ceremony may throw light upon the character of Azazel. Three points seem reasonably clear. (1) Azazel is not a mere jinnee or demon of uncertain ways and temper, anonymous and elusive (see Animal Worship), but a deity standing in a fixed relation to his clients. Hence the notion, which has become prevalent, that Azazel was a "personal angel," here introduced for the purpose of "doing away with the crowd of impersonal and dangerous se'irim" (as Cheyne puts it), scarcely meets the requirements of the ritual. Moreover, there is no evidence that this section of Leviticus is so late as the hagiological period of Jewish literature.
(2) The realm of Azazel is indicated clearly. It was the lonely wilderness; and Israel is represented as a nomadic people in the wilderness, though preparing to leave it. Necessarily their environment subjected them in a measure to superstitions associated with the local deities, and of these latter Azazel was the chief. The point of the whole ceremony seems to have been that as the scapegoat was set free in the desert, so Israel was to be set free from the offenses contracted in its desert life within the domain of the god of the desert.
(3) Azazel would therefore appear to be the head of the supernatural beings of the desert. He was thus an instance of the elevation of a demon into a deity. Such a development is indeed rare in Hebrew religious history of the Biblical age, but Azazel was really never a national Hebrew god, and his share in the ritual seems to be only the recognition of a local deity. The fact that such a ceremony as that in which he figured was instituted, is not a contravention of Lev. xvii. 7, by which demon-worship was suppressed. For Azazel, in this instance, played a merely passive part. Moreover, as shown, the symbolical act was really a renunciation of his authority. Such is the signification of the utter separation of the scapegoat from the people of Israel. This interpretation is borne out by the fact that the complete ceremony could not be literally fulfilled in the settled life of Canaan, but only in the wilderness. Hence it was the practice in Jerusalem, according to Yoma vii. 4, to take the scapegoat to a cliff and push him over it out of sight. In this way the complete separation was effected.
Therefore, it is simply not true that the goat that was sent to the Azazel Wilderness was a LIVING ATONEMENT--the goat died.. 
[sic] Flower was acceptable as an atonement offering by the very poor:
True, but you and I would not qualify to offer flour--it would not be accepted to atone for our sins.  That flour was acceptable as an atonement offering by the very poor only demonstrates the graciousness of HaShem too the very poor.  It provides no argument that blood is not normatively required.  We do not make rulings based on the exceptions of Torah, but the standard of Torah.

THEREFORE, normatively, BLOOD IS REQUIRED, as it is written:[2939]

Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls for it, the blood, makes an atonement for the soul.[2940]
This does not abrogate the sacrifice; on the contrary, we wait to rebuild the Temple again to enrich the experience of offering and eating meat to a higher level instead of slaughtering cattle in slaughterhouses demeaning their life essence, which is in the blood.
Furthermore the atonement of sacrifices was only for transgression and not for crime and iniquity so that Tshuvah
Again, you and I are in agreement on this.
Tzedakah, and Tefilliah; repentance, charity, and prayer were always applied to atonement as well.  Deeds of loving-kindness may also serve to atone.  Fasting is a means to atonement too.
If you mean for me to understand "... were always applied to atonement as well" means these result from atonement, not in order to normatively attain atonement, then I agree with you.  If not I respectfully disagree.
Rather, these are normatively evidences of T'shuvah--the person has repented, returned to HaShem and the congregation of Israel, and is doing the mitzvah in keeping with obedience to the Torah that shows forth a renewed life.  Though by exception it may, because there is no Temple, or there is no way for me to get to the Temple when it stood or stands again, or because of poverty.
There was a man named Zacchaeus.  He obeyed the Torah giving back to every one, not three times, but four times the amount of money that he had taken unscrupulously from the Jews. 
Luke 19:8,9 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the adon; Behold, adon, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore fourfold And Yeshua said to him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Avraham.
So Zacchaeus repented, completed teshuva, and demonstrated the truthfulness of his new condition by obeying the Torah, even going beyond the Torah's requirement by restoring more from those he had taken.  To which Yeshua said, “This day is salvation come to this house.”  What we are not told is whether this man would later take a sin offering to the Temple.  Given his action of returning what he had taken from others I believe he would have brought the offering(s) required by Torah as part of completing his teshuvah.  However, we can never argue our positions on matters from the silence of the text.

Hi Craig,
To explain why NO ONE IS BORN WITH SINS:
Psalm 58
1. To the chief Musician, Altaschith, A Miktam of David.
2. Do you indeed decree what is right? Do you judge uprightly, O you sons of men?
3. But in your hearts you work wickedness; your hands deal out violence on the earth.
4. The wicked go astray from the womb; they err from birth speaking lies.
5. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; they are like the deaf adder that stops its ear;
6. Which will not listen to the voice of charmers, or of the cunning enchanter.
7. Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth; break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord.
Even the wicked person mentioned in verse 4 is born free of sins!   Moreover, if you are using this line as a proof of Original Sin, than it is only the “wicked that would be born with this sin”?
That a person is born means that a person needs to work on matters in this world to improve.  Also, there is an evil inclination that is present from birth in different forms in each person, but STILL EVERYONE IS BORN FREE OF SIN.    The text does not say that anyone is born with sin.  In fact, in the Hebrew verse 4:  NONE OF THE WORDS FOR SIN are mentioned.   Instead, this is precisely the point of Rabbi Levene from
"Adam's primeval sin led to the internalization of evil within man"
Not that the person is born with sin, but there is a crooked tendency, an evil inclination that must be harnessed controlled and shaped in each one of us until it serves the good will.
In Judaism, we do not even believe the evil inclination is entirely evil, but that its energy can be applied for good. In fact, the evil inclination is the drive that leads to competition for reproduction.  This was the challenge of Esau who though with a stronger evil inclination had a greater potential for messianic leadership than Jacob.  Esau was intended to marry Leah if he could have harnessed this drive and would have kept the birthright of the first-born.
There is no Original Sin.  Everything that G-d has given us is ultimately for the good.  If we were born with Sin, this could not be the case.
Isaiah 48:
1. Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and have come forth from the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness.
8. You did not hear, you did not know; nor from old was your ear not opened; for I knew that you would deal very treacherously, and were called a transgressor from the belly.
9. For my name’s sake will I defer my anger, and for my praise will I refrain for you, that I cut you not off.
In this verse, Isaiah refers to Israel as Jacob since at that time her behavior was not so honorable.  Again, Isaiah is referring to a particular time and situation that led to the Babylonian exile.  This is not a proof of Original Sin.  Transgression can only begin after birth.  We are ALL BORN WITH A CLEAN SLATE.
It is 100% false to say, “there is no atonement without the shedding of blood.”  
That is to say there are many other forms of atonement.  Even the goat that was sent to the Azazel Wilderness was a LIVING ATONEMENT.  Flower was acceptable as an atonement offering by the very poor:
"But if his means are insufficient for two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then for his offering for that which he has sinned, he shall bring the tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall not put oil on it or place incense on it, for it is a sin offering." (Leviticus 5:11)
This text proves blood is not required!
So it is a false statement, “there is no atonement without the shedding of blood.”    And even between man and G-d this quote from the New Testament is 100% wrong.
This does not abrogate the sacrifice; on the contrary, we wait to rebuild the Temple again to enrich the experience of offering and eating meat to a higher level instead of slaughtering cattle in slaughterhouses demeaning their life essence, which is in the blood.
Furthermore the atonement of sacrifices was only for transgression and not for crime and iniquity so that Tshuvah, Tzedakah, and Tefilliah; repentance, charity, and prayer were always applied to atonement as well.
Deeds of loving-kindness may also serve to atone.  Fasting is a means to atonement too.
Jeff Spiegel
Still, the more mitzvoth a person keeps, the weaker the evil inclination becomes.
The following statement is wrong: “This is what is meant that the offspring of man are born into sin, from the day of our birth.  For by the actions of 1 man, Adam, did sin enter into the world so that all of the children of Adam down to even all of us are under this reality. “
I respectfully disagree.  We are born into a world that from the beginning was pristine, and without sin.  Adam chose to
violate the commandment of HaShem, thus bringing sin for the first time into this world.  Adam’s sons were born into a
world whose first parents established a pattern of violating the commandment of HaShem, and one son followed the
parents’ pattern, ratifying Adam’s  sin by his own.  And so has man ever since.  It is into this world where sin is ratified by
the progeny of Adam that each person is born; hence the saying we are born into (a world of) sin from our birth.
But this is not what the Tanak reports:
Psa 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.
Isa 48:8 You hear not and you know not; even from that time your ear was not opened: for I knew that you would deal very treacherously, and was called a transgressor from the womb.
It is 100% false to say, “there is no atonement without the shedding of blood.”  
Yet the pattern that HaShem set—slaying the animals to provide the coverings for HaAdam and Chava, and the service of the Tabernacle and the Temple.  Again, HAShem never abrogated the requirement for the blood offerings/atonement, only that they were unacceptable when brought by people with no intention of being corrected and changed to desire to do all that HaShem had commanded—they did not come with broken and contrite hearts; therefore, their sacrifices were of no value, not that sacrifices brought with true motive—t’shuvah and the restoration of the relationship between a man and/or the whole community of Israel, and HaShem, were unacceptable.
There are many types of atonement.  A king listening to a wise man is considered atonement for him (Proverbs).  Jacob brought a gift to his brother to atone with him.   Also G-d grants atonement to his people out of mercy.
Agreed; however, there is a vast difference in the atonement of a man to his brother, or a King and a wise man, perhaps a King and his people, to the Atonement of a man, or all of Israel, to HaShem.[2941]
This Yom Kippur was the very best I have ever participated in.  May HaShem be pleased with the desire of His people to attain complete forgiveness, and may HaShem grant us all complete forgiveness and may we be inscribed in the Book of Life.  And, may the Temple and the Service of Aharon be established anew with the King, Son of Dovid, Messiah, on the Throne of Dovid.

From: Jeff Spiegel
Extricating an “unwanted alien” rings of possession and exorcism.  Nevertheless there is a basis and purpose to the evil inclination, which is to test us.  Still, the more mitzvoth a person keeps, the weaker the evil inclination becomes.  The statement “Adam's primeval sin led to the internalization of evil within man” is vague.
Judaism--100% believes that we are born into this world 100% innocent, everyone, no exceptions.  This does not mean that we are born perfect!   In fact, the souls, selected to be born into the world may bear scars from past lives that need to be repaired, but NO ONE IS BORN WITH SINS.  Evil means the absence of G-d.  It does not refer to sin or Original Sin or any action.  The Hebrew word for evil means a tendency to crookedness.  The bold faced statement above does not acknowledge Original Sin!
The following statement is wrong: “This is what is meant that the offspring of man are born into sin, from the day of our birth.  For by the actions of 1 man, Adam, did sin enter into the world so that all of the children of Adam down to even all of us are under this reality. “
L’havdil, (to separate from falsehood), “-I am not sure that the same happens w/o the offering.  Perhaps in the merit of believing that the sacrifices were offered and hoping in the restoration of the Temple we are given special consideration w/o setting aside the Torah requirement concerning Yom Kippur.”   This is interesting.   In general when one fasts, that is also considered an offering.  Also charity is considered an offering. 
It is 100% false to say, “there is no atonement without the shedding of blood.”   There are many types of atonement.  A king listening to a wise man is considered an atonement for him (Proverbs).  Jacob brought a gift to his brother to atone with him.   Also G-d grants atonement to his people out of mercy.  All of these are described in the Tanach.
The Torah specifically states that the goat is sent to/into Azazel the wilderness and not thrown over a cliff.  It happened once that the goat returned to a village and the people were so distraught that a decision was made to throw it over a cliff. 
Sefer haHinukh, the Book of Education, on Animal Sin Offering

Furthermore, the human heart is more deeply touched by animal sacrifices
 due to the great similarity between man and animal.  The only respect in which the two differ
 is that man possesses intelligence and the animal does not.  When man sins,
 intelligence forsakes him at that moment and he enters the category of animal.
Man is therefore commanded to bring a body most resembling himself,
 to the place chosen for the elevation of the intelligence (namely, the Temple),
 and have it burned and completely annihilated there... 
 Thereby, it will be impressed upon his heart
 that his former state of body without intelligence has been completely destroyed.
The sinner brings gifts to accomplish these tasks.   The animal representing our animal instinct receives our sins symbolically in the process as they are nullified.    One kabbalistic answer to the goat that has the sins of Israel ‘put’ upon its ‘head’, lies not in the goat or the sins but instead, with the thread by which the appointed one leads the goat and a similar thread hung on the temple door.  This thread starts as scarlet, but turns white by the end of the journey, and then is released from the goats neck, symbolically unbundling the sins of the house of Israel.  The appointed man leads the goat away to freedom.  We, the house of Israel are also free of the sins that bind us.  The scarlet thread around our neck has turned white.  G-d has removed the thread and we are free to wander around the pristine earth. Sacrifice


I think that Yeshua ben Yoseph is an enigma. We are two milenia removed and very many accretions have piled onto the story. I will hope in the faithfulness of ELohim who shall redeem Israel, and that Yehoshua calls all who are and would be joined to Israel to observe the Torah with grace.

May Blessings be with you from the Merciful Eternal Being, Blessed is the Blessed One


Subject: RE: Torah Commentary for the coming Sabbath
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 05:34:38 -0600


I found the Torah commentary good.

Good verses from the Prophets. As we remember that only G-d is our savior, our Moshiah, we must remember that we do not believe like the Pagans that G-d has literal children. We may all be spiritually connected to G-d our Father, but not in a literal way, has vshalom as the Pagans believe. In Judaism, we believe in Bitul that one may nullify ones ego and become humble. In some ways this permits our will to become more of G-d's will.

When you realize this, you will understand that this takes nothing away from the life of yeshua ben yoseph, whose name means, “G-d Saves”. Similarly Yehoshua ben Nun had this name and not because he was “G-d Saves”.

When a pagan nation decides that to adopt Yeshua ben Yoseph requires a literal Son of God to replace their worship of the rebirth of the Sun, we understand why Judaism must not change. Even Yeshua ben Yoseph taught, “Why do you call me Good for only G-d is Good”. Think about his humility and you will understand. For your messiah foremost is an example of how we CAN live, because he wasn’t G-d, we can aspire to live like him.

Jeff Spiegel

Leviticus 17:10-14
And whoever there is of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among you,
who eats any kind of blood; I will set my face against that soul who eats blood,
and will cut him off from among his people.
For the soul-Nefesh-BodySoul of the animal is in the blood;
and I have given it to you upon the alter to ransom-CaPaR your souls,
for this blood, with this soul, I will ransom you.
Therefore I said to the people of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood,
nor shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.  
And whoever there is of the people of Israel,
or of the strangers who sojourn among you,
  who hunts and catches any beast or bird that may be eaten;
he shall pour out its blood, and cover it with dust.
For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for its life;
therefore I said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any kind of flesh;
for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.
These verses show that the main subject of the matter is to get the Israelites away from the pagan practice of consuming blood to be invested with the spirit of the animal.  Leviticus 17:11 begins with the Hebrew Al Cayn which means, 'thus', 'therefore' or as translated here 'for' and specifically connects the verse in the context of the previous verse.    The mechanism for atonement here is ‘not drinking the blood and returning it to G-d’ and yet, this is NOT THE ONLY way to atonement:[2942]
Text 31-1: Ways of atonement
So Hebrews 9:22 "...without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."  is wrong to exclude other ways of atonement:  "For example, incense served to atone for the people in Numbers 16:46-47, and giving charity is described in Exodus 30:15-16 and Numbers 31:50 as `making atonement for your souls' - the same expression as in Leviticus 17:11."
"One important limitation to the effectiveness of sacrifices is that they were only brought for unintentional sins.  Sacrifices did not help to atone for sins that were done intentionally (Leviticus 4, and Numbers 15:22-31). Since flour could be used for a sin offering, it is clear that blood was not a prerequisite for atonement."
Solomon specifically teaches that atonement can be obtained without sacrifice in Kings 1:8:46-50:
If they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to You toward their land which You have given to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and the house which I have built for Your name; then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You...
Though the sacrifice is an important concept in Torah, one should not conclude, has v'shalom that the shedding of blood is essential.  Here are some verses to show this:
"That every man will turn from his evil way, then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin." (Jeremiah 36:3).
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return to the L-rd, and He will have compassion on him; and to our G-d, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:7).
"I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, `I will confess my transgressions to the L-rd', and You did forgive the guilt of my sin." (Psalm 32:5).
"And if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14). "But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has practiced he shall live...When a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life...Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you (Ezekiel 18:21- 22,27,30).
"By loving-kindness and truth iniquity is atoned for..." (Proverbs 16:6).
"If you return to G-d you will be restored; if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent...then you will delight in G-d..." (Job 22:23-27).
"Depart from evil, and do good, so you will abide forever." (Psalm 37:27, cf. Ezekiel 33, Zechariah 1:3, Jeremiah 26:13).
"What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me? says the L-rd. I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed cattle. And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats...Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Come let us reason together says the L-rd, `Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they will be like wool, if you consent and obey..." (Isaiah 1:11-18).
"The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the L-rd." (Proverbs 15:8).
"To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the L-rd than sacrifice." (Proverbs 21:3). "For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of G-d rather than burnt offerings." (Hoseah 6:6).
"Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken more than the fat of rams." (I Samuel 15:22).
"With what shall I come to the L-rd, and bow myself before the G-d on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? Does the L-rd take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the L-rd require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your G-d." (Micah 6:6-8,cf. Amos 5:22- 24, Jeremiah 7, Psalm 69:31-32).
"When G-d saw their deeds that they turned from their wicked way, then G-d relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them, and He did not do it." (Jonah 3:10).    No blood atonement required here.
In similar fashion, Daniel advised king Nebuchadnezzar on how to atone for his transgressions:
"Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: Redeem your sins by doing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor." (Daniel 4:27).
"Return, O Israel, to the L-rd your G-d, For you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to the L-rd. Say to Him, `Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously, for we will render as bullocks the offerings of our lips'." (Hosea 14:1-2).
"Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O L-rd, the G-d of my salvation. And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O L-rd, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not delight in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of G-d are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. These, O G-d, You will not despise." (Psalms 51:14-17, re:II Samuel 12:13).
"I will praise the name of G-d with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This shall please the L-rd better than an ox or bullock that has horns and hoofs." (Psalm 69:30-31).
"For You, L-rd, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You. Give ear, O L-rd to my prayer, and give heed to the voice of my supplications." (Psalm 86:5-6).
"And listen to the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place; hear from heaven Your dwelling place, hear and forgive." (II Chronicles 6:21).
Jeff Spiegel
Quoted material is from the Tanach or new Testament and quoted opinions are from Rabbi Michael Skobac of Toronto. Sacrifice 2

Hi Steve, 
I had a more detailed response to your questions:
I agree with your presentation.  To pursue the necessity of messiah sacrifice would require the correct place of the offering and manner of slaughter as well as a violation of the law of using a human being!  Christianity seems to have confused, atonement and sacrifice, with their suffering messiah who now has to die to become a sacrifice!  Also “one true” sacrifice is nonsensical to the Torah laws. 
My general view on sacrifice is if we are going to eat meat we might as well elevate the life of the animal as a gift to G-d (an Oleh – a raised offering), rather than a gluttonous barbeque.  Note, Rav Kook, 1st Chief Rabbi of Israel said that the “Lion will lie down with the lamb” teaches us that on that day we will be vegetarians like those living in the Garden of Eden.  Of course this is one man’s opinion of the end of times.  Another says we will dine on the sacrifice of the Leviathan.  What is the 3rd to reconcile these opinions?
From the Zohar we see that G-d can turn a person’s suffering into atonement for others without death.
Specifically, Zohar III 231a, comments on Job as a living atonement: 
“The early pillars of the world were divided.
 One maintained that Job belonged to the righteous Gentiles.
 Another said that he was one of the pious of Israel
 and he suffered in order to atone for the sins of the world.”
While this theology is not directly stated in the Tanach, God’s mercy for the sufferer to find meaning in his/her suffering is an explanation.  This explanation cannot apply to Christianity because Christianity’s focus is that Jesus had to die for the sins of humanity while here G-d acquiesces to the sufferer for the sufferer’s sake and not humanity.   There is no requirement of death/sacrifice/bloodletting and yet there is atonement!
But is the Zohar really authentic to the Torah here.  Self-sacrifice/vicarious atonement seems to be struck down in the Torah.  In the major case of Moses, G-d did not accept a similar offer:  (Exodus 32)
31. And Moses returned to the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
32. Yet now, if you will forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I beg you, from your book, which you have written.
33. And the Lord said to Moses, Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot from my book.
34. Therefore now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my Angel shall go before you; nevertheless in the day when I punish I will punish their sin upon them.
35. And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.
The Torah in numerous places does not allow vicarious atonement, even when Moses offers to be blotted or punished in the place of the people!  Moreover the Christian idea that we are all sinners needing grace is pushed aside here as G-d can see the true station of everyone and the relative significance of sin, “Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot from my book.”  G-d is not referring to everyone here.
As for Isaiah 53 these passages are not about self-sacrifice, but one who suffered while being taken into captivity for the sins of the whole nation though he was innocent.  Isaiah 53 is more about inspiring the guilty to repentance – Tshuvah by seeing the suffering of the innocent!  This is also the Holocaust effect that led to the creation of the State of Israel.  The Jews have been the suffering servants of the world on too many occasions.
Nevertheless, returning to the singular account in the Zohar of Job atoning for the world, a few mystics and Hasidic groups adopted the principle of vicarious atonement through suffering.  Suffering is another form of living atonement.
Returning to the subject of messiah, I recall:  Isaiah 45, which shows the relationship between the prophet and the messiah.  Before the messiah can be recognized, there must be a prophet to announce him.
Thus says the Lord to His Messiah to Coresh (Cyrus) whose right hand I have strengthened.
to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him doors and gates;
and the gates shall not be closed;  I will go before you, and make the hilly places level;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze, and cut in sunder the bars of iron;
And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places,
that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.
For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel my elect, I have called you by your name;
I have surnamed you, though you have not known me.
I am the Lord, and there is no one else, there is no God beside me;
I girded you, though you have not known me;
That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me.
I am the Lord, and there is no one else.
I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I the Lord do all these things.
 Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open,
and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up also; I, the Lord, have created it.
Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth.
Shall the clay say to him who fashions it, What do you make? or your work, He has no hands?
Woe to him who says to his father, What are you begetting? or to the woman, With what are you in labor?
Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons,
and concerning the work of my hands command me.
I have made the earth, and created man upon it; I, my own hands, have stretched out the heavens,
 and all their host have I commanded.
I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he shall build my city,
and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, says the Lord of hosts.
Thus says the Lord, The labor of Egypt, and the merchandise of Kush and of the Sebaim, men of stature,
 shall come over to you, and they shall be yours; they shall come after you; in chains they shall come over,
 and they shall fall down to you, they shall make supplication to you, saying,
Surely God is in you;  and there is no one else, there is no God.
Truly you are a God who hides yourself, O God of Israel, who saves them.
They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them;
they shall go to confusion together those who are makers of idols.
But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation;
you shall not be ashamed nor confounded to all eternity.
For thus says the Lord who created the heavens; God himself who formed the earth and made it;
he has established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited;
I am the Lord; and there is no one else.
I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I do not say to the seed of Jacob,
Seek me in vain; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you of the nations who have escaped;
they have no knowledge those who carry the wood of their carved idols,
and pray to a god who cannot save.
Declare, and bring them near; yes, let them take counsel together;
Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Did not I the Lord?
And there is no other God beside me; a just God and a savior; there is none beside me.
Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no one else.
I have sworn by myself, a word of righteousness is gone out of my mouth, and shall not be reversed,
That to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Surely, he said to me, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength; to him shall men come;
and all who are incensed against him shall be ashamed.
In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.
G-d is our savior, our only True savior.  If He should send Cyrus to help the Jews return to Israel, this does not make Cyrus a deity to be worshipped, although some made this error as Isaiah points out above in the boldface.  Is this not the error that Christians make, compounded by misunderstanding the word Moshia?  Savior in Hebrew is Moshia, which refers to being saved from physical oppression.  Hebrew doesn’t really have a word for salvation, because in the Torah salvation is not by grace, but by hard work and responsibility.  This is not to say that G-d isn’t merciful, but that we must make an effort to change to be better.
The messiah’s role is quite different then G-d’s.  A messiah enables the Israelites to return to their homeland, to rebuild the temple, to keep all the commandments, and to worship G-d.  Some Jewish groups are very messiah centric.   I believe there is some merit here if folks don’t become ethnocentric requiring that the messiah come from their own brand of Judaism, their own yeshiva, and their own school.   
This is the great point of Isaiah who showed us how the messiah could even come from another people, but that we should be ready to follow him.

Subject: RE: Living Atonement

You have cleared the cobwebs away with your eloquent words.  Thank you.  My question for both of you is this.  If Jesus (Yeshua) was the "one true" sacrifice for all of our sins, why wasn't he sacrificed on the altar as is prescribed in the Torah?  Why would G-d change His mind and nullify the law by allowing the sacrifice be, one, human, and second not be done on the sacrificial altar?  Israel had the altar available during Yeshua's life.  Why not use it for "G-d's son if that was what was needed, and as the "ultimate" sacrifice for all of humanity?  I know some of what I said is Christian left over theology, but even the Messianics have to believe that Yeshua died for our sins in order to be "Messianic."  Even Nazarite Jews believe Yeshua was/ is the Messiah and died for the sake of humanity.  I just do not see the connection from the Torah in the blood atonement and the argued cross/ stake atonement. 
I have to agree with Torah and Jewish traditional thought as Jeff explained below.  It just makes more sense.
B' Shalom
Steve The Lord is One

This interesting piece defends the possibility of a “2nd deity”.  Read the Bold Face material at the end first and then the text.   Nevertheless, the Editor's idea stretches the truth.   Jewish people NEVER believed in a 2nd deity.  Metatron was NEVER considered a deity!   That he was known as the “lesser YHVH” teaches us that even the names of G-d are mere designators or angels that usher our messages into the heavens.  Even the ineffable name YHVH is not God!   
This is what the Editor does not understand, Jews did not give angels the names of God to elevate them to deities, but quite the contrary to remind us that the names of G-d are not the Deity!
Excerpts from Dr James Trimm's book:
The Mystery of the Godhead;
Basic Concepts of Kabbalah
IN ADDITION to the term "Memra" another important technical term for the "other YHWH" in the apparent "multiple YHWH" passages was "Metatron." Scholars are uncertain about what the term "Metatron" actually means. According to Gershom Scholem:
The origin of the name Metatron is obscure; it is doubtful whether an etymological explanation can be given. It is possible that the name was intended to be a secret... or as a result of glossolalia ....
Among numerous etymological derivations given, three should be mentioned:
? from [Aramaic] matara, keeper of the watch;
? from [Aramaic] metator, a guide or messenger...
? from the combination of the two Greek words meta and thronos such as metathronios, in the sense of "one who serves behind the throne."
? However... the Greek word thronos does not appear in Talmudic literature. (Kabbalah; p. 380 )
According to the Zohar, the primary text of Rabbinic Kabbalah, the term "Metatron" points to the "keeper" of Israel from Psalm 121:4:
What shall I do for him [Metatron]? I will commit my whole house into his hand, etc.
Henceforth be you [Metatron] a KEEPER as it is written (Ps. 121:4) "The KEEPER of Israel..." (Zohar; Amsterdam Ed. vol 2 Ex. p. 51)
It is therefore likely that "Metatron" comes from the Aramaic MATARA (keeper) -ON (our) or perhaps even Aramaic METATOR (guide) -ON (our).
Now there are two very different traditions about who METATRON is. One tradition has it that Metatron is "the lesser YHWH"; the "Word" or "Adam Kadmon". The other tradition has it that Metatron is just a name for Enoch.
How did the two become confused? The answer lies in the Book of Enoch. The earliest extra-biblical Ma'aseh Merkavah account is found in the Book of Enoch Chapter 14. Here Enoch comes before the figure on the throne and comes near to the "Holy Word". The setting is that Enoch has been attempting to intercede for the fallen angels. Enoch passes through the worlds and comes before the throne and before the Word. Enoch is then given a message of judgment to take back to the fallen angels (1 Enoch 13-15).[2943]
Now the "Word" (Memra) is Metatron and it was this Word (Metatron) who gave Enoch a message to take back to the fallen angels. In a much later Rabbinic document the Midrash of Shemichazah and Aza'el we read:
Forthwith Metatron sent a messenger to Shemichaza and said to him: "The Holy One is about to destroy His world and bring upon it a flood.
This parallels 1 Enoch 13-15 exactly, only Enoch has simply become "a messenger" for Metatron, his name (Enoch) has been dropped. (Shemichazah and Aza'el were the leaders of the Fallen angels [1 Enoch 6; 10]).
I think that from this we can see how eventually Metatron (Adam Kadmon; the Lesser YHWH; the Word) became confused with his messenger Enoch.
Metatron was another term for the "Word [Memra] of YHWH" used in ancient Judaism. According to the Talmud (b. Sanedrin 38b) the issue of the multiple YHWHs in the Torah was brought up to Rabbi Idith by one of the Minim (a Rabbinic term for the Nazarenes):
Once a Min [Nazarene] said to R. Idith:
"It is written: And unto Moses He [YHWH] said, "Come up unto YHWH?"(Ex. 24:1) But surely it should have stated: "Come up unto Me!"
"It was Metatron [who was speaking,]" he replied, "Whose name is similar to that of his Master, for it is written: "For my name is in him" (Exodus 23:21).
According to the Tanakh the speaker here is YHWH (Exodus 20:1) and according to the Targum the speaker is "The Word [Memra] of YHWH" (Targum Ex. 20:1). This is the YHWH which Rabbi Idith identifies in the Talmud as "Metatron." Thus Metatron is the Word of YHWH and the other YHWH in such passages.
Now the Karaite author Kirkisani had a different reading in his copy of this Talmud passage. His copy had R. Idith saying "This is Metatron, who is the Lesser YHWH (YHWH HaQaton)" Thus "The Word of YHWH" or "Metatron" was also known to ancient Judaism as "YHWH HaQaton" the Lesser YHWH. That YHWH the speaker in Exodus 20:1; that 24:1 is Metatron is also discussed as follows:
EDITOR'S NOTE: Our purpose in printing this article certainly is not to promote Kabbala or the Zohar. The sole purpose is to show that concepts such as a second deity in the Godhead are not foreign concepts to Judaism or to the Jewish people. Read Yochanan (John) 1:1-4:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men."
These concepts are not at all contrary to concepts found in ancient Judaism. These concepts are found in the ancient Jewish concept of "Metatron." However, modern rabbis would have you believe that these ideas are utterly foreign to Judaism. The books of Enoch also add further concept to our understanding of the "Word" and of "Metatron." I was going to write an article on this myself, but rather than reinvent the wheel, I chose to include this article by James Trimm. I think you will like it! We look forward to comments.
HaShem said to Moses, "Come up unto YHWH"; this is Metatron. He is called by this name Metatron, because in this name are implied two significations, which indicate His character. He is Lord (Adon) and emissary (Shaliach).
There is also a third idea implied in the name Metatron: it signifies a "keeper" for in the Aramaic language a keeper (or watchman) is called "Materat;" and because He is keeper (or preserver) of the world, He is called "The Keeper of Israel" (Psalm 121:4).
From the signification of His name, we learn that He is Lord (Adon) over all which is below; because all the hosts of heaven, and all things upon the earth, are put in His headship and his hand.
(p. 114, Col. 1, Amsterdam Edition)
Note here that Metatron is the "keeper of Israel" who in Ps. 121:4 is YHWH. He is Lord (Adon) and Emissary (Shaliach) and Lord (Adon) over all which is below; because all the hosts of heaven, and all things upon the earth, are put in His headship and his hand.
Now the Torah tells us:
You cannot see My [YHWH's] face; For no man shall see Me [YHWH] and live. (Exodus 33:20)
However, as previously discussed, there were several occasions in which someone was reported in the Tanakh as having seen YHWH. The Targums resolved the problem by substituting the phrase "the Word [Memra] of YHWH" in such passages. The Zohar maintains this indicating that such passages refer to Metatron:
The great and exalted HaShem is speaking to Moses; He said unto him, that he should come up to YHWH, which is Metatron, who is often called with the name of Elohim, alluding to the Shekhinah which is thus called. And the reason why he said "Come up" is as if he had said: Ascend to the place of glory, where here is the Angel, the Redeemer; Because no one can come to the great HaShem: For it is written: "For no man shall see Me [YHWH] and live." (Exodus 33:20)
The Zohar also tells us that Metatron is the "Middle Pillar of the godhead" and that this "Middle Pillar" is "the Son of Yah":
The Middle Pillar [of the godhead] is Metatron, Who has accomplished peace above, According to the glorious state there.
(Zohar, vol. 3., p. 227, Amsterdam Edition)
Better is a neighbor that is near, than a brother far off. This neighbor is the Middle Pillar in the godhead, which is the Son of Yah.
(Zohar, vol. ii, p. 115, Amsterdam Edition)
Moreover the Zohar teaches that Metatron is not just the Son of Yah, but that he is "first begotten of all the creatures of Elohim":
"And Abraham said to his oldest servant of his house" (Gen. 24:2). Who is this of whom it said "his servant?" In what sense must this be understood? Who is this servant? R. Nehori answered:
"It is in no other sense to be understood than expressed in the word "His servant,"
His servant, the servant of Elohim, the chief to His service. And who is he?
Metatron, as is said, "He is appointed to glorify the bodies which are in the grave." This is the meaning of the words "Abraham said to His servant" that is to the servant of Elohim. The servant is Metatron, the eldest of His [YHWH's] House, who is the first-begotten of all creatures of Elohim, who is the ruler of all He has; because Elohim has committed to Him the government over all His hosts.
(Zohar, Gen. P. 126 Amsterdam Edition)
Not only does the Zohar teach that Metatron is the Son of Yah, the Middle Pillar of the Godhead and the first-begotten one, but the Zohar also presents Metatron as the only mediator between Elohim and man:
"To keep the way of the tree of life." (Genesis 3:24) Who is the way to the tree of life? It is the great Metatron, for he is the way to that great tree, to that mighty tree of life. Thus it is written, "The Angel of Elohim, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them." (Exodus 14:19) And Metatron is called the Angel of Elohim. Come and see, thus says R. Simeon. The holy One, blessed Be He, has prepared for Himself a holy Temple above in the heavens, a holy city, a city in the heavens, and called it Jerusalem, the holy city. Every petition sent to the King, must be through Metatron.
Every message and petition from here below, must first go to Metatron, and from thence to the king. Metatron is the Mediator of all that comes from heaven down to the earth, or from the earth up to heaven. And because he is the mediator of all, it is written:
"And the Angel of Elohim, which went before the camp of Israel, removed; that is, before Israel which is above." (Exodus 14:19)
This Angel of Elohim is the same of whom it is written, "And YHWH went before them" (Exodus 13:21) to go by day and by night as the ancients have expounded it. Whoever will speak to me [says Elohim] shall not be able to do so, till he has made it known to Metatron. Thus the holy One, blessed be He, on account of the great love to and mercy with which He has over the Assembly of Israel, commits her (the Assembly) to Metatron's care.
What shall I do for Him (Metatron)? I will commit my Whole house into His hand, etc. Henceforth be you a Keeper As it is written "The Keeper of Israel" (Psalm 121:4)

Here are some ideas I have been thinking about.

When is honoring your mother and father not “G-d's business”?

The excuse given is that "he was about his father's business" in the temple. This is the reason suggested for Jesus while he was talking in the temple making his mother and brothers wait for him outside.

Respecting a waiting mother is also the Father's business. How much more so when he went down to Jerusalem to get himself killed. Did he think how much this would hurt those who cared about him?

There is no messiah here, no tzaddik, only an enigmatic child who has some wisdom and some foolishness. That he thought big tefillin was a sign of arrogance reflected his youthful foolishness, i.e. he is not a perfect being.

Once we recognize that we are all children of G-d, we will come to a truer understanding of his life. On the cross he uttered the words from Psalm 22, “my God, my God, why has though forsaken me”. In Psalm 22, it goes on,

“My God, my God, why have you left me? Why are you so far from saving me...”

The Hebrew is “Rahok MeYshuahti” – Far from saving me. This is physical salvation as yeshua in Hebrew implies being physically saved. There is no word for salvation of the soul because this is Tshuvah that is by our own deeds.

In verses Psalm 22:21-22
“21. Save (Rescue – Hatsilah) my soul from the sword; my only one from the power of the dog.
22. Save me from the lion’s mouth; for you have answered me from the horns of the wild oxen.”

In verse 21 the correct translation for “Hatsilah Maiherev Nafshi” - Rescue my flesh from the sword. Nafshi from Nephesh is really the flesh. You can still hear the fesh sound of flesh in the original Hebrew. In many ways the bible does not support the duality of soul and body. Ruach the word for spirit is the word for the breath of life that is put into to us alluding to something else.

In verse 22, the Hebrew is “Hosheani MePe Aryeh” – Save me from the mouth of the lion. Hosheani has the same root as Yeshua that is Save me. Again this alludes to a physical threat.

To treat Jesus as a divinity is to defeat the lessons of his life. Once we accept his perfections and imperfections we can learn more of the Truth. This Truth includes not only his concern for strangers, but his disrespect for family; his concern for how we treat each other, but his false insinuations of arrogance for others who simply wore larger tefillin. All of the Tanach presents both the Mitzvot and the sins of all characters. Should the new Testament be any different? HaAlmah and Betulah Refuse evil
Isaiah 7:14-25 is interesting based on your last talk.  You mentioned that the Yetzer haRah prevails over the Yetzer haTov for a child until he is trained by his parents.  Well what of the child of HaAlmah who appears to be a sign for King Ahaz as a measurement of events threatening him.   This doesn't appear to be messianic in any way if one reads the entire chapter.  Also the word 'ot' is a sign of events and history not virgins having children.  HaAlmah denotes this woman, someone who is already alive, otherwise it would have just said Almah.

Finally, according to a Messianic interpretation, do you believe in the Nicene Creed, i.e. the incarnation of God in Jesus?
"'When the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed speaks of Jesus Christ who was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary and crucified under Pontius Pilate as being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made, who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven' which means God Himself, in His own being is actively present with us as personal Agent within the space and time of our world."--Thomas F. Torrance "Space, Time & Incarnation" Oxford University Press, 1969, 1978.
Would the Incarnation of God not know how to refuse evil?  Isaiah 7:16

Isaiah 7
1. And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Aram, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to fight against it, but could not prevail against it.
2. And it was told the house of David, saying, Aram is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the forest are moved with the wind.
3. Then said the Lord to Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shear-Yashuv your son, at the end of the aqueduct of the upper pool in the highway of the washers’ field;
4. And say to him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be faint hearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Aram, and of the son of Remaliah.
5. Because Aram, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against you, saying,
6. Let us go up against Judah, and harass it, and let us make a breach in it for us, and set a king in its midst, the son of Tabeal;
7. Thus said the Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
8. For the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within sixty five years shall Ephraim be broken, and it will not be a people.
9. And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.
10. Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying,
11. Ask a sign of the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
12. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord.
13. And he said, Hear now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?
14. Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, THE (This) Young Woman is with child, and she will bear a son, and shall call his name G-d is With Us. 
15. Butter and honey shall he eat, when he shall know how to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
16. For before the child shall know how to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread shall be deserted.
17. The Lord shall bring upon you, and upon your people, and upon your father’s house, days that have not come since the day when Ephraim departed from Judah: the king of Assyria.
18. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall whistle to the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.
19. And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes.
20. In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor which is hired, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the legs; and it shall also sweep away the beard.
21. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep;
22. And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter; for butter and honey shall every one eat who is left in the land.
23. And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, will become briers and thorns.
24. With arrows and with bows shall men come there; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.
25. And on all hills that shall be hoed with a hoe, you shall not come there for fear of briers and thorns; but it shall be for the sending forth of bulls, and for the treading of sheep.

Jesus being an enigma as opposed to a messiah might explain why all of these ideas are not based on the Torah.

What of Matthew 9:2-6  John 5:18-23.   Honoring Jesus as much as God is Idolatry unless he is god than we have the whole incarnation scenario which is Pagan.  Anyway one slice's it, This is Not Torah.

May we all find our way to walk in the footsteps of Moshe Rabbenu the True Teacher of Torah whose words are brought from the Holy One Blessed Be He.  May our lips Worship G-d only and may we sing songs of Praise to Him. Isaiah Chapter 7

As far as I can see Isaiah 7’s maiden giving birth is the source concept of Nazarene ‘divine’ incarnation which is also the Nicene Creed.  Yet the text does not reference the messiah or ascribe any divine qualities to the child. In fact it is a normal child who has not yet learned to distinguish good from evil..

At 01:13 AM 12/26/2006, you wrote:

Would the Incarnation of God not know how to refuse evil?  Isaiah 7:16

Or, it refers to the time that before the time the Sages/Rabbis decreed that a child shall know to refuse evil and choose good, the child that is the subject shall already be choosing good, refusing evil.
16. For before the child shall know how to refuse the bad, and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread shall be deserted.

The subject is not the prepositional phrase, but the events in history that follow.  The sages did not decree that a child "shall know to refuse evil (Rah - bad as opposed to Avil - crooked) and choose good".  Some children may in fact choose good earlier than others.  The point is really not that a child is evil, but that it is born with selfishness and that is how it begins to learn.  Our selfishness adapts and all of a sudden we appear to be choosing good, but we are perhaps not really less selfish, just with expanded circle of concern.

Isaiah 7
1. And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Aram, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to fight against it, but could not prevail against it.

Ahaz was the wicked king of Judah, but still the kings of Aram and Israel could not prevail because of the righteousness of his ancestors, Jotham and Uzziah.

2. And it was told the house of David, saying, Aram is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the forest are moved with the wind.
3. Then said the Lord to Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shear-Yashuv your son, at the end of the aqueduct of the upper pool in the highway of the washers’ field;
4. And say to him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be faint hearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Aram, and of the son of Remaliah.
5. Because Aram, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against you, saying,
6. Let us go up against Judah, and harass it, and let us make a breach in it for us, and set a king in its midst, the son of Tabeal;
7. Thus said the Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
8. For the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within sixty five years shall Ephraim be broken, and it will not be a people.
9. And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.
10. Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying,
11. Ask a sign of the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
12. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord.
13. And he said, Hear now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?
14. Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, THE (This) Young Woman is with child, and she will bear a son, and shall call his name G-d is With Us. 

Why then does the Stone Edition Tanach read "Behold, the 'maiden will become pregnant and she will call his name Emmanuel.'? It appears from this translation that that she is not yet pregnant. 
Excellent question.  Suffice it to say the Stone Edition has mistranslated based on the Rashi interpretation:

Rashi says:
'is with child This is actually the future, as we find concerning Manoah’s wife, that the angel said to her (Judges 13:3): “And you shall conceive and bear a son,” and it is written, “Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son.”'

Rashi is clearly desiring to interpret this in the future, but the Hebrew is in the Present tense.

The Hebrew is: Henai - Behold, HaAlmah Harah - This young woman is pregnant (Almah is the source of the english word alumni.  The word Naar means a young girl while Almah refers to the age of sexuality.)    vYoledet  Ben - and will bear a son, vKarat Shemo - and will call his name, Eemanu El - God is with Us. 

"This young woman is pregnant and will bear a son and will call his name 'God is with Us'." 
"This pregnant young woman will bear a son and will call his name 'God is with Us'."  <-- Probably more accurate

The Stone Edition translation is not the Pashut or simple meaning of the Hebrew.  Stone is giving Rashi's Remez translation, an allusion to the future. 

Nevertheless, Harah is a feminine adjective.  It is not a verb.  The verb doesn't exist and is implied in the sentence.  This means that it is in the Present Tense.  Future or imperfect tense is accompanied by a verb.

And, it is not much of a sign that a young woman/wife will become pregnant--that is the normal course of marriage, and expected, that a woman bear a son, else she is cursed, according to the understanding/superstitions of Israel.  I am not denying the likelyhood that she was a young married/unmarried woman of good report (which means she was a virgin).  I am saying that as is demonstratable for verses the Rabbis choose to so use, there is expectation of later fulfilment of prophecy beyond the immediacy of selected prophecies.
The Hebew word for sign is AOT - Aleph Vav Tav and is the root of Totafot that are the Tefillin we place on our head and arm.  Why do you say, "And, it is not much of a sign"?  The Hebrew word NES means miracle as in the Hanukah story, Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, a great miracle happened there.  An AOT is significant by the time that it is claimed to occur though it maybe within Natural Law.  Even the plagues of Egypt can be considered Signs according to natural law, but their timing turns them into a message.

Good catch on Rashi's interpretation in the Stone translation indicating the future.  Still, Rashi did not intend a reference to Jesus.  And Rashi is not following the plain Hebrew which indicates that the woman is a Contempory of Ahaz.  Here is the history:

15. Butter and honey shall he eat, when he shall know how to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
16. For before the child shall know how to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread shall be deserted.
The child is normal not a divine being and in fact is not the subject of the story. What do you see as messianic here?  The history continues with two kings that of Egypt and Assyria.

17. The Lord shall bring upon you, and upon your people, and upon your father’s house, days that have not come since the day when Ephraim departed from Judah: the king of Assyria.
18. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall whistle to the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.
Armies of Egypt and Assyria.

19. And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes.
20. In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor which is hired, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the legs; and it shall also sweep away the beard.
21. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep;
Shortage of food.

22. And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter; for butter and honey shall every one eat who is left in the land.
Those saved from the War.  There were wars between Egypt and Assyria fought in Israel on several occasions at that time.

23. And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, will become briers and thorns.
24. With arrows and with bows shall men come there; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.
25. And on all hills that shall be hoed with a hoe, you shall not come there for fear of briers and thorns; but it shall be for the sending forth of bulls, and for the treading of sheep.
There is nothing to do with incarnation of a deity here, QED.

31.1.10 Atonement story

I came to realize something today that is very subtle and very significant, at least its important to me, though only an idea. Based on Zohar III, 231a-231b:

“The early pillars of the world are divided. One maintained that Job belonged to the righteous Gentiles. Another said that he was one of the pious of Israel and he suffered in order to atone for the world. One day Rav Hamnuna met Elijah. [Elijah] said to him: We have learned that sometimes the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper. He replied [Rav Hamnuna]: The righteous man is punished in this world for the few sins that he commits. This explains the suffering of the righteous. But if a man’s sins outnumber his merits, he is rewarded in this world. This explains the prosperity of the wicked.
Elijah said: The judgments of the Master of the universe are very profound. When the Holy One, blessed be He, desires atonement for the sins of the people, He strikes their arm but heals them totally; like a physician who strikes the arm but saves all the organs of the body, as it is written “He was crushed from our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5), and this has been explained.”

Elijah is suggesting not only that a person may suffer some ailment so that the rest of the body may be healed, but also that someone in a community may suffer so that the rest of the community may be saved. I have struggled with the idea of vicarious atonement that is another suffering so that someone else may receive atonement for years. This is the essential foundation of Christianity while a peripheral idea in Judaism. I personally would not want anyone to go through torture to atone for my sins and I find the idea repulsive. Christians depend on this doctrine to the extent that they rejoice in the “Passion” which is anathema for Jews.

Yet during the Musaf of Yom Kippur, we will read about the Ten Martyrs who gave up their lives after G-d revealed that they would atone for the kidnapping of Joseph ( Here in the Zohar we read about Job atoning for the world. Moreover, it is said that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai saved the Jewish people from dissolution when he died.

I have given the thesis – that vicarious atonement is possible, the antithesis – that vicarious atonement is repulsive, and now I will give the synthesis – that the atonement is more for the person suffering than the person receiving the atonement! A similar principle, “More than the baby needs to nurse, the mother desires to suckle.”

That G-d would provide a person suffering even unto death a way to find meaning in their suffering is the purpose. In other words one suffering may “atone for the world” because even when one feels helpless, he can help others. This is also the secret of the mystery of Rabbi Nachman’s Seventh beggar who though he has no legs heals the prince and princess through dancing. (Rabbi Nachman said that the meaning of this story would not be revealed until the Moshiach comes.)


31.1.11 Deut 23

Thanks for the interesting Nach commentary. The commentary seems to apply to Deut 23:4.

A Kohen, Levi, and Israel are permitted to each other, and the offspring go according to the male:

1. For it is brought in the Torah "Tik`u" 3, which speaks of rebuke (Likutei Moharan II #8), that the essense of prayer is rachamim/compassionate prayer and pleading, and rachamim depends mainly on da`at/knowledge etc. ...

5. And therefore there are nations that even after they convert, they are forbidden to enter the congregation of Hashem -- this is because in them is gripped the cruelty and harsh judgment, so much so that they cannot be included inside the rachamim and the da`at, which is the aspect of the holiness of Israel, even then they convert, and this is what our Sages said, that David decreed on the Nethinim because they had no compassion at all, as brought there [Yevamot 79a], he said to them: "This nation is distinguished by three characteristics: They are merciful, bashful and benevolent." Whoever has these three characteristics is fit to join this nation, and whoever does not have these three characteristics is not fit to join it, i.e. as mentioned, because he is not fit to cleave to the congregation of Hashem, to the holy seed Israel, except one who is in the category of compassion, which is the aspect of da`at, but whoever does not have compassion for example the Nethinim are forbidden to enter the congregation of Hashem, because the blemish of rachamim is blemish of knowledge which is aspect of the sexual craving, because the holy mating of of Israel needs to be separated from the blemish of this craving, and as mentioned, and this is why our Sages counted thre characteristics -- merciful, bashful and benevolent, which are aspect of the three brains mentioned, which are the three types of compassion etc. as metntioned, because also the bashfulness is aspect of knowledge and compassion, because bashfulness depends maily on knowledge as is written (Jer. 30 [6?]) "They are not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush," because the beast which has n knowledge has no shame, and so it is understood in the words of Rabeinu z"l in another place in the essay on the chariots of Phar`oh and his army (LM 38) that bashfulness depends on knowledge; also bashfulness is aspect of compassion, opposite of brazenness, which is aspect of strictnesses and harsh judgments. Hence all the three characteristics mentioned which are bashful compassionate and benevolent, all three traits are the compassion mentioned, for they come from the three brains as mentioned, for the holy mating of Israel is mainly dependent on this, and whoever does not have these three traits of compassion mentioned, is forbidden to enter the congregation of Hashem, and therefore specifically because of this the Nethinim were forbidden to enter the congregation, as mentioned.

I like this commentary, it has a lot of Heart as opposed to some of the technicalities I discuss below.

In D 23:4 what's the point of prohibiting the Moabite male, if the mother is Jewish then the child is Jewish and not a Moabite; so this child already can enter Klal Hashem.[2944] The qualities of mercy, bashfulness and benevolence seem to apply better on an individual basis as in the case of Ruth. The blanket rule of 23:4 was not only not followed with Ruth, but should be applied in the the context of the time of Moshe Rabbenu when every Moabite behaved this way. What is of concern is the alienation that is caused to Jewish children whose fathers are unknown, false stigmas attached to the innocent.

Isaiah 56:4-5 contradicts the intention of Deut 23:2. Why should a eunuch be excluded from the House of G-d? Exclusion from Klal Israel is one thing, but why would Klal Hashem judge in this manner. Maybe at the time of Deut 23:2 Moshe was dealing with voluntary eunuchs or some other type of perversion rather than at the time of Isaiah.

Text ‎2-189: Isaiah 56
1. Thus says the Lord, Keep judgment, and do justice; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
2. Happy is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; who keeps the sabbath and does not profane it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.
3. Do not let the son of the stranger, who has joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord has completely separated me from his people; nor let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
4. For thus says the Lord to the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
5. And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name better than sons and of daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
6. Also the sons of the stranger, who join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one who keeps the sabbath and does not profane it, and all who hold fast to my covenant;
7. Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

Isaiah 56:6 throws out alienating innocent children who are raised in Torah, but denied their place in the community by demon rabbis, who are more interested in questioning the conversion ceremonies of their parent(s).

Deut 23:8 seems RIGHT ON, but later rabbis and prophets criticized Edom forgetting that they are our brethren!

Text ‎2-98: Deuteronomy Chapter 23 דְּבָרִים
א לֹא-יִקַּח אִישׁ, אֶת-אֵשֶׁת אָבִיו; וְלֹא יְגַלֶּה, כְּנַף אָבִיו. {ס} 1 A man shall not take his father's wife, and shall not uncover his father's skirt. {S}
ב לֹא-יָבֹא פְצוּעַ-דַּכָּא וּכְרוּת שָׁפְכָה, בִּקְהַל יְהוָה. {ס} 2 He that is crushed or maimed in his privy parts shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD. {S}
ג לֹא-יָבֹא מַמְזֵר, בִּקְהַל יְהוָה: גַּם דּוֹר עֲשִׂירִי, לֹא-יָבֹא לוֹ בִּקְהַל יְהוָה. {ס} 3 A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of the LORD. {S}
ד לֹא-יָבֹא עַמּוֹנִי וּמוֹאָבִי, בִּקְהַל יְהוָה: גַּם דּוֹר עֲשִׂירִי, לֹא-יָבֹא לָהֶם בִּקְהַל יְהוָה עַד-עוֹלָם. 4 An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation shall none of them enter into the assembly of the LORD forever;
ה עַל-דְּבַר אֲשֶׁר לֹא-קִדְּמוּ אֶתְכֶם, בַּלֶּחֶם וּבַמַּיִם, בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם; וַאֲשֶׁר שָׂכַר עָלֶיךָ אֶת-בִּלְעָם בֶּן-בְּעוֹר, מִפְּתוֹר אֲרַם נַהֲרַיִם--לְקַלְלֶךָּ. 5 because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Aram-naharaim, to curse thee.
ו וְלֹא-אָבָה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לִשְׁמֹעַ אֶל-בִּלְעָם, וַיַּהֲפֹךְ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְּךָ אֶת-הַקְּלָלָה, לִבְרָכָה: כִּי אֲהֵבְךָ, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ. 6 Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.
ז לֹא-תִדְרֹשׁ שְׁלֹמָם, וְטֹבָתָם, כָּל-יָמֶיךָ, לְעוֹלָם. {ס} 7 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever. {S}
ח לֹא-תְתַעֵב אֲדֹמִי, כִּי אָחִיךָ הוּא; לֹא-תְתַעֵב מִצְרִי, כִּי-גֵר הָיִיתָ בְאַרְצוֹ. 8 Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother; thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land.
ט בָּנִים אֲשֶׁר-יִוָּלְדוּ לָהֶם, דּוֹר שְׁלִישִׁי--יָבֹא לָהֶם, בִּקְהַל יְהוָה. {ס} 9 The children of the third generation that are born unto them may enter into the assembly of the LORD. {S}


shalom jeff!

we should look in the Mikraot Gedolot but in the meantime i found this --

Laws of Ishut/Matrimony

Halakha 1 is in Laws of Procreation 1 [above]

[edit<>] 2

31.1.12 Children

Had a boy.  It changed my life a lot, but I have learned a lot from him.

Today I realized helping him jump up and down at the age of 8 weeks
how much more meaningful his activity is compared to bigotry.  Maybe
if the bigots of the world would just jump up and down for a while they
might not have a mind to write their dreck.

Sounds like you have your arms full too, literally :0).  Yes, it is a
good change.  I started asking my son questions and I seem to get
answers in his little hums, an unexpected form of enlightenment.

Mostly I ask what he wants and I seem to get an answer to even more questions.

On 2/10/11
> Jeff, so do you have a boy or a girl?  I have two boys and a girl myself.
> It is fun, but it definitely changes your life.
> On February 5, 2011 10:12 AM,  Jeff Spiegel wrote:
> --------------------
> Hi Mani,
> coloradomasterchess
> That's what happened to Todd, some end up living the life they love.
> I just had my first child, quite a change in life.
> Regards
> - Jeff Spiegel
> -------------------------------------------

31.2 Lekutei Halakhot

Likutei Halakhot


the Shulchan Arukh Orach Chayim

First Part

by the Rav the Genius, the Righteous, the Holy Light, the Living Man, Great of Works, Our Master and Teacher the Rav Natan, the Memory of the Righteous and Holy be for Blessing, the Distinguished Student of Our Lord, Master and Teacher, the Truly Great, the True Holy Genius, Gushing Brook, Source of Wisdom, Light of Israel and His Holiness, Our Master and Teacher the Great Rav Nachman, the Memory of the Righteous and Holy be for Blessing, Composer of the Holy Books Likutei Moharan and Other Books.

And this collection is made by order of his Brilliant Rav mentioned above, to explain and revelate on every halakha (law) of the Shulkhan Aruch, to find support and taste/reason on every halakha in the way of the wisdom of truth and mussar of intelligence and wonderful and awesome advices and powerful and exalted encouragement to no end and without limit, that every man should strengthen himself to draw close to the Lord, blessed-be-He, in every level and level, from any place that he be, whoever he be, and all of them are founded on gold bases, and all the collections from the Brilliant and Pious one mentioned above were copied and collected by his student, the Rav, the Great Light, our Teacher the Rav Natan mentioned above.

Literal translation from Hebrew by Nissim Kaufmann Sh"Y[2945]

Last changed 08/18/05

Halakhot Hashkamat Haboker

(Laws of Early Rising in the Morning)

Halakha 1

One should strengthen himself like a lion to stand up in the morning for the service of his Creator, that he should be the one to wake up the dawn. Note: ‘I have set the LORD before me always’ – this is a big rule in Torah" etc.

1. Because it says in the words of Rabbeinu Z"L [Our Teacher of Blessed Memory] (Likutei Moharan (LM) 282) that when a man begins to seek himself and sees that he is very far from the Lord, blessed-be-He. And that he is full of sins and numerous faults. And it seems to him that he is far from good, then he must seek and ask and find in himself some good, how is it possible that he did not do some good in all his days? And though he see that even the little good that he did is full of wounds. For it is mixed in much waste. Even so, it is impossible that it has not some good point anyway. And so shall he seek and find in himself some more good. And though this good also be mixed with much waste. Even so, anyway it has some good point. And so shall he seek and find in himself some more good points. And through this, that he judges himself to the pan of merit and finds in himself good points yet, even though he did what he did and blemished what he blemished. Through this he actually goes out from the pan of guilt and actually enters into the pan of merit, and through this he can merit to teshuvah (return, repentance). And this is like (Ps. 37) "And yet a little – and the wicked one is no more" etc. Through that yet little thing, in which he is not wicked, through this and the meditation etc. [he is transformed to a good guy] see there. And by this he can make himself happy. And then he can pray and this is like (there, 146) "I will sing unto my God while I yet have my being." By means of the yet little that he finds in himself, by means of this he can sing and thank the Lord and by this are made melodies. For the tunes are made by selecting good spirit from gloomy spirit etc. And this is [why he says] "I will sing" specifically, as in melodies etc. And likewise must one judge others to the pan of merit, even a complete wicked one -- one must seek and find in him some good point etc. etc. see there. And whoever can do this -- to find a good point even in sinners of Israel – he can be chazzan (cantor) and pray before the podium etc., see there. And know, that every one of the Tzaddikim (Righteous) of the Age builds a tabernacle, that from there the children of Hebrew schools receive their breath without sin; therefore they begin from Leviticus etc. see there. And this Tzaddik who can collect all the good that is found in every one, he knows all the aspects that there are in this matter of tabernacles as mentioned above, that the Tzaddikim build, that from there the children receive their breath without sin etc. etc.; look into all this very well:

2. And this is like waking from sleep. For when a man sees that he is far from the Lord, blessed-be-He, etc., this is like sleep, which is one sixtieth of death, and when he seeks and asks and finds in himself some good point still, and livens and rejoices himself and wakes himself to the service of the Lord, blessed-be-He, through this – this is like waking from sleep. And this is like (Ps. 3) "LORD, how many are mine adversaries become!" etc. I.e. the adversaries of the soul, which are the sins and the faults of each person, which is the main adversaries of a man, and when they surge upon the man, God forbid, then they want to make him fall completely, God forbid, as if he has no more hope at all, God forbid. And this is like (there): "Many there are that say of my soul: 'There is no salvation for him in God.' Selah." And then he is in the concept of sleep as mentioned above, and this is [why he says] (there): "I lay me down, and I sleep." For this is like sleep as mentioned above. But actually the man is forbidden to despair himself. And he must overcome and wake up from his sleep through the little good that he finds in himself yet, as mentioned above. And this is [why he says] (there) "I awake, for the LORD sustains me," that I overcome and wake up from my sleep because I yet do not despair myself, for the Lord sustains me. For the good point that a man finds in himself this is like Godliness, as it were. Because all the good is from Him, blessed-be-He. For the Torah and Israel and the Lord, blessed-be-He are all one, therefore when there is in an Israelite some good point, i.e. some mitzvah or good thing, this good is complete oneness with Him, blessed-be-He. For (Ps. 145) "the LORD is good to all," and as is written (there, 34) "O taste and see that the LORD is good." For all the good that is found in any place at all, it is all from him, blessed-be-He. And this is [why he says] (there, 3) "for the LORD sustains me," i.e. the good point that I find in myself which is like Godliness, like "the LORD is good to all," this is what supports me and awakens me from the sleep and then (there, 3) "I am not afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about," for I no longer fear them even though they are several ten thousands of faults and sins that stand over me to make me fall, God forbid. Because since I find in myself yet some good point, by this I awake from the sleep. And by this I actually the pan of merit and by this I will merit to teshuvah etc. as mentioned above. For all the bad is pushed aside because of the little good that he finds in himself, and he livens and raises himself by this. For a little light pushes off much of the darkness as is known. And this is like (there, 139): "I awake, and I am yet with you," by means of my yet little etc., i.e. the good point as mentioned above, like "I will sing unto my God while I yet have my being" as mentioned above. And this is [the meaning of] "and I am yet with you" i.e. my yet little thing that is still with you as mentioned above – by means of this I awake, for this is like waking from sleep as mentioned above.

3. And this is like (there, 57): "Awake, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp; I will awake the dawn." I.e. that the man must wake himself up from his sleep and his sunkenness. And by what shall he wake himself? – by the good points that he finds in himself yet, and this is the [the meaning of] "I will awaken the dawn (ShaChar)," for the good point is like dawn, like (Song of Songs 1) "I am black (SheChoRah), but handsome, O daughters of Jerusalem," for since this point is mixed with much waste and with many faults that this man inflicted, by this it seems that it is black because it is set in gloom and darkness, God forbid, by him. But when he judges himself to the pan of merit and wakes up and finds in himself a good point as mentioned above, then he says "'I am black, but handsome... Look not upon me, that I am dark (SheChaRchoret)" etc. because the darkness (ShaChaRut) is not of myself etc. as Rashi explained there. For the good point in himself that there is by the man, even by sinners of Israel, it is very handsome and beautiful. Only, the darkness cloaks it. But when one wakes it up, it says "black am I but handsome... Look not upon me, that I am dark," because from my own side, I am exceedingly handsome. And this is like what our Sages of blessed memory said (Midrash on Song of Solomon 1): Black am I in the deed of the Calf, and handsome am I in the work of the Tabernacle. I.e. even though I have many sins, and I have become very far from Him, blessed-be-He -- this is like the deed of the Calf which includes all the sins in the world, for (Chulin 5) "whoever observes idolatry is as if he denies the whole entire Torah" -- even so, I am handsome in the work of the Tabernacle, i.e. the aspect of the little good that I find in myself yet. For immediately after the deed of the Calf they were commanded on the work of the Tabernacle, by the fact that the Lord, blessed-be-He, was reconciled to Israel through Moshe who devoted is soul for them and prayed for their sake. For Moshe was able to do this, to find a good point even in the least of the least, as explained in the words of our Rabbi of blessed memory every time (LM 282, LM II 82) and by this he was able to pray for them always, even when they faulted in the whole entire Torah by the work of the Calf. Even so, he found in them good points. And therefore Moshe said (Ex. 32): "Why, LORD, does Your anger flare against your people?" For he found the good that is in them and then the bad was pushed aside completely, as mentioned above, and therefore he said "Why, LORD, does Your anger flare against your people?" For the evil is not considered at all, against the little good that there is in them yet. And the Lord, blessed-be-He, was reconciled to him and had reconsidered regarding the evil etc. And then the Lord, blessed-be-He taught Moshe the order of prayer and ordered before him the thirteen attributes of mercy. And this is [the reason for] (there) "And He said: 'I will make all My goodness pass’"etc., that he taught him and revealed to him all His good, blessed-be-He, as it were, in order that he should know that the Lord, blessed-be-He, is always good, and one can always wake up the good in the worst of the worst, and enter him into the pan of merit, and to return him in teshuvah, and this is like the thirteen attributes of mercy, like (there) "The LORD, the LORD, God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering" etc., that the Lord, blessed-be-He, is full of mercy and good to all, and holds out his anger to the righteous and to the wicked. For He leans toward mercy and judges everything to the side of merit, and finds a good point even in the sinners of Israel, and through this the tilts them to the side of merit, as mentioned above. And this is the idea of (there) "keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation," that the aspect of mercy, i.e. what that He, blessed-be-He, leans towards mercy and judges to the side of merit and finds a good point etc. as mentioned above. This mercy keeps and sweetens for thousands, i.e. even though there is against this thousands and ten thousands of faults that the same man faulted, even so, a little of the good that he finds by means of the mercy as mentioned above pushes off everything, as mentioned above. And through this (there) "he forgives iniquity and transgression and sin" etc. For through this he actually enters into the pan of merit etc. as mentioned above.

4. And then when the Lord, blessed-be-He, was reconciled to Moshe through finding good in all of Israel, even after the deed of the Calf as mentioned above, for Moshe was all good, like (Ex. 2) "And when she saw him that he was a goodly child..." And therefore he always had power to find the good in everyone, even in the sinners of Israel as mentioned above. And by this was the Lord, blessed-be-He reconciled, as mentioned above. And then he commanded them regarding the work of the Tabernacle, that each one should bring the donation of his heart for the work of the Tabernacle. For he would wake up the good that is in every one. And every one, according to the good that he had, brought the good donation of is heart for the work of the Tabernacle. For the Tabernacle was built from all the good that is chosen out from ebery one of Israel, which is like (Ex. 25) "gold, and silver, and brass, and blue, and purple, and scarlet" etc. which each one brought according to his good point, for the gold and silver and brass and blue etc., they are like the supernal colors (giwwunin `ila’in), which are like the good that there is in every one of Israel, which this is the idea of Israel, "in whom I will be glorified," who are made up of grand colors (giwwunin sagi’in), i.e. the good points that there are in every one of Israel, who are made of up great varieties. For there is in every one of Israel a good point, even in the least of them, that there is not in his friend, as explained in another place (LM 34). And the Lord, blessed-be-He, glories in them as mentioned above. And this is like the varieties that were in the Holy Temple and the Tabernacle, like the gold and silver etc., which everyone brought from the good donation of his heart. For there were included all the good points, which are like the supernal colors that there is in every one of Israel, and therefore after the deed of the Calf, which Moshe then had to seek and find the good points that there are in every one of Israel as mentioned above. Therefore then specifically were they commanded regarding the work of the Tabernacle. For the Tabernacle was built from this, from the good points mentioned above, as mentioned above. And this is [the idea of] "Black am I in the deed of the Calf, and handsome am I in the work of the Tabernacle," i.e. in the good points that I find in myself, which are like the work of the Tabernacle as mentioned above. Likewise it is understood in the words of Rabbeinu mentioned above, that by the good that one finds in every one of Israel, by this is built the Tabernacle and therefore the one who can find all the good that there is in Israel, who is the idea of chazzan, as mentioned above, he knows all the aspects that there are in the matter of the Tabernacle of each of one of the Tzaddikim mentioned above, see there. For the main construction of the Tabernacle is by this, by the good as mentioned above. And by this the words of Rabbeinu are tied together well, see there well.

5. And this [is the idea of] (Ps. 57) "Awake, my glory; awake" etc. And through what shall I be able to awake? – through "I will awake the dawn (ShaChar)," through this that I awake the dawn. I.e. the good point which is like dawn (ShaChaR), like "black am I but handsome" – through this I can wake up from my sleep and my sunkenness etc. as mentioned above. And this is the idea of "awake, psaltery" etc., for through this are made melodies, like "I will sing unto my God while I yet have my being" as mentioned above:

And this is hinted in the words of the Shulchan Arukh "One should strengthen himself like a lion to stand up in the morning for the service of his Creator," that the man must overcome and awake from his sleep and his sunkenness, and through what shall he awake? – through him being the one to awake the dawn, i.e. as mentioned above. That he should wake up the good points, which are like dawn (ShaChar), like "I will awake the dawn." And through this he shall wake up from his sleep and sunkenness etc. as mentioned above. And this is the idea of "to stand up in the morning," for the main waking up from the sleep, mentioned above, is through the idea of (Zohar Miketz 203) "Cattle (BaKaR) of Avraham, the man of kindness," i.e. through leaning towards kindness and judges himself to the pan of merit, as mentioned above. And therefore Avraham was converting converts. For he was leaning to the side of mercy and found a good point in every one. And through this the drew everything close to the Lord, blessed-be-He, as mentioned above. And this is why is appended the note "I have set the LORD before me always," i.e. that always I put and value the Lord before my eyes, for even though I am far from Him, blessed-be-He, even so, the Lord is before me always in every place, for I find in myself a good point, as mentioned above. And this is the explanation of the verse (Ps. 16) "I have set the LORD before me always: because he is at my right hand, I shall not falter." I.e. that always I place the Lord before me, even in the lowest levels, God forbid. For (there) "because he is at my right hand, I shall not falter." For through the idea of "right," the idea of Avraham, the idea of kindness – through this I shall not falter. As in (there 94) "If I said, My foot slips; Your mercy, O LORD, held me up." For through the kindness, i.e. that he leans towards mercy and judges himself to the pan of merit and finds in himself some good point yet – through this he shall not falter, forever, and this is (there) "With the multitude of my thoughts within me Your comforts delight my soul," i.e. when the multitude of thoughts confuse me and want to make me fall, God forbid, though abundance of faults etc., then Your comforts delight my soul, i.e. that the Lord, blessed-be-He, comforts him in that He helps him find some good point in himself. And this is his comfort, and in this he delights his soul etc. as mentioned above.

6. Hence the main idea of waking up from the sleep is through the good point that one finds in himself, even when he, God forbid, is in the very lowest levels etc. as mentioned above. And by this are made melodies etc. as mentioned above. For at night, which is the time of sleep, then the Shechinah (Divine Presence) sorts out selections, as is known, and this clues on the aforementioned, when the aspect of sleep swells upon the man, then it is necessary to ask and to seek to find in himself good points, and through this he will awake from his sleep, as mentioned above, and this like (there 77): "I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search." That I seek and ask after the good spirit, like the good point. And through this are made melodies, as mentioned above, like "I call to remembrance my song in the night" and as mentioned above. And through this, that he strengthens, to wake up from his sleep, through the good point that he finds in himself, as mentioned above. And through this is the main fix of the prayer. For the root of prayer is only when he merits to find in himself the good points. Like "I will sing unto my God while I yet have my being," as mentioned above. And this is the idea of the order of prayer, that in the beginning they say the offerings and the incense, which are like the selections, that they find and select good points, even from the aspect of beasts, from the [low] end of the [world of] action, as is known. And this is the main idea of the offering, to raise up from the beast to the man. And this is like incense, which had in it galbanum, i.e. that they choose out and find the good, even in the sinners of Israel, like galbanum, as our Sages of blessed memory taught from this (Kritut 6:72): "Any prayer that does not include from the prayer of sinners of Israel, is not prayer," for the main thing of prayer is like incense, through choosing and finding good points even in sinners of Israel, like galbanum, as mentioned above. And this is like the eleven signs of the incense, i.e. ten signs beside galbanum. This is like ten kinds of song, which are made through one’s choosing out and finding the good that is in sinners of Israel, like the galbanum, as mentioned above.

7. And when we say the passage of the offerings, it is as if we offered them, as our Sages of blessed memory said – whoever busies in the Torah of the burnt offering, it is as if he offered the burnt offering etc., for the main fix of the offerings is in the aspect of the speech, to raise up from inanimate, plant, animal, to the speaking [kingdom]. For the good points, when they go up from the place that they go up, from the low levels, the main thing is that they should go up to the aspect of speech, for at first, when the good is not selected out and recognized because of the evil that covers it, then it’s like a dumb person, who has no speech, like (Ps. 39) ": I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good" etc., and when one reveals the good, as mentioned above, then the main revelation of the good and its elevation is like the speech, and this is the idea of (Song 2) "O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs," this is like the good point, like the perfect dove, that is innocent with her mate and does not leave him to eternity etc., like our Rabbis of blessed memory said (Midrash on Song 4), for the good point that there is in every one, even in the least of the least, is stuck always with the Lord, blessed-be-He, forever, whatever place it is in, and when it falls, God forbid, into the depths of the shells that surround it from every side, like "O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs," in the ultimate hiding. Then the Lord, blessed-be-He, says to it (there): "let me see your countenance, let me hear your voice; for sweet is your voice, and your countenance is handsome." For although you are in the secret places of the stairs, even so you yourself are very handsome, like "I am black, but handsome," and therefore, reveal yourself and "show me your countenance". For your are still handsome, for the good point is always very handsome, and therefore "show me your countenance" and "let me hear your voice" – i.e. that you should reveal and find countenances of beauty, the good points, and thereby "let me hear your voice," for through this one merits to speech. For then one is able to speak and thank and praise to the Lord, blessed-be-He. For at first he was not able to speak at all, as mentioned above. And this is like (there, 8): "You that dwell in the gardens, the companions hearken to your voice: cause me to hear it." And Rashi explained: "You that dwell in the gardens," – among the gentiles etc., i.e. the aspect of the good points which are sitting and laid down among the nations, which are the evil lusts and blemishes etc., which are like the reflected light, and related in another place (LM 36). And the Lord, blessed-be-He, desires their voice. And this is "the companions hearken to your voice: cause me to hear it." For the Lord, blessed-be-He, desires that they should reveal the good points and that they should make their voices heard in song and praise to the Lord, blessed-be-He, as mentioned above, and this is like the offerings which raise up the good points to the aspect of the speaking [kingdom] as mentioned above. And therefore one who busies in the Torah of the offering, it is as if he offered etc. For the main fix of the offering is in the aspect of the speech, as mentioned above:

8. And this is like (Megillah 3) "The Priests at their [Temple] service, the Levites on their platform, the lay Israelites at their station." For the main remedy of the offering, which is to find and choose out the good point from inside the discards, from the aspect of animality, is through the Kohen, the man of charity. For through leaning to the side of charity and judging to the side of merit, through this one finds good points in all the low levels, which is the idea of the offerings, as mentioned above, and therefore all the remedies of the offering are made through the Kohen, the man of charity, who is like Avraham, as is written (Ps. 110) "You are a priest for ever" etc. And through this are made melodies, as mentioned above. And this is like the Levites on their platform, who would conduct in song on the platform at the time of offering the offerings. For through the aspect of the offering that is done by the Kohen, the man of charity, which is the idea of choosing out and finding good through leaning towards charity. Through this are made melodies, as mentioned above. And Israelites at their station, who would busy in Torah. This is like the speech, through which they would raise up the good to the speech, which is its main elevation. And therefore the men of the station would read in the portion Bereishit (Ta`anit 26) and in the portion Ha’azinu, for the work of creation was chiefly through selection of the good, as in "and in his goodness renews, every day, the work of creation" and this is like "for it was but good," which is said on all six days of creation, for before the remedy of the work of creation it was said (Gen. 1): "And the earth was astonishingly emtpy; with darkness" – this is like the swelling of the evil which covers the good, and the remedy was through the aspect of (there) "And the spirit of God hovered upon" – this is the spirit of Mashiach (Messiah), who is like the good, for all the good points that they find in each one of Israel, this is like the sparking of Mashiach, for the root of the good is Mashiach, like Moshe, as in (Ruth 3) "and it shall be in the morning, that if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem." And through the aspect of the spirit of God, the good spirit, like the spirit of Mashiach, through this is the main sustenance and building of the world. And through this, through the good points that one finds from inside the astonishing emptiness, and the darkness, through this (Gen. 1) "And God said: 'Let there be light' And there was light." And then (there) "and God divided the light from the darkness." For through the good point one truly enters the pan of merit and then the light is revealed and the darkness is divided and separated from the light, the evil from the good etc. and as mentioned above. Hence, the main work of creation is through finding and choosing out the good point, as mentioned above. And this is like (see the introduction of the Tikkunim): the form of the Tabernacle is like the form of the work of creation. For the offerings is like the work of creation, which is like the selection of the good etc. as mentioned above. And therefore was the offering made in the Tabernacle or in the Holy Temple. For the Tabernacle and the Holy Temple are also built through selection of the good etc. as mentioned above. And this is like (Deut. 3) "that goodly mountain," said of the Holy Temple. And this is the idea of the portion Ha’azinu, that the men of the station would read. For the portion Ha’azinu is the song that Moshe Rabbeinu swore that through this song the Torah would not be forgotten, as is written (there, 31) "then this song shall speak up" etc. That even in the ultimate hiding, like (there) "But I will surely have hid my face... this song shall be for me a witness." For the song hints that even if Israel is very far from the Lord, blessed-be-He, in the ultimate hiding, even so, they are close to him, blessed-be-He, for there are still found in them -- even in the least ones -- good points and as mentioned above. And this is like (there, 32) "For the LORD's portion is his people, Jacob" etc. "He found him in a desert land," that even in a desert land and in an astonishing void, one finds the Lord’s portion is his people. I.e. the aspect of the good points, which are like "the LORD's portion is his people" etc. And therefore they read the portion Ha’azinu at the offerings and as mentioned above. For this is why the portion Ha’azinu is called "the song," as is written "then this song shall speak up" etc., for the good points mentioned above that they find in a desert land and in astonishing void etc., as mentioned above, from this is made song and melody as mentioned above and after recital of the offerings and incense which are like their choosing out and finding good points even in the very lowest levels, as mentioned above. After this they say verses of praise. For through the good points mentioned above, through this are made melodies, like "I will sing unto my God while I yet have my being" – "I will sing" specifically, as mentioned above. And this is like the verses of praise, which are like the songs and the melodies that are made by choosing out and finding good points in the lowest levels as mentioned above, and therefore they say, within the verses of praise, the verse "I will sing unto my God while I yet have my being" mentioned above, and as mentioned above.

9. And after that they say the blessing of the Shema recital and bless the Lord, blessed-be-He, for renewal of the work of creation, that He "renews in His goodness every day" always. And this is like the work of the Tabernacle that is built from the good mentioned above, as mentioned above. For... – Nissim’s Breslev translations -- many Breslov books online in Hebrew.

31.3 Kuzari

Rabbi Yehudah ha-Levi[2946]

According to Rabbi Eliyahu (the "Gaon") of Vilna:
The Kuzari is "holy and pure, and the fundamentals of Israel's faith and the Torah are contained within."


First Essay: Historical Background -- The Philosopher -- The Christian and the Muslim -- Fundamentals of Judaism -- The Different Levels of Creation -- History of the World -- Tradition vs. Logic -- Defining Nature -- Origins of the Jewish Nation -- How God Interacts with the Physical World -- The Elite People -- The Golden Calf -- Prophetic Messages -- The Afterlife -- The Indian Parable -- Converts


I was asked to state what arguments and replies I could bring to bear against the attacks of philosophers and followers of other religions, and also against [Jewish] sectarians who attacked the rest of Israel. This reminded me of something I had once heard concerning the arguments of a Rabbi who sojourned with the King of the Khazars. The latter, as we know from historical records, became a convert to Judaism about four hundred years ago. To him came a dream, and it appeared as if an angel addressed him, saying: ' Thy way of thinking is indeed pleasing to the Creator, but not thy way of acting.' Yet he was so zealous in the performance of the Khazar religion, that he devoted himself with a perfect heart to the service of the temple and sacrifices. Notwithstanding this devotion, the angel came again at night and repeated: 'Thy way of thinking is pleasing to God, but not thy way of acting.' This caused him to ponder over the different beliefs and religions, and finally become a convert to Judaism together with many other Khazars. As I found among the arguments of the Rabbi, many which appealed to me, and were in harmony with my own opinions, I resolved to write them down exactly as they had been spoken.

When the King of Khazar (as is related) dreamt that his way of thinking was agreeable to God, but not his way of acting, and was commanded in the same dream to seek the God-pleasing work, he inquired of a philosopher concerning his religious persuasion. The philosopher replied: There is no favour or dislike in [the nature of ] God because He is above desire and intention. A desire intimates a want in the person who feels it, and not till it is satisfied does he become (so to speak) complete. If it remains unfulfilled, he lacks completion. In a similar way He is, in the opinion of philosophers, above the knowledge of individuals, because the latter change with the times, whilst there is no change in God's knowledge. He, therefore, does not know thee, much less thy thoughts and actions, nor does He listen to thy prayers, or see thy movements. If philosophers say that He created thee, they only use a metaphor, because He is the Cause of causes in the creation of all creatures put not because this was His intention from the beginning. He never created man. For the world is without beginning, and there never arose a man otherwise than through one who came into existence before him, in whom were united forms, gifts, and characteristics inherited from father, mother, and other relations, besides the influences of climate, countries, foods and water, spheres, stars and constellations. Everything is reduced to a Prime Cause; not to a Will proceeding from this, but an Emanation from which emanated a second, a third, and fourth cause.

The Cause and the caused are, as thou seest, intimately connected with one another, their coherence being as eternal as the Prime Cause and having no beginning. Every individual on earth has his completing causes; consequently an individual with perfect causes becomes perfect, and another with imperfect causes remains imperfect, as the negro who is able to receive nothing more than the human shape and speech in its least developed form. The philosopher, however, who is equipped with the highest capacity, receives through it the advantages of disposition, intelligence and active power, so that he wants nothing to make him perfect. Now these perfections exist but in abstraction, and require instruction and training to become practical, and in order that this capacity, with all its completeness or deficiencies and endless grades, may become visible. In the perfect person a light of divine nature, called Active Intellect, is with him, and its Passive intellect is so closely connected therewith that both are but one. The person [of such perfection] thus observes that he is the Active Intellect himself, and that there is no difference between them. His organs -- I mean the limbs of such a person -- only serve for the most perfect purposes, in the most appropriate time, and in the best condition, as if they were the organs of the Active Intellect, but not of the material and passive Intellect, which used them at an earlier period, sometimes well, but more often improperly. The Active Intellect, however, is always successful. This degree is the last and most longed for goal for the perfect man whose soul, after having been purified, has grasped the inward truths of all branches of science, has thus become equal to an angel, and has found a place on the nethermost step of seraphic beings. This is the degree of the Active Intellect, viz. that angel whose degree is below the angel who is connected with the sphere of the moon. There are spiritual forces, detached from matter, but eternal like the Prime Cause and never threatened by decay. Thus the soul of the perfect man and that Intellect become One, without concern for the decay of his body or his organs, because he becomes united to the other. His soul is cheerful while he is alive, because it enjoys the company of Hermes, Asclepios, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle; nay, he and they, as well as everyone who shares their degree, and the Active Intellect, are one thing. This is what is called allusively and approximately Pleasure of God. Endeavour to reach it, and the true knowledge of things, in order that thy intellect may become active, but not passive. Keep just ways as regards character and actions, because this will help thee to effect truth, to gain instruction, and to become similar to this Active Intellect. The consequence of this will be contentment, humility, meekness, and every other praiseworthy inclination, accompanied by the veneration of the Prime Cause, not in order to receive favour from it, or to divert its wrath, but solely to become like the Active Intellect in finding the truth, in describing everything in a fitting manner, and in rightly recognizing its basis. These are the characteristics of the [Active] Intellect. If thou hast reached such disposition of belief, be not concerned about the forms of thy humility or religion or worship, or the word or language or actions thou employest. Thou mayest even choose a religion in the way of humility, worship, and benediction, for the management of thy temperament, thy house and [the people of thy] country, if they agree to it. Or fashion thy religion according to the laws of reason set up by philosophers, and strive after purity of soul. In fine, seek purity of heart in which way thou are able, provided thou hast acquired the sum total of knowledge in its real essence; then thou wilt reach thy goal, viz. the union with this Spiritual, or rather Active Intellect. Maybe he will communicate with thee or teach thee the knowledge of what is hidden through true dreams and positive visions.

2. Said to him the Khazari: Thy words are convincing, yet they do not correspond to what I wish to find. I know already that my soul is pure and that my actions are calculated to gaiI1 the favour of God. To all this I received the answer that this way of action does not find favour, though the intention does. There must no doubt be a way of acting, pleasing by its very nature, but not through the medium of intentions. If this be not so, why then do Christian and Moslem, who divide the inhabited world between them, fight with one another, each of them serving his God with pure intention, living as either monks or hermits, fasting and praying? For all that they vie with each other in committing murders, believing that this is a most pious work and brings them nearer to God. They fight in the belief that paradise and eternal bliss will be their reward. It is, however, impossible to agree with both.

3. The Philosopher replied: The philosophers' creed knows no manslaughter, as they only cultivate the intellect.

4. Al Khazari: What could be more erroneous, in the opinion of the philosophers, than the belief that the world was created in six days, or that the Prime Cause spoke with mortals, not to mention the philosophic doctrine, which declares the former to be above knowing details. In addition to this one might expect the gift of prophecy quite common among philosophers, considering their deeds, their knowledge, their researches after truth, their exertions, and their close connexion with all things spiritual, also that Renders, miracles, and extraordinary things would be reported of them. fret me find that true visions are granted to persons who do not devote themselves to study or to the purification of their souls, whereas the opposite is the case with those who strive after these things. This proves that the divine influence as well as the souls have a secret which is not identical with what thou sayest, O Philosopher.

After this the Khazari said to himself: I will ask the Christians and Moslems, since one of these persuasions is, no doubt, the God-pleasing one. As regards the Jews, I am satisfied that they are of low station, few in number, and generally despised.

He then invited a Christian scholastic, and put questions to him concerning the theory and practice of his faith.

The Scholastic replied: I believe that all things are created, whilst the Creator is eternal; that He created the whole world in six days; that all mankind sprang from Adam, and after him from Noah, to whom they trace themselves back; that God takes care of the created beings, and keeps in touch with man; that He allows wrath, pleasure, and compassion; that He speaks, appears, and reveals Himself to his prophets and favoured ones; that He dwells among those who please him In short [I believe] in all that is written in the Torah and the records of the Children of Israel, which are undisputed, because they are generally known as lasting, and have been revealed before a vase multitude. Subsequently the divine essence became embodied in an embryo in the womb of a virgin taken from the noblest ranks of Israelitish women. She bore Him with the semblance of a human being, but covering a divinity, seemingly a prophet, but in reality a God sent forth. He is the Messiah, whom we call the Son of God, and He is the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. We condense His nature into one thing, although the Trinity appears on our tongues. We believe in Him and in His abode among the Children of Israel, granted to them as a distinction, because the divine influence never ceased to be attached to them, until the masses rebelled against this Messiah, and they crucified Him. Then divine wrath burdened them everlastingly, whilst the favour was confined to a few who followed the Messiah, and to those nations which followed these few. We belong to their number. Although we are not of Israelitish descent, we are well deserving of being called Children of Israel, because we follow the messiah and His twelve Israelitish companions who took the place of the tribes, many Israelites followed these twelve [apostles], and became the leaven, as it were, for the Christians. We are worthy of the degree of the Children of Israel. To us was also granted victory, and expansion over the countries. All nations are invited to this religion, and charged to practise it, to adore the Messiah and the cross on which He was put, and the like. Our laws and regulations are derived from the Apostle Simon, and from ordinations taken from the Tora, which we study. Its truth is indisputable, as is also the fact that it came from God. It is also stated in the New Testament: I came not to destroy one of the laws of Moses, but I came to confirm and enlarge it.

5. Then said the Khazari: I see here no logical conclusion; nay, logic rejects most of what thou sayest. If both appearance and experience are so palpable that they take hold of the whole heart, compelling belief in a thing of which one is not convinced they render the matter more feasible by a semblance of logic. This is how natural philosophers deal with strange phenomena which come upon them unawares, and which they would not believe if they only heard of them without seeing them. When they have examined them, they discuss them, and ascribe them to the influence of stars or spirits without disproving ocular evidence. As for me, I cannot accept these things, because they come upon me suddenly, not having grown up in them. My duty is to investigate further.

He then invited one of the Doctors of Islam, and questioned him regarding his doctrine and observance.

The Doctor said: We acknowledge the unity and eternity of God, and that all men are derived from Adam-Noah. We absolutely reject embodiment, and if any element of this appears in the Writ, we explain it as a metaphor and allegory. At the same time we maintain that our Book is the Speech of God, being a miracle which we are bound to accept for its own sake, since no one is able to bring anything similar to it, or to one of its verses. Our prophet is the Seal of the prophets, who abrogated every previous law, and invited all nations to embrace Islam. The reward of the pious consists in the return of his spirit to his body in paradise and bliss, where he never ceases to enjoy eating, drinking, women's love, and anything he may desire. The requital of the disobedient consists in being condemned to the fire of hell, and his punishment knows no end.

6. Said to him the Khazari: If any one is to be guided in matters divine, and to be convinced that God speaks to man, whilst he considers it improbable, he must be convinced of it by means of generally known facts, Which allow no refutation, and particularly imbue him with the belief that God has spoken to man. Although your book may be a miracle, as long as it is written in Arabic, a non-Arab as I am, cannot perceive its miraculous character; and even if it were read to me, I could not distinguish between it and any other book written in the Arabic language.

7. The Doctor replied: Yet miracles were performed by him, but they were not used as evidence for the acceptance of his law.

8. Al Khazari: Exactly so; but the human mind cannot believe that God has intercourse with man, except by a miracle which changes the nature of things. We then recognizes that to do so He alone is capable who created them from nought. It must also have taken place in the presence of great multitudes, who saw it distinctly, and did not learn it from reports and traditions. Even then they must examine the matter carefully and repeatedly, so that no suspicion of imagination or magic can enter their minds. Then it is possible that the mind map grasp this extraordinary matter, viz. that the Creator of this world and the next, of the heavens and lights, should hold intercourse with this contemptible piece of clay, I mean man, speak to him, and fulfil his wishes and desires.

9. The Doctor: Is not our Book full of the stories of Moses and the Children of Israel? No one can deny what He did to Pharaoh, how He divided the sea, saved those who enjoyed His favour, but drowned those who had aroused His wrath. Then came the manna and the quails during forty years, His speaking to Moses on the mount, making the sun stand still for Joshua, and assisting him against the mighty. [Add to this] what happened previously, viz. the Flood, the destruction of the people of Lot; is this not so well known that no suspicion of deceit and imagination is possible?

10. Al Khazari: Indeed, I see myself compelled to ask the Jews, because they are the relic of the Children of Israel. For I see that they constitute in themselves the evidence for the divine law on earth.

He then invited a Jewish Rabbi, and asked him about his belief.

11. The Rabbi replied: I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, who led the children of Israel out of Egypt with signs and miracles; who fed them in the desert and gave them the land, after having made them traverse the sea and the Jordan in a miraculous way; who sent Moses with His law, and subsequently thousands of prophets, who confirmed His law by promises to the observant. and threats to the disobedient. Our belief is comprised in the Torah -- a very large domain.

12. I had not intended to ask any Jew, because I am aware of their reduced condition and narrow-minded views, as their misery left them nothing commendable. Now shouldst thou, O Jew, not have said that thou believest in the Creator of the world, its Governor and Guide, and in Him who created and keeps thee, and such attributes which serve as evidence for every believer, and for the sake of which Re pursues justice in order to resemble the Creator in His wisdom and justice?

13. The Rabbi: That which thou dost express is religion based on speculation and system, the research of thought, but open to many doubts. Now ask the philosophers, and thou wilt find that they do not agree on one action or one principle, since some doctrines can be established by arguments, which are only partially satisfactory, and still much less capable of being proved.

14. Al Khazari: That which thou sayest now, O Jew, seems to be more to the point than the beginning, and I should like to hear more.

15. The Rabbi: Surely the beginning of my speech was just the proof, and so evident that it requires no other argument.

16. Al Khazari: How so?

17. The Rabbi: Allow me to make a few preliminary remarks, for I see thee disregarding and depreciating my words.

18. Al Khazari: Let me hear thy remarks.

19. The Rabbi: If thou wert told that the king of India was an excellent man, commanding admiration, and deserving his high reputation, one whose actions were reflected in the justice which rules his country and the virtuous ways of his subjects, would this bind thee to revere him?

20. Al Khazari: How could this bind me, whilst I am not sure if the justice of the Indian people is natural, and not dependent on their king, or due to the king or both?

21. The Rabbi: But if his messenger came to thee bringing presents which thou knowest to be only procurable in India, and in the royal palace, accompanied by a letter in which it is distinctly stated from whom it comes, and to which are added drugs to cure thy diseases, to preserve thy health, poisons for thy enemies, and other means to fight and kill them without battle, would this make thee beholden to him?

22. Al Khazari: Certainly. For this would remove my former doubt that the Indians have a king. I should also acknowledge that a proof of his power and dominion has reached me.

23. The Rabbi: How wouldst thou, then, if asked, describe him?

24. Al Khazari: In terms about which I am quite clear, and to these I could add others which were at first rather doubtful, but are no longer so.

25. The Rabbi: In this way I answered thy first question. In the same strain spoke Moses to Pharaoh, when he told him:'The God of the Hebrews sent me to thee,' viz. the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For Abraham was well known to the nations, who also knew that the divine spirit was in contact with the patriarchs, cared for them, and performed miracles for them. He did not say: 'The God of heaven and earth,' nor 'my Creator and thine sent me.' In the same way God commenced His speech to the assembled people of Israel:'I am the God whom you worship, who has led you out of the land of Egypt,' but He did not say:'I am the Creator of the world and your Creator. Now in the same style I spoke to thee, a Prince of the Khazars, when thou didst ask me about my creed. I answered thee as was fitting, and is fitting for the whole of Israel who knew these, things. first from personal experience, and afterwards through uninterrupted tradition, which is equal to the former.

26. Al Khazari: If this be so, then your belief is confined to yourselves?

27. The Rabbi: Yes, but any Gentile who joins us unconditionally shares our good fortune without, however, being quite equal to us. If the Law were binding on us only because God created us, the white and the black man would be equal, since He created them all. But the Law was given to us because He led us out of Egypt, and remained attached to us, because we are the cream of mankind.

28. Al Khazari: Jew, I see thee quite altered, and thy words are poor after having been so pleasant.

29. The Rabbi: Poor or pleasant, give me thy attention, and let me express myself more fully. 30. Al Khazari: Say what thou wilt.

31. The Rabbi: The laws of nature comprise nurture, growth, and propagation, with their powers and all conditions attached thereto. This is particularly the case with plants and animals, to the exclusion of earth, stones, metals, and elements.

32. Al Khazari: This is a maxim which requires explanation, though it be true.

33. The Rabbi: As regards the soul, it is given to all animated beings. The result is movement, will power, external as well as internal senses and such like.

34. Al Khazari: This, too, cannot be contradicted.

35. The Rabbi: Intellect is man's birthright above all living beings. This leads to the development of his faculties, his home, his country, from which arise administrative and regulative laws.

36. Al Khazari: This is also true.

37. The Rabbi: Which is the next highest degree?

38. Al Khazari: The degree of great sages.

39. The Rabbi: I only mean that degree which separates those who occupy it from the physical point of view, as the plant is separated from inorganic things, or man from animals. The differences as to quantity, however, are endless, as they are only accidental, and do not really form a degree.

40. Al Khazari: If this be so, then there is no degree above man among tangible things.

41. The Rabbi: If we find a man who walks into the fire without hurt, or abstains from food for some time without starving, on whose face a light shines which the eye cannot bear, who is never ill, nor ages, until having reached his life's natural end, who dies spontaneously just as a man retires to his couch to sleep on an appointed day and hour, equipped with the knowledge of what is hidden as to past and future: is such a degree not visibly distinguished from the ordinary human degree?

42. Al Khazari: This is, indeed, the divine and seraphic degree, if it exists at all. It belongs to the province of the divine influence, but not to that of the intellectual, human, or natural world.

43. The Rabbi: These are some of the characteristics of the undoubted prophets through whom God made Himself manifest, and who also made known that there is a God who guides them as He wishes, according to their obedience or disobedience. He revealed to those prophets that which was hidden, and taught them how the world was created, how the generations prior to the Flood followed each other, and how they reckoned their descent from Adam. He described the Flood and the origin of the 'Seventy Nations' from Shem, Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah; how the languages were split up, and where men sought their habitations; how arts arose, how they built cities, and the chronology from Adam up to this day.

44. Al Khazari: It is strange that you should possess authentic chronology of the creation of the world.

45. The Rabbi: Surely we reckon according to it, and there is no difference between the Jews of Khazar and Ethiopia in this respect.

46. Al Khazari: What date do you consider it at present?

47. The Rabbi: Four thousand and nine hundred years. The details can be demonstrated from the lives of Adam, Seth and Enosh to Noah; then Shem and Eber to Abraham; then Isaac and Jacob to Moses. All of them represented the essence and purity of Adam on account of their intimacy with God. Each of them had children only to be compared to them outwardly, but not really like them, and, therefore, without direct union with the divine influence. The chronology was established through the medium of those sainted persons who were only single individuals, and not a crowd, until Jacob begat the Twelve Tribes, who were ail under this divine influence. Thus the divine element reached a multitude of persons who carried the records further. The chronology of those who lived before these has been handed down to us by Moses.

48. Al Khazari: An arrangement of this kind removes any suspicion of untruth or common plot. Not ten people could discuss such a thing without disagreeing, and disclosing their secret understanding; nor could they refute any one who tried to establish the truth of a matter like this. How is it possible where such a mass of people is concerned? Finally, the period involved is not large enough to admit untruth and fiction.

49. The Rabbi: That is so. Abraham himself lived during the period of the separation of languages. He and his relatives retained the language of his grandfather Eber, which for that reason is called Hebrew. Four hundred years after him appeared Moses at a time when the world was rich in information concerning the heavens and earth. He approached Pharaoh and the Doctors of Egypt, as well as those of the Israelites. Whilst agreeing with him they questioned him, and completely refused to believe that God spoke with man, until he caused them to hear the Ten Words. In the same way the people mere on his side, not from ignorance, but on account of the knowledge they possessed. They feared magic and astrological arts, and similar snares, things which, like deceit, do not bear close examination, whereas the divine might is like pure gold, ever increasing in brilliancy. How could one imagine that an attempt had been made to show that a language spoken five hundred years previously was none but Eber's own language split up in Babel during the days of Peleg; also to trace the origin of this or that nation back to Shem or Ham, and the same with their countries? Is it likely that any one could to-day invent false statements concerning the origin, history, and languages of well-known nations, the latter being less than five hundred years old?

50. Al Khazari: This is not possible. How could it be, since we possess books in the handwriting of their authors written five hundred years ago? No false interpolation could enter the contents of a hook which is not above five hundred years of age, such as genealogical tables, linguistic and other works.

51. The Rabbi: Now why should Moses' speeches remain uncontradicted? Did not his own people raise objections, not to speak of others?

52. Al Khazari: These things are handed down well founded and firmly established.

53. The Rabbi: Dost thou think that the languages are eternal and without beginning?

54. Al Khazari: No; they undoubtedly had a beginning, which originated in a conventional manner. Evidence of this is found in their composition of nouns, verbs, and particles. They originated from sounds derived from the organs of speech.

[55. The Rabbi: Didst thou ever see any one who contrived a language, or didst thou hear of him?]

56. Al Khazari: neither the one nor the other. There is no doubt that it appeared at some time, but prior to this there was no language concerning which one nation, to the exclusion of another, could come to any agreement.

57. The Rabbi: Didst thou ever hear of a nation which possessed different traditions with regard to the generally acknowledged week which begins with the Sunday and ends with the Sabbath? How is it possible that the people of China could agree with those of the western islands without common beginning, agreement and convention?

58. Al Khazari: Such a thing would only have been possible if they had all come to an agreement This, however, is improbable, unless all men are the descendants of Adam, of Noah, or of some other ancestor from whom they received the hebdomadal calculation.

59. The Rabbi: That is what I meant. East and West agree on the decimal system. What instinct induced them to keep to the number ten, unless it was a tradition handed down by the first one who did so?

60. Al Khazari: Does it not weaken thy belief if thou art told that the Indians have antiquities and buildings which they consider to be millions of years old?

61. The Rabbi: It would, indeed, weaken my belief had they a fixed form of religion, or a book concerning which a multitude of people held the same opinion, and in which no historical discrepancy could be found. Such a book, however, does not exist. Apart from this, they are a dissolute, unreliable people, and arouse the indignation of the followers of religions through their talk, whilst they anger them with their idols, talismans, and witchcraft. To such things they pin their faith, and deride those who boast of the possession of a divine book. Yet they only possess a few books, and these were written to mislead the weak-minded. To this class belong astrological writings, in which they speak of ten thousands of years, as the book on the Nabataean Agriculture, in which are mentioned the names of Janbushar, Sagrit and Roanai. It is believed that they lived before Adam, who was the disciple of Janbushar, and such like.

62. Al Khazari: If I had supported my arguments by reference to a negro people, i.e. a people not united upon a common law, thy answer would have been correct. Now what is thy opinion of the philosophers who, as the result of their careful researches, agree that the world is without beginning, and here it does not concern tens of thousands, and not millions, but unlimited numbers of years.

63. The Rabbi: There is an excuse for the Philosophers. Being Grecians, science and religion did not come to them as inheritances. They belong to the descendants of Japheth, who inhabited the north, whilst that knowledge coming from Adam, and supported by the divine influence, is only to be found among the progeny of Shem, who represented the successors of Noah and constituted, as it were, his essence. This knowledge has always been connected with this essence, and will always remain so. The Greeks only received it when they became powerful, from Persia. The Persians had it from the Chaldaeans. It was only then that the famous [Greek] Philosophers arose, but as soon as Rome assumed political leadership they produced no philosopher worthy the name.

64. Al Khazari: Does this mean that Aristotle's philosophy is not deserving of credence?

65. The Rabbi: Certainly. He exerted his mind, because he had no tradition from any reliable source at his disposal. He meditated on the beginning and end of the world, but found as much difficulty in the theory of a beginning as in that of eternity. Finally, these abstract speculations which made for eternity, prevailed, and he found no reason to inquire into the chronology or derivation of those who lived before him. Had he lived among a people with well authenticated and generally acknowledged traditions, he would have applied his deductions and arguments to establish the theory of creation, however difficult. instead of eternity, which is even much more difficult to accept.

66. Al Khazari: Is there any decisive proof?

67. The Rabbi: Where could we find one for such a question? Heaven forbid that there should be anything in the Bible to contradict that which is manifest or proved! On the other hand it tells of miracles and the changes of ordinary, things newly arising, or changing one into the other. This proves that the Creator of the world is able to accomplish what He will, and whenever He mill. The question of eternity and creation is obscure, whilst the arguments are evenly balanced. The theory of creation derives greater weight from the prophetic tradition of Adam, Noah. and Moses, which is more deserving of credence than mere speculation. If, after all, a believer in the Law finds himself compelled to admit an eternal matter and the existence of, many worlds prior to this one, this would not impair his belief that this world was created at a certain epoch, and that Adam and Noah were the first human beings.

68. Al Khazari: Thus far I find these arguments quite satisfactory. Should we continue our conversation, I will trouble thee to adduce more decisive proofs. Now take up the thread of thy earlier exposition, how the great conviction settled in thy soul, that the Creator of body and spirit, soul, intellect and angels-- He who is too high, holy and exalted for the mind still less for the senses to grasp--that He holds intercourse with creatures made of low and contemptible material, wonderful as this may seem. For the smallest worm shows the wonders of His wisdom in a manner beyond the human mind.

69. The Rabbi: Thou hast forestalled much of my intended answer to thee. Dost thou ascribe the wisdom apparent in the creation of an ant (for example) to a sphere or star, or to any other object, to the exclusion of the Almighty Creator, who weighs and gives everything its due, giving neither too much, nor too little?

70. Al Khazari: This is ascribed to the action of Nature.

71. The Rabbi: What is Nature?

72. Al Khazari: As far as philosophy teaches, it is a certain power; only we do not know whet it really is. No doubt philosophers know.

73. The Rabbi: They know as much as we do. Aristotle defined it as the beginning and primary cause through which a thing either moves or rests, not by accidents, but on account of its innate essence.

74. Al Khazari: This would mean that the thing which moves or rests on its own account has a cause through which it moves or rests. This cause is Nature.

75. The Rabbi: This opinion is the result of diligent research, criticism, and discrimination between accidental and natural occurrences. These things astonish those who hear them, but nothing else springs from the knowledge of nature.

76. Al Khazari: All I can see is, that they have misled us by these names, and caused us to place another being on a par with God, if we say that Nature is wise and active. Speaking in their sense, we might even say: possessed of intelligence.

77. The Rabbi: Certainly; but the elements, moon, sun and stars have powers such as warming, cooling, moistening, drying, etc., but do not merit that wisdom should be ascribed to them, or be reckoned more than a function. Forming, measuring, producing, however, and all that shows an intention, can only be ascribed to the All-wise and Almighty. There is no harm in calling the power which arranges matter by means of heat and cooling, 'Nature,' but all intelligence must be denied it. So must the faculty of creating the embryo be denied to human beings, because they only aid matter in receiving human form from its wise Creator. Thou must not deem it improbable that exalted divine traces should be visible in this material world, when this matter is prepared to receive them. Here are to be found the roots of faith as well as of disbelief.

78. Al Khazari: How is this possible?

79. The Rabbi: These conditions which render man fit to receive this divine influence do not lie within him. It is impossible for him to gauge their quantity or quality, and even if their essence were known, yet neither their time, place, and connexion, nor suitability could be discovered. For this, inspired and detailed instruction is necessary. He who has been thus inspired, and obeys the teaching in every respect with a pure mind, is a believer. Whosoever strives by speculation and deduction to prepare the conditions for the reception of this inspiration, or by divining, as is found in the writings of astrologers, trying to call down supernatural beings, or manufacturing talismans, such a man is an unbeliever. He may bring offerings and burn incense in the name of speculation and conjecture, whilst he is in reality ignorant of that which he should do, how much, in which way, by what means, in which place, by whom, in which manner, and many other details, the enumeration of which would lead too far. He is like an ignoramus who enters the surgery of a physician famous for the curative power of his medicines. The physician is not at home, but people come for medicines. The fool dispenses them out of the jars, knowing nothing of the contents, nor how much should be given to each person. Thus he kills with the very medicine which Should have cured them. Should he by chance have effected a cure with one of the drugs, the people will turn to him and say that he helped them, till they discover that he deceived them, or they seek other advice, and cling to this without noticing that the real cure was effected by the skill of the learned physician who prepared the medicines and explained the proper manner in which they were to be administered. He also taught the patients what food and drink, exercise and rest, etc., was necessary, likewise what air was the best, and which place of repose Like unto the patients duped by the ignoramus, so were men, with few exceptions, before the time of Moses. They were deceived by astrological and physical rules, wandered from law to law, from god to god, or adopted a plurality at the same time. They forgot their guide and master, and regarded their false gods as helping causes, whilst they are in reality damaging causes, according to their construction and arrangement. Profitable on its own account is the divine influence, hurtful on its own account the absence thereof.

80. Al Khazari: Let us now return to our subject, and explain to me how your belief grew, how it spread and became general, how opinions became united after having differed, and how long it took for the faith to lay its foundation, and to be built up into a strong and complete structure. The first element of religion appeared, no doubt, among single individuals, who supported one another in upholding the faith which it pleased God should be promulgated. Their number increases continually, they grow more powerful, or a king arises and assists them, also compels his subjects to adopt the same creed.

81. The Rabbi: In this way only rational religions, of human origin, can arise. When a man succeeds and attains an exalted position, it is said that he is supported by God, who inspired him, etc. A religion of divine origin arises suddenly. It is bidden to arise, and it is there, like the creation of the world.

82. Al Khazari: Thou surprisest me, O Rabbi.

83. The Rabbi: It is, indeed, astonishing. The Israelites lived in Egypt as slaves, six hundred thousand men above the age of twenty, descendants of the Twelve Tribes. Not one of them had separated or emigrated into another country, nor was a stranger among them. They looked forward to the promise given to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that the land of Palestine should be their inheritance. At that time it was in the power of seven mighty and prosperous nations, whilst the Israelites sighed in the depths of misery under the bondage of Pharaoh, who caused their children to be put to death, lest they should increase in number. Notwithstanding their lowly position as compared to the tyrant in his might, God sent Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh with signs and miracles, allowing them even to change the course of nature. Pharaoh could not get away from them, nor harm them, neither could he protect himself from the ten plagues which befell the Egyptians, affecting their streams, land, air, plants, animals, bodies, even their souls. For in one moment, at midnight, died the most precious and most beloved members of their houses, viz. every firstborn male. There was no dwelling without dead, except the houses of the Israelites. All these plagues were preceded by warnings and menaces, and their cessation was notified in the same way, so that every one should become convinced that they were ordained by God, who does what He will and when He mill, and were not ordinary natural phenomena, nor wrought by constellations or accident. The Israelites left the country of Pharaoh's bondage, by the command of God, the same night and at the same moment, when the firstborn died, and reached the shores of the Red Sea. They were guided by pillars of cloud and fire, and led by Moses and Aaron, the venerated, inspired chiefs, then about eighty years of age. Up to this time they had only a few laws which they had inherited from Adam and Noah. These laws were not abrogated" by Moses, but rather increased by him. when Pharaoh pursued the Israelites they did not have recourse to arms, being unskilled in their use. God, however, divided the sea, and they traversed it. Pharaoh and his host mere drowned, and the waves washed their corpses towards the Israelites, so that they could see them with their own eyes. It is a long and well-known story.

84. Al Khazari: This is, in truth, divine power, and the commandments connected with it must be accepted. No one could imagine for a moment that this was the result of necromancy, calculation, or phantasy. For had it been possible to procure belief in any imaginary dividing of the waters, and the crossing of the same, it would also have been possible to gain credence for a similar imposition concerning their delivery from bondage, the death of their tormentors, and the capture of their goods and chattels. This would be even worse than denying the existence of God.

85. The Rabbi: And later on, when they came to the desert, which was not sown, he sent them food which, with the exception of Sabbath, was crested daily for them, and they ate it for forty years.

86. Al Khazari: This also is irrefutable, viz. a thing which occurred to six hundred thousand people for forty years. Six days in the week the Manna came down, but on the Sabbath it stopped. This makes the observance of the Sabbath obligatory, since divine ordination is visible in it.

87. The Rabbi: The Sabbatical law is derived from this circumstance, as well as from the creation of the world in six days, also from another matter to be discussed later on. Although the people believed in the message of Moses, they retained, even after the performance of the miracles, some doubt as to whether God really spake to mortals, and whether the Law was not of human origin, and only later on supported by divine inspiration. They could not associate speech with a divine being, since it is something tangible. God, however, desired to remove this doubt, and commanded them to prepare themselves morally, as web as physically, enjoining them to keep aloof from their wives, and to be ready to hear the words of God. The people prepared and became fitted to receive the divine afflatus, and even to hear publicly the words of God. This came to pass three days later, being introduced by overwhelming phenomena, lightning, thunder, earthquake and fire, which surrounded Mount Sinai. The fire remained visible on the mount forty days. They also saw Moses enter it and emerge from it; they distinctly heard the Ten Commandments, which represent the very essence of the Law. One of them is the ordination of Sabbath, a law which had previously been connected with the gift of the Manna. The people did not receive these ten commandments from single individuals, nor from a prophet, but from God, only they did not possess the strength of Moses to bear the grandeur of the scene. Henceforth the people believed that Moses held direct communication with God, that his words were not creations of his own mind, that prophecy did not (as philosophers assume) burst forth in a pure soul, become united with the Active Intellect (also termed Holy Spirit or Gabriel), and be then inspired. They did not believe Moses had seen a vision in sleep, or that some one had spoken with him between sleeping and waking, so that he only heard the words in fancy, but not with his ears, that he saw a phantom, and afterwards pretended that God had spoken with him. Before such an impressive scene all ideas of jugglery vanished. The divine allocution was followed by the divine writing. For he wrote these Ten Words on two tablets of precious stone, and handed them to Moses. The people saw the divine writing, as they had heard the divine words. Moses made an ark by God's command, and built the Tent over it. It remained among the Israelites as long as prophecy lasted, i.e. about nine hundred years, until the people became disobedient. Then the ark was hidden, and Nebuchadnezzar conquered and drove the Israelites into exile.

88. Al Khazari: Should any one hear you relate that God spoke with your assembled multitude, and wrote tables for you, etc., he would be blamed for accusing you of holding the theory of personification. You, on the other hand, are free from blame, because this grand and lofty spectacle, seen by thousands, cannot be denied. You are justified in rejecting [the charge of] mere reasoning and speculation.

89. The Rabbi: Heaven forbid that I should assume what is against sense and reason. The first of the Ten Commandments enjoins the belief in divine providence. The second command contains the prohibition of the worship of other gods, or the association of any being with Him, the prohibition to represent Him in statues, forms and images, or any personification of Him. How should we not deem him exalted above personification, since we do so with many of His creations, e.g. the human soul, which represents man's true essence. For that part of Moses which spoke to us, taught and guided us, was not his tongue, or heart, or brain. Those were only organs, whilst Moses himself is the intellectual, discriminating, incorporeal soul, not limited by place, neither too large, nor too small for any space in order to contain the images of all creatures. If we ascribe spiritual elements to it, how much more must we do so to the Creator of all We must not, however,:endeavour to reject the conclusions to be drawn from revelation. We say, then, that we do not know how the intention became corporealised and the speech evolved which struck our ear, nor what new thing God created from nought, nor what existing thing He employed. He does not lack the power. We say that He created the two tables, engraved a text on them, in the same way as He created the heaven and the stars by His will alone. God desired it, and they became concrete as He wished it, engraved with the text of the Ten Words. We also say that He divided the sea and formed it into two walls, which He caused to stand on the right and on the left of the people, for whom He made easy wide roads and a smooth ground for them to walk on without fear and trouble. This rending, constructing and arranging, are attributed to God, who required no tool or intermediary, as would be necessary for human toil. As the water stood at His command, shaped itself at His will, so the air which touched the prophet's ear, assumed the form of sounds, which conveyed the matters to be communicated by God to the prophet and the people.

90. Al Khazari : This representation is satisfactory.

91. The Rabbi: I do not maintain that this is exactly how these things occurred; the problem is no doubt too deep for me to fathom. But the result was that every one who was present at the time became convinced that the matter proceeded from God direct. It is to be compared to the first act of creation. The belief in the law connected with those scenes is as firmly established in the mind as the belief in the creation of the world, and that He created it in the same manner in which He--as is known--created the two tablets, the manna, and other things. Thus disappear from the soul of the believer the doubts of philosophers and materialists.

92. Al Khazari: Take care, O Rabbi, lest too great indulgence in the description of the superiority of thy people make thee not unbearable, causing thee to overlook what is known of their disobedience in spite of the revelation. I have heard that in the midst of it they made a calf and worshiped it.

93. The Rabbi: A sin which was reckoned all the heavier on account of their greatness. Great is he whose sins are counted.

94. Al Khazari: This is what makes thee tedious and makes thee appear partial to thy people. What sin could be greater than this, and what deed could have exceeded this?

95. The Rabbi: Bear with me a little while that I show the lofty station of the people. For me it is sufficient that God chose them as His people from all nations of the world, and allowed His influence to rest on all of them, and that they nearly approached being addressed by Him. It even descended on their women, among whom were prophetesses, whilst since Adam only isolated individuals had been inspired till then. Adam was perfection itself, because no flaw could be found in a work of a wise and Almighty Creator, wrought from a substance chosen by Him, and fashioned according to His own design. There was no restraining influence, no fear of atavism, no question of nutrition or education during the years of childhood and growth; neither was there the influence of climate, water, or soil to consider. For He created him in the form of an adolescent, perfect in body and mind. The soul with which he was endowed was perfect; his intellect was the loftiest which it is possible for a human being to possess, and beyond this he was gifted with the divine power of such high rank, that it brought him into connexion with beings divine and spiritual, and enabled him, with slight reflection, to comprehend the great truths without instruction. We call him God's son, and we call all those who were like him also sons of God. He left many children, of whom the only one capable of taking his place was Abel, because he alone was like him. After he had been slain by Cain through jealousy of this privilege, it passed to his brother Seth, who also was like Adam, being [as it were] his essence and heart, whilst the others were like husks and rotten fruit. The essence of Seth, then, passed to Enoch, and in this way the divine influence was inherited by isolated individuals down to Noah. They are compared to the heart ; they resembled Adam, and were styled sons of God. They were perfect outwardly and inwardly, their lives, knowledge and ability being likewise faultless. Their lives fix the chronology from Adam to Noah, as well as from Noah to Abraham. There were some, however, among them who did not come under divine influence, as Terah, but his son Abraham was the disciple of his grandfather Eber, and was born in the lifetime of Noah. Thus the divine spirit descended from the grandfather to the grandchildren. Abraham represented the essence of Eber, being his disciple, and for this reason he was called Ibri. Eber represented the essence of Shem, the latter that of Noah. He inherited the temperate zone, the centre and principal pare of which is Palestine, the land of prophecy. Japheth turned towards north, and Ham towards south. The essence of Abraham passed over to Isaac, to the exclusion of the other sons who were all removed from the land, the special inheritance of Isaac. The prerogative of Isaac descended on Jacob, whilst Esau was sent from the land which belonged to Jacob. The sons of the latter were all worthy of the divine influence, as well as of the country distinguished by the divine spirit. This is the first instance of the divine influence descending on a number of people, whereas it had previously only been vouchsafed to isolated individuals. Then God tended them in Egypt, multiplied and aggrandised them, as a tree with a sound root grows until it produces perfect fruit, resembling the first fruit from which it was planted, viz. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and his brethren. The seed further produced Moses, Aaron and Miriam, Bezaleel, Oholiab, and the chiefs of the tribes, the seventy Elders, who were all endowed with the spirit of prophecy; then Joshua, Kaleb, Hur, and many others. Then they became worthy of having the divine light and providence made visible to them. If disobedient men existed among them, they were hated, but remained, without doubt, of the essence inasmuch as they were part of it on account of their descent and nature, and begat children who were of the same stamp. An ungodly man received consideration in proportion to the minuteness of the essence with which he was endowed, for it reappeared in his children and grandchildren according to the purity of their lineage. This is how we regard Terah and others in whom the divine afflatus was not visible, though, to a certain extent, it underlay his natural disposition, so that he begat a descendant filled with the essence, which was not the case with all the posterity of Ham and Japhet. We perceive a similar phenomenon in nature at large. Many people do not resemble their father, but take after their grandfathers. There cannot, consequently, be any doubt that this nature and resemblance was hidden in the father, although it did not become visible outwardly, as was the nature of Eber in his children, until it reappeared in Abraham.

96. Al Khazari : This is the true greatness, which descended direct from Adam. He was the noblest creature on earth. Therefore you rank above all the other inhabitants of the earth. But what of this privilege at the time when that sin was committed ?

97. The Rabbi: All nations were given to idolatry at that time. Even had they been philosophers, discoursing on the unity and government of God, they would have been unable to dispense with images, and would have taught the masses that a divine influence hovered over this image, which was distinguished by some miraculous feature. Some of them ascribed this to God, even as we to-day treat some particular spots with reverence, going so far as to believe ourselves blessed by their dust and stones. Others ascribed it to the spiritual influence of some star or constellation, or of a talisman, or to other things of that kind. The people did not pay so much attention to a single law as to a tangible image in which they believed. The Israelites had been promised that something visible would descend on them from God which they could follow, as they followed the pillars of cloud and fire when they departed from Egypt. This they pointed out, and turned to it, praising it, and worshipping God in its presence. Thus they also turned towards the cloud which hovered over Moses while God spake with him; they remained standing and adoring God opposite to it. Now when the people had heard the proclamation of the Ten Commandments, and Moses had ascended the mount in order to receive the inscribed tables which he was to bring down to them, and then make an ark which was to be the point towards which they should direct their gaze during their devotions,* they waited for his return clad in the same apparel in which they had witnessed the drama on Sinai. without removing their jewels or changing their clothes, remaining just as he left them, expecting every moment to see him return. He, however, tarried forty days, although he had not provided himself with food, having only left them with the intention of returning the same day. An evil spirit overpowered a portion of the people, and they began to divide into parties and factions. Many views and opinions were expressed, till at last some decided to do like the other nations, and seek an object in which they could have faith, without, however, prejudicing the supremacy of Him who had brought them out of Egypt. On the contrary, this was to be something to which they could point when relating the wonders of God, as the Philistines did with the ark when they said that God dwelt within it. We do the same with the sky and every other object concerning which we know that it is set in motion by the divine will exclusively, and not by any accident or desire of man or nature. Their sin consisted in the manufacture of an image of a forbidden thing, and in attributing divine power to a creation of their own, something chosen by themselves without the guidance of God. Some excuse may be found for them in the dissension which had broken out among them, and in the fact that out of six hundred thousand souls the number of those who worshiped the calf was below three thousand. For those of higher station who assisted in making it an excuse, might. be found in the fact that they wished to clearly separate the disobedient from the pious, in order to slay those who would worship the calf. On the other hand, they sinned in causing what was only a sin of intention to become a sin in deed. This sin was not on a par with an entire lapse from all obedience to Him who had led them out of Egypt, as only one of His commands was violated by them. God had forbidden images, and in spite of this they made one. They should have waited and not have assumed power, have arranged a place of worship, an altar, and sacrifices. This had been done by the advice of the astrologers and magicians among them, who were of opinion that their actions based on their ideas would be more correct than the true ones. They resembled the fool of whom we spoke, who entered the surgery of a physician and dealt out death instead of healing to those who came there. At the same time the people did not intend to give up their allegiance to God. On the contrary, they were, in theory, more zealous in their devotion. They therefore approached Aaron, and he, desiring to make their plan public, assisted them in their undertaking. For this reason he is to be blamed for changing their theoretical disobedience into a reality. The whole affair is repulsive to us, because in this age the majority of nations have abandoned the worship of images. It appeared less objectionable at that time, because all nations were then idolators. Had their sin consisted in constructing a house of worship of their own, and making a place of prayer, offering and veneration, the matter would not have been so grave, because nowadays we also build our houses of worship, hold them in great respect, and seek blessing through their means. We even say that God dwells in them, and that they are surrounded by angels. If this mere not essential for the gathering of our community, it would be as unknown as it was at the time of the kings, when the people were forbidden to erect places of worship, called heights. The pious kings destroyed them, lest they be venerated beside the house chosen by God in which He was to be worshiped according to His own ordinances. There was nothing strange in the form of the cherubim made by His command. In spite of these things, those who worshiped the calf were punished on the same day, and three thousand out of six hundred thousand were slain. The Manna, however, did not cease falling for their maintenance, nor the cloud to give them shade, nor the pillar of fire to guide them. Prophecy continued spreading and increasing among them, and nothing that had been granted was taken from them, except the two tables, which Moses broke. But then he pleaded for their restoration; they were restored, and the sin was forgiven.

[* editor's note: In the original, a clause is inserted which I place here in order to facilitate the reading: In this was the divine covenant and God's last creation, the tablets. To it also belonged the cloud, the Urim, and all miracles by its instrumentality]

98. Al Khazari: The theory I had formed, and the opinion of what I saw in my dream thou now confirmest, viz. that man can only merit divine influence by acting according to God's commands And even were it not so, most men strive to obtain it, even astrologers, magicians, fire and sun worshippers, dualists, etc.

99.The Rabbi: Thou art right. Our laws were written in the Torah by Moses, who had them direct from God, and handed them down to the masses assembled in the desert. There was no necessity to quote any older authority with regard to the single chapters and verses, nor with regard to the description of sacrifices, where and in what manner they were to be offered up, and what was to be done with the blood and the limbs, etc. Everything was clearly stated by God, as the smallest matter missing would interfere with the completeness of the whole thing. It is here, as in the formations of nature, which are composed of such minute elements that they defy perception, and if their mutual relation suffered the smallest change, the whole formation would be damaged, that plant or animal, or limb, would be imperfect and nonexisting. In the same manner the law prescribes how the sacrificed animal should be dismembered, and what should be done with each limb, what should be eaten and what burnt, who should eat and who burn, and which section of priests should have the charge of offering it up, and which dared not. Il also prescribed in what condition those who brought the offerings must be, so that they should be faultless, both as regards appearance and apparel, especially the High Priest, who had the privilege of entering the place of Divinity which enclosed God's glory, the ark and the Torah. To this are attached the rules for cleanliness and purity, and the various grades of purification, sanctification, and prayer, the description of which would lead us too far. In all these matters they had to rely on the reading of the Torah, combined with the traditions of the Rabbis, based on God's communications to Moses. In the same manner the form of the Tabernacle was shown to Moses on the mountain, viz. the tabernacle, the interior, the candlestick, the ark, and the surrounding court, with its pillars, coverings, and all appurtenances, were caused by God to appear to him in their real shape, in the form in which He commanded to have them executed. In the same way was the temple of Solomon built according to the model revealed to David. 80 also mill the last sanctuary promised us be shaped and arranged according to the details seen by the prophet Ezekiel. In the service of God there is no arguing reasoning, and debating Had this been possible, philosophers with their wisdom and acumen would have achieved even more than Israel.

100. Al Khazari: Thus the human mind can accept the Law cheerfully and unhesitatingly, without doubting that a prophet would come to the oppressed and enslaved people, and promise them that they would at an appointed time, thus and without delay, be delivered from bondage Moses led them to Palestine against seven nations, each of which was stronger than they were, assigned to each tribe its portion of the land before they reached it. All this was accomplished in the shortest space of time, and accompanied by miraculous events. This proves the omnipotence of the Sender as well as the greatness of the Messenger, and the high station of those who alone received this message. Had he said: 'I was sent to guide the whole world in the right path,' and would only have partially fulfilled his task, his message would have been deficient, since the divine will would not have been carried out completely. The perfection of his work was marred by the fact that his book was written in Hebrew, which made it unintelligible to the peoples of Sind, India, and Khazar. They would, therefore, be unable to practise his laws till some centuries had elapsed, or they had been prepared for it by changes of conquest, or alliance, but not through the revelation of that prophet himself, or of another who would stand up for him, and testify to his law.

101. The Rabbi: Moses invited only his people and those of his own tongue to accept his lam, whilst God promised that there should at all times be prophets to expound his law. This He did so long as they found favour in His sight, and His presence was with them.

102. Al Khazari: Would it not have been better or more commensurate with divine wisdom, if all mankind had been guided in the true path?

103. The Rabbi: Or would it not have been best for all animals to have been reasonable beings z Thou base, apparently, forgotten what we said previously concerning the genealogy of Adam's progeny, and how the spirit of divine prophecy rested on one person, who was chosen from his brethren, and the essence of his father. It was he in whom this divine light was concentrated. He was the kernel, whilst the others were as shells which had no share in it. The sons of Jacob were, however, distinguished from other people by godly qualities, which made them, so to speak, an angelic caste. Each of them, being permeated by the divine essence, endeavoured to attain the degree of prophecy, and most of them succeeded in so doing. Those who were not successful strove to approach it by means of pious acts, sanctity, purity, and intercourse with prophets. Know that he who converses with a prophet experiences spiritualization during the time he listens to his oration. He differs from his own kind in the purity of soul, in a yearning for the [higher] degrees and attachment to the qualities of meekness and purity. This was a manifest proof to them, and a clear and convincing sign of reward hereafter. For the only result to be expected from this is that the human soul becomes divine. being detached from material senses, joining the highest world, and enjoying the vision of the divine light, and hearing the divine speech. Such a soul is safe from death, even after its physical organs hare perished If thou, then, findest a religion the knowledge and practice of which assists in the attainment of this degree, at the place pointed out and with the conditions laid down by it, this is beyond doubt the religion which insures the immortality of the soul after the demise of the body.

104. Al Khazari : The anticipations of other churches are grosser and more sensuous than yours.

105. The Rabbi: They are none of them realized till after death, whilst during this life nothing points to them.

106. Al Khazari: May be; I have never seen any one who believed in these promises desire their speedy fulfilment. On the contrary, if he could delay them a thousand years, and remain in the bonds of this life in spite of the hardship of this world, he would prefer it.

107. The Rabbi: What is thy opinion concerning him who witnessed those grand and divine scenes?

108. Al Khazari: That he, no doubt, longs for the perpetual separation of his soul from his material senses, in order to enjoy that light. who would desire death.

109. The Rabbi: Now all that our promises imply is that we shall become connected with the divine influence by means of prophecy, or something nearly approaching it, and also through our relation to the divine influence, as displayed to us in grand and awe-inspiring miracles. Therefore we do not find in the Bible:'If you keep this law, I will bring you after death into beautiful gardens and great pleasures.' On the contrary it is said:'You shall be my chosen people, and I will be a God unto you, who will guide you. Whoever of you comes to me, and ascends to heaven, is as those who, themselves, dwell among the angels and my angels shall dwell among them on earth. You shall see them singly or in hosts, watching you and fighting for you without your joining in the fight. You shall remain in the country which forms a stepping-stone to this degree, viz. the Holy Land. Its fertility or barrenness, its happiness or misfortune, depend upon the divine Influence which your conduct will merit, whilst the rest of the world would continue its natural course. For if the divine presence is among you, you will perceive by the fertility of your country, by the regularity with which your rainfalls appear in their due seasons, by your victories over your enemies in spite of your inferior numbers, that your affairs are not managed by simple laws of nature, but by the divine Will. You also see that drought, death, and wild beasts pursue you as a result of disobedience, although the whole world lives in peace. This shows you that your concerns are arranged by a higher power than mere nature.' All this, the laws included, is closely connected with the promises, and no disappointment is feared. All these promises have one basis, viz. the anticipation of being near God and His hosts. He who attains this degree need not fear death, as is clearly demonstrated in our Law. The following parable will illustrate this: One of a company of friends who sought solicitude in a remote spot, once journeyed to India, and had honour and rank bestowed on him by her king, who knew that he was one of these friends, and who had also known their fathers, former comrades of his own. The king loaded him with presents for his friends, gave him costly raiment for himself, and then dismissed him, sending members of his own retinue to accompany him on his return journey. No one knew that they belonged to the court, nor that they travelled into the desert. We had received commissions and treaties, and in return he had to swear fealty to the king. Then he and his Indian escort returned to his companions, and received a hearty welcome from them. They took pains to accommodate them and to show them honour. They also built a castle and allowed them to dwell in it. Henceforth they frequently sent ambassadors to India to wait upon the king, which was now more easy of accomplishment, as the first messengers guided them the shortest and straightest route. All knew that travelling in that country was rendered easier by swearing allegiance to his king and respecting his ambassadors There mas no occasion to inquire why this homage was necessary, because it was patent that by this means he came into connexion with the monarch--a most pleasing circumstance Now these companions are the Children of Israel, the first traveller is Moses, the later travellers are the prophets, whilst the Indian messengers are the Shekinah and the angels. The precious garments are the spiritual light which dwelt in the soul of Moses on account of his prophetship, whilst the visible light appeared on his countenance. The presents are the two tables with the Ten Commandments. Those in possession of other laws saw nothing of this, but were told:'Continue in obedience to the King of India as this company of friends, and you will after death become the associates of the king, otherwise he will turn you away, and punish you after death.' Some might say: No one ever returned to inform us whether, after death, he dwelt in paradise or in hell. The majority were satisfied with the arrangement, which coincided with their views. They obeyed willingly, and allowed themselves to entertain a faint hope, which to all appearance was a very strong one, as they commenced to be proud-and to behave haughtily towards other people. But how can they boast of expectations after death to those who enjoy the fulfilment already in life a Is not the nature of the prophets and godly men nearer to immortality than the nature of him who never reached that degree?

110. Al Khazari: It does not agree with common sense that when man perishes, body and soul should disappear at the same time, as is the case with animals, and that the philosophers alone will--as they believe --escape. The same applies to the statement made by believers in other faiths-that man, by the pronunciation of one word alone, may inherit paradise, even if, during the whole of his life, he knew no other word than this, and of this did not even understand the great significance, viz. that one word raised him from the ranks of a brute to that of an angel. He who did not utter this word would remain an animal, though he might be a learned and pious philosopher, who yearned for God all his life.

111. The Rabbi: We do not deny that the good actions of any man, to whichever people he may belong, mill be rewarded by God. But the priority belongs to people who are near God during their life, and we estimate the rank they occupy near God after death accordingly.

112. Al Khazari: Apply this also in the other direction, and judge their degree in the next world according to their station in this world.

113. The Rabbi: I see thee reproaching us with our degradation and poverty, but the best of other religions boast of both. Do they not glorify him who said: He who smites thee on the right cheek, turn to him the left also; and he who takes away thy coat, let him have thy shirt also."' He and his friends and followers, after hundreds of years of contumely, flogging and slaying, attained their well-known success, and just in these things they glorify. This is also the history of the founder of Islam and his friends, who eventually prevailed, and became powerful. The nations boast of these, but not of these kings whose power and might are great, whose walls are strong, and whose chariots are terrible. Yet our relation to God is a closer one than if we had reached greatness already on earth.

114. Al Khazari: This might be so, if your humility were voluntary; but it is involuntary, and if you had power you would slay.

115. The Rabbi: Thou best touched our weak spot, O King of the Khazars. If the majority of us, as thou sayest, would learn humility towards God and His law from our low station, Providence would not have forced us to bear it for such a long period. Only the smallest portion thinks thus. Yet the majority may expect a reward, because they bear their degradation partly from necessity, partly of their own free will. For whoever wishes to do so can become the friend and equal of his oppressor by uttering one word, and without any difficulty. Such conduct does not escape the just Judge. If we bear our exile and degradation for God's sake, as is meet, we shall be the pride of the generation which will come with the Messiah, and accelerate the day of the deliverance we hope for. Now we do not allow any one who embraces our religion theoretically by means of a word alone to take equal rank with ourselves, but demand actual self-sacrifice, purity, knowledge, circumcision, and numerous religious ceremonies. The convert must adopt our mode of life entirely. We must bear in mind that the rite of circumcision is a divine symbol, ordained by God to indicate that our desires should be curbed, and discretion used, so that what we engender may be fitted to receive the divine Influence. God allows him who treads this path, as well as his progeny, to approach Him very closely. Those, however, who become Jews do not take equal rank with born Israelites, who are specially privileged to attain to prophecy, whilst the former can only achieve something by learning from them, and can only become pious and learned, but never prophets. As regards the promises at which thou are so astonished, our sages, long ago, gave descriptions of paradise and hell, their length and width,: and depicted the enjoyments and punishments in greater detail than is given in any later religions. From the very beginning I only spoke to thee of what is contained in the books of the Prophets. They, however, do not discuss the promises of after-life with so much diffuseness as is done in the sayings of the Rabbis. Nevertheless the prophetic books allude to the return of the dust of the human body to the earth, whilst the spirit returns to the Creator who gave it. They also mention the resurrection of the dead at some future time, the sending of a prophet called Elijah AlKhidr, who had already been sent once, but who was taken away by God in the same way as another said that he never tasted death. The Torah contains the prayer of one who was especially privileged to become a prophet, and he prayed that his death might be made easy, and his end be as the end of the Children of Israel. After the death of Samuel King Saul invoked his aid, and he prophesied for him concerning all that would happen to him in the same way as he had prophesied to him whilst living. Although this action of Saul, viz. consulting the dead, is forbidden in our law, it shows that the people at the time of the prophets believed in the immortality of the soul after the decay of the body. For this reason they consulted the dead. All educated people, including women, know by heart the opening prayer of our morning liturgy, which runs as follows: O Lord, the spirit which Thou hast breathed into me is hallowed; Thou hast created it, Thou guardest it, and Thou wilt after a time take it from me, but wilt restore it to me in tie other world. As long as it is within me, I praise Thee, and am grateful to Thee, O Lord of the universe. Praise be to Thee who restoreth the spirit unto the dead. The notion of 'Paradise' itself, of which people often speak, is derived from the Torah, being the exalted abode which was intended for Adam. Had he not been disobedient, he would have remained in it for ever. Similarly 'Gehinnom' was nothing but a well-known place near the Holy House, a trench in which the fire was never extinguished, because unclean bones, carrion and other impurities used to be burned there. The word is a compound Hebrew one.

116. Al Khazari: If that is so, then there has been nothing new since your religion was promulgated, except certain details concerning paradise: and hell, their arrangement, and the repetition and enlargement of these.

117. The Rabbi: Even this is not new either. The Rabbis have said so much on the subject that there is nothing thou couldst hear concerning it which could not be found in their writings, if thou didst but search for it.

[end of the first section]

31.4 Letters and Signs

31.4.1 Nachman

Rabbi Nachman Letter – July 1, 1994

While fasting on the 17th of Tamuz, I ascended in a vision to the higher worlds. I was seeking Rabbi Nachman to ask him some questions. After passing Malchuts, Yesod, and Tiferets, I was stuck at the gates of Daat which I did not know how to enter. Eventually I saw Binah and Hochmah embrace like a mother and father and I was placed at the base of Keter. There I made it my will to find Rabbi Nachman.
I ascended to the worlds above Atzilut, passing through MH – מה – 45, BN – בן – 52, SaG – סג – 63, and arriving at AV – עב – 72.[2947] There I beheld Rabbi Nachman who was radiant with joy to see me. I asked him what he was doing way up here. He told me if I continued studying his teachings I would understand.

The next day I am having dinner with a friend who has a letter from your settlement on his table. I noticed the name of your settlement contains the phrase Mekor Chochma (source of wisdom).

That night I’m reading at home the following: “Havayah expanded with Yods, adding up to 72 (AV) motivates the union of Hochmah – Wisdom (Father) and Binah – Understanding (Mother), through the Neshamah of the Neshamah of the saint. It is associated with Hochmah – Wisdom.”[2948] Now I know how I ascended through Daat. The saint is Rabbi Nachman of Breslov who lives through his Chaya[2949] even in this world and is supporting the completion of Nachal Novea Mekor Chochma in the world of AV that is the source of the sefira of Hochmah in the worlds above Atzulut.

Meditation 31-1: Entering the Astrological Signs
Encounter with the Astrological Signs – August 28, 1996
One can acquire knowledge of any subject through meditation. For example, one can picture 12 rooms, each with one of the astrological glyphs above the doorway. By entering each room, one will encounter the essence of the sign. In the case of Aquarius, one can picture the water bearer who is always pouring forth, giving his resources for the world around him. The Aquarian lives to give. In the case of Pisces, one might see a room filled with sensuous tapestries, warm lights with thin shades of fabrics, and a warm carpet with nice furniture. Meditative pursuits illuminate esoteric matters.

Meditation 31-2: Meditation for the Deaf
Meditation for the Deaf – June 17, 2001
"And Isaac went out to meditate in the field before the evening; and he raised his eyes and saw and behold camels are coming."  (Genesis 24:63) The word for meditate here is Suach, the word for grasses is Sicha, the word for conversation is also Sicha.   Isaac was conversing with G-d in the fields.   The camel is the letter Gimmel and it is a letter of good fortune for upon the camel rode Rachel, Isaac's intended wife.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov says that we should say out every little concern we have to G-d, no matter how small.  Tell him all our problems.  G-d loves us more than anyone else in the whole world loves us.   And he is more interested in hearing any little thing from us than anyone else.   Some say, "How can I bother Hashem with this small problem?"   The answer is we are not bothering Him.   He wants to be bothered!   This is the most powerful way to get close to Hashem.

In meditation, we learn to act out what we are seeing or doing—to let the body become part of the visualization deepens the experience.   This may be by letting the body dance if it feels like dancing or express itself with sign language.    I will tell you it is possible for every person to get close to Hashem even while we are still in the land of the living, Bless Hashem.

There are many gateways, but study of authentic texts is essential.  In your case, I recommend the Torah, Prophets, and Writings.   Accompany this with walks in nature and conversations with G-d daily.    Finally meditate on questions that have arisen in your mind from the Bible and let the Ribono Shel Olam, the Revered of the World teach you the answers with your signing.   

There was a great teacher by the name of Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev. The Berditchover had this to say when he saw a Jewish man being despised by others while changing his wagon wheel, while wearing Tefillin during the morning prayers. Oh L-rd how great are Your people; even when they are pressed with burdens and overwhelmed with work, even in the midst of this they are praying to you.

31.4.2 Korea

Title: Japan's Imperial holocaust crimes in the Far East, no reparations contributes to N. Korean crisis

Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 3:54 AM

Dear President,

As an American citizen, I am shocked that our foreign policy has glossed over the unacknowledged uncompensated holocaust crimes perpetrated in the Far East that may to this day be exasperating our policy there.

The denial of Japanese courts to acknowledge and compensate the families of the victims of the 1905-1948 occupation as well as other holocaust crimes stigmatizes the pacific region to this day.

Medical experimentation conducted on prisoners during this holocaust has never led to family compensation such as the case of Korean Yoon Dong-ju, whose life I recently heard described by a BYU professor Mark Peterson. “They continued to write poems with determination but through brutal and prolonged tortures, as well as needle shots given as part of the imperial government's medical experiments, Yoon is pronounced dead on February 16, 1945. Song died shortly thereafter, surviving his distant cousin and close ally by a month.”

Perhaps a support policy similar to the one that Germany took with Israel after the holocaust could begin with Japan towards N. Korea. We often forget that the founder of N. Korea was an ally of the U.S. in the war against the Nazi Axis in his battle against Japanese occupation, “In November 1905 Japan took control of Korea and began settling Japanese families in the country. By 1932 Kim Il-Sung had become leader of a guerrilla group based in Korea. Over the next ten years he launched a series of attacks against the Japanese."

Perhaps an acknowledgment of this history and reversing Japanese court stubbornness in denying its history can lead to improvement in N. Korean relations with her neighbors.

It worked for Germany, yet Japan has not taken the same steps. What might N. Korea due if Japan wanted to begin reparations with them over its 1905-1948 occupational holocaust?

While we are aware of the terrorist supporting ties that N. Korea has developed to this day, perhaps progress can still be made if an old wound is finally healed.

31.4.3 Q/A

Here is a worthwhile website IMHO and where one can ask a question them as well:
Text 31-2:
You wrote: "Rav Moshe Feinstein (Shu"t Iggrot Moshe Orach Chayyim IV 91) prohibits davening in a Conservative synagogue ... because of Conservative rejection of basic principles of faith and observance."

Can you elaborate? What basic principles of faith and observance are rejected by the Conservative Movement? The question was asked following the question "Prayer in Reform and Conservative Shuls"
While my intention in this forum is to explain and educate and not to find fault, unfortunately it is no secret that according to Conservative Judaism as it is today in the U.S., the use of a car on Shabbat is permitted as well as the use of microphones in the synagogue not to mention the use of electricity in the home.

These actions are an outright violation of the Halacha and regrettably these are only a few examples. Halacha is the transmission of the Oral Law which was given to Moshe on Mount Sinai. Being indifferent to the Halacha is an abandonment of the principle of faith set down by the Rambam that the Torah which transmitted to us shall not be altered or exchanged.

Conservative Jews really CAN'T drive on Shabbat. The responsa ("Responsum on the Sabbath" by Rabbis Morris Adler, Jacob B. Agus and Theodore Friedman) stated that it was an "emergency measure" designed to keep Jews who lived too far away from synagogue from falling out of the Jewish community entirely, and was never designed to allow anyone who wanted to drive on Shabbat.

In addition, conservative views driving as a Rabbinic prohibition, which therefore can be over-ridden in times of crisis, whereas Orthodox views it as an extension of the Biblical prohibition against lighting a fire. (In addition to several other things. See for more. )

Pork, on the other hand, is explicitly prohibited in the Bible, and there is no getting around that. (Except for "Saving a Life," which over-rides nearly everything.)

@ See "Contemporary Halakhic Problems" by J. David Bleich for more.
I couldn't find an actual repsonsa online, but all Poskim take it for granted that it is prohibited. See Iggerot Moshe, O.C. 99

"Responsum on the Sabbath" by Rabbis Morris Adler, Jacob B. Agus and Theodore Friedman.
Judaism is fundamentally a religious system based on law. Hence the traditional rabbi was measured by his knowledge of the law as opposed to how well he got along with the community.

31.5 Messilat Yesharim

1 - Concerning Man's Duty in the World
2 - The Trait of Watchfulness
3 - The Divisions of Watchfulness
4 - The Manner of Aquiring Watchfulness
5 - The Factors which Detract from Watchfulness
6-The Trait of Zeal
7-The Divisions of Zeal
8-The Manner of Acquiring Zeal
9-The Factors which Detract from Zeal
10-The Trait of Cleanliness
11-The Particulars of the Trait of Cleanliness
12-The Means of Acquiring Cleanliness
13-The Trait of Separation
14-The Divisions of Separation
15-The Means of Acquiring Separation
16-The Trait of Purity
17-The Means of Acquiring Purity
18-The Trait of Saintliness
19-The Divisions of Saintliness
20-The Weighing of Saintliness
21-The Means of Acquiring Saintliness
22-The Trait of Humility
23-The Means of Acquiring Humility
24-The Fear of Sin
25-The Manner of Acquiring Fear of Sin
26-The Trait of Holiness



The writer says: I have written this work not to teach men what they do not know, but to remind them of what they already know and is very evident to them, for you will find in most of my words only things which most people know, and concerning which they entertain no doubts. But to the extent that they are well known and their truths revealed to all, so is forgetfulness in relation to them extremely prevalent. It follows, then, that the benefit to be obtained from this work is not derived from a single reading; for it is possible that the reader will find that he has learned little after having read it that he did not know before. Its benefit is to be derived, rather, through review and persistent study, by which one is reminded of those things which, by nature, he is prone to forget and through which he is caused to take to heart the duty that he tends to overlook.

A consideration of the general state of affairs will reveal that the majority of men of quick intelligence and keen mentality devote most of their thought and speculation to the subtleties of wisdom and the profundities of analysis, each according to the inclination of his intelligence and his natural bent. There are some who expend a great deal of effort in studying the creation and nature. Others devote all of their thought to astronomy and mathematics, and others to the arts. There are those who go more deeply into sacred studies, into the study of the holy Torah, some occupying themselves with Halachic discussions, others with Midrash and others with legal decisions. There are few, however, who devote thought and study to perfection of Divine service - to love, fear, communion and all of the other aspects of saintliness. It is not that they consider this knowledge unessential; if questioned each one will maintain that it is of paramount importance and that one who is not clearly versed in it cannot be deemed truly wise. Their failure to devote more attention to it stems rather from its being so manifest and so obvious to them that they see no need for spending much time upon it. Consequently, this study and the reading of works of this kind have been left to those of a not too sensitive, almost dull intelligence. These you will see immersed in the study of saintliness, not stirring from it. It has reached the stage that when one sees another engaging in saintly conduct, he cannot help but suspect him of dullwittedness. This state of affairs results in evil consequences both for those who possess wisdom and for those who do not, causing both classes to lack true saintliness, and rendering it extremely rare. The wise lack it because of their limited consideration of it and the unwise because of their limited grasp. The result is that saintliness is construed by most to consist in the recitation of many Psalms, very long confessions, difficult fasts, and ablutions in ice and snow - all of which are incompatible with intellect and which reason cannot accept.

Truthful, desirable saintliness is far from being conceptualized by us, for it is obvious that a person does not concern himself with what does not occupy a place in his mind. And though the beginnings and foundations of saintliness are implanted in every person's heart, if he does not occupy himself with them, he will witness details of saintliness without recognizing them and he will trespass upon them without feeling or perceiving that he is doing so. For sentiments of saintliness, fear and love of God, and purity of heart are not so deeply rooted within a person as to obviate the necessity of his employing certain devices in order to acquire them. In this respect they differ from natural states such as sleep and wakefulness, hunger and satiety, and all other reactions which are stamped in one's nature, in that various methods and devices are perforce required for their acquisition. There is also no lack of deterrents which keep saintliness at a distance from a person, but then again there is no lack of devices by which these deterrents may be held afar. How, then, is it conceivable that it not be necessary to expend a great deal of time upon this study in order to know these truths and the manner in which they may be acquired and fulfilled? How will this wisdom enter a person's heart if he will not seek it? And since every man of wisdom recognizes the need for perfection of Divine service and the necessity for its purity and cleanliness, without which it is certainly completely unacceptable, but repulsive and despised - "For God searches all hearts and understands the inclination of all thoughts" (I Chronicles 28:9) - what will we answer in the day of reproof if we weaken in this study and forsake that which is so incumbent upon us as to be the very essence of what the Lord our God asks of us? Is it fitting that our intelligence exert itself and labor in speculations which are not binding upon us, in fruitless argumentation, in laws which have no application to us, while we leave to habit and abandon to mechanical observance our great debt to our Creator? If we do not look into and analyze the question of what constitutes true fear of God and what its ramifications are, how will we acquire it and how will we escape wordly vanity which renders our hearts forgetful of it? Will it not be forgotten and go lost even though we recognize its necessity? Love of God, too - if we do not make an effort to implant it in our hearts, utilizing all of the means which direct us towards it, how will it exist within us? Whence will enter into our souls intimacy with and ardor towards the Blessed One and towards His Torah if we do not give heart to His greatness and majesty which engender this intimacy in our hearts? How will our thoughts be purified if we do not strive to rescue them from the imperfections infused in them by physical nature? And all of the character traits, which are in such great need of correction and cultivation -who will cultivate and correct them if we do not give heart to them and subject them to exacting scrutiny? If we analyzed the matter honestly would we not extract the truth and thereby benefit ourselves, and also be of benefit to others by instructing them in it? As stated by Solomon (Proverbs 2:4), “If you seek it as silver and search for it as treasure, then you will understand the fear of God.” He does not say, “Then you will understand philosophy; then youwill understand astronomy; then you will understand medicine; then you will understand legal judgments and decisions.” We see, then, that for fear of God to be understood, it must be sought as silver and searched for as treasure. All this is part of our heritage and is accepted in substance by every devout individual.

Again, is it conceivable that we should find time for all other branches of study and none for this study? Why should a man not at least set aside for himself certain times for this speculation if he is obliged in the remainder of his time to turn to other studies or undertakings? Scripture states (Job 28:28), "Hen fear of God - this is wisdom." Our Sages of blessed memory comment (Shabbath 31b), " `Hen' means `one,' for in Greek `one' is designated as `Hen' (Ev). " "We see, then, that fear, and only fear, is accounted wisdom. And there is no doubt that what entails no analysis is not considered wisdom. The truth of the matter is that all of these things require great analysis if they are to be known in truth and not through imagination and deceitful supposition. How much more so if they are to be acquired and attained. One who thinks into these matters will see that saintliness does not hinge upon those things which are put at a premium by the foolishly "saintly," but upon true perfection and great wisdom. This is what Moses our Teacher, may Peace be upon him, teaches us in saying (Deuteronomy 10:12), "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you, but that you fear the Lord your God to walk in all His ways, and to love Him and serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, to observe the mitzvoth of God and His statutes. .. " Herein have been included all of the features of perfection of Divine service that are appropriate in relation to the Holy One Blessed be He. They are: fear of God, walking in His ways, love, wholeheartedness, and observance of all of the mitzvoth.

"Fear of God" denotes fear of the Majesty of the Blessed One, fearing Him as one would a great and mighty king, and being ashamed at one's every movement in consequence of His greatness, especially when speaking before Him in prayer or engaging in the study of His Torah.

"Walking in His ways" embodies the whole area of cultivation and correction of character traits. As our Sages of blessed memory have explained, "As He is merciful, be also merciful..." The essence of all this is that a person conform all of his traits and all the varieties of his actions to what is just and ethical. Our Sages of blessed memory have thus summarized the idea (Avoth 2.1): "All that is praiseworthy in its doer and brings praise to him from others;" that is, all that leads to the end of true good, namely, strengthening of Torah and furthering of brotherliness.

"Love" - that there be implanted in a person's heart a love for the Blessed One which will arouse his soul to do what is pleasing before Him, just as his heart is aroused to give pleasure to his father and mother. He will be grieved if he or others are lacking in this; he will be jealous for it and he will rejoice greatly in fulfilling aught of it. "Whole-heartedness" - that service before the Blessed One be characterized by purity of motive, that its end be His service alone and nothing else. Included in this is that one's heart be complete in Divine service, that his interests not be divided or his observance mechanical, but that his whole heart be devoted to it.

"Observance of all the mitzvoth," as the words imply, is observance of the whole body of mitzvoth with all of their fine points and conditions.

All of these principles require extensive interpretation. I have found that our Sages of blessed memory have categorized these elements in a different, more detailed formulation, in which they are arranged according to the order necessary for their proper acquisition. Their words are contained in a Baraitha mentioned in different places in the Talmud, one of them, the chapter "Before their festivals" (Avodah Zara 20b):

"From this R. Pinchas ben Yair adduced:

`Torah leads to Watchfulness;
Watchfulness leads to Zeal;
Zeal leads to Cleanliness;
Cleanliness leads to Separation;
Separation leads to Purity;
Purity leads to Saintliness;
Saintliness leads to Humility;
Humility leads to Fear of Sin;
Fear of Sin leads to Holiness;
Holiness leads to the Holy Spirit,
and the Holy Spirit leads to the Revival of the Dead."
It is on the basis of this Baraitha that I have undertaken to write this work,in order to teach myself and to remind others of the conditions for perfect Divine service according to their gradations. In relation to each one, I shall explain its nature, its divisions or details, the manner of acquiring it, and its deterrents and the manner of guarding against them, so that I and all those who are pleased to do so may read therein in order to learn to fear the Lord our God and not forget our duty before Him. That which the earthiness of nature seeks to remove from our hearts, reading and contemplation will summon to our consciousness, and will awaken us to what is incumbent upon us.

May God be with our aspirations and keep our feet from stumbling, and may there be fulfilled in us the supplication of the Psalmist, beloved of his God (Psalms 86:11), "Teach me, O God, Your ways; I shall walk in Your truth. Make one my heart to fear Your Name." Amen, so may be His will.

31.5.1 Concerning Man's Duty in the World



THE FOUNDATION OF SAINTLINESS and the root of perfection in the service of God lies in a man's coming to see clearly and to recognize as a truth the nature of his duty in the world and the end towards which he should direct his vision and his aspiration in all of his labors all the days of his life.

Our Sages of blessed memory have taught us that man was created for the sole purpose of rejoicing in God and deriving pleasure from the splendor of His Presence; for this is true joy and the greatest pleasure that can be found. The place where this joy may truly be derived is the World to Come, which was expressly created to provide for it; but the path to the object of our desires is this world, as our Sages of blessed memory have said (Avorh 4:21), "This world is like a corridor to the World to Come."

The means which lead a man to this goal are the mitzvoth, in relation to which we were commanded by the Lord, may His Name be blessed. The place of the performance of the mitzvoth is this world alone.

Therefore, man was placed in this world first - so that by these means, which were provided for him here, he would be able to reach the place which had been prepared for him, the World to Come, there to be sated with the goodness which he acquired through them. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Eruvin 22a), "Today for their [the mitzvoth's] performance and tomorrow for receiving their reward."

When you look further into the matter, you will see that only union with God constitutes true perfection, as King David said (Psalms 73:28), "But as for me, the nearness of God is my good," and (Psalms 27:4), "I asked one thing from God; that will I seek - to dwell in God's house all the days of my life..." For this alone is the true good, and anything besides this which people deem good is nothing but emptiness and deceptive worthlessness. For a man to attain this good, it is certainly fitting that he first labor and persevere in his exertions to acquire it. That is, he should persevere so as to unite himself with the Blessed One by means of actions which result in this end. These actions are the mitzvoth.

The Holy One Blessed be He has put man in a place where the factors which draw him further from the Blessed One are many. These are the earthy desires which, if he is pulled after them, cause him to be drawn further from and to depart from the true good. It is seen, then, that man is veritably placed in the midst of a raging battle. For all the affairs of the world, whether for the good or for the bad, are trials to a man: Poverty on the one hand and wealth on the other, as Solomon said (Proverbs 30:9), "Lest I become satiated and deny, saying, `Who is God?' or lest I become impoverished and steal..." Serenity on the one hand and suffering on the other; so that the battle rages against him to the fore and to the rear. If he is valorous, and victorious on all sides, he will be the "Whole Man," who will succeed in uniting himself with his Creator, and he will leave the corridor to enter into the Palace, to glow in the light of life. To the extent that he has subdued his evil inclination and his desires, and withdrawn from those factors which draw him further from the good, and exerted himself to become united with it, to that extent will he attain it and rejoice in it.

If you look more deeply into the matter, you will see that the world was created for man's use. In truth, man is the center of a great balance. For if he is pulled after the world and is drawn further from his Creator, he is damaged, and he damages the world with him. And if he rules over himself and unites himself with his Creator, and uses the world only to aid him in the service of his Creator, he is uplifted and the world itself is uplifted with him. For all creatures are greatly uplifted when they serve the "Whole Man," who is sanctified with the holiness of the Blessed One. It is as our Sages of blessed memory have said in relation to the light that the Holy One Blessed be He stored away for the righteous (Chagiga 12a): "When the Holy One Blessed be He saw the light that He had stored away for the righteous, He rejoiced, as it is said (Proverbs 13:9), `The light of the righteous rejoices.' " And in relation to the "stones of the place" that Jacob took and put around his head they said (Chulin 916), "R. Yitzchak said, `This teaches us that they [the stones] gathered themselves into one spot, each one saying, "Let the righteous one lay his head upon me." Our Sages of blessed memory drew our attention to this principle in Midrash Koheleth, where they said (Koheleth Rabbah 7:28) - 'See the work of God...' (Ecclesiastes 7:13). When the Holy One Blessed be He created Adam, He took him and caused him to pass before all the trees of the Garden of Eden. He said to him, `See how beautiful and praiseworthy are my works; and all that I have created, I have created for your sake. Take heed that you do not damage and destroy my world.' "

To summarize, a man was created not for his station in this world, but for his station in the World to Come. It is only that his station in this world is a means towards his station in the World to Come, which is the ultimate goal. This accounts for numerous statements of our Sages of blessed memory, all in a similar vein, likening this world to the place and time of preparation, and the next world to the place which has been set aside for rest and for the eating of what has already been prepared. This is their intent in saying (Avoth 4:21), "This world is similar to a corridor ...," as our Sages of blessed memory have said (Eruvin 22a), "Today for their performance and tomorrow to receive their reward," "He who exerted himself on Friday will eat on the Sabbath" (Avodah Zarah 3a), "This world is like the shore and the World to Come like the sea ..." (Koheleth Rabbah 1:36), and many other statements along the same lines.

And in truth, no reasoning being can believe that the purpose of man's creation relates to his station in this world. For what is a man's life in this world! Who is truly happy and content in this world? "The days of our life are seventy years, and, if exceedingly vigorous, eighty years, and their persistence is but labor and foolishness" (Psalms 90:10). How many different kinds of suffering, and sicknesses, and pains and burdens! And after all this - death! Not one in a thousand is to be found to whom the world has yielded a superabundance of gratifications and true contentment. And even such a one, though he attain to the age of one hundred years, passes and vanishes from the world. Furthermore, if man had been created solely for the sake of this world, he would have had no need of being inspired with a soul so precious and exalted as to be greater than the angels themselves, especially so in that it derives no satisfaction whatsoever from all of the pleasures of this world. This is what our Sages of blessed memory teach us in Midrash (Koheleth Rabbah), "'And also the soul will not be filled' (Eccelesiastes 6:7) What is this analogous to? To the case of a city dweller who married a princess. If he brought her all that the world possessed, it would mean nothing to her, by virtue of her being a king's daughter. So is it with the soul. If it were to be brought all the delights of the world, they would be as nothing to it, in view of its pertaining to the higher elements." And so do our Sages of blessed memory say (Avoth 4:29), "Against your will were you created, and against your will were you born." For the soul has no love at all for this world. To the contrary, it despises it. The Creator, Blessed be His Name, certainly would never have created something for an end which ran contrary to its nature and which it despised.

Man was created, then, for the sake of his station in the World to Come. Therefore, this soul was placed in him. For it befits the soul to serve God; and through it a man may be rewarded in his place and in his time. And rather than the world's being despicable to the soul, it is, to the contrary, to be loved and desired by it. This is self-evident. After recognizing this we will immediately appreciate the greatness of the obligation that the mitzvoth place upon us and the preciousness of the Divine service which lies in our hands. For these are the means which bring us to true perfection, a state which, without them, is unattainable. It is understood, however, that the attainment of a goal results only from a consolidation of all the available means employable towards its attainment, that the nature of a result is determined by the effectiveness and manner of employment of the means utilized towards its achievement, and that the slightest differentiation in the means will very noticeably affect the result to which they give rise upon the fruition of the aforementioned consolidation. This is self-evident.

It is obvious, then, that we must be extremely exacting in relation to the mitzvoth and the service of God, just as the weighers of gold and pearls are exacting because of the preciousness of these commodities. For their fruits result in true perfection and eternal wealth, than which nothing is more precious.

We thus derive that the essence of a man's existence in this world is solely the fulfilling of mitzvoth, the serving of God and the withstanding of trials, and that the world's pleasures should serve only the purpose of aiding and assisting him, by way of providing him with the contentment and peace of mind requisite for the freeing of his heart for the service which devolves upon him. It is indeed fitting that his every inclination be towards the Creator, may His Name be blessed, and that his every action, great or small, be motivated by no purpose other than that of drawing near to the Blessed One and breaking all the barriers (all the earthy elements and their concomitants) that stand between him and his Possessor, until he is pulled towards the Blessed One just as iron to a magnet. Anything that might possibly be a means to acquiring this closeness, he should pursue and clutch, and not let go of; and anything which might be considered a deterrent to it, he should flee as from a fire. As it is stated (Psalms 63:9), "My soul clings to You; Your right hand sustains me." For a man enters the world only for this purpose - to achieve this closeness by rescuing his soul from all the deterrents to it and from all that detracts from it.

After we have recognized the truth of this principle, and it has become clear to us, we must investigate its details according to its stages, from beginning to end, as they were arranged by R. Pinchas ben Yair in the statement which has already been referred to in our introduction. These stages are: Watchfulness, Zeal, Cleanliness, Separation, Purity, Saintliness, Humility, Fear of Sin, and Holiness. And now, with the aid of Heaven, we will explain them one by one.

31.5.2 The Trait of Watchfulness



THE IDEA OF WATCHFULNESS is for a man to exercise caution in his actions and his undertakings; that is, to deliberate and watch over his actions and his accustomed ways to determine whether or not they are good, so as not to abandon his soul to the danger of destruction, God forbid, and not to walk according to the promptings of habit as a blind man in pitch darkness. This is demanded by one's intelligence. For considering the fact that a man possesses the knowledge and the reasoning ability to save himself and to flee from the destruction of his soul, is it conceivable that he would willingly blind himself to his own salvation? There is certainly no degradation and foolishness worse than this. One who does this is lower than beasts and wild animals, whose nature it is to protect themselves, to flee and to run away from anything that seems to endanger them. One who walks this world without considering whether his way of life is good or bad is like a blind man walking along the seashore, who is in very great danger, and whose chances of being lost are far greater than those of his being saved. For there is no difference between natural blindness and self-inflicted blindness, the shutting of one's eyes as an act of will and desire.

Jeremiah complains about the evil of the men of his generation, about their being affected with this affliction, the blinding of their eyes to their actions, their failure to analyze them in order to determine whether they should be engaged in or abandoned. He says about these men (Jeremiah 8:6), "No one regrets his wrongdoing, saying... They all turn away in their course as a horse rushing headlong into battle." He alludes here to their running on the impetus of their habits and their ways without leaving themselves time to evaluate their actions and ways,, and, as a result, falling into evil without noticing it. In reality, this is one of the clever devices of the evil inclination - to mount pressure unrelentingly against the hearts of men so as to leave them no leisure to consider and observe the type of life they are leading. For it realizes that if they were to devote even a slight degree of attention to their ways, there is no question but that they would immediately begin to repent of their deeds and that regret would wax in them until they would leave oft sinning altogether. It is this consideration which underlay the counsel of the wicked Pharaoh in his statement (Exodus 5:9), "Intensify the men's labors..." His intention was not merely to deprive them of all leisure so that they would not come to oppose him or plot against him, but he strove to strip their hearts of all thought by means of the enduring, interminable nature of their labor.

This is precisely the device that the evil inclination employs against man; for it is a warrior and well versed in deception. One cannot escape it without great wisdom and a broad outlook. As we are exhorted by the Prophet (Haggai 1:7), "Give heed to your ways." And as Solomon in his wisdom said (Proverbs 6:4), "Give neither sleep to your eyes nor slumber to your eyelids. Rescue yourself as a deer from the hand..." And as our Sages of blessed memory said (Sotah 5b), "All who deliberate upon their paths in this world will be worthy to witness the salvation wrought by the Holy One Blessed be He." Clearly even if one superintends himself, it is not within his power to save himself without the help of the Holy One Blessed be He. For the evil inclination is extremely tenacious, as Scripture states (Psalms 37:32), "The wicked one looks to the righteous and seeks to kill him; God will not leave him..." If a man looks to himself, the Holy One Blessed be He helps him, and he is saved from the evil inclination. But if he gives no heed to himself, the Holy One Blessed be He will certainly not superintend him; for if he does not pity himself, who should pity him? This is as our Sages of blessed memory have said (Berachoth 33a), "It is forbidden to pity anyone who has no understanding," and (Avoth 1:14), "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?"

31.5.3 The Divisions of Watchfulness



ONE WHO WISHES to watch over himself must take two things into consideration. First he must consider what constitutes the true good that a person should choose and the true evil that he should flee from; and second, he must consider his actions, to discover whether they appertain to the category of good or to that of evil. This applies both to times when there is a question of performing a specific action and to times when there is no such question. When there is a question of performing a specific action, he should do nothing before he weighs the action in the scale of the aforementioned understanding. And when there is no such question, the idea should take the form of his bringing before himself the remembrance of his deeds in general and weighing them, likewise, in the scales of this criterion to determine what they contain of evil, so that he may cast it aside, and what of good, so that he may be constant in it and strengthen himself in it. If he finds in them aught that is evil, he should consider and attempt to reason out what device he might use to turn aside from that evil and to cleanse himself of it. Our Sages of blessed memory taught us this in their statement (Eruvin 136), "It would have been better for a man not to have been created... but now that he has been created, let him examine his deeds. Others say, `Let him "feel" his deeds.' " It is to be seen that these two versions constitute two sound beneficial exhortations. For "examination" of one's deeds refers to an investigation of one's deeds in general and a consideration of them to determine whether they might not include certain actions which should not be performed, which are not in accordance with God's mitzvoth and His statutes, any such actions to be completely eradicated. "Feeling," however, implies the investigation even of the good actions themselves to determine whether they involve any leaning which is not good or any bad aspect which it is necessary to remove and to eradicate. This is analogous to a person's feeling a garment to determine whether its material is good and sturdy or weak and rotted. In the same respect he must "feel" his actions by subjecting them to a most exhaustive examination to determine their nature, so that he might remain free of any impurities.

To summarize, a man should observe all of his actions and watch over all of his ways so as not to leave himself with a bad habit or a bad trait, let alone a sin or a crime. I see a need for a person to carefully examine his ways and to weigh them daily in the manner of the great merchants who constantly evaluate all of their undertakings so that they do not miscarry. He should set aside definite times and hours for this weighing so that it is not a fortuitous matter, but one which is conducted with the greatest regularity; for it yields rich returns.

Our Sages of blessed memory have explicitly taught us the need for such an evaluation. As they said (Bava Bathra 78b), "Therefore the rulers say, `Let us enter into an accounting' (Numbers 21:27). Therefore the rulers over their evil inclinations say, 'Let us come and compute the world's account, the loss entailed by the performance of a mitzvah, against the gain that one secures through it, and the gain that one acquires through a transgression against the loss that it entails... ' "

This true counsel could not have been given, nor its truth recognized by any except those who had already departed from beneath the hand of their evil inclination and come to dominate it. For if one is still imprisoned by his evil inclination, his eyes cannot see this truth and he cannot recognize it. For the evil inclination literally blinds his eyes and he becomes as one who walks in the darkness, where there are stumbling blocks before him which his eyes do not see. As our Sages of blessed memory said (Bava Metzia 83b), " ` You laid down darkness and it was night' (Psalms 104:20). This refers to this world which is similar to night." How wondrous is this truthful commentary to him who concentrates upon understanding it. For the darkness of night can cause two types of errors in relation to a man's eye: it may either cover his eye so that he does not see what is before him at all, or it may deceive him so that a pillar appears to him as a man, or a man as a pillar. In like manner, the earthiness and materialism of this world is the darkness of night to the mind's eye and causes a man to err in two ways. First it does not permit him to see the stumbling blocks in the ways of the world, so that the fools walk securely, fall, and are lost without having experienced any prior fear. As Scripture states (Proverbs 4:19), "The path of the wicked is like pitch darkness; they do not know upon what they stumble," and (Proverbs 22:3), "The wise man sees the evil and hides, and the fools pass on and are punished," and (Proverbs 14:16), "And the fool becomes infuriated and is secure." For their hearts are steadfast and they fall before having any knowledge whatsoever of the existence of the stumbling block. The second error, which is even worse than the first, stems from the distortion of their sight, so that they see evil as though it were goodness itself, and good as if it were evil, and, because of this, strengthen themselves in clinging to their evil ways. For it is not enough that they lack the ability to see the truth, the evil staring them in the face, but they also see fit to find powerful substantiations and empirical evidence supporting their evil theories and false ideas. This is the great evil which embraces them and brings them to the pit of destruction. As Scripture states (Isaiah 6:10), "The heart of this nation has become fatted, and its ears have become heavy, and its eyes have turned aside, lest..." All this because of their being under the influence of the darkness and subject to the rule of their evil inclination. But those who have already freed themselves from this bondage see the truth clearly and can advise others in relation to it.

To what is this analogous? To a garden-maze, a type of garden common among the ruling class, which is planted for the sake of amusement. The plants there are arranged in walls between which are found many confusing and interlacing paths, all similar to one another, the purpose of the whole being to challenge one to reach a portico in their midst. Some of the paths are straight ones which lead directly to the portico, but some cause one to stray, and to wander from it. The walker between the paths has no way of seeing or knowing whether he is on the true or the false path; for they are all similar, presenting no difference whatsoever to the observing eye. He will not reach his goal unless he has perfect familiarity and visual acquaintance with the paths through his having traversed them and reached the portico. He who occupies a commanding position in the portico, however, sees all of the paths before him and can discriminate between the true and the false ones. He is in a position to warn those who walk upon them and to tell them, "This is the path; take it!" He who is willing to believe him will reach the designated spot; but he who is not willing to believe him, but would rather trust to his eyes, will certainly remain lost and fail to reach it.

So too in relation to the idea under discussion. He who has not yet achieved dominion over his evil inclination is in the midst of the paths and cannot distinguish between them. But those who rule their evil inclination, those who have reached the portico, who have already left the paths and who clearly see all of the ways before their eyes - they can advise him who is willing to listen, and it is to them that we must trust.

And what is the advice that they give us'? - 'Let us enter into an accounting.' Let us come and compute the world's account." For they have already experienced, and seen, and learned that this alone is the true path by which a man may reach the good that he seeks, and that there is none beside this.

What emerges from all this is that a man must constantly - at all times, and particularly during a regularly appointed time of solitude - reflect upon the true path (according to the ordinance of the Torah) that a man must walk upon. After engaging in such reflection he will come to consider whether or not his deeds travel along this path. For in doing so it will certainly be easy for him to cleanse himself of all evil and to correct all of his ways. As Scripture states (Proverbs 4:26), "Consider the path of your feet and all of your paths will be established," and (Lamentations 3:40), "Let us seek out our ways and examine them, and we will return to God."

31.5.4 The Manner of Acquiring Watchfulness



THAT WHICH, in general, brings a person to Watchfulness is Torah study. As R. Pinchas stated in the beginning of the Baraitha, "Torah brings one to Watchfulness." That which leads to it in particular, however, is reflection upon the demanding nature of the Divine service that a man is responsible for and the severity of the judgment which it involves. This understanding may be gained by analyzing the incidents that are related in the sacred writings and by studying the statements of the Sages of blessed memory which awaken one to it.

In this process of understanding, there are various levels of ideas, applying respectively to those with wholeness of understanding, those of lesser understanding and the general populace.

Those with wholeness of understanding will be primarily motivated towards Watchfulness by their coming to see clearly that only perfection and nothing else is worthy of their desire and that there is no worse evil than the lack of and removal from perfection. For after this has become clear to them, as well as the fact that the means to this end are virtuous deeds and traits, they will certainly never permit themselves to diminish these means; nor will they ever fail to make use of their [the means'] full potential. For it would already have become clear to them that if these means were reduced in number or not employed with complete effectiveness, with all of the energy that they called for, true perfection would not be attained through them, but would be lacked to the extent that sufficient exertion was lacking in relation to them. There is no misfortune nor any evil that those with wholeness of understanding deem greater than this lack of perfection. They will, therefore, choose to increase the number of these means and to be rigid in relation to all of their aspects. They will find no rest or peace from the worry that they possibly lack something which might lead them to the perfection that they desire. As was said by King Solomon, may Peace be upon him (Proverbs 28:14), "Happy is the man who always fears." Our Sages (Berachoth 60a) interpreted this statement as applying to the realm of Torah. The trait to which this degree of attainment leads is the one which is termed "Fear of Sin," a trait which constitutes one of the highest levels of achievement. Its intent is that a man constantly fear and worry lest he be harboring a trace of sin which might keep him from the perfection that he is dutybound to strive for. Concerning this our Sages of blessed memory said by way of analogy (Bava Bathra 75a), "This teaches us that everyone is burned by his neighbor's canopy." It is not jealousy which is the operative factor here (for jealousy as I will explain further with the help of Heaven, is encountered only among those who lack understanding), but rather the fact that he sees himself as lacking a level of achievement towards perfection, a level that he could have attained just as his neighbor had. If he who possesses wholeness of understanding engages in this thought process, he certainly will not fall short of being watchful in his deeds.

Those of lesser understanding, however, will be motivated towards Watchfulness according to their particular level of discrimination, so that their quest will be for the honor that they desire. It is evident to every man of faith that the different stations in the World of Truth, the World to Come, vary only in relation to one's deeds; that only he who is greater in deeds than his neighbor will be elevated above him, whereas he who is lesser in deeds will occupy a lower level. How, then, can a man blind his eyes to his actions or slacken his efforts, if afterwards, when he can no longer straighten out what he has made crooked, he will unquestionably suffer?

There are some fools who seek only to lighten their burden. They say, "Why weary ourselves with so much Saintliness and Separation? Is it not enough for us that we will not be numbered among the wicked who are judged in Gehinnom? We will not force ourselves to enter all the way into Paradise. If we do not have a large portion, we will have a small one. It will be enough for us. We will not add to our burdens for the sake of greater acquisitions." There is one question that we will ask these people -could they so easily, in this transitory world, tolerate the sight of one of their friends being honored, and elevated above them, and coming to rule over them-or, more so, one of their servants or one of the paupers who are shameful and lowly in their eyes? Could they tolerate this without suffering and without their blood boiling in them? Is there any question that they could not? We witness with our own eyes all of the labors of a man to elevate himself above everyone he can and to establish his place among the exalted. This is a man's jealousy of his neighbor. If he sees his neighbor elevated while he remains low, what he tolerates will be what he is forced to tolerate because of his inability to alter the situation: but his heart will brood within him. If it is so difficult, then, for them to abide being on a lower level than others in respect to qualities whose desirability is illusive and deceitful, qualities in relation to which a man's being designated as lowly is but a surface judgment, and his being elevated, vanity and falsity, then how could they tolerate seeing themselves lower than those same persons who are now lower than they? And this in the place of true quality and everlasting worth, which, though they might not give heart to it now because of their failure to recognize it and its value, they will certainly recognize in its time for what it is, to their grief and shame. There is no question that their suffering will be terrible and interminable. This tolerance, then, that they adopt in order to lighten their burden is nothing but a deceitful persuasion of their evil inclination, with no basis whatsoever in truth. If they saw the truth, there would be no room for such deception, but because they do not seek it, but walk and stray according to their desires, these persuasions will not leave them until such a time when it will no longer avail them, when it will no longer be in their hands to rebuild what they have destroyed. As was said by King Solomon, may Peace be upon him (Ecclesiastes 9:10), "Whatever your hand finds to do with your strength, do it, for there is no deed, nor account, nor knowledge..." That is, what a man does not do while he still has the power that His Creator has given him (the power of choice that is given to him to employ during his lifetime, when he can exercise free will and is commanded to do so) he will not again have the opportunity of doing in the grave and in the pit, for at that time he will no longer possess this power. For one who has not multiplied good deeds in his lifetime will not have the opportunity of performing them afterwards. And one who has not taken an accounting of his deeds will not have time to do so later. And one who has not become wise in this world will not become wise in the grave. This is the intent of (Ibid.) ". .. for there is no deed nor account nor knowledge nor wisdom in the pit to which you are going."

But the general populace will be motivated towards Watchfulness through a recognition of the depth of judgment in relation to reward and punishment. In truth, one should continuously tremble and shiver, for who will abide the Day of Judgment, and who will be deemed righteous before his Creator, whose scrutiny dissects all things, small and great. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Chagigah 5b), " `And He relates to a man his conversation' (Amos 4:13). Even a casual conversation between a man and his wife is related to him at the time of judgment." And, similarly, (Yevamoth 121b), " `And around Him it storms violently' (Psalms 50: 3). This teaches us that the Holy One Blessed be He judges His saints to the degree of a hair's-breadth" [an inference derived from the structural relationship between "storms" and "hair" in the Hebrew].

Abraham - the same Abraham who was so beloved by his Possessor that Scripture (Isaiah 41:8) refers to him as "Abraham, my beloved" - Abraham did not escape judgment for a slight indiscretion in his use of words. Because he said, (Genesis 15:8), "With what shall I know," the Holy One Blessed be He said to him, "Upon your life, you shall surely know, for your children will be strangers..." (Vayikra Rabbah 11:5). And because he entered into a covenant with Avimelech without having been commanded by God to do so, the Holy One Blessed be He, said to him, "Upon your life, I shall delay the rejoicing of your sons for seven generations" (Bereshith Rabbah 54:5).

Jacob, because he became angry with Rachel upon her saying to him (Genesis 30:1), "Give me sons," was told by God (as related in the Midrash), "Is this the way to answer those who are oppressed? Upon your life, your sons will stand before her son" (Bereshith Rabbah 71: 10). And because he placed Dinah in a chest so that Esau would not seize her, even though his intentions in doing so were unquestionably worthy ones, we are told in the Midrash (Ibid. 80:3) that the Holy One Blessed be He said to him, because he withheld kindliness from his brother, " `Who keeps kindliness from his neighbor' (Job 6:14) - Because you did not wish to wed her lawfully, she will be wed unlawfully."

Joseph, because he said to the one appointed over the drink (Genesis 40:14), "But remember me in relation to yourself," had two years added to his imprisonment, as we are told by our Sages of blessed memory (Bereshith Rabbah 89:2). Also, because he embalmed his father without God's permission, or, according to a second opinion, because he heard, "Your servant, our father" and kept still, he died before his brothers (Bereshith Rabbah 100:3).

David, because he referred to words of Torah as "songs," was punished by having his joy dampened through Uzzah's indiscretion (Sotah 35a).

Michal, because she admonished David for dancing in public before the ark, was punished by dying in childbirth, having had no other children in her lifetime (II Samuel 6:20 f ).

Hezekiah - because he revealed the treasure house to the officers of the Babylonian king, it was decreed that his sons serve as eunuchs in the palace of the King of Babylonia. (II Kings 20:12 ff ).

There are many more instances of this nature.

In the chapter "All are Liable" (Chagiga 5a), our Sages of blessed memory told us, "Rabbi Yochanan cried when he came to the following verse (Malachi 3:5): `And I will draw near to you in judgment, and I will be a quick witness...' Is there any remedy for a servant against whom lesser offenses are weighed, as grave ones are?" It is certainly not the point of this statement that the punishment is identical for both, for the Holy One Blessed be He pays measure for measure. It is rather to be understood that in relation to the weighing of deeds, those which are less weighty are placed upon the balance just as the weightier ones are; for the latter will not cause the former to be forgotten, nor will the Judge overlook them, just as He will not overlook the weighty ones. But He will consider and attend to all of these equally, judging each one of them and meting out punishment for each one according to its nature. As was said by King Solomon, may Peace be upon him (Ecclesiastes 12:14), "For God will bring every deed into judgment." Just as the Holy One Blessed be He does not allow any good deed, small as it may be, to go unrewarded, so does He not permit any bad deed, however small, to go unjudged and unpassed upon, contrary to the thinking of those who wish to talk it into themselves that the Lord Blessed be He, will not review the lighter things in His judgment and will not call them into account. It is an acknowledged principle (Bava Kamma 50a): "Whoever says that the Holy One Blessed be He overlooks things will have his life `overlooked.' " And our Sages of blessed memory have also said (Chagiga lba), "If the evil inclination says to you, `Sin and the Holy One Blessed be He will forgive you,' do not heed it." All this is obvious and clear, for God is a God of truth. It is this idea which is embodied in the statement of Moses our Teacher, may Peace be upon him (Deuteronomy 32:4), "The Rock-His work is whole; for all of His ways are just. He is a God of faithfulness, without wrong. . ." Since the Holy One Blessed be He desires justice, ignoring the bad would be as much of an injustice as ignoring the good. If He desires justice, then, He must deal with each man according to his ways and according to the fruits of his acts, with the most minute discrimination, for good or for bad. This is what underlies the statement of our Sages of blessed memory (Yalkut Ibid.) that the verse "He is a God of faithfulness, without wrong; He is righteous and just" has application to the righteous and to the wicked. For this is His attribute. He judges everything. He punishes every sin. There is no escaping.

To those who might ask at this point, "Seeing that whatever the case may be, everything must be subjected to judgment, what function does the attribute of mercy perform?" the answer is that the attribute of mercy is certainly the mainstay of the world; for the world could not exist at all without it. Nevertheless the attribute of justice is not affected. For on the basis of justice alone it would be dictated that the sinner be punished immediately upon sinning, without the least delay; that the punishment itself be a wrathful one, as befits one who rebels against the word of the Creator, blessed be His Name; and that there be no correction whatsoever for the sin. For in truth, how can a man straighten what has been made crooked after the commission of the sin? If a man killed his neighbor; if he committed adultery-how can he correct this? Can he remove the accomplished fact from actuality?

It is the attribute of mercy which causes the reverse of the three things we have mentioned. That is, it provides that the sinner be given time, and not be wiped out as soon as he sins; that the punishment itself not involve utter destruction; and that the gift of repentance be given to sinners with absolute lovingkindness, so that the rooting out of the will which prompted the deed be considered a rooting out of the deed itself. That is, when he who is repenting recognizes his sin, and admits it, and reflects upon his evil, and repents, and wishes that the sin had never been committed, as he would wish that a certain vow had never been made, in which case there is complete regret, and he desires and yearns that the deed had never been done, and suffers great anguish in his heart because of its already having been done, and departs from it for the future, and flees from itthen the uprooting of the act from his will is accredited to him as the uprooting of a vow, and he gains atonement. As Scripture states (Isaiah 6:7), "Your wrong will depart, and your sin will be forgiven." The wrong actually departs from existence and is uprooted because of his suffering for and regretting now what had taken place in the past. This is certainly a function of lovingkindness and not of justice. In any event, however, it is a type of lovingkindness which does not entirely negate the attribute of justice. It can be seen as according with justice in that in place of the act of will from which the sin arose and the pleasure that it afforded, there is now regret and suffering. So, too, the time extension constitutes not a pardoning of the sin, but rather God's bearing with the sinner for a while to open the door of repentance to him. Similarly, all of the other operations of lovingkindness, such as "The son benefits his father," (Sunhedrin 104x) and "Part of a life is like the whole life" (Kcheleth Rabbah 7:48), mentioned by our Sages, are aspects of lovingkindness wherein small amounts are accounted large. But these considerations do not militate against nor actually negate the attribute of justice, for there is good reason to attach importance to them.

But for sins to be pardoned or ignored would be entirely contrary to the concept of justice, for then there would be no judgment and no true law in relation to things. It is, therefore, impossible for such a situation to obtain. And if the sinner does not find open to him one of the avenues of escape that we have mentioned, it is certain that the attribute of justice will not emerge empty-handed. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Yerushalmi Ta'anith 2:1), "He withholds His wrath, but He collects what is His."

We see, then, that the man who wants to open his eyes to the truth can offer himself no possible argument for not exercising the maximum of Watchfulness in his deeds and subjecting them to the most thorough analysis.

All of these are observations which, if one approaches them with sensitivity, will certainly lead him to the acquisition of Watchfulness.

31.5.5 The Factors which Detract from Watchfulness



THE FACTORS which detract from this trait and withdraw one from it are three: The first is worldly occupation and involvement, the second, laughter and levity, and the third, evil companionship. We will discuss each one individually.

We have already discussed worldly occupation and involvement. When a man is involved in worldly affairs, his thoughts are bound by the chains of the burden that weighs upon them and it is impossible for them to become concerned with his deeds. The Sages, may Peace be upon them, said, in their awareness of this fact (Avoth 4.10), "Minimize your occupations and occupy yourself with Torah." A person must occupy himself to a certain extent for the sake of a livelihood, but not to the extent where his Divine service is interfered with. It is in respect to this that we were commanded to set aside times for Torah study. We have already mentioned that it is such study which is the prime requirement for Watchfulness; as stated by R. Pinhas, "Torah brings one to Watchfulness." Without it, Watchfulness will not be attained. As our Sages of blessed memory have stated (Avoth 2.6), "An ignoramus cannot be a saint." This is true because the very Creator, Blessed be His name, who invested man with an evil inclination, created the Torah as an antidote to it (Kiddushin 30b). It is self-evident that if the Creator has fashioned for this affliction only this remedy, it is impossible under any circumstances that a person be cured of it through any other means. One who thinks to save himself without it is mistaken, and will recognize his mistake only in the end, when he dies in sin. For the evil inclination exerts great force against a person, and, without his being aware of it, grows and waxes stronger, and comes to dominate him. A man may resort to all the devices imaginable - if he does not adopt the remedy which was created for him, namely, the Torah, as I have written, he will neither recognize nor feel the intensification of his illness until he dies in sin and his soul is lost.

To what is this analogous? To the case of a sick man, who, consulting doctors and having his sickness correctly diagnosed and prescribed for, nevertheless, possessing no previous knowledge of medicine, abandons their prescription and takes instead whatever medicine he happens to think of. Is there any doubt that he will die?

The same is true in our case. No one understands the disease of the evil inclination and the potentialities inherent within it but the Creator who fashioned it. And He Himself cautioned us that the only antidote to it is Torah. Who, then, can abandon it and take anything else and expect to live? The darkness of earthiness will advance upon him degree by degree without his sensing it, until he finds himself sunk in evil and so far removed from truth that it will not even occur to him to seek it. If, however, he occupies himself with Torah, then, when he sees its ways, its commandments and its warnings, there will awaken within him responses which will lead him to the ways of good. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Yerushalmi Chagigah 1:7), "Would that they left me and kept my Torah, for the radiance within it would return them to good."

Also included in this category is the setting aside of times for consideration of one's deeds, with an eye towards their correction, as I wrote above. In addition to this, he who is wise will not permit any time that may remain from his affairs to go lost, but he will immediately seize it, and not let it go, in order to employ it towards self-improvement and the betterment of his Divine service.

The deterrent that we have been discussing, though more common than the others, is the easiest to escape, for those who wish to escape it. The second deterrent, however, laughter and levity, is very severe. He who is immersed in it is as one who is immersed in a great ocean, from which it is extremely difficult to escape. For laughter affects a person's heart in such a manner that sense and reason no longer prevail in him, so that he becomes like a drunkard or a simpleton, whom, because they cannot accept direction, it is impossible to advise or direct. As was said by King Solomon, may Peace be upon him (Ecclesiastes 2:2), "About laughter I have said, `It is silly,' and about happiness, `What does it do?"' And our Sages of blessed memory have said (Avoth 3.13), "Laughter and lightheadedness motivate a man towards illicit relations." For even though every reasoning individual recognizes the gravity of this kind of sin and his heart is afraid to approach it because of the vividness of the impression that has stamped itself into his mind, of the truly terrible nature of the offense and the severity of its punishment, still laughter and lightheadedness draw him on little by little and lead him closer and closer to the stage where fear leaves him little by little, degree by degree, until finally he reaches the sin itself and commits it. Why is this so? Just as the essence of Watchfulness involves applying one's heart to things, so the essence of laughter is the turning away of one's heart from just, attentive thinking, so that thoughts of fearing God do not enter one's heart at all.

Consider the great severity and destructive power of levity. Like a shield smeared with oil, which wards off arrows and causes them to fall to the ground, not permitting them to reach the bearer's body, is levity in the face of reproof and rebuke. For with one bit of levity and with a little laughter a person can cast from himself the great majority of the awakenings and impressions that a man's heart stimulates and effects within itself upon his seeing or hearing things which arouse him to an acconting and an examination of his deeds. The force of levity flings everything to the ground so that no impression whatsoever is made upon Him. This is due not to the weakness of the forces playing upon him, nor to any lack of understanding on his part, but to the power of levity, which obliterates all facets of moral evaluation and fear of God. Touching this the Prophet Isaiah "screamed like a crane," for he saw that it was this which left no place for his exhortations to make an impression and which destroyed all hope for the sinners. As it is stated (Isaiah 28:22), "And now do not engage in levity lest your bonds be strengthened." And our Sages have pronounced (Avodah Zarah 18b) that one who is given to levity brings suffering upon himself. Scripture itself explicity states (Proverbs 19:29), "Judgments are appropriate for the light-headed." Indeed, this is dictated by reason; for one who is influenced by thought and studies does not require bodily punishment, for he will leave off sinning without it by virtue of the thoughts of repentance which will arise in his heart through what he will read or hear of moral judgments and exhortations. But the light-headed, who because of the force of their levity are not influenced by exhortations cannot be corrected except through punitive judgments. For their levity will not be as effective in warding off these as it is in warding off ethical appeals. In accordance with the severity of the sin and its consequences is the True Judge severe in His punishment. As our Sages of blessed memory have taught us (Avodah Zarah 18b), "The punishment for levity is extremely severe; it begins with suffering and ends with destruction, as it is said (Isaiah 28:22), `Lest your bonds be strengthened, for I have heard destruction and cutting off..."

The third deterrent to Watchfulness is evil companionship, that is, the companionship of fools and sinners, as Scripture states (Proverbs 13:20), "And the friend of fools will be broken." Very often we see that even after the truth of a man's responsibility for Divine service and Watchfulness has impressed itself upon a person, he weakens or commits certain trespasses in order not to be mocked by his friends or to be able to mix freely with them. This is the intent of Solomon's warning (Proverbs 24:21), "Fear, the Lord, my son and king, with changers do not intermingle." If someone says to you (Kethuvoth 17a), "A man's mind should always be associated with his fellow men," tell him, "This refers to people who conduct themselves as human beings and not with people who conduct themselves as animals." Solomon again warns (Proverbs 14:7), "Withdraw yourself from a fool." And King David said in this connection (Psalms 1: 1), "Happy is the man who did not walk...... upon which our Sages of blessed memory have commented (Avodah Zarah 18b), "If he walked he will eventually stand, and if he stood, he will eventually sit." And again (Psalms 26:4), "I have not sat with false men ...I despised the society of the wicked ..." What a person must do, then, is to purify and cleanse himself, and keep his feet from the paths of the crowd who are immersed in the foolishness of the time, and turn them to the precincts of God and His dwelling places. As David himself concludes (Ibid. 6), "I will wash my hands in cleanliness, and I will go round Your altar, O God." If there are among his companions those who subject him to ridicule, he should not take it to heart, but, to the contrary, should ridicule them and shame them. Let him consider whether, if he had the opportunity of acquiring a great deal of money, he would keep from undertaking what such acquisition entailed so as to avoid the ridicule of his companions. How much more averse should he be to losing his soul for the sake of sparing himself ridicule. In this connection our Sages of blessed memory exhorted us (Aroth 5.23), "Be fierce as a leopard to do the will of your Father in heaven." And David said (Psalms 119:46), "And I will speak of your testimonies before kings and I will not be ashamed." Even though most of the kings of his time occupied themselves with, and were wont to converse upon grandiose schemes and pleasures, and we would, therefore, tend to expect that David, himself a king, would be ashamed, while in their presence, to speak of ethical questions and Torah instead of discussing great feats and the pleasures of men such as they - in spite of all this, David was not in the least perturbed, and his heart was not seduced by these vanities, because he had already attained to the truth. He states explicitly (Psalms 119:46), "And I will speak of your testimonies before kings and I will not be ashamed." Isaiah, likewise, said (Isaiah 50:7), "1 therefore made my face like flint and I knew that I would not be ashamed."

31.5.6 The Trait of Zeal



AFTER WATCHFULNESS comes Zeal, Watchfulness pertaining to the negative commandments and Zeal to the positive, in accordance with the idea of "Depart from evil and do good (Psalms 34:15)." "Zeal," as the name implies, signifies alacrity in the pursuit and fulfillment of mitzvoth. As expressed by our Sages of blessed memory (Pesachim 4a), "The zealous advance themselves towards mitzvoth." That is, just as it requires great intelligence and much foresight to save oneself from the snares of the evil inclination and to escape from evil so that it does not come to rule us and intrude itself into our deeds, so does it require great intelligence and foresight to take hold of mitzvoth, to acquire them for ourselves, and not to lose them. For just as the evil inclination attempts, with the devices at its command, to cast a man into the nets of sin, so does it seek to prevent him from performing mitzvoth, and to leave Him devoid of them. If a man weakens and is lazy and does not strengthen himself to pursue mitzvoth and to hold onto them, he will certainly lack them.

A person's nature exercises a strong downward pull upon him. This is so because the grossness which characterizes the substance of earthiness keeps a man from desiring exertion and labor. One who wishes, therefore, to attain to the service of the Creator, may His Name be blessed, must strengthen himself against his nature and be zealous. If he leaves himself in the hands of his downward-pulling nature, there is no question that he will not succeed. As the Tanna says "Be fierce as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer and strong as a lion to do the will of your Father in heaven." Our Sages of blessed memory have numbered Torah and good deeds among those things which require self-fortification (Berachoth 32b). And Scripture plainly states (Joshua 1:7), "Strengthen yourself and be very courageous to observe to do according to all the Torah which Moses My servant commanded you." One who seeks to transform his nature completely requires great strengthening. Solomon repeatedly exhorts us concerning this, recognizing the evil of laziness and the greatness of the loss that results from it. He says (Proverbs 6:10), "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep and your poverty is suddenly upon you and your want as an armed man." The lazy man, though not actively evil, produces evil through his very inactivity. We read further (Proverbs 18:9), "Also he who slackens in his work is a brother to the Destroyer." Though he is not the Destroyer who commits the evil with his own hands, let him not think that he is far-removed from him - he is his blood-brother.

A portrayal of a daily occurrence furnishes us with a clear idea of the lazy man's wickedness (Proverbs 24:30.). "I passed by the field of a lazy man and by the vineyard of a man without sense and it was overgrown with thistles; its face was covered with nettles... And I beheld; I put my heart to it; I saw; I took instruction, a little sleep, a little slumber ... and suddenly your poverty is upon you ..." Aside from the surface description, whereby we are provided with an unquestionably true account of what happens to the lazy man's field, a very beautiful interpretation has been put forth by our Sages of blessed memory (Yalkut Shimoni Mishlei 961): " `and it was overgrown with thistles' - he seeks the interpretation of a passage and does not find it; ,its face was covered' - because of his not having labored in the Law, he sits in judgment and declares the pure, unclean and the impure, clean, and he breaches the fences of the Scholars. What is this man's punishment? Solomon tells us (Ecclesiastes 10:8) : `One who breaches a fence will be bitten by a snake.' " That is, the evil of the lazy man does not come all at once, but little by little, without his recognizing and sensing it. He is pulled from evil to evil until he finds himself sunk in evil's very depths. He begins by not expending the amount of effort which could be expected of him. This causes him not to study Torah as he should; and because of this, when he later does come to study it, he lacks the requisite understanding. It would be bad enough if his evil were to end here, but it does not. It grows even worse; for in his desire, notwithstanding, to interpret the section or chapter under consideration, he adduces interpretations which are not in accordance with the law, destroys the truth and perverts it, trespasses upon ordinances, and breaches the fences. His end, like that of all who breach fences, is destruction. Solomon continues (Ibid.), "And I beheld; I put my heart to it" - I thought upon this thing and I saw the terrible nature of the evil in it; it is like a poison which continues to spread, little by little, its workings unnoticed, until death results. This is the meaning of "A little sleep ... and suddenly your poverty is upon you as an armed man ..."

We see with our own eyes how often a person neglects his duty in spite of his awareness of it and in spite of his having come to recognize as a truth what is required for the salvation of his soul and what is incumbent upon him in respect to his Creator. This neglect is due not to an inadequate recognition of his duty nor to any other cause but the increasing weight of his laziness upon him; so that he says, "I will eat a little," or "I will sleep a little," or "It is hard for me to leave the house," or "I have taken off my shirt, how can I put it on again?" (Canticles 5:3). "It is very hot outside," "It is very cold," or "It is raining too hard" and all the other excuses and pretenses that the mouth of fools is full of. Either way, the Torah is neglected, Divine service dispensed with, and the Creator abandoned. As Solomon said (Ecclesiastes 10:18), "Through laziness the roof sinks in, and through the hands' remaining low, the house leaks." If his laziness is held up to him, the lazy man will doubtless come back with many quotations culled from the Sages and from Scripture, and with intellectual arguments, all supporting, according to his misguided mind, his leniency with himself (and all allowing him to remain in the repose of his laziness). He fails to see that these arguments and explanations stem not from rational evaluation, but from his laziness, which, when it grows strong within him, inclines his reason and intelligence to them, so that he does not pay heed to what is said by the wise and by those who possess sound judgment. It is in this connection that Solomon cried (Proverbs 26:16), "A lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven sages!" Laziness does not even permit one to attend to the words of those who reprove him; he puts them all down for blunderers and fools, reckoning only himself wise.

A principle that experience has shown to be of central importance to the work of Separation is that whatever tends to lighten one's burden must be examined carefully. For although such alleviation is sometimes justified and reasonable, it is most often a deceitful prescription of the evil inclination, and must, therefore, be subjected to much analysis and investigation. If, after such an examination, it still seems justified, then it is certainly acceptable.

In fine, a man must greatly strengthen himself, and power himself with Zeal to perform the mitzvoth, casting from himself the hindering weight of laziness. The angels were extolled for their Zeal, as is said of them (Psalms 103:20), "Mighty in power, they do His word, to listen to the voice of His word," and (Ezekiel 1:14), "And the living creatures ran and returned, as streaks of lightning." A man is a man and not an angel, and it is therefore impossible for him to attain to the strength of an angel, but he should surely strive to come as close to that level as his nature allows. King David, grateful for his portion of Zeal, said (Psalms 119:60), "I was quick; I did not delay in keeping Your mitzvoth."

31.5.7 The Divisions of Zeal



THERE ARE TWO DIVISIONS OF ZEAL, one relating to the period before, and the other to the period after the beginning of the deed. The concern of the former is that a man not permit a mitzvah to grow stale, that when the time for its performance arrives, or when it happens to present itself to him, or when the thought of performing it enters his mind, he make haste to take hold of the mitzvah and perform it, and not allow much time to elapse in the interim, there being no greater danger; for each new minute can bring with it some new hindrance to a good deed. Our Sages of blessed memory awakened us to this truth through reference to the coronation of Solomon (Bereshith Rabbah 76:2), in relation to which David told Benaiah (I Kings 1:33,36), "...and take him down to Gichon," and Benaiah answered, "Amen, may God say so ." "R. Pinchas asked in the name of R. Chanan of Sepphoris, `Was it not said (I Chronicles 22:9), "A son will be born to you and he will be a man of tranquility" ? The answer is: Many adverse occurrences can take place from here to Gichon.' " We were therefore warned by our Sages of blessed memory (Mechilta Shemoth 12:17), " `Watch over the matzoth' - if a mitzvah presents itself to you, do not permit it to go stale;" and (Nazir 23b), "A man should always advance himself towards a mitzvah, for because the elder daughter preceded the younger she was worthy of putting forward four generations of royalty in Israel;" and (Pesachim 4a), "The zealous advance themselves towards mitzvoth;" and (Berachoth 66), "A man should always run to perform a mitzvah,even on the Sabbath." And in the Midrash it is stated, (Vayikra Rabbah 11:8), " `He will guide us eternally '(Psalms 48:15), - with Zeal, as young maids ["eternally" and "young maids" are similarly constructed in the Hebrew], as it is said (Psalms 68:26), ' the midst of young maids playing upon timbrels."' The possession of Zeal constitutes an extremely high level of spiritual development, which a person's nature prevents him from attaining at once. He who strengthens himself, however, and acquires as much of Zeal as he is able to, will, in time to come, truly attain to it. The Creator, may His Name be blessed, will present it to him as a reward for having striven for it during the time of his service.

The concern of "Zeal after the beginning of the deed" is that a man, after taking hold of a mitzvah, make haste to complete it; not for the sake of ease, as with one who wishes to relieve himself of a burden, but for fear that he might not otherwise be able to complete it. Our Sages of blessed memory have voiced many exhortations concerning this: (Bereshith Rabbah 85:4), "One who begins a mitzvah and does not complete it buries his wife and sons;" and (Ibid.), "A mitzvah is attributed only to the one who completes it." And King Solomon, may Peace be upon him, said (Proverbs 22:29), "Have you seen a man quick in his work? He will stand before kings. He will not stand before low-life." Our Sages of blessed memory paid this tribute to Solomon himself (Sanhedrin 104b) for having made haste in the building of the Temple, and not having idled and delayed it. They commented in a similar manner upon Moses' zeal in the work of the Tabernacle (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 1:2).

It is to be observed that all of the deeds of the righteous are performed with alacrity. In relation to Abraham it is written (Genesis 18:6), "And Abraham hastened to the tent, to Sarah, and he said, 'Hasten...' and he gave it to the youth and he hastened." And in relation to Rivkah (Ibid. 24:20), "And she hastened and emptied her pitcher..." And in the Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 10.17), " `And the woman made haste' (Judges 13:10) - this teaches us that all of the deeds of the righteous are done quickly," that they do not permit time to elapse before beginning them or in completing them.

The man whose soul burns in the service of his Creator will surely not idle in the performance of His mitzvoth, but his movements will be like the quick movements of a fire; he will not rest or be still until the deed has been completed. Furthermore, just as zeal can result from an inner burning so can it create one. That is, one who perceives a quickening of his outer movements in the performance of a mitzvah conditions himself to experience a flaming inner movement, through which longing and desire will continually grow. If, however, he is sluggish in the movement of his limbs, the movement of his spirit will die down and be extinguished. Experience testifies to this.

It is known that what is most preferred in Divine service is desire of the heart and longing of the soul. And it is in relation to his goodly portion in this respect that David exulted (Psalms 42:2), "As a hart yearns for the waterbrooks, so does my soul yearn for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God..." "My soul longs and goes out for the courts of God (Psalms 84:3); "My soul thirsts for You; my flesh pines for You" (Psalms 63:2). The man in whom this longing does not burn as it should would do well to bestir himself by force of will so that, as a result, this longing will spring up in his nature; for outer movements awaken inner ones. Unquestionably a person has more control of his outer than of his inner self, but if he makes use of what he can control, he will acquire, in consequence, even that which is not within the province of his control. For as a result of the willed quickening of his movements, there will arise in him an inner joy and a desire and a longing. As the Prophet says (Hosea 6:3), "And let us know - let us run to know God;" and (Hosea 11:10), "After God will they go, who will roar like a lion."

31.5.8 The Manner of Acquiring Zeal



THE MEANS by which Zeal is acquired are the same as those by which Watchfulness is acquired, and their levels, too, are similar as I have written above; for their functions are very closely related and there is no distinct difference between them, except that one deals with positive, and the other with negative commandments. When a man realizes as a truth the great value of the mitzvoth and the greatness of his responsibility in relation to them, his heart will certainly awaken to the service of God and will not weaken in it. What may, however, strengthen this awakening is looking into all of the good things that the Holy One Blessed be He does with a man at all periods and times, and into the great wonders that He does with him from the time of his birth until his last day. The more one looks into and considers these things, the more will he recognize his great debt to God, who bestows good upon him, and he will be impelled not to grow lax or to weaken in His service. For since he cannot repay the Blessed One, he will feel that the least he can do is to exalt His Name and fulfill His mitzvoth.

There is no man in any circumstances, poor or rich, healthy or ill, who cannot see wonders and many benefits in his condition. The rich and the healthy are indebted to the Blessed One for their riches and health respectively. The poor man is indebted to Him; for even in his poverty, God miraculously and wondrously sustains him and does not permit him to die of hunger. The sick man is indebted to God because He strengthens him under the very weight of his illness and his wounds, and does not permit him to descend to the pit. And so with all other conditions. There is no man, then, who will not find himself indebted to the Creator. And when one regards the good things that he receives from God, he will surely be awakened to Zealousness in His service, as I have written above, much more so if he considers the fact that all of his good depends upon the Blessed One and that his needs and necessities stem from Him, the Blessed One, and from no other - in which case he will certainly not be lax in his Divine service, in order not to lack what is essential to him.

You will note that I have embodied in my words the three categories which I discussed in relation to Watchfulness; for Zeal and Watchfulness are virtually the same, and what applies to one may be applied to the other. So that again, those with wholeness of understanding will be motivated by their sense of duty and by their appreciation of the value and worthiness of the deeds in question; those on a lower level, by their anxiety over the apportionment of honor in the World to Come and over the possibility of their being shamed on the day of reward by seeing what they could have had. but lost; and the populace in general, by their concern with this world and its needs, as heretofore explained.

31.5.9 The Factors which Detract from Zeal



THE FACTORS which detract from Zeal are those which promote laziness. The greatest of these is the desire for bodily repose - aversion to exertion - and the love of pleasures to their very limits. There is no question that a person laboring under the above deterrent will find Divine service a great burden. For one who wishes to take his meal with complete relaxation and repose, and to sleep without being disturbed and to walk only at a leisurely pace, and so forth - such a person will find it extremely difficult to arise for morning services or to curtail his dinner so as to pray the afternoon service before nightfall or to go out to perform a mitzvah if the time does not suit him. How much more reluctant will he be to rush himself for a mitzvah or for Torah study! One who habituates himself to these practices is not his own master to do the opposite of these things when he so desires, for his will is bound with the bonds of habit, which becomes second nature to him. A person must realize that he is not in this world for repose, but for labor and exertion. He should conduct himself according to the manner of laborers who work for hire (as it is said [Eruvin 65a], "We are day-laborers") and according to the manner of soldiers in the battle-line, who eat in haste, sleep only at irregular intervals and are always poised for attack. In relation to this it is said (Job 5:7), "A man is born to labor." If one accustoms himself to this approach, he will certainly find Divine service easy, for then he will not be lacking the proper attitude or preparation for it. Our Sages of blessed memory said along the same lines (Avoth 6.4), "This is the way of Torah - eat bread with salt, drink water by measure and sleep upon the ground." This regimen constitutes the epitome of removal from comforts and pleasures.

Another deterrent to Zeal is trepidation and fear in relation to what time may bring, so that at one time one will be afraid of cold or heat, at another of accidents, at another of illnesses, at another of the wind, and so on and so forth. As was said by Solomon, may Peace be upon him (Proverbs 26:13), "The lazy man says, `There is a lion on the road, a lion between the ways.' " Our Sages of blessed memory pointed up the degrading nature of this trait, attributing it to sinners. Scripture bears this out (Isaiah 33:14): "The sinners in Zion fear; a trembling has taken hold of the unGodly." One of our great men, when he noticed one of his disciples in the grips of fear, said to him (Berachoth 60a), "You are a sinner." The proper rule of conduct is (Psalms 37:3), "Trust in God and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faith."

In summary, a person should render himself rootless in the world and rooted in Divine service. In relation to all of the things of the world, he should be content with and able to get along with whatever comes his way; he should be far from repose and close to work and labor; his heart should trust securely in God, and he should not fear the future and what it may bring.

If you will point to the fact that the Sages in all places have ordered that a man be especially attentive to his well-being and not put himself in danger even if he is righteous and a doer of good deeds, that they have said (Kethuvoth 30a), "All is in the hands of Heaven except chills and fever," and that the Torah states (Deuteronomy 4:15), "Be very watchful of your selves" - all of which indicates that a person is not to extend trust in God to this area, even (as our Sages state further) when a mitzvah is to be performed - know that there is fear and there is fear. There is appropriate fear and there is foolish fear. There is confidence and there is recklessness. The Lord blessed be He, has invested man with sound intelligence and judgment so that he may follow the right path and protect himself from the instruments of injury that have been created to punish evildoers. One who allows himself not to be guided by wisdom and exposes himself to dangers is displaying not trust, but recklessness; and he is a sinner in that he flouts the will of the Creator, blessed be His Name, who desires that a man protect himself. Aside from the fact that because of his carelessness he lays himself open to the danger inherent in the threatening object, he openly calls punishment down upon himself because of the sin that he commits thereby, so that his hurt results from the sin itself.

The type of fear and self-protection which is appropriate is that which grows out of the workings of wisdom and intelligence. It is the type about which it is said (Proverbs 22:3), "The wise man sees evil and hides, but the fools pass on and are punished." "Foolish fear" is a person's desiring to multiply protection upon protection and fear upon fear, so that he makes a protection for his protection and neglects Torah and Divine service. The criterion by which to distinguish between the two fears is that implied in the statement of our Sages of blessed memory (Pesachim 8b), "Where there is a likelihood of danger, it is different." That is, where there is a recognized possibility of injury, one must be heedful, but where there is no apparent danger, one should not be afraid. Along the same lines it is said (Chullin 56b), "We do not assume an imperfection where we do not see one," and "A sage need be guided only by what his eyes see." (Bava Bathra 131 a). This is the very intent of the verse which we mentioned above: "The wise man sees the evil and hides..." What is spoken of is hiding from the evil which one sees, not from that which might, perhaps, possibly, materialize. And this is precisely the intent of the verse previously referred to: "The lazy man says, `There is a lion on the road...,"' which our Sages of blessed memory interpreted (Devarim Rabbah 8:7) as an illustration of the extent to which vain fear can go to separate a man from a good deed: "Solomon said seven things in relation to the lazy man: If people say to the lazy man, `Your teacher is in the city; go and learn Torah from him,' he answers, `I am afraid of the lion on the road.' If they say, `Your teacher is within the province,' he answers, `I am afraid of the lion between the ways.' If they say, `He is in your house,' he answers, `If I go to him I will find the door locked..."' We see, then, that it is not fear which leads to laziness, but laziness which leads to fear.

All of what we have said is attested to by daily experience, in that to the vast majority of people it is obvious and well known that the type of attitude we have spoken of is that which fools are governed by. The perceptive person will recognize the truth of what has been said, and the man of understanding will readily acknowledge it.

The foregoing discussion of Zeal, I trust, will suffice to awaken the heart. He who is wise will wax wiser and add to his wisdom. Zeal, it should be noted, is appropriately placed a level above Watchfulness; for generally a person will not be Zealous unless he is first Watchful. One who does not concentrate upon being Watchful in his deeds and upon considering Divine service and its principles (such concentration constituting the trait of Watchfulness, as I have already written) will find it very difficult to cloak himself with love and yearning for it and to be Zealous with longing before His Creator; for such a person is still immersed in bodily desires and subject to the inclination of his habits, which draws him away from all this. However, after his eyes will have opened to see his deeds and to be Watchful of them, and he will have made the accounting of good deeds against bad that we mentioned, it will be easy for him to depart from evil and to long and be Zealous for good. This is self-evident.

31.5.10 The Trait of Cleanliness



THE IDEA behind the trait of Cleanliness is that a person be completely clean of bad traits and of sins, not only those which are recognized as such, but also those which are rationalized, which, when we look into them honestly, we find to be sanctioned only because of the heart's being still partially afflicted by lust and not entirely free of it, so as to incline us towards a relaxation of standards. The man who is entirely free of this affliction and clean of any trace of evil which lust leaves behind it will come to possess perfectly clean vision and pure discrimination, and will not be swayed in any direction by desire, but will recognize as evil, and withdraw from every sin that he had committed, though it were the slightest of the slight. Accordingly, our Sages of blessed memory referred to those individuals who so purified their deeds as to leave in them not even a stirring of evil as "the clean-minded men of Jerusalem" (Sanhedrin 23a).

You will now note the distinction between the Watchful and the Clean man (although they are closely related). The first is Watchful of his deeds and sees to it that he does not sin in relation to what he knows, and what is universally acknowledged to be sinful; however, he is still not so much master of himself as to keep his heart from being pulled along by natural lust and inclining him to rationalize in relation to things whose evil is not thus acknowledged. For even though he exerts himself to conquer his evil inclination and to subdue his desires, he will not, because of this, change his nature; he will not remove bodily lust from his heart. All he will be able to do is overcome it and be governed, not by it, but by reason. The darkness of earthiness, however, will still persist in its work of persuasion and deception. But when a person habituates himself to Watchfulness to the point where he completely cleanses himself of the acknowledged sins, and accustoms himself to zealous Divine service so that love and yearning for his Creator grow strong within him, then the force of this habituation will draw him farther from the realm of earthiness and direct his mind towards spiritual perfection. Eventually he will attain to perfect Cleanliness, a state in which physical desire is extinguished from his heart through the strengthening within him of the longing for God. His vision will then possess the purity and clarity that I spoke of above. He will not be deceived, he will not be reached by the darkness of earthiness, and his deeds will be absolutely Clean.

David rejoiced in the possession of this trait and said (Psalms 26:6), "I will wash my hands in Cleanliness and I will go around Your altar, O God." In truth, it befits only him who is entirely clean of any stirring of sin or transgression to behold God, the King; for lacking such cleanliness one should only be ashamed and disgraced before Him. As Ezra the Scribe said (Ezra 9:6), "My God, I am ashamed and disgraced to lift, my God, my face to You." Unquestionably the attainment of perfection in this trait entails great labor; for the recognized and well-known sins are easy to avoid since their evil is apparent, but the analysis which Cleanliness requires is of the most difficult kind, because the sin, involved, as I have written above, is hidden by rationalization. As our Sages of blessed memory have said Zarah 18a), "The sins which a man treads underfoot surround him at the time of judgment." And it was in this connection that they said (Bava Bathra 165a), "The majority succumb to the sin of theft, a minority to that of illicit relations and all of them to the `dust' of slander." The last, because of the extreme subtleness of its nature and its concomitant insusceptibility to recognition causes everyone to succumb to it. Our Sages of blessed memory tell us (Introduction to Eichah Rabbathi 30) that David was Watchful and Cleansed himself completely and that because of this he went to war with great confidence, asking (Psalms 18:38), "Let me pursue my foes and overtake them; and let me not return until I have destroyed them," something which Yehoshafat, . Asa and Hezekiah, because they 1 ad not attained to such Cleanliness, did not ask. As David himself indicates within his statement (Ibid. 21), "Reward me, O God, according to my righteousness; according to the Cleanliness of my hands repay me." And he says again (Ibid. 25), "God rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the Cleanliness of my hands before His eyes." David speaks here of the same kind of purity and Cleanliness that we have spoken of before. And he continues (Ibid. 30), "For with You will I run upon a troop." "I will pursue my foes and overtake them" (Ibid. 38). And he himself says again (Ibid. 24:3), "Who will ascend the mountain of God, and who will stand in the place of His holiness? The Clean of hand and pure of heart."

This trait is certainly difficult to acquire, for a man's nature is weak. His heart is easily won over, and he permits certain things to himself by utilizing the opportunities for selfdeception which they present. One who has attained to the trait of Cleanliness has unquestionably reached a very high level of achievement, for he has stood up in the face of a raging battle and emerged victorious.

We shall now discuss the various particulars of this trait.

31.5.11 The Particulars of the Trait of Cleanliness



THE FACTORS which comprise Cleanliness are very numerous, being all of the factors which comprise the 365 negative commandments. For as I have already stated, the objective of this trait is to be clean of all of the forms of sin. However, though the evil inclination causes a man to commit all kinds of sins, there are some which a person's nature renders more desirable to him, and, consequently, provides him with more rationalizations for. He therefore requires in relation to them additional strengthening to vanquish his evil inclination and be clean of sin. In this connection our Sages of blessed memory have said (Chagigah l lb), "There is within a person a desire and a longing for theft and illicit relations." Although we see that most people are not manifest thieves in the sense of openly confiscating their neighbors' belongings and depositing them among their own possessions, most of them get the taste of theft in the course of their business dealings by allowing themselves to gain through their neighbors' loss, saying, "Business is different."

Many prohibitions, however, were stated in regard to theft: "Do not steal," "Do not rob," "Do not oppress," "And you shall not deny," "And a man should not speak falsely against his neighbor," "A man should not deceive his brother," "Do not push back your neighbor's boundary." These varied laws of theft take in many of the most common types of transactions, in relation to all of which there are many prohibitions. For it is not the overt, acknowledged deed of oppression or theft alone which is forbidden; but anything which would lead to such a deed and bring it about is included in the prohibition. Concerning this our Sages of blessed memory said (Sanhedrin 8 la), "`And he did not pollute his neighbor's wife' (Ezekiel 18:15) - he did not infringe upon his neighbor's occupation." R. Yehudah forbade a storekeeper to distribute roasted grain and nuts to children to accustom them to come to him; the other Sages permitted it only because his competitor could do the same (Bava Metzia 60a). Our Sages of blessed memory have also said (Bava Bathra 88b), "Stealing from a person is worse than stealing from God, for concerning the first, the fact of one's being a sinner is stated before that of his having committed a wrong ..." They also exempted hired workers from the blessing over bread and from the latter blessings of Grace. And even in the case of the Shema they required them to leave off working only for the recitation of the first section (Berachoth 16b). How obvious is it, then, that a day-laborer has no right to interrupt the work assigned to him for mundane considerations, and that if he does, he is a thief. Abba Chilkiyah did not even return the greeting of Scholars so that he would not interrupt the work he was doing for his neighbor (Ta'anith 23b). And our father Jacob, may Peace be upon him, explicitly stated (Genesis 31:40), "In the daytime I was consumed by drought and in the evening by frost, and my sleep fled from my eyes." What, then, will those say who occupy themselves with their pleasures and leave off working, or those who during their working-time engage in their own affairs for personal gain?

In fine, if one is hired by his neighbor for any kind of labor, all of his hours are sold to his employer for the day. As our Sages of blessed memory say (Bava Metzia 56b), "Hiring oneself out is equivalent to selling oneself for the day." Any utilization of these hours for his personal benefit in any manner whatsoever is gross theft, and if his employer does not forgive him, he is not forgiven. As our Teachers of blessed memory have said (Yoma 85b), "The Day of Atonement does not atone for a man's sins against his neighbor until he pacifies him." What is more, even if one performs a mitzvah during his working-time, he is not credited with righteousness, but charged with a transgression. A transgression cannot be a mitzvah. It is written (Isaiah 61:8), "I hate theft in a burnt-offering." Along the same lines our Sages of blessed memory have said (Bava Kamma 94a), "One who steals a measure of wheat, grinds it, bakes it and pronounces a blessing over it, is not blessing, but abusing, as it is written (Psalms 10:3), `And the thief who blesses, abuses God.' " Similarly it is said, "Woe unto him whose defense attorney becomes his prosecutor." This is analogous to what our Sages say (Yerushalmi Sukkah 3.1) concerning a stolen lulav. Stealing an object is stealing, and stealing time is stealing. As with a stolen object that is used for a mitzvah, so with stolen time that is similarly used, one's defense attorney becomes his prosecutor.

The Holy One Blessed be He desires only honesty, as it is said (Psalms 31:24), "God protects the honest ones," and (Isaiah 26:2), "Open ye doors so that there may enter a righteous nation, a keeper of trusts," and (Psalms 101:6), "My eyes are to the trusted men of the earth, that they may sit with me," and (Jeremiah 5:3), "Are Your eyes not to faithfulness?" Even Job said about himself (Job 31:7), "Did my steps deviate from the path? Did my eyes follow my heart? Did anything adhere to my palm?" Regard the beauty of this comparison in which concealed theft is likened to a thing which sticks to a person's hand. Though he had no original intention of taking it, the fact remains that it is in his hand. Here, too, though a man does not actually go out and steal, it is difficult for his hands to be entirely clean of theft, for the eyes instead of being ruled by the heart so that they do not find pleasing to them what belongs to others, pull the heart after them to seek rationalizations for the acquisition of what seems beautiful and desirable to them. Job tells us, in effect, that he did not conduct himself in this manner, that his heart did not follow his eyes, and that, therefore, nothing stuck to his palm.

Consider the question of deceit. How easy it is for a person to deceive himself and fall prey to sin. On the surface it seems proper to him to attempt to make his wares attractive to people and to profit by his efforts, as it does to use "sales talk" on the prospective purchaser to render him more receptive; especially so in the face of such popular encomiums as "The quick man profits" (Pesachim 506) and "The hand of the diligent prospers" (Proverbs 10:4). But if he does not analyze and weigh his actions carefully, he will bring forth thorns instead of wheat, for he will transgress and fall victim to the sin of deceit about which we have been warned, (Leviticus 25:17), "Let not a man deceive his fellow." Our Sages of blessed memory have said (Chullin 94a) that it is forbidden also to fool a non-Jew. It is written (Zephaniah 3:13), "The remnant of Israel will not do iniquity and they will not speak falsehood, and a deceiving tongue will not be found in their mouths." Our Sages have said (Bava Metzia 60a), "It is forbidden to paint old vessels to give them the appearance of new ones. It is forbidden to mix the fruits of one field with those of another, though the latter be just as fresh as the first, and though they be worth a dinar and a tresis per measure, and the combination be sold for only a dinar per measure." "All who do these, all doers of wrong" (Deuteronomy 25:16). Five designations have been applied to them: "wrong," "hateful," "abominable," "despised," "detested." (Sijra 19.35). Our Sages of blessed memory have further stated (Bava Kamma 119a), "If one steals even the worth of a prutah from his neighbor, it is as if he takes his soul from him." This statement reveals to us the severity of this sin even where a trifling amount is involved. And they said again (Ta'anith 7b), "The rains are held back only because of the sin of theft," and again, (Vayikra Rabbah 33.3), "in a basketful of sins, which is the most incriminating?- theft." The doom of the generation of the flood was sealed only because of the sin of theft (Sanhedrin 108a).

If you ask yourself, "How is it possible for us in our dealings not to attempt to favorably incline the prospective buyer towards the object to be sold and its worth?" know that there is a great distinction to be made. Whatever effort is made to show the purchaser the true worth and beauty of the object is fitting and proper, but whatever is done to conceal its imperfections constitutes deceit and is forbidden. This is an elemental principle in business honesty. And this goes without saying in respect to malpractice in the area of weights and measures, in relation to which it is explicitly written (Deuteronomy 25:16) : "The abomination of the Lord, your God, are all who do these." Our Sages of blessed memory have said (Bava Bathra 88b), "The punishment for dishonest weights and measures is more severe than that for illicit relations ..." (Ibid. a), and "The wholesale merchant must clean his measures once in thirty days." Why must this be done? So that the purchasers not unknowingly get less than what they paid for and the merchant not be punished.

What we have said, naturally applies to the sin of taking interest, which is as great a sin as denying the God of Israel, God forbid (Bava Metzia 71a). Our Sages of blessed memory said (Shemoth Rabbah 31.6) in relation to the verse (Ezekiel 18:13), "He gave with usury and took interest, and shall he live? He shall not live," that he who takes interest will not experience the revival of the dead, for he and his dust are abominable and detestable in the eyes of God. I see no need to expatiate on this sin, for its fearful nature is felt by every Jew.

In fine, just as the desire for acquisition is great, so are there many pitfalls which it presents; and for a person to be completely Clean of them, there must be great scrutiny and much analysis on his part. If he does cleanse himself of this desire, let him know that he has reached a very high level of achievement; for there are many who achieve saintliness in many areas, but who cannot achieve perfection in despising dishonest gain. As Tzofar the Naamasite said to Job (Job 11:14), "If there is wickedness in your hand put it far from yourself, and do not permit wrong to dwell in your tents; for then you will lift up your face from imperfection and you will be strong and not fear."

I have spoken thus far of the particulars of one of the mitzvoth. There is no question that each and every mitzvah lends itself to such analysis. I am discussing only those, however, which most people are generally remiss in.

We shall now consider the sin of illicit relations, which is also included among the most severe sins, being second only to theft, as revealed in the statement of our Sages of blessed memory (Bava Bathra 165a), "The majority succumb to the sin of theft, a minority to that of illicit relations." One who desires to be completely clean of this sin also requires no little effort, for its prohibition takes in not only the act itself, but anything that approaches it, as Scripture clearly states (Leviticus 18:6), "Do not come near to uncover nakedness." And our Sages of blessed memory have said (Shemoth Rabbah 16:2), "The Holy One Blessed be He said, `Do not say, "Since I may not live with a woman, I will hold her and be free of sin, I will embrace her and be free of sin; or I will kiss her and be free of sin." ' The Holy One Blessed be He said, `Just as when a Nazarite takes a vow not to drink wine, he is forbidden to eat grapes or raisins or drink grape juice, or partake of anything, for that matter, which comes from the grapevine, so is it forbidden to touch any woman but your own wife; and anyone who does touch a woman other than his wife brings death to himself.' " See how wonderful these words are! The prohibition in the case of illicit relations is likened to that in the case of a Nazarite, where, even though the essence of the prohibition involves only the drinking of wine, the Torah forbids to him anything which has some connection with wine. Through what it says concerning a Nazarite, the Torah is teaching the Sages hjw to make "a fence around the Torah" by way of implementing the authority vested in them to reinforce the Torah's rulings. Using the case of the Nazarite as a prototype, the Torah is instructing the Sages to proscribe, because of a basic prohibition, anything that is similar to it. To reveal God's will in the matter, the Torah did in relation to the mitzvah of the Nazarite what it authorized the Sages to do in relation to all the other mitzvoth, namely, to forbid anything which approaches the nature of what is proscribed, by deducing what is not stated from what is stated. By applying this principle to the area of illicit relations, the Sages prohibited anything partaking of the nature of fornication or approaching it, regardless of the particular avenue of approach, whether that of deed, or sight, or speech, or hearing, or even thought.

I will now substantiate what has been said by referring to the words of our Sages of blessed memory

Deed : Namely touching or embracing and the like. This has already been considered in the aforementioned statement and there is no need to dwell upon it.

Sight : Our Sages of blessed memory have said (Berachoth 61a), " ` Hand to hand, the evil will not be cleansed' (Proverbs 11:21) - one who counts coins from his hand to hers in order to gaze at her will not be cleansed from the judgment of Gehinnom." And again (Shabbath 64a), "Why did the Jews of that generation require atonement?- because they fed their eyes on impurity." R. Shesheth said (Berachoth 24a), "Why did Scripture (Numbers 31:50) enumerate the outer ornaments together with the inner ones?- to teach us that if one gazes at a woman's little finger, it is as if he gazed at her impurity." And again (Avodah Zarah 20a), " `And keep yourself from every evil thing' (Deuteronomy 23:10) - a man should not eye a beautiful woman, even if she is unmarried, and a married woman, even if she is ugly."

Speech : It is explicitly stated (Avoth 1.5), "One who converses at length with a woman draws evil upon himself."

Hearing : (Berachoth 24a), "A woman's singing is impurity."

Concerning the "fornication of the mouth and the ear," that is, speaking obscenities or listening to them, our Sages "screamed like cranes" (Yerushalmi Terumoth 1.4), " `Let there not be seen within you a thing of nakedness' (Deuteronomy 23:15) -nakedness of speech, the uttering of obscenities." And (Shabbath 33a), "Because of the sin of obscene speech, troubles renew themselves and the youths of Israel die, God forbid." And (Ibid.), "If one sullies his mouth, Gehinnom is deepened for him." And (Ibid.), "Everyone knows why a bride goes to the wedding canopy, but anyone who speaks obscenely concerning it, even a decree of seventy good years is converted to evil." And (Chagigah 5b), "Even a casual conversation between a man and his wife is held up to him at the time of Judgment." And concerning listening to obscenities they said (Shabbath 33a),` `Even one who listens and remains still, as it is said (Proverbs 22:14), `He who has incurred God's wrath, shall fall therein.' " We see, then, that all of one's faculties must be Clean of fornication and of anything related to it.

If one would gain your ear and tell you that the Sages said what they did in relation to obscene speech only to frighten one and to draw him far from sin, and that their words apply only to hot-blooded individuals who, by speaking obscenities, would be aroused to lust, but not to those who air them only in jest, in which case there is nothing whatever to fear- tell him that his words are those of the evil inclination; for the Sages have adduced an explicit verse in support of their statements (Isaiah 9:16): "Therefore God will not rejoice over their youths ... for they are all flatterers and speakers of evil, and every mouth utters obscentities." This verse mentions neither idol worship, nor illicit relations, nor murder, but flattery and slander and obscene utterance, all sins of the mouth in its capacity of speech; and it is because of these sins that the decree went forth, "Therefore God will not rejoice over their youths, and will not be merciful to their orphans and widows ..." The truth, then, is as our Teachers of blessed memory have it, that the uttering of obscenities is the very "nakedness" of the faculty of speech and was prohibited as an aspect of fornication along with all other such aspects, which, although outside the realm of the act of illicit relations itself (as indicated by their not being subject to the punishment of "cutting off" or to the death penalty), are nonetheless prohibited in themselves; this aside from the fact that they also conduce to and bring about the principally proscribed act itself, as in the case of the Nazarite in the Midrash referred to above. Thought: Our Sages of blessed memory have already said in the beginning of our Baraitha (Avodah Zarah 20b), " `And keep yourself from every evil thing' (Deuteronomy 23:10)-a man should not think obscene thoughts in the daytime ... " And (Yoma 29a), "The thoughts behind the sin are worse than the sin itself." And Scripture explicitly states (Proverbs 15:26), "Evil thoughts are the abomination of God."

We have spoken thus far of two severe types of sin whose various forms are likely be stumbling blocks both because of the innumerability of these forms and because of the strong lustful inclination of a person's heart in relation to them.

The sin which comes third after theft and illicit relations in respect to desire is that of forbidden foods - whether thos; that are ritually unclean, or an admixture containing them, or a combination of meat and milk, or suet, or blood, or food cooked by gentiles, or the utensils of gentiles, or the wine used in ther libations, or their drinking-wine. Cleanliness in relation to all of these requires great scrutiny and self-strengthening because there is a lust in the heart for good foods and because one must sometimes suffer a monetary loss as a result of admixtures and the like. The prohibitions concerning forbidden foods also involve many details, as is reflected in all of the commonly known laws that are treated in the Halachic writings. One who is lenient in relation to these laws when he has been instructed to be stringent is destroying his soul. As is stated in the Sifra (Shemini), " `Do not sully yourselves with them, becoming unclean with them' (Leviticus 11:43) - if you sully yourselves with them, you will, in the end, partake of their uncleanliness." Forbidden foods carry uncleanliness itself into a person's heart and soul until the holiness of the Presence Blessed be He departs and withdraws from him, as is also stated in the Talmud ( Yoma 39a), " `...becoming unclean with them' - do not read `becoming unclean with them,' but `becoming dull with them.' " For sin dulls a man's heart in that it causes to depart from him true knowledge and the spirit of wisdom that the Holy One Blessed be He gives to the Saints (as it is said [Proverbs 2:6], "For God gives wisdom"), and he remains beastly and earthy, immersed in the grossness of this world. Forbidden foods are worse in this respect than all other prohibitions, for they enter into a person's body and become flesh of his flesh. In order to instruct us that this applies not only to unclean beasts or to earth creatures, but also to those animals, which, though in the "clean" category, are ritually unclean, Scripture tells us (Leviticus 11:47), "To distinguish between the unclean and the clean," upon which our Teachers of blessed memory comment (Sifra ad loc.), "There is no need to point up the distinction between an ass and a cow. What, then, is the meaning of `between the unclean and the clean'? - between what is unclean to you and what is clean to you; between the cutting of most of the windpipe and the cutting of half. And what is the difference between most and half ? - a hairs-breadth." The reason that they concluded in this manner ("And what is the difference between `most' ... ") is to show how amazing the power of the mitzvoth is, that a hair's-breadth constitutes the difference between uncleanliness and cleanliness itself.

Anyone possessed of sense will regard forbidden food as poison, or as food with which some poison has become mixed. Would anyone allow himself to partake of such food? If there were any room for suspicion or even the slightest doubt, he would certainly not permit himself to eat of it; and if he did, he would be regarded as an absolute fool. Forbidden food, as we have explained, is poison itself to the heart and soul. Who, then, possessing any intelligence, would allow himself to eat food about whose permissibility there is some question? Concerning this it is said (Proverbs 23:2), "And put a knife to your throat if you have any sense."

We shall now discuss the common sins which grow out of the relationships between men and their association in groups. Among these are: verbal oppression, shaming, giving misleading advice, tale-bearing, hating, taking revenge, taking oaths, lying, and desecrating the Name. Who can say, "I am Clean of them; I am pure of any fault in respect to them"? Their various aspects are so numerous and subtle that Watchfulness in relation to them is extremely burdensome.

Included in the sin of verbal oppression is shaming one's neighbor by words in private; much more so, shaming him thus in public or doing something to him which causes him to be ashamed in public. As stated in Perek Hazahav (Bava Metzia 58b), "If he has repented, one should not say to him, `Remember your former deeds ...' If he is beset by sickness, one should not say to him as was said to Job by his friends (Job 4:7), `Remember, which clean man is destroyed ... ? ' If donkey-drivers ask grain of him, let him not say to them, `Go to so and so, for he sells grain, ' knowing full well that he never sold grain in his whole life." Our Sages of blessed memory have stated (Bava Metzia 58b), "Verbal oppression is worse than monetary oppression [deceit] ..." This is especially true as regards shaming one in public, for we were explicitly taught (Avoth 3.11), "One who shames his neighbor in public has no share in the World to Come." R. Chisda said (Bava Metzia 59a), "All of the gates of prayer were closed except those through which pass the cries of those who have been oppressed by words." And R. Eleazar said (Ibid.), "The Holy One Blessed be He exacts payment through a messenger for every sin, except that of verbal oppression." Our Sages said (Ibid.), “There are three sins which the curtain does not block out.” One of those mentioned is the sin of verbal oppression. Even in the case of the observance of mitzvoth, in relation to which Scripture tells us (Leviticus 19:17), “But you shall rebuke your friend,” our Sages of blessed memory say (Arachin 16b), “I would think that this applies even to the extent of causing his face to change color; therefore, we are told immediately afterwards, ‘But do not bear a sin because of it.’” All of these statements reveal to us how far the warning against the sin of verbal oppression branches out and how severe its punishment is.

Concerning the giving of misleading advice we learned in Torath Kohanim (Leviticus 19:14), " `And do not place a stumbling block before a blind man'- before one who is blind to something. If you are asked whether someone's daughter may marry a Kohen, do not answer affirmatively if you know the opposite to be the case. If someone asks you for advice, do not give advice which is not suitable for him ... And do not say to him, `Sell your field and buy an ass,' by way attempting to gain possession of the field for yourself. You might say to yourself, `I am giving him a good piece of advice,' but your heart knows the truth, as it is stated (Ibid), `And fear your God."'

We see, then, that when one is approached for advice, his counsel, whether there is a possibility of his being personally affected by it or not, must be in accordance with pure, clear truth. Observe that the Torah has penetrated into the very recesses of the deceiver's mind, for we are speaking here not of coarse men, who openly give advice that is obviously malicious, but of those who are skilled in evil, whose advice, on the surface, seems truly to be to their friend's interest, but which, in reality, is not for his good, but to his detriment and for their own benefit. It is in this connection that we were told, "You might say to yourself, `I am giving him a good piece of advice,' but your heart knows the truth..." To what a profound extent do men succumb to these sins every day in responding to the powerful call of desire for gain! Scripture reveals the terrible nature of the punishment in this case (Deuteronomy 27:18): "Accursed is he who misleads a blind man on the path."

This is the duty of the just man: When someone requests his advice, he should tell him to do what he himself would do in a similar situation, having no other end, immediate or distant, than the good of the one he is advising. And if it so happens that he sees himself as standing to lose through such advice, if he is in a position to reveal the same to the other, he should do so and if not he should excuse himself and give no advice whatsoever. In any event however, he must not propose anything whose end is not the good of the person seeking advice, unless the latter intends evil, in which case it is certainly a mitzvah to deceive him, as it is said (Psalms 18:27), "And with the crooked be cunning." The episode of Chushai the Archite (11 Samuel 15:32 ff) is a case in point.

The severity of tale-bearing and slander is already known, as is also the profusion of forms that it assumes. It is, moreover, such a great profusion, that our Sages of blessed memory pronounced, in a statement that I have already referred to, (Bava Bathra 165a), " And all of them succumb to the `dust' of slander." They ask (Arachin 15b), "What is the dust of slander?" and answer, "One's saying, `Where is a hearth-fire found? Only in so and so's house,' " or one's praising his neighbor in the presence of the latter's enemies, and the like. Even though such things may appear very insignificant and very far removed from tale-bearing, they are, in truth, part of its "dust."

In fine, the evil inclination has many devices at its command. Any statement that a man makes concerning his neighbor, in his presence or not, which might cause him injury or shame is included in the sin of slander, which is hated and despised by the Presence, and about which it is said (Ibid.),

"If one utters slanderous remarks it is as if he denies the First Cause," and (Psalms 101:5), "One who slanders his friend in secret, him will I destroy. "

Hate and revenge, too, are very difficult for man's spiteful heart to escape, for in view of his being extremely sensitive to insult, and suffering great anguish because of it, revenge, being the only thing which will put him at rest, is sweeter than honey to him. Therefore, if it is within his power to abandon the urging of his nature and to overlook the offense so as not to hate the one who ignited hatred within him, nor to take revenge against him when the opportunity to do so presents itself, nor to hold a grudge against him, but to forget the whole affair and remove it from his heart as if it had never occurred - if he can do this, he is strong and courageous. Such conduct is easy only for the ministering angels among whom the aforementioned traits do not exist, not for "dwellers in houses of clay whose roots are in dust" (Job 4:19). But the King has decreed (in perfectly lucid language, requiring no interpretation) (Leviticus 19:17,18), "Do not hate your brother in your heart ... Do not take revenge and do not bear a grudge against the children of your nation."

The difference between taking revenge and bearing a grudge is that the first indicates a person's withholding good from one who kept some good from him or injured him in some way, whereas the second denotes a person's interlarding a worthy act towards one who had wronged him with some reminder of that wrong.

The evil inclination advances and inflames the heart and constantly seeks to leave at least some trace or memory of the wrong. If it is not successful in leaving a strong reminder it will attempt to leave a weaker one. For example, it will tell a person, "If you wish to give this man what he did not want to give you when you were in need, at least do not give it to him graciously." Or, "If you do not want to hurt him, at least do not do him a great favor or offer him valuable assistance." Or, "If you want to go so far as to be of great help to him, at least do not provide this help in his presence." Or, "If you have forgiven him, do not renew your acquaintance with him and become his friend; it is enough that you do not show yourself his enemy. And if you want to go so far as to befriend him, at least do not show him as much friendship as of yore."

All such suggestions are among the intrigues of the evil inclination, by which it attempts to ensnare a person's heart. To counteract this the Torah states a general, all-embracing principle (Ibid.): "And love your friend as yourself" - "as yourself," with no difference whatsoever - "as yourself," without distinction, without devices and schemes - literally "as yourself."

As far as oaths are concerned, even though all those who are not of the common run of men guard themselves from taking the name of God in vain, especially in oaths, there are still some small offshoots of this sin which, although not among the most severe transgressions, should nevertheless be avoided by those who wish to be Clean. As has been stated (Shevuoth 36a), "R. Eleazar said, 'No' is an oath and `Yes' is an oath. Rava said, `Only if one said 'No, No'-twice or `Yes, Yes' -- twice.' " And, (Bava Metzia 49a), " `A righteous measure' (Leviticus 19:36) - your `No' should be righteous and your `Yes' should be righteous."

Lying, too, is a terrible sickness that has spread far-reachingly among men. There are various levels of this sin.

There are some people whose profession itself is lying, who go around inventing stark falsehoods in order to promote social intercourse or to be reckoned among the wise and informed. In relation to them it is said (Proverbs 12:22), "The abomination of God is lying lips," and (Isaiah 59:3), "Your lips speak falsehood, your tongues give voice to wrong."

And our Sages of blessed memory have pronounced their judgment (Sotah 42a), "There are four classes of men who are not received into the presence of God." (The class of liars is numbered among the four).

There are other liars close to the first kind in regard to level, although not exactly like them; namely, those who lie within their stories and their statements. That is, it is not their practice to go around inventing stories and manufacturing incidents which never occurred, but, when they give an account of something, they interlard it with falsehoods as their fancy strikes them. They habituate themselves to this practice to the point where it becomes part of their nature. These are the liars whose words it is impossible to believe, as stated by our Sages of blessed memory (Sanhedrin 89b), "This is the punishment of a liar - even when he speaks truth he is not attended to." They have implanted this evil so deeply within themselves that their words cannot leave their lips clean of falsehood. As the Prophet grieves (Jeremiah 9:4), "They have taught their tongues to speak falsehood; they have become weary with wrong."

There are others whose sickness is milder than that of the first two types. The members of this third group are not confirmed in falsehood, but do not take heed to withdraw from it, and speak it when the opportunity presents itself, and very often by way of jest and the like, with no evil intent. The Sage, however, has made it known to us that all of this is contrary to the will of the Creator, blessed be He, and to the attribute of His saints (Proverbs 13:5): "The righteous hate a false thing." And it is in relation to this that we were warned (Exodus 23:7), "Withdraw from a false thing." Note that we do not have, "Guard yourself from falsehood," but "Withdraw from a false thing," this to awaken us to the greatness of the extent to which one must withdraw himself and flee from falsehood. As has been stated (Zechariah 3:13), "The remnant of Israel will not do wrong and will not speak falsehood; and a deceiving tongue will not be found in their mouths." Our Sages of blessed memory have said (Shabbath 55a ), "The seal of the Holy One Blessed be He is truth." Indeed if the truth is what the Holy One Blessed be He selected as His seal, how abominable must its opposite be to Him. The Holy One Blessed be He furnished us with a great exhortation concerning the necessity of abiding by the truth (Zechariah 8:16), "Let one man speak with another in truth; " and (Isaiah 16:5), "And a throne will be established in loving-kindness and He will sit upon it in Truth;" and (Ibid. 63:8), "And He said, `But they are my people, children who do not lie;' " (one is dependent upon the other) and (Zechariah 8:3), "And Jerusalem will be called "The City of Truth" (this to magnify its worth). And our Sages of blessed memory have said (Makkoth 24a), " `And he speaks the truth in his heart' (Psalms 15:2), as R. Safra..." [Rashi explains: "This is the incident concerning R. Safra: he had a certain article to sell, but when someone approached him while he was reciting the Shema, and said to him, `Give me the article for so much and so much money,' he did not answer, being occupied in the recitation of the Shema. The latter, thinking that he did not want to give him the object for that sum, continued, `Give it to me for so much and so much more.' After completing the Shema, he said to him, `Take the article for the sum you originally stipulated, for I had intended to give it to you for that sum.' "] This to show how far one is duty-bound to be truthful. They have forbidden (Bava Metzia 23b), a Scholar to alter his language except for three things.

Truth is one of the pillars upon which the world stands (Avoth 1.18). Speaking falsehood, then, is comparable to removing the foundation of the world; and, conversely, if one is heedful of the truth it is as if he maintains the world's foundation. Our Sages of blessed memory told us (Sanhedrin 97a) of a community, which was watchful of truth and in which the Angel of Death was powerless; but because the wife of a certain teacher altered her language, even though her intentions were good, the Angel of Death was loosed upon it. After she had been driven away because of this, the old serenity returned. There is no need to dwell further upon this because it is dictated by intelligence and borne out by reason.

The aspects of "desecration of the Name" are also numerous and significant, for a person must be extremely jealous of his Master's honor, and subject everything he does to great scrutiny and thought in order that it not give rise to what might possibly be a desecration of the Name of Heaven, God forbid. We have learned (Avoth 4.4), "The sin of desecration of the Name obtains both in the presence and in the absence of intent." And our Sages of blessed memory have said (Yoma 86a), "What constitutes desecration of the Name? Rav said, `If one such as I were to buy meat without paying for it immediately,' and R. Yochanan said, `If one such as I were to walk four ells without Torah and tefillin.' " The idea behind this is that every man, according to the level that he is on and according to the impression that people have of him must engage in thought in order to keep himself from doing anything not befitting a man such as he. To the extent of his importance and wisdom, he should cultivate his Watchfulness in matters of Divine service and deepen his consideration of it. And if he does not do so, the Name of Heaven is desecrated through him, God forbid. For it is to the honor of the Torah that one who learns more of it progresses more, likewise, in righteousness and in refinement of character traits. Any lack in this respect, on the part of one who learns a great deal, contributes to a disparagement of learning itself, which is, God forbid, a desecration of the Name of the Blessed One, who gave us His holy Torah and commanded us to occupy ourselves with it in order to attain our perfection.

The observance of Sabbaths and Festivals is also of especially great significance, for their laws are very numerous. As it is said (Shabbath 12a), "There are many laws in relation to the Sabbath." Even the laws of "resting," Rabbinical ordinances, are essential principles; as it is said (Chagigah 16b), "The principle of `resting' should not be taken lightly, for the prohibition against semichah is an aspect of `resting' and the great men of the generation contended over it." The details of the laws of the Sabbath, according to their divisions are explained in the Halachic writings. They are all equal in respect to our duty concerning them and in respect to the degree of Watchfulness required. The difficult part of Sabbath observance for most people is abstaining from occupation and from discussion of business activities, the prohibition against which is stated in the words of the Prophet (Isaiah 58:13), "And honor it by abstaining from ordering your ways, from fulfilling your desires and from engaging in speech." The rule is that everything which may not be done on the Sabbath may not be striven after or mentioned. It was for these reasons that our Sages of blessed memory forbade a man to survey his property to see what it might require the next day, or to walk to the gates of the province in order to be able to depart on a long journey soon after nightfall, or to say, "i will do such and such tomorrow," or "I will buy such and such wares tomorrow," and the like.

I have thus far spoken of those few mitzvoth which we see people to be most remiss in. What we have said about these should serve us for all the other prohibitions, for there is no prohibition without divisions and particulars, some more severe, some less. One who wishes to be Clean must be clean and pure in all of them. Our Sages of blessed memory have said (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 6.12), " `Your teeth are like a flock of sheep' (Canticles 6:6) - just as a sheep is modest in its behavior so were the Jews modest and virtuous in the war with Midian. R. Huna said in the name of R. Acha, `During the war with Midian, not one of them put on the tefillin of the head before the tefillin of the hand. If one of them had done so, Moses would not have praised them and they would not have left the field in peace.' " As stated in Yerushalmi, "One who speaks between Yishtabach and Yotzer is tainted with a transgression and must leave the battle-field because of it."

We see, then, the extent to which analysis and true Cleanliness are necessary in relation to deeds. But just as Cleanliness must reside in deeds, so must it reside in traits. In fact, it is almost more difficult to acquire the second type of Cleanliness than the first, for one's nature is more influential in the sphere of his traits than in that of his deeds, in that one's temperament and character can be a great help or a great hindrance in the formation of his traits. And every struggle against one's nature is a fierce one, as our Sages of blessed memory have stated (Avoth 4.1), "Who is strong? One who conquers his evil inclination."

There are innumerable traits; for as all of a person's worldly actions, so are his traits. It is from them that his actions flow. But just as we discussed those mitzvoth which there was a greater need to consider, because of the greater frequency of lapses in relation to them, so shall we discuss the chief traits in greater detail because of the relative frequency with which they come into play. These are pride, anger, envy, and lust - all evil traits, whose evil is widely recognized and need not be demonstrated. They are evil both in themselves and in their results, for they are all outside the realm of intelligence and wisdom. Each one of them has it within itself to lead a person into severe sins. In relation to pride we are explicitly warned (Deuteronomy 8:14), "And your heart will be proud and you will forget the Lord, your God." Concerning anger our Sages of blessed memory said (Shabbath 1056), "One who becomes angry should be in your eyes as one who serves idols." About envy and lust we were told explicitly (Avoth 4.21), "Envy, lust and honor-seeking remove one from the world." The necessary insight in relation to them is to flee all of them and all that derives from them, for they are all as one, "deviant offshoots of a strange vine" (Jeremiah 2:21). We shall now proceed to discuss them individually.

Pride consists in a person's pluming himself with his self and considering himself worthy of praise. There can be many different reasons behind this. Some deem themselves intelligent; some, handsome; some, honored; some, great; some, wise. In fine, when a man attributes to himself any of the good things of the world, he puts himself in immediate danger of falling into the pit of pride. However, a person's convincing himself of his significance and of his meriting praise leads not to one result only, but to many different results. It is even possible for opposing reactions to stem from similar causes and to be directed to the same end.

One type of pride reflects itself in a person's thinking that since he is deserving of praise and is impressively unique (as he imagines) in the possession of his particular attribute, he should deport himself, too, in a manner that is impressively unique, highly dignified, in walking, sitting, rising, speakingin all of his actions. He will walk only in an unhurried manner, with measured step; he will sit only erect; he will rise only little by little, like a snake; he will not speak with all people, but only with men of eminence; and even with them, he will utter only terse, oracular remarks. And in all of his other actions -- his movements, his manipulations, his eating, his drinking, his dressing, and in all of his ways - he will conduct himself with great pompousness, as if all of his flesh were lead and all of his bones, stone or earth.

Another type of pride manifests itself in a man's thinking that since he is worthy of praise and possessed of many superior qualities he must become the terror of the earth and everyone must tremble before him. He feels that it would be insolent on the part of people to speak with him or to ask anything of him. If they dare to approach him, he will confound them with his voice and drive them into a turmoil with the breath of his lips, with his biting retorts. And his face will continuously fume.

A third type of pride reveals itself in one's thinking that he is already so great and so invested with honor that honor is inseparable from him and that, consequently, he need not pursue it. To impress this upon others, he fashions his deeds after those of humble men and goes to very great lengths to exhibit [Variant: calls attention to his character, exhibiting] unusual and unfathomable humility, his heart all the time swelling within him, as if to say, "I am so exalted and so greatly honored that I no longer have any need for honor and might just as well decline it, for it resides with me in great measure."

Yet another type of pride expresses itself in a person's desiring to be widely renowned for his outstanding qualities and for the uniqueness of his ways, to the point where it is not enough for him to be praised by all the world for the qualities he imagines himself to possess, but he desires to be praised even more for being the humblest of the humble. Such a one prides himself upon his humility and desires honor because he shows himself to flee it. He puts himself beneath those who are far inferior to him, or beneath the derelicts of society, seeking to display thereby the essence of humility. He shuns all imposing titles and refuses all dignities, his heart all the while saying within him, "There is no wiser and humbler man than I in all the land." Those who possess this type of pride, though they give the impression of humility, face no few pitfalls, for without their being aware of it, their pride will be revealed, as a flame escaping from shards. Our Sages of blessed memory have already compared (Bamidbar Rabbah 18.13) a person with this kind of pride to a house full of straw. The straw enters into cracks in the walls, and, after a few days, begins to emerge, so that everyone realizes the house is full of it. Similarly, those men who possess this type of pride will not always be able to conceal their true identity. Their evil intent will show through their deeds and their seeming self-effacement will be recognized as specious humility and deceitful lowliness.

There are others whose pride remains buried in their hearts without receiving expression in deed, but who nurse the thought that they are great sages who know things to their very depths, and that not many can hope to be as wise as they. And so thinking, they pay no heed to the thoughts of others, reasoning that what they cannot comprehend no one can.What is dictated to them by their intelligence is so clear and obvious to them that they cannot even consider any arguments to the contrary, regardless of the stature of those who put them forward. They have no doubts whatsoever as to the correctness of their views.

All of these reactions stem from pride, which sets back sages and stultifies their minds, which perverts the hearts of the highest in wisdom. And even raw students whose eyes have barely opened, are caused by pride to fancy themselves the wisest of the wise. Concerning all forms of pride it is said (Proverbs 16:5), "The proud of heart are the abomination of God." One who wishes to acquire the trait of Cleanliness must cleanse himself of all forms of pride and he must know and understand that pride is blindness itself and that man's reason cannot see its defects and recognize its meanness, for if a man could see and recognize the truth, he would depart from all of these evil, destructive elements and remove himself very far from them. We shall speak further of this with the help of Heaven, when we come to the trait of Humility, which, because of the difficulty of its attainment was placed among the last of the traits in the order formulated by R. Pinchas.

We shall now discuss anger. There is the furious man, about whom it was said (Shabbath 105b), "If one becomes angry, it is as if he serves idols." He is angered by any opposition to his will and becomes so filled with wrath that his heart is no longer with him and his judgment vanishes. A man such as he would destroy the entire world if it were within his power to do so, for he is not in any way directed by reason and is as devoid of sensibility as any predatory beast. About him it was said (Job 18:4), "You who tear your soul in your wrath, shall the earth become desolate because of you T' He can easily comrhit any conceivable sin to which his rage brings him, for he is bound by nothing but his anger and he will go where it leads him.

There is another type, who is far removed from the first in degree of anger. He will not become enraged over every lack of conformity with his will, small or great. But when he reaches the point of anger, he will become greatly enraged and give vent to his wrath. It is he whom our Sages of blessed memory characterized (Avoth 5.11) as "difficult to arouse and difficult to appease." This form of anger, too, is unquestionably evil, for much that is very damaging may proceed from him during his fit of anger and he will not afterwards be able to straighten what he has made crooked.

There is a lesser form of anger in which one is not easily aroused; and even when he is aroused, his anger is restrained and does not cause him to abandon his intelligence, but he still nurses his wrath. One who becomes angry in this manner stands to lose far less than the others, but there is no question that he has not attained to Cleanliness. What is more, he has not even acquired Watchfulness, for as long as anger moves him, he has not removed himself from the classification of "a man of anger."

There is another who is even less inclined to anger than the aforementioned type. It is very difficult to arouse him, and his anger is neither destructive nor all-consuming, but mild. It lasts no more than a minute, the amount of time it takes from the awakening of anger within him until the awakening of his understanding against it. Our Sages of blessed memory characterized him (Ibid.) as "difficult to arouse and easy to appease." His is certainly a goodly portion, for a person's nature moves him to anger and if he masters his anger to the extent that it does not flare strongly and overpower him even during the period of its presence and so that even the small amount of anger that he feels does not linger with him, but passes and departs, he is certainly deserving of praise. Our Sages have said (Chullin 89a), "'He suspends the earth on nothingness' (Job 26:7) - the world endures only because of him who bridles his mouth during a quarrel." The reference is to a situation in which a person has already been awakened to anger, but, mastering his nature, bridles his mouth.

The attribute of Hillel the Elder, however, transcends all of the others, for he took offense at nothing and felt not even a stirring of anger. Such a man is absolutely Clean of anger. Our Sages of blessed memory warned against anger even for the sake of a mitzvah, even in a teacher's relationship with his student and in a father's with his son. This is not to say that the offenders should not be reprimanded - they certainly should be; but without anger, with no other purpose than their being set on the right path. Any anger shown to them should be anger of the face and not anger of the heart. Solomon said (Ecclesiastes 7:9), "Do not be hasty-spirited to become angry." And it is stated (Job 5:2), "For the fool is killed by anger." And our Sages of blessed memory said (Eruvin 65b), "A man is recognized in three ways - through his goblet, through his pocket and through his anger."

Envy, too, is nothing but want of reason and foolishness, for the one who envies gains nothing for himself and deprives the one he envies of nothing. He only loses thereby, as is indicated in the verse that I mentioned (Job 5:2), "Envy kills the fool." There are those who are so foolish that if they perceive their neighbor to possess a certain good, they brood and worry and suffer to the point that their neighbor's good prevents them from enjoying their own. As the Sage said (Proverbs 14:30), "Envy is the decay of the bones." There are others who, though not caused much suffering and pain by envy, still experience some hurt. They will at least feel some sinking of spirit upon seeing one rise to a higher level if he is not one of their dearest and closest friends, more so if he is not especially loved by them, and even more so if he is a stranger from a different land. They might say things which would seem to reflect their happiness and thankfulness over his good fortune, but their hearts will be faint within them. This is a very common reaction with most people, for though they may not be characterized by envy, they are still not entirely Clean of it. They are especially affected if one who plies the same trade as they prospers in it for "Every craftsman hates his fellow" (Bereshith Rabbah 19.6), especially if the latter is more successful than he. They will not acknow. ledge and understand the fact that "A man cannot touch even a hair's-breadth of what is set aside for his neighbor" (Yoma 386). If they recognized that everything proceeds from God in accordance with His wondrous judgment and unfathomable wisdom, they would have no reason whatso. ever to suffer over their neighbor's good. This is what the Prophet foretells about the time to come, that the Holy One Blessed be He will eradicate this ugly trait from our hearts so that Israel's good will be complete. At that time no one will feel pain over another's good and he who is successful will not be compelled to conceal himself and what relates to him for fear of being envied. As it is written (Isaiah 11:13), "And the envy of Ephraim will depart and the oppressors of Judah will be cut off. Ephraim will not envy Judah ..." This is the kind of peace and serenity experienced by the ministering angels, who all rejoice in their service, each in his place, none envying the other; for seeing the truth to its very depths, they rejoice over the good that they possess and are happy in their portions.

The sister of envy is desire and lust, which wearies a man's heart until the day of his death, as stated by our Sages of blessed memory (Koheleth Rabbah 1.34), "A man does not die with half of his desire fulfilled." There are two main branches of desire, desire for wealth and desire for honor, each as evil as the other and each bringing about many evil consequences.

It is the desire for wealth which binds a man with worldly bonds and places the thongs of labor and preoccupation upon his arms, as it is written (Ecclesiastes 5:9), "The lover of silver will not be satiated with silver." It is this desire which removes one from Divine service, for many prayers are lost and many mitzvoth forgotten because of excessive preoccupation and the pursuit of a wealth of stores. This is especially true in relation to Torah study, concerning which our Sages of blessed memory have said (Eruvin 55a), " `It is not across the seas' (Deuteronomy 30:13) - it does not reside with those who cross the seas for business," and (Avoth 2.5), "Not all who engage in business become wise." The quest for wealth exposes one to many dangers and weakens him with much worrying even after he has acquired a great deal. We also learned (Ibid.), "He who multiplies belongings multiplies worries." And it is this quest which often causes one to trespass against the laws of the Torah and even against the natural laws of reason.

The desire for honor is even greater than the desire for wealth, for it is possible for a person to overcome his inclination for wealth and the other pleasures and still be pressed by the desire for honor, being unable to tolerate being, and seeing himself beneath his friends.

Many were caught and destroyed by the desire for honor. Jeroboam ben Nevat was barred from the World to Come only as a result of his desire for honor. As was stated by our Sages of blessed memory (Sanhedrin 102a), "The Holy One Blessed be He seized his garment and said to him, `Repent, and you and I and the son of Jesse will promenade in the Garden of Eden.' Jeroboam asked, `Who will go first?' The Holy One Blessed be He answered, `The son of Jesse:' and Jeroboam said, `If so, I refuse.' " What, if not the desire for honor, brought about the destruction of Korach and his entire congregation? As Scripture explicitly states (Numbers 16:10), "And would you also seek the priesthood? " Our Sages of blessed memory have told us (Bamidbar Rabbah 18.1) that his entire rebellion stemmed from his seeing Elizaphan ben Uziel as prince and desiring to be prince in his place. This same desire, according to our Sages of blessed memory (Zohar to Numbers 13:3), was responsible for the spies' speaking ill of the land, thus bringing about their death and the death of the entire generation. They feared a diminution of their honor in the possibility that after entry into the land they would no longer be princes of Israel and others would be appointed in their place. What, if not a concern for his honor caused Saul to begin to seek an opportunity to kill David? As it is written (1 Samuel 18:7ff), "And the exultant women answered and said, 'Saul has slain ...' and Saul eyed David from that day forward." What, if not concern for his honor, caused Joab to kill Amasa? (For David had said to Amasa (11 Samuel 19:14), "... if you will not always be my general...")

In fine, the desire for honor tugs at a person's heart more than any of the other longings and desires in the world. If not for concern over his honor, a person would be content to eat whatever was at hand, to clothe himself with whatever would cover his nakedness, and to dwell in a house which would afford him protection from the elements. He would obtain his livelihood with little effort and would feel no need to exert himself to become rich. But so as not to see himself as lower and lesser than his friends, he places a yoke upon his neck, and there is no end to all his labors. It is with this in mind that our Teachers of blessed memory said (Avoth 4.20), "Envy, lust and honor-seeking remove a person from the world," and warned us (Ibid. 6.4), "Do not seek greatness or desire honor." How many starve themselves and stoop to feeding themselves from charity so as not to engage in an occupation which they feel is lacking in respectability, for fear of a diminution of their honor? Is there anything sillier? They prefer to dwell in idleness, which leads to stagnation, lewdness and theft, and to all of the major sins in order not to lower themselves and detract from the honor which they imagine themselves to possess. Our Sages of blessed memory, who constantly exhorted us to follow the path of truth and conducted us upon it, said (Avoth 1.9), "Love work and hate position," and (Pesachim 113a), "Flay a carcass in the marketplace and do not say, `I am an important person; I am a priest,' " and (Bava Bathra 110a), "A man should rather do work that is strange to him than have need of others."

In fine, the desire for honor is one of man's greatest stumbling blocks. He cannot be a faithful servant to his Master as long as he is concerned with his own honor; for whatever the case, his foolishness will lead him to detract from the honor of Heaven. As King David, may Peace be upon him, said (II Samuel 6:22), "I will become even lesser than this; I will become low in my eyes." The only true honor is true knowledge of the Torah. In the words of our Sages of blessed memory (Avoth 6.3), "There is no honor but Torah, as it is said (Proverbs 3:35), `The wise will inherit honor.' " Anything else is seeming, delusive honor, completely meaningless and worthless. One who would be Clean should cleanse himself of the desire for honor and purify himself of it; he will then be successful.

I have discussed up to this point many particulars of Cleanliness. What has been said should serve as a model for all of the other mitzvoth and traits. "The wise man man will hear and add to his wisdom and the man of understanding will acquire stratagems " (Proverbs 1:5).

I cannot deny that the acquisition of Cleanliness requires a little effort, but I still maintain that it does not entail so much effort as appearances would lead one to believe. It is more difficult in the thinking than in the doing. If one takes it into his heart and resolutely determines to be among the possessors of this good trait, then, with a little habituation, he will easily acquire it - far more easily than he could have imagined. This is borne out by experience.

31.5.12 The Means of Acquiring Cleanliness



THE TRUE MEANS of acquiring Cleanliness is perpetual study of both the halachic and ethical pronouncements of our Sages of blessed memory. For once the truth of man's responsibility for Cleanliness and his need for it has impressed itself upon a person through his prior acquisition of Watchfulness and Zeal, (the result of his occupation with the means towards their attainment and the withdrawing of himself from the elements detracting from them) - once this truth has impressed itself upon a person, he will, with a knowledge of the fine points of the mitzvoth, be enabled to exercise Watchfulness in relation to all of them, so that no deterrents will prevent his attaining to Cleanliness.

Of necessity, therefore, one must acquire a thorough knowledge of the laws, which will enable him to determine how far the mitzvoth branch out. Also, because one is prone to forgetfulness in relation to these fine distinctions, he must perpetually engage in the study of those treatises which expound them, so that the distinctions are enforced within his mind. 1n doing so, he will, of a certainty, be spurred on to observe them.

Likewise, the cultivation of character traits demands a study of the ethical dicta of the earlier or later authorities. For very often, even after one has resolved to be fastidious in Cleanliness, he is liable to wrongdoing in certain areas because of their not having come within the province of his understanding. For a man is not born wise, and it is impossible for him to know everything. But in studying these writings he will be awakened to that which he had not recognized, and he will come to understand what he had not previously grasped, even such matters as he will not find in the treatises themselves. For when his mind is alive to these things, it will survey all within its domain and bring forth new understandings from the wellspring of truth.

The factors which detract from Cleanliness are all those which detract from Watchfulness, in addition to that of incomprehensive knowledge of the laws or of ethical principles, as stated above. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Avoth 2.5), "An ignoramus cannot be a saint" (for he who does not know, cannot do), and, in a similar vein (Kiddushin 406), "Great is learning, for it leads to doing."

31.5.13 The Trait of Separation



SEPARATION IS THE BEGINNING of Saintliness. Up to this point we have concerned ourselves with the requirements for righteousness. From this point on we shall discuss the requirements for Saintliness. It is to be observed that Separation bears the same relationship to Saintliness as Watchfulness does to Zeal, the first element in each set concerning itself with departing from evil and the second with doing good. The rationale of Separation is epitomized in the words of our Sages of blessed memory (Yevamoth 20a), "Sanctify yourself through what is permitted to you." This is the signification of the word "separation" itself i.e. separating and withdrawing oneself from something, forbidding to oneself something which is permitted. The intent is to keep oneself from that which is forbidden, the understanding being that a person should withdraw and separate himself from anything which might give rise to something that could bring about evil, even though it does not bring it about at the moment and even though it is not evil in itself.

If you look into the matter you will perceive three distinct levels - the forbidden things themselves, their fences (the edicts and safeguards that our Sages of blessed memory made binding on all of Israel), and the "withdrawals" that those committed to Separation must create for themselves by circumscribing themselves and building fences for themselves; that is, by abstaining from things which were permitted, which were not proscribed to all of Israel, and separating themselves from them so as to be far removed from evil.

One might ask, "What basis is there for multiplying prohibitions? Have our Sages of blessed memory not said (Yerushalmi Nedarim 9.1), `Are the Torah's prohibitions not enough for you that you come to create new prohibitions for yourself?' Have our Sages of blessed memory in their great wisdom not seen what it was necessary to forbid as a safeguard; and have they not already forbidden it? And does it not follow, then, that anything which they did not proscribe they felt should be permitted? Then why should we now initiate edicts which they felt no need for? What is more, there is no limiting anything like this. One would have to live in desolation and affliction, deriving no enjoyment whatever from the world, whereas our Sages of blessed memory have said (Yerushalmi Kiddushin 4:12) that a man will have to give an accounting to the Presence for everything that his eyes beheld and he did not wish to eat, though permitted and able to do so. They adduced Scripture in their support (Ecclesiastes 2:10), `Anything my eyes asked, I did not keep from them.' "

The answer to these arguments is that Separation is certainly necessary and essential. Our Sages of blessed memory exhorted us concerning it (Sifra)," `Be holy' (Leviticus 19:2)separate yourselves," and (Ta'anith I la), "One who engages in fasting is called "holy," a fact which may be deduced from the case of a Nazarite;" and (Pesikta) " `The righteous man eats to the contentment of his soul' (Proverbs 13:25) - this is Hezekiah, King of Judah, about whom it is said that two bunches of vegetables and one litra of meat were brought before him each day, while the Jews made mock, saying, `This is a King?' " In relation to Rabbeinu Hakadosh they said (Kethuvoth 104a) that before he died he held up his ten fingers and said, "It is perfectly known to You that I derived no enjoyment from this world, not even to the extent of my little finger." And along the same lines they said (Yalkut Devarim 830), "Before a man prays that words of Torah be absorbed into his innards, let him pray that food and drink not be absorbed therein."

All of these statements explicitly point out one's need and responsibility for Separation. In any event, we must account for the statements to the contrary. The truth is that many distinctions and principles must be considered. There is a type of Separation which we are duty-bound to observe and a type that we were warned not to fall victim to -- in the words of King Solomon, may Peace be upon him (Ecclesiastes 7:16), "Do not be over-righteous."

We shall now discuss the desirable type of Separation. Having recognized the fact that all of the world's contingencies are trials to a man, as stated and verified above, and having been made convincingly aware of man's weakness and the nearness of his mind to evil, we must perforce conclude that a man should attempt to escape these contingencies as far as possible so as better to protect himself from the evil upon which they border. For there is no worldly pleasure upon whose heels some sin does not follow. For example, food and drink when free of all dietary prohibitions are permitted, but filling oneself brings in its wake the putting off of the yoke of Heaven, and drinking of wine brings in its wake licentiousness and other varieties of evil. This obtains to an even greater degree if one accustoms himself to eating and drinking to satiety. If he is once made to lack his usual fare he will be painfully aware of the fact and will thrust himself into the -hegt of the race for possessions and property so that his table will be spread in accordance with his desires. He will thence be drawn on to wrongdoing and theft, and thence to taking oaths and to all of the other sins that follow in its wake; and he will depart from Divine service, from Torah and from prayer, all of which would not have occurred if, from the beginning, he had not allowed himself to be pulled into these pleasures. As our Sages of blessed memory have said in relation to the rebellious son (Sanhedrin 72a), "The Torah penetrates to the very end of a person's thoughts ..." And in relation to licentiousness they said (Sotah 2a), "One who sees a Sotah in her disgrace should forbid wine to himself." You will notice that this is an excellent device for the rescuing of oneself from his evil inclination; for since it is difficult for one to conquer and subdue it when he is involved in the transgression, he must, while he is far from it, remove himself yet farther so that it will be difficult for his evil inclination to bring him close to the transgression.

There is no question as to the permissibility of cohabitation with one's wife, but still, ablutions were instituted for those who had had seminal emissions, so that Scholars should not be steadily with their wives, like roosters. Even though the act itself is permissible it implants in a person a lust for it which might draw him on to what is forbidden; as our Sages of blessed memory have said (Sukkah 526), "There is a small organ in a man which, when it is satiated, hungers and which, when it is made to hunger, is sated." And they said about R. Eleazar (Nedarim 20b) that even in the proper hour and the correct time he would expose a handbreadth and conceal two hand-breadths and imagine that a demon was compelling him, in order to cancel out the feeling of pleasure.

The Torah did not exhort us in relation to the beauty and style of clothing and adornments, requiring for their permissibility only that they not contain a mixture of wool and linen and that they be fitted with tzitzit. But who is not aware of the fact that fancy headgear and embroidered material pulls one towards pride and brings one to the border of licentiousness, aside from giving rise to envy, lust and exploitation, which attach to anything that is very desirable to a person. And our Sages of blessed memory have already remarked (Bereshith Rabbah 22.6), "As soon as the evil inclination sees a man assuming delicate stances, straightening his garments and curling his hair, it says, 'He is mine.' "

Walking and talking which do not involve any particular prohibition are certainly permissible, but how much neglect of Torah grows out of it, how much slander, how many lies, how much levity; as it is said (Proverbs 10:19), "In a multitude of words there is no ceasing of sin."

In fine, since all the world's contingencies are great dangers, how commendable is the attitude of him who desires to escape them and of him who increases his distance from them. His Separation is the desirable type, the type in which a person takes from the world, in all of the uses that he makes of it, only what his nature renders absolutely essential to him. It was this type of Separation which R. Judah reveled in when he said (in a statement previously referred to) that he had derived no enjoyment from this world, not even to the extent of his little finger, though he was a Prince of Israel and his table was a table of kings, entirely commensurate with the dignity of his station. As our Sages of blessed memory said (Avodah Zarah 1 la), "'There are two nations in your womb' (Genesis 25:23) - this refers to R. Judah and Antoninus, from whose table were never lacking lettuce, cucumbers and radishes, neither in the dry nor in the rainy seasons." This was the case, too, with Hezekiah, King of Judah. And all of the other statements to which I have referred stress the importance of a person's separating himself from all worldly pleasures so as not to fall into the dangers connected with them.

It may occur to you to ask, "Why, if Separation is so necessary and essential, did our Sages not institute it as they did the `fences' and other measures?" The answer is clear and simple. "Our Sages pronounced an edict only if the majority of the people could abide by it" (Bava Kamma 79b); and the majority of the people cannot be saintly. It is enough if they are righteous. But upon the select few who desire to achieve closeness to the Blessed One and to benefit thereby all those who depend upon them, devolves the fulfillment of the saints' higher duties, those duties which the others cannot fulfill, namely, the provisions of Separation here set forth. This is the will of God; for since it is impossible for all of the individuals within a nation to be on an identical level (levels varying in accordance with intelligence), those individuals who have not completely conditioned themselves for the reception of the love of the Blessed One and of His Divine Presence are enabled to attain to it through the chosen few who have. As our Sages of blessed memory said in relation to the four species of the lulav (Vayikra Rabbah 30.11), "Let these come and atone for these,." And we find in relation to the incident of Ulah bar Koshev (Yerushalmi Terumoth 8.4) that when R. Joshua ben Levi asked Elijah of blessed memory, "Is it not a Mishnah ?" the latter replied, "But is it a Mishnah for Saints?"

The undesirable type of separation is that of the foolish gentiles who abstain not only from that which is not essential to them, but also from that which is, punishing their bodies with strange forms of affliction that God has no desire for. What is more, our Sages have said (Ta'anith 226), "A person is forbidden to torture himself." And in relation to charity they said (Yerushalmi, conclusion of Peah), "Anyone who needs it and does not take it, is a spiller of blood;" and (Ta'anith 22b), " `A living soul' (Genesis 2:7) -sustain the soul that I gave to you;" and (Ta'anith I 1 a), "One who engages in fasting is called `a sinner.' " (This they applied to a person who is in no condition to fast.) And Hillel was wont to apply (Proverbs 11:17), "He who is kind to his soul is a man of saintliness," to the eating of the morning meal. He made it a practice to wash his face and hands for the honor of his Master, reasoning from the practice that prevailed at that time of washing the statues of the kings (Vayikra Rabbah 34.3).

The truth, then, is that a man should separate himself from anything which is not essential to him in relation to the affairs of the world; if he separates himself from anything which is essential to him, regardless of the reason for its being so, he is a sinner. This principle is a consistent on.-. Its application to particular instances, however, is a matter of individual judgment (and "A man will be praised according to his understanding"). For it is impossible to discuss all the particulars of Separation; they are so numerous that the mind cannot encompass them. One must deal with them each in its own time.

31.5.14 The Divisions of Separation



THERE ARE THREE principal divisions of Separation, involving pleasures, laws, and conduct respectively.

Separation in relation to pleasures, which we spoke of in the previous chapter, consists in one's taking from the world only what is essential to him. This type of Separation encompasses anything which provides pleasure to any one of the senses, whether the pleasure be gained through food, cohabitation, clothing, strolls, conversation or similar means, exceptions obtaining only at such times when deriving pleasure through these means is a mitzvah.

Separation in relation to laws consists in one's being stringent with himself to the extent of taking cognizance of even a sole dissenting view in a controversy if there is justice to it, even if the law is not decided in accordance with it (if the more stringent view is not actually more lenient relative to his situation), and in one's not taking the easier alternative in cases of doubt, though permitted to do so. Our Sages of blessed memory explained (Chullin 376) the statement of Ezekiel (4:14), "My soul was not polluted" - "I did not eat of an animal about which a sage had to make a decision," and, "I did not eat the flesh of an animal that had to be slaughtered quickly." Though permitted by law to eat of these animals, he was stringent with himself and did not.

It has already been indicated that those who practice Separation may not guide themselves by what is permitted to all of Israel, but must withdraw themselves from what is repulsive, from what is similar to it, and from what is similar to what is similar to it. As Mar Ukvah said (Chullin 105a), "I am to my father as vinegar derived from wine; for my father, if he would eat meat today, would not eat cheese until tomorrow at the same time, whereas I, though I would not eat cheese at the next meal, would do so the meal following that." Now there is no question that the practice of Mar Ukvah's father does not constitute the law in the matter, for if it did, Mar Ukvah would certainly never have gone against it. It is just that his father was stringent in his Separation. And it is because Mar Ukvah was not on a par with his father in this trait that he compared himself to vinegar and his father to wine.

Separation in relation to conduct consists in one's secluding and separating himself from society in order to turn his heart to Divine service and to proper reflection upon it. In this, though, one must be careful to avoid the other extreme; for our Sages of blessed memory have stated (Kethuroth 17a), "A man's mind should always be associated with his fellow men," and (Ta'anith 7a), " `A sword upon those who scheme and are undone' (Jeremiah 50:36) - a sword upon the enemies of Scholars who isolate themselves and occupy themselves with Torah." The proper course to follow is to associate with reputable persons for as long as may be necessary in the interest of Torah study or of earning a livelihood and then to seclude oneself for the purpose of communing with God and attaining to ways of righteousness and to true Divine service. Included in this type of Separation is limiting one's conversation, being careful not to engage in idle talk, not gazing outside of one's four ells, and all other restrictions governing similar activities which might become second nature if they were not so restricted.

It may be seen that though these three divisions have been treated in the form of short principles, they take in many of man's activities. And I have already indicated that it is impossible to set forth all of the particulars, but that they must be derived by individual judgment through reference to the principles and to the truths underlying them.

31.5.15 The Means of Acquiring Separation



THE BEST WAY for a man to acquire Separation is to regard the inferior quality of the pleasures of this world, both in point of their ova n insignificance and in point of the great evils to which they are prone to give rise. For what inclines one's nature to these pleasures to the extent that he requires so much strength and scheming to separate himself from them is the gullibility of the eyes, their tendency to be deceived by good and pleasing superficial appearances. It was this deception which led to the commission of the first sin. As Scripture testifies (Genesis 3:6), "And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat from and that it was desirable to the eyes ... and she took of its fruit and ate." But when it becomes clear to a person that this "good" is deceptive and illusive, that it has no healthy permanence, and that it contains real evil oi is prone to give rise to it, he will certainly come to despise and decline it. All that a man need teach his intelligence, then, is to recognize the weakness and falseness of these pleasures so that he will naturally come to despise them and find it not at all difficult to spurn them.

There is no pleasure more basic and more pronounced than that of eating. Yet is there anything more evanescent? The food that is enjoyed is the size of a person's throat, and once it leaves the throat to descend into the intestines, its memory is lost and the food is forgotten, as if it had never existed.

Enough black bread will satiate one to the same extent as fattened swans.

One will be made especially aware of the truth of what is being said if he considers the many sicknesses connected with eating or at least the heaviness that one experiences after meals and the vapors that becloud [variant: confound] his brain. These considerations would unquestionably cause one to spurn the pleasure of eating, showing its good to be not truly good and its evil to be truly evil. Similarly, an analysis of all of the other worldly pleasures would reveal that even their illusory good endures only a short time and that the evil which can grow out of them is so severe and prolonged, that no reasoning individual would consent to expose himself to the evil dangers that they present for the sake of the small amount of good which they offer. This is self-evident. If one accustoms himself to constant reflection upon this truth, he will extricate himself little by little from the bonds of ignorance with which the darkness of earthiness binds him, and he will no longer be deceived by illusory pleasures. He will then come to despise them and to realize that he should take from the world only that which is essential to him, as I have written above. But just as thinking upon this truth leads to the acquisition of the trait of Separation, so does ignoring it hinder such acquisition, as does courting the company of those who pursue honor and multiply vanity. For when one regards their elegance and dignity, it is impossible that his lust will not be awakened to desire these things. And even if he will not permit his evil inclination to conquer him, he will, in any event, not escape the battle and its dangers. This is the intent of Solomon's statement (Ecclesiastes 7:2), "It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting."

More desirable than anything else, however, in respect to the attainment of Separation, is solitude; for when one removes worldly goods from before his eyes, he removes desire for them from his heart. As David said in praise of solitude (Psalms 55:7), "Who will give me the wings of a dove ... I would wander far off; I would lie down in the desert." We find that the Prophets Elijah and Elisha situated themselves in the mountains in keeping with their practice of seclusion; and the Sages, the first saints, of blessed memory followed in their footsteps, for they found this practice the most effective means of acquiring perfection in Separation and protecting themselves from being led into vanities by those of their neighbors.

What one must be heedful of in the process of acquiring Separation is not to desire to leap to its farthest reaches in one moment, for he will certainly not be able to make such great strides. He should rather proceed in Separation, little by little, acquiring a little today and adding a little more tomorrow, until he is so habituated to it that it is second nature with him.

31.5.16 The Trait of Purity



PURITY REFERS to the perfection of one's heart and thoughts, as indicated in David's statement (Psalms 51:12), "Create in me, God, a pure heart." The intent of this trait is that a man leave no room in his deeds for the evil inclination, but conduct himself in accordance with intelligence and fear of God, uninfluenced by sin and lust. This applies even to physical, earthy actions; for even after one has accustomed himself to Separation so that he takes from the world only what is essential, he must still purify his heart and thoughts so that, even in taking the little that he does, he is motivated not by desire for enjoyment and lust, but by thought for the good which proceeds from his actions in respect to wisdom and Divine service, as was said of R. Eliezer (Nedarim 20b), "He would expose one hand-breadth and conceal two handbreadths and imagine that he was being compelled by a demon." He derived no pleasure whatosever, but performed the act only with a thought to the mitzvah and Divine service. Along these lines Solomon said (Proverbs 3:6), "In all your ways know Him and He will straighten your paths."

It must be borne in mind, however, that just as the concept of purity of thought is applicable to bodily deeds - which by their nature border on the realm of the evil inclination - in the sense of one's withdrawing them from it so that they do not come to appertain to it, so is this concept applicable to worthy deeds, close to the realm of the Creator, may His Name be blessed, in the sense of one's not setting them far from Him and not permitting them to enter the province of the evil inclination. This is what underlies the idea of "not for the sake of the mitzvah itself" which is often mentioned by our Teachers of blessed memory. However, it is clear from their words that there are various kinds of "not for the sake of the mitzvah itself," the worst being the type in which one serves not for the purpose of Divine service at all, but in order to deceive people or to gain honor or wealth. About such a one it is said (Yerushalmi Berachoth 1.2), "It were better had he been smothered in his placenta." And the Prophet says about him (Isaiah 64:5), "We have all become as one unclean, and all our righteousness as a soiled garment." Ano,.,er type of "not for the sake of the mitzvah itself" is serving for the sake of reward, about which it is said (Pesachim 506), "A person should always occupy himself with Torah and mitzvoth, even if not for the sake of the mitzvah itself, for doing so will lead him to serve for the the sake of the mitzvah itself." There is no question, though, that one who has not yet attained to the latter mode of service is far from attaining his perfection.

That, however, in relation to which one requires greater insight and effort is the intrusion of a forbidden element into his motives. For sometimes one embarks upon a mitzvah entirely for its own sake, our Father in Heaven having decreed it, but does not prevent himself thereby from incorporating some other motive such as desire for praise or reward into his deed. And sometimes, though he may not desire to be praised, still, in rejoicing over the praise that he receives, he might come to take greater pains than he normally would, as in the case of R. Chanina ben Teradyon's daughter (Avodah Zarah 18a), who overhearing some men remark about her graceful stride, "How beautifully that girl walks," immediately sought, because of this praise, to display even more grace.

Though an undesirable motive may be outweighed by the major intention behind a deed, still, the deed which contains such a motive is not completely pure. And just as it is not permissible to offer up upon the earthly altar any but the cleanest flour, sifted through thirteen sieves (Menachoth 76b) and therefore entirely free of any impurity, so is it impossible to offer up upon the Heavenly altar so that they will be accepted as representing perfect, choice, Divine service, any but the choicest of actions, entirely free of imperfections. I am not suggesting that anything which does not come up to this standard will be completely rejected, for the Holy One Blessed be He does not withhold the reward of any creature, but rewards good deeds in accordance with their worth. What I am saying is that perfect Divine service, the type which should be characteristic of all those who love God in truth, is that which is entirely pure, that which is directed to the Blessed One only and to nothing else besides. Anything which falls short of this standard, to the extent that it falls short, is lacking in perfection. As King David, may Peace be upon him, said (Psalms 73:25), "Who is mine in Heaven and I want none beside You on earth" and, in the same vein (Ibid. 119:140), "Your word is very pure and Your servant loves it."

The fact of the matter is that true Divine service must be far purer than gold and silver, as David says about Torah (Ibid. 12:7), "The words of God are pure words, silver purified in a crucible upon the earth, refined seven times." One who serves God in truth will not content himself with little in this respect and will not consent to take silver mixed with dross and lead, that is, Divine service mixed with impure motives. He will insist upon that which is suitably clean and pure, and will then be called "the performer of a mitzvah as it is explicitly stated," about which our Sages of blessed memory say (Shabbath 63a), "One who performs a mitzvah as it is explicitly stated receives no evil tidings."

And, similarly (Nedarim 62a), "Do things for the sake of their Creator and speak about them for their own sake." It is this type of service that is chosen by those who serve God with a whole heart. For one who does not cleave to God with true love will find such purification extremely tedious and burdensome. He will say, "Who can endure it? We are earthy creatures, born of woman. We can never expect to attain to such great purity." Those, however, who love God and desire to serve Him will rejoice in showing the steadfastness of their love for the Blessed One and in strengthening themselves in refining and purifying it. This is the intent of David's conclusion, "And your servant loves it." And in truth, this is the criterion by which the lovers of God are judged and evaluated. For one who is more skillful in purifying his heart is closer to God and more beloved by Him. It was such purity that characterized "the first ones in the land" who strengthened themselves and were victorious, our forefathers and the other shepherds who purified their hearts before Him. As David forewarned Solomon his son (I Chronicles 28:9), "For God searches all hearts and understands the inclination of all thoughts," and as our Sages of blessed memory have said (Sanhedrin 1066), "The Merciful One desires the heart." For it is not enough to the Master, Blessed be He, if one's deeds are deeds of mitzvah. What is of paramount importance to Him is that one's heart be pure for dedication to true Divine service. The heart is the king and mover of all the parts of the body. If it does not bring itself to serve the Blessed One, then the service of the other organs is meaningless, for they function as the heart directs them. And as Scripture explicitly states (Proverbs 23:26), "Give your heart to me my son."

31.5.17 The Means of Acquiring Purity



ONE WHO HAS ALREADY persevered and acquired the aforementioned traits will find it easy to acquire the trait of Purity, for when he will consider and contemplate the inferior quality of worldly pleasures and worldly goods, he will come to despise them and to regard them as evils and as defects of earthy, dark, gross nature. When the truth of this understanding impresses itself upon him, there is no question that he will find it easy to separate himself from them and remove them from his heart. The more time one devotes to thinking deeply into the matter in order to recognize the lowly nature of earthiness and of its pleasures, the easier he will find it to purify his thoughts and his heart so that they have no recourse to the evil inclination in any deed whatsoever; and his role in any earthy activities that he does perform will be one of compulsion only.

But just as we have divided purity of thought into two sections, one dealing with bodily actions and the other with Divine service, so are there two distinct operations required for their acquisition. To purify one's thoughts in relation to one's bodily actions, a person must engage in constant observation of the inferior nature of the world and of its pleasures, as stated above. And to purify his thoughts in relation to Divine service, he must give much thought to the falseness of pride and its deceits, and train himself to flee from pride. If he does so, he will be clean during the time of his Divine service of any strivings for the praises and encomiums of men, and his mind will be directed solely to our Lord, who is our praise, and all our good, and our perfection, and beside whom there is nothing, as it is said (Deuteronomy 10:21), "He is your praise and He is your God."

One of the means which lead a person to the acquisition of this trait is preparation for Divine service and mitzvoth, by virtue of which he does not enter into the performance of a mitzvah suddenly, lacking the presence of mind to think about what he is doing, but instead readies himself for it and slowly prepares his heart for thought. He will then consider what he is going to do and before Whom he is going to do it, and so considering, it will be easy for him to divest himself of any exterior motives and to implant in his heart motives which are true and desirable. The early saints would wait one hour before they prayed so that their hearts would be directed to the Presence (Berachoth 30b). It goes without saying that they did not allow their hearts to remain idle for an hour, but deliberated and readied them for the prayer that was to follow by casting foreign thoughts from themselves and filling their hearts with the requisite love and fear. In the words of Job (Job 11:13), "If you have prepared your heart, spread out your hands to Him."

The deterrents to this trait, those elements which constitute a lack of attention to the aforementioned factors, are ignorance of the inferior quality of worldly pleasures, pursuit of honor, and insufficient preparation for Divine service. The first two seduce the mind and pull it towards exterior motives, so that it becomes like an adulteress, who, while still living with her husband, takes in strangers. Foreign thoughts are referred to as the adultery of the heart, as it is written (Numbers 15:39), "And do not turn aside after your hearts and after your eyes, which you follow adulterously." In entertaining foreign thoughts, the heart turns from the honest outlook with which it should become identified to vanities and deceitful appearances. Insufficient preparation for Divine service fosters the natural ignorance which proceeds from the indivorceable element of earthiness in man and which befouls Divine service with its stench.

We shall now discuss the trait of Saintliness.

31.5.18 The Trait of Saintliness



THE TRAIT of Saintliness does indeed require much explanation, for many customs and practices pass-among many for Saintliness, which are nothing but the shells of Saintliness, wanting in form, feature, and perfection. This is attributable to a lack of close observation and honest reasoning on the part of the practitioners of this artificial form of saintliness. Instead of exerting and wearying themselves to know the way of God with clear, rational knowledge, they proceed in saintliness on the basis of what upon first thought happens to strike them as being saintly, without submitting their ideas to an examination in depth and weighing them upon the scales of wisdom. It is because of them that Saintliness has become repulsive to most people, the intelligentsia among them. For the pseudo-saints give the impression that Saintliness lies in foolishness and runs counter to intelligence and logic; and they lead people to believe that Saintliness consists entirely in the reciting of many supplications, in lengthy confessions, in exaggerated wailings and bowings, and in esoteric flagellations (such as immersion in ice and snow, and the like) by which a person mortifies himself. They do not realize that even though some of these things are required for those engaged in repentance and some are appropriate for those who practice Separation, Saintliness is not founded upon them at all (although the very best of these practices may serve as complements to Saintliness).

The fact of the matter is that it requires great depth to correctly grasp the essence of Saintliness, for it rests upon the foundations of higher wisdom and upon a perfection of one's deeds so complete as to serve as a goal for all who are wise at heart. And, indeed, it is only the wise who can truthfully acquire it. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Avoth 2:5), "An ignoramus cannot be a Saint."

We shall now explain the concept of Saintliness in ordered sequence. The root of Saintliness is epitomized in the statement of our Sages of blessed memory (Berachoth 17a), "Fortunate is the man whose toil is in Torah and gives pleasure to his Creator." The underlying idea is this: It is known which mitzvoth are binding on all of Israel and to what extent one is bound by them. However, one who truly loves the Creator may His Name be blessed, will not endeavor and intend to fulfill his obligations by means of the duty which is acknowledged by all of Israel in general, but will react in very much the same manner as a son who loves his father, who, even if his father gives only a slight indication of desiring something, undertakes to fulfill this desire as completely as he can. And though the father may air his desire only once, and even then, incompletely, it is enough for such a son just to understand the inclination of his father's mind to do for him even what has not been expressly requested. If he can understand by himself what will bring pleasure to his father, he will not wait to be commanded more explicitly or to be told a second time.

We notice at all periods and at all times, between all lovers and friends - between a man and his wife, between a father and his son, in fine, between all those who are bound with a love which is truly strong -that the lover will not say, "I have not been commanded further. What I have been told to do explicitly is enough for me." He will rather attempt, by analyzing the commands, to arrive at the intention of the commander and to do what he judges will give him pleasure. The same holds true for one who strongly loves his Creator; for he, too, is one of the class of lovers. The mitzvoth, whose behests are clear and widely known, will serve as an indication to him of the will and desire of the Blessed One. He will not say, "What has been explicitly stated is enough for me," or "In any event I will discharge my obligations by doing what is incumbent upon me." To the contrary, he will say, "Since I have seen that God's desire inclines towards this, I will use it as a sign to do as much as I can in relation to it and to extend it into as many areas as I can envisage the Blessed One's desiring its being extended into." Such a man may be called "one who gives pleasure to his Creator."

Saintliness, then, is a comprehensive performance of all the mitzvoth, embracing all of the relevant areas and conditions within the realm of possibility. It is to be seen that Saintliness is of the same nature as Separation, differing from it only in the respect that it concerns the positive commandments whereas Separation deals with the negative ones, but corresponding to it in terms of general function, which is adding to what has been explicitly stated that which we may deduce from the explicit commandment as giving pleasure to the Blessed One. This is the delimitation of true Saintliness. I shall now explain its chief divisions.

31.5.19 The Divisions of Saintliness



THERE ARE three principal divisions of Saintliness, one involving the deed; the second, the manner of performance; and the third, the intention. The division of deed is itself divided into two areas, one concerning the relationship between man and the Presence, and the second, that between man and his neighbor.

Saintliness of deed in the relationship between man and the Presence consists in the performance of the mitzvoth with all their fine points as far as is physically possible. Our Sages of blessed memory referred to these fine points as "the remnants of a mitzvah" and said (Sukkah 38a), "The remnants of a Mitzvah ward off accidents." The fact that the body of a mitzvah may be fulfilled without these "remnants" and one's obligation discharged thereby, is a consideration for the overall body of Jews, but those who would be Saintly must increase their fulfillment of them and certainly not decrease it.

Saintliness of deed in the relationship between man and his neighbor consists in the doing of good in abundance, in one's always benefiting his fellow creatures and never injuring them. This applies to the body, belongings and soul of one's neighbor.

Body : One must seek to help all men in any way he can, and lighten their burdens. As we learned (Avoth 6.6), "And bearing a burden with one's neighbor." If he can prevent some bodily harm from coming to his neighbor or remove that which threatens such harm, he must exert himself to do so.

Belongings : One must assist his neighbor as far as his resources allow and guard his belongings against damage in every way he can. He must especially take precautions to see to it that he himself is in no way responsible for causing such damage, whether to single individuals or to many. And though there may be no immediate cause for concern, still if there is even a possibility that anything belonging to him will cause damage, he must get it out of the way. Our Sages of blessed memory have said (Avoth 2.12), "Your neighbor's belongings should be as precious to you as your own."

Soul : One must strive to give his neighbor as much pleasure as he can, whether in respect to honor or to anything else. Anything which he can do which he knows will give his neighbor pleasure, is a mitzvah of Saintliness for him to do. It goes without saying that he must not cause his neighbor any pain whatsoever in any manner whatsoever. All of this comes within the framework of lovingkindness, the worth and binding nature of which our Sages of blessed memory were boundless in affirming. Included in this area is the pursuit of peace, the general promotion of good in the relationship between man and his neighbor.

I will now substantiate all of these statements by reference to the words of our Sages of blessed memory, although what I have said is obvious and needs no substantiation. In the chapter Bnei Ha'ir it is said (Megillah 27b ff), "R. Zakkai was asked by his disciples, `Why have you merited such long life?' He answered, `I never urinated within four ells of prayer, I never called my friend by a nickname and I never missed making Kiddush on the Sabbath. I had an old mother. Once she sold her hat and bought me wine for Kiddush.' " This is an instance of Saintliness in relation to the fine points of mitzvoth, for since R. Zakkai was so lacking in means that in order to procure wine his mother had to sell her hat, he was not required to obtain wine in the first place. For him to do so, then, was an act of Saintliness. And his being concerned for his friend's honor to the extent that he would not even call him by a completely non-objectionable nickname (according to Tosafoth's interpretation) was also a facet of Saintliness. R. Huna tied elastic upon his garments because he had sold his girdle to buy wine for Kiddush. "R. Eliezer ben Shammuah was asked by his disciples (Ibid.), `Why have you merited such long life?' He answered, `I never used the synagogue as a short-cut and I never walked above the heads of the holy people while they were seated at their studies." In the first instance, R. Huna was practising Saintliness in the honoring of a synagogue; and in the second, by not walking among the seated scholars in order not to give the impression that he was belittling them, he was honoring his fellow creatures. "R. Preida was asked by his disciples, `Why have you merited such long life?' He answered, `No one ever preceded me to the house of study; I never recited the blessing before a Kohen and 1 never ate of an animal whose gift-offerings had not been taken. ' " "R. Nechunia was asked, `Why have you merited such long life?' He answered, `I never derived honor through the shame of my friend, and the curse of my friend never went up upon my bed."' By way of illustration we are told, "R. Huna, when R. Chana bar Chanilai came along and relieved him of an axe that he had been carrying upon his shoulder, said to him, 'If it is customary for you to carry it where you come from, then you may carry it, but if it is not, I have no wish to gain honor through your dishonor."' Even though "the shame of his friend" implies a conscious attempt to increase one's honor through the shaming of one's friend, those who are Saintly are averse to acquiring honor through the dishonor of their friends even if the latter are quite agreeable to their doing so. It was in relation to Saintliness, too, that R. Zeira was speaking when he said, "I was never officious in my own household, I never walked in front of one greater than I, I never meditated in unclean places, I never walked four ells without Torah and Tefillin, I never slept or napped in the synagogue, I never rejoiced in my neighbor's misfortune and I never called my friend by his nickname." Represented here are all the types of Saintliness mentioned above. Our Sages of blessed memory state further (Bava Kama 30a), "R. Yehudah said, `If one wishes to be a Saint, let him fulfill the laws of Benedictions' (i.e those laws governing the relationship between man and his Master). Others say, `Let him fulfill the laws of Damages' (i.e. those laws governing the relationship between man and his neighbor). And others say, `Let him fulfill the laws of Ethics' " (which comprise both categories).

The practice of lovingkindness is of central importance to the Saintly, for "Saintliness" itself derives from "lovingkindness." And our Sages of blessed memory have said (Avoth 1.2), "The world stands on three things," one of which is lovingkindness. They have numbered it (Peah 1.1) among those things whose fruits a man eats in this world and whose essence endures for his reward in the World to Come. And they have said (Sotah 14a), "R. Simlai learned, "The Torah begins and ends with lovingkindness." "Rava learned (Yevamoth 79a), `All who possess these three traits are without question of the seed of our father Abraham mercy, shyness, and lovingkindness.' " R. Eleazar said (Sukkah 496), "Lovingkindness is greater than charity, as it is said (Hosea 10:12), `Sow for yourselves with charity and reap with lovingkindness.' " "Lovingkindness is greater than charity in three ways: Charity is performed with one's wealth, and lovingkindness with one's body; charity is given to the poor, and lovingkindness to rich and poor alike; charity is given only to the living, and lovingkindness to the living and the dead alike." And (Shabbath 1516), "'And He will give you mercy and He will have mercy upon you' (Deuteronomy 13:18) - Heaven is merciful to all who have mercy upon their fellow creatures." This is self-evident; for since the Holy One Blessed be He pays measure for measure, one who is merciful towards his fellow creatures and treats them with lovingkindness is deserving of mercy and of absolution of his sins in lovingkindness. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Rosh Hashanah 17a), "Whose sins does He forgive? The sins of one who overlooks an injustice committed against him." And if one is unwilling to forego his claims or to act with lovingkindness, it follows that he, too, is to be treated only in accordance with strict justice. Who could abide it if the Holy One Blessed be He acted on the basis of justice alone? King David prayed (Psalms 143:2), "Do not enter into judgment with your servant, for no living creature will be found righteous before You." One who engages in lovingkindness, however, will receive lovingkindness. And he will receive it in proportion to the extent that he engages in it. David exulted in possessing this good trait to the extent that he sought the good even of those who hated him (Ibid. 35:13), "When they were sick, I put on sackcloth; I tortured my soul with fasting;" and (Ibid. 7:5), "If I have paid back those who served me ill . . . "

Included in this category of Saintliness is not causing pain to any creature - even animals - and showing mercy and pity towards them. As it is stated (Proverbs 12:10), "The righteous man knows the soul of his beast." There are those who hold (Shabbath 128b) that the Torah itself prohibits the causing of pain to animals, but in any event, it is at least a Rabbinical prohibition.

In fine, mercy and beneficence must be enduringly ingrained in the heart of a Saint. His constant aim must be to give pleasure to his fellow creatures and not cause them any pain . . .

The second division of Saintliness concerns the manner of performance, which is itself divided into two sections comprising many particular instances. These two chief sections are fear and love of God, the two pillars of true Divine service, without which it has no foundation at all. Included in the fear of God is humbling oneself before the Blessed One, feeling shame in approaching Divine Service, and honoring the mitzvoth, the Name and the Torah of the Blessed One. Included in the love of God are joy, communion, and jealousy. We shall now explain each factor individually.

The chief aspect of fear of God is the fear of His exalted nature. A person must be mindful, when engaged in prayer or in the performance of a mitzvah, that it is before the King of Kings that he prays or performs the deed. As the Tanna has exhorted us (Berachoth 28b), "And when you pray, know before whom you pray."

There are three things which a person must look into and consider well in order to acquire such fear. The first is that he is actually standing in the presence of the Creator, Blessed be His Name, and communicating with Him, even though He cannot be seen. This is the hardest of the three for a person to create a true picture of in his heart, for he is entirely unaided by his senses towards this objective. However, one who is possessed of sound intelligence will, with a little thought and attention, be able to implant in his heart the truth of his actually communicating with the Blessed One, of His imploring and entreating Him and being heard and listened to by the Blessed One in the same way that a man, speaking to his friend, is heard and listened to by him. After having implanted this in his mind, he must give thought to the majesty of the Blessed One, His being elevated and raised above all blessing and praise, above all forms of perfection that his mind can envisage and comprehend. He must also think upon the lowliness of man and upon his inferior quality, which is attributable to his earthiness and grossness and, especially, to all of the sins that he has ever committed. When he considers all of this, it will be impossible for his heart not to fear and tremble when he puts forth his words before the Blessed One and mentions His Name and attempts to find favor in His eyes. As it is said (Psalms 2:11), "Serve God in fear and rejoice in trembling;" and (Ibid. 89:8), "A God that is mighty in the great council of the holy ones and greatly feared of all who serve Him." The angels, in that they are closer to the Blessed One, being unfettered by earthy bodies, may more easily envisage His greatness, and, consequently, His fear is upon them to a greater extent than it is upon human beings. King David, may Peace be upon him, would extol God (Ibid. 5:8), "1 will bow down to the sanctuary of Your holiness in fear of You." And it is written (Malachi 2:5), "And he trembled before my Name," and (Ezra 9:6), "My God, 1 was sorely ashamed and humiliated to lift, my God, my face to You." However, this type of fear must first grow in the heart before it manifests itself in the body in the form of a bowed head, a bent body, lowered eyes and the folding of one's hands as a little servant before a great king. As it is stated in the Gemara (Shabbath 10a), "Rava would fold his hands and pray, saying, `I am like a servant before his Master.' "

We have thus far spoken of humility and shame. We shall now speak of honor. Our Sages of blessed memory have already exhorted us concerning the dignity and dearness of a miizvah (.Shabbath 133b): " `This is my God and I will beautify Him' (Exodus 15:2) - beautify youself before Him with mitzvoth - with beautiful tzitzit, beautiful tefillin, a beautiful Torah scroll, a beautiful lulav ..." And further (Bava Kamma 9b), "A person should expend up to an extra third for the sake of beauty in a mitzvah. Anything up to this point is paid for by him, and anything beyond it, by the Holy One Blessed be He." It is perfectly clear from what our Sages of blessed memory have said that the performance of the mitzvah is not enough; it must be honored and beautified.

There are those, who to make things easier for themselves, would contend that honor is meaningful only to human beings, who are deceived by such vanities, but completely superfluous to the Holy One Blessed be He who is above these things and unaffected by them, faithful performance of the mitzvoth being enough for Him. But the truth is that the Lord Blessed be He is called "The God of Honor" and we are duty-bound to accord honor to Him even though He has no need of it, it being insignificant and worthless to Him. One who is in a position to give much honor to God, but does not do so, is considered a sinner. The Prophet Malachi inveighed against the Jews with the word of God (Malachi 1:8), "If you offer a blind animal to be sacrificed, it is not evil in your eyes. Present it to your governor. Will you find favor with him? Will he be gracious to you?" Our Sages of blessed memory have exhorted us to conduct ourselves in quite the opposite manner in our Divine service. For example, they say (Sukkah 50a) that water which has become exposed should not be strained to render it acceptable for ritual purposes. Though such water is permitted for mundane purposes, the concept of "Present it to your governor" disqualifies it for ritual use. Though there is nothing wrong with strained water, and though it is permissible for everyday use, considerations of respect render it unacceptable for religious purposes. It is stated in the Sifrei, " `And all your choice vows' (Deuteronomy 12:11) - one should offer only the choicest." Cain and Abel are a case in point. Abel offered of the first-born of his sheep and of their fats, and Cain offered of the worst of the fruits of the earth, as we are told by our Sages of blessed memory (Bereshith Rabbah 22.5). What was the outcome? (Genesis 4:4,5), "And God gave heed to Abel and his gift, but to Cain and his gift He gave no heed." And (Malachi 1:14), "Cursed is the deceiver who has in his flock a male, but pledges and sacrifies an abomination to God ... for I am a great King."

Our Sages of blessed memory warned us very often against the cheapening of mitzvoth. They said (Shabbath 14a), "One who holds a scroll of the Law which is uncovered will be buried naked" because of the cheapening of a mitzvah.

The order of offering the first fruits gives us an insight into the meaning of the beautification of a mitzvah. We learned (Bikkurim 3.3), "The ox walks before them, his horns gilded with gold, an olive wreath upon his head..." "The rich bring their first fruits in baskets of gold, and the poor in wicker baskets ..." (Ibid. 8). "There are three categories of first fruits - the first fruits themselves, the additions to the first fruits and the decorations of first fruits ..." (Ibid. 10). It is here explicitly indicated to us how much we should add to the body of a mitzvah in order to beautify it. What we see here should serve as a model for all of the other mitzvoth of the Torah.

Our Sages of blessed memory tell us (Shabbath l0a), "Rava bar R. Huna would put on beautiful clothes and pray, saying, `Beautify yourself before your God, Israel (Amos 4:12).' " And in relation to "the fine clothes of her son Esau" (Genesis 27:15), R. Shimon ben Gamliel said (Bereshith Rabbah 65:16), "1 served my father ... but when Esau served his father, he wore only regal garments." If a creature of flesh and blood is served in this manner, how much more so should one take care to be dressed respectfully when he stands to pray before the King of Kings, the Holy One Blessed be He, and to sit before Him as one sits before a great king.

Included in this category is the honoring of Sabbaths and Festivals; for one who gives much honor to them is certainly giving pleasure thereby to his Creator, who has commanded us (Isaiah 58:13), "And you should honor it." Once the truth of its being a mitzvah to honor the Sabbath has impressed itself upon us, many means of honoring it present themselves to us. The guiding rule in this connection is that one is duty-bound to perform any action which would add to the dignity of the Sabbath. It is for this reason that the early Sages occupied themselves with preparations for the Sabbath, each in his own way (Shabbath 119a): "R. Abahu would sit on a stool of ivory and fan the fire; R. Safra would roast the head of an animal; Rava would salt a carp; R. Huna would kindle a flame; R. Papa would twist a wick; R. Chisda minced beets; Rava and R. Yosef would split wood; R. Nachman would carry things in and out of the house, saying, `If R. Ami and R. Asi were my guests, would I not perform such labors for them?"'

R. Nachman's analogy bears consideration, for it may serve us as a model. His procedure was to reflect upon how he would normally go about honoring someone, and he would honor the Sabbath in a similar manner. In this connection it is stated (Berachoth 17a), "A person should be subtle in his fear of God." He must have knowledge, and be able to deduce one thing from another and create situations through which to honor his Creator, in every way that our recognition of the greatness of His dominion over us can be revealed, so that everything attributable to Him will be greatly honored by us. And considering the fact that the Blessed One in His great goodness, despite all of our lowliness, willed in His humility to apportion honor to us and to impart to us His holy words, we should at least honor them with all our might and show how precious they are to us. This constitutes true fear of God, the fear of His grandeur, which we mentioned above. It is this fear upon which hinges the honor that leads to the love of God, as we will explain later with the help of Heaven. Such is not the case with the fear of punishment, which is not the fundamental type of fear and which does not give rise to the superior qualities of these traits.

Returning to the honoring of the Sabbath, we find (Shabbath 119a) that R. Anan wore black, that is, he dressed himself in black on the eve of the Sabbath so that the honor of the Sabbath would be more pronounced upon his donningbeautiful garments for it. We see, then, that not only the positive preparations for the Sabbath, but also the creation of a negative situation which tends, by contrast, to heighten the impression of honor in relation to the Sabbath is included in the mitzvah. This is the basis for the prohibition against fixing a meal before the Sabbath, and for similar enactments.

An aspect of fearing God is honoring the Torah and those who study it. We learned explicitly (Avoth 4.6), "One who honors the Torah is himself honored by his fellow creatures." And our Sages of blessed memory said (Sanhedrin 1026), "R. Yochanan said, `Why did Ahab deserve to reign twentytwo years? Because he honored the Torah, which was given with twenty-two letters, as it is said (l Kings 20:2ff ), `And he sent messengers to Ahab ... and all the desire of your eyes let them put in their hands and take. And he said to the messengers of Ben Hadad, `Tell my master, the King, `All that you sent to your servant at first, I will do, but this thing 1 will not be able to do.' What is `the desire of your eyes?' A Torah scroll." And elsewhere they said (Berachoth 18a), "One who rides from place to place should not put a Torah scroll into a sack, place the sack upon a donkey, and ride upon it, but he should carry the scroll in his lap ... " It was also forbidden (hoed Katan 25a) to sit upon a bed on which a Torah scroll lay, as it was forbidden (Eruvin 98a) to throw away sacred writings, even Halachoth and Aggadoth, and (Megillah 27a) to place copies of Prophets and Hagiographa upon copies of the Five Books of Moses. These things were prohibited to the whole congregation of Israel and he who would be Saintly must learn from them and add to them for the honor of the Name of the Lord, his God. Included in this area of Saintliness is the necessity for cleanliness and purity during occupation with words of Torah, a requirement which extends so far as to cause thinking of them in unclean places or when one's hands are unclean to be prohibited. Our Sages of blessed memory have very often exhorted us concerning this.

In relation to those who study Torah, Scripture tells us (Leviticus 19:32), "Rise before the grey head and honor the face of the learned." This serves as the basis for the Saint to accord honor to Torah scholars in every way that he can. Our Sages of blessed memory have said (Kethuvoth 103b), "'And he will honor those who fear God' (Psalms 15:4) - this refers to Jehoshafat, King of Judah, who, when he saw a Torah scholar, would rise from his throne, embrace him, kiss him, and say to him, `My Rabbi, my Rabbi; my teacher my teacher.' " R. Zeira (Berachoth 28a), when he was fatigued with study, would place himself by the door of the House of Study to perform the mitzvah of rising for a Torah scholar.

These are all things which we have seen the Creator, may His name be blessed, to desire, and in relation to which He has revealed His supreme judgment. This being the case, one who wishes to give pleasure to his Creator will, by these means, go forward and add to his store of devices for doing what is just before the Blessed One.

Included in this aspect of Saintliness is honoring the synagogue and the House of Study. It is not enough that one does not conduct himself frivolously in them, but he must observe in them all forms of honor and fear in all of his ways and actions, taking care not to do there anything that he would not do in the palace of a great king.

We shall now speak of the love of God and its three branches - joy, communion and jealousy. Love of God consists in a person's desiring and actually lusting for the nearness of the Blessed One and pursuing His holiness as one pursues anything which he strongly desires. This love extends so far as to cause the mere mentioning of the Blessed One's Name, the reciting of His praises and the occupation with the words of His Torah and with the nature of the Blessed One's Divinity to be a delight and a pleasure to one, in the same manner that one who very strongly loves the wife of his youth or his only son finds joy and pleasure in merely speaking of them. As Scripture states (Jeremiah 31:19), "For when I speak of him i will strongly remember him."

There is no question that one who truly loves his Creator will not leave off serving Him for any reason whatsoever unless he is actually forced to do so, and that he will need no motivation or inducement to serve Him, but his heart will elevate and motivate him thereto unless there is some great barrier in his way. This is the exceedingly desirable trait which the early Saints, the supremely holy, were privileged to attain. As stated by King David, may Peace be upon him (Psalms 42:2), "As a hart yearns for the waterbrooks, so does my soul yearn for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God - when shall I come.. ?" And (Ibid. 84:3), "My soul longs and goes out for the courts of God..." and (Ibid. 63:2), "My soul thirsts for You; my flesh pines for You..." All this derives from the strength of his longing for the Blessed One. As the Prophet says (Isaiah 26:8), "To Your Name and to Your remembrance is the lust of the soul," and (Ibid. 9), "1 long for You in the evening; as long as my spirit is within me, I will seek You." And David himself said (Psalms 63:7), "In truth, I will remember You upon my couch; in the night watches I will think of You." He described his pleasure and delight in speaking of the Blessed One and in recounting His praises (Ibid. 119:47) : "I will take delight in Your mitzvoth, which I love," and (Ibid. 24), "Your mitzvoth, also, are my delight . . . "

It goes without saying that this love should not depend upon any extraneous factor. That is, one should love the Creator, may His Name be blessed, not because He is good to him and grants him wealth and success, but because he is naturally impelled to do so, in the same manner that a son is naturally impelled to love his father. As stated by Scripture (Deuteronomy 32:6), "Is He not your Father, your Master?"

The test of this type of love comes with difficult and troubled times. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Berachoth 54a), " `And you should love the Lord, Your God with all your heart and with all your soul' (Deuteronomy 6:5) - even if He takes your soul, `and with all your might'- with all of your possessions." But in order that troubles and pressures should not act as difficulties and deterrents in the way of the love of God, a person must furnish himself with two understandings, one directed to all men alike and the other to sages with depth of mind. The first understanding is that everything which proceeds from Heaven is for the good of man. The pain and pressure itself which is evil in his eyes is, in reality, true good, in the same way that a doctor's cutting of flesh or of a limb to prevent infection from spreading to the rest of the body and killing the patient is a merciful deed, with the patient's good in mind, though on the surface it may appear to be an act of cruelty. There is no fear that the patient will cease to love the doctor because of what he has done to him; to the contrary, he will love him even more. In our case, too, if a man will but consider that everything the Holy One Blessed be He does with Him, both in relation to his body and to his possessions is for his own good, though he may not be able to perceive or understand its being so, his love will not weaken because of any pressure or pain, but, to the contrary, will grow stronger and will steadily increase.

Those with true understanding, however, do not need even this explanation, for they are entirely unmotivated by selfinterest, their sole aspiration being to magnify the honor of God and to give Him pleasure. The more deterrents that cross their path, making it necessary for them to give more of themselves to counteract them, the more will their hearts fortify themselves and rejoice to show the strength of their faith, just as a general, famed for his strength will always thrust himself into the heart of the battle, where a victory will serve all the more to reveal his prowess. The joy that comes with every opportunity to express the intensity of one's love is well known to every lover of flesh and blood.

We shall now discuss the three aforementioned branches of love - communion, joy and jealousy. Communion is a state in which one's heart clings so closely to the Blessed One that he does not strive for and is not concerned with anything outside of Him, as alluded to in Solomon's simile (Proverbs 5:19), "A beloved gazelle, full of favor; her breasts will satiate you at all times. In her love will you always wander." And in the Gemara our Sages of blessed memory tell us (Eruvin 546), "It was said about R. Eleazar ben Pedath that he sat and occupied himself with Torah in the upper marketplace of Sepphoris while his garment hung in the lower market place." The end of this trait is that a man be constantly united with his Creator in this manner. At the very least he will, if he loves his Creator, certainly engage in such communion during the time of his Divine service.

In Talmud Yerushalmi (Berachoth 5.1) it is stated, "Once, R. Chanina ben Dosa, while standing and praying, was bitten by a poisonous lizard, but did not interrupt his prayers. His disciples asked him, `Our Rabbi, did you not feel anything?' He answered, `I take an oath. Because my heart was intent on my prayers, I felt nothing.' "

The Torah exhorts us very often in relation to communion with God: "to love the Lord your God with all your heart... and to cling to Him" (Deuteronomy 30:20), "and to Him shall you cling" (Ibid. 10:20), "And cling to Him" (Ibid. 13:5). David said (Psalms 63:9). "My soul clings to You." All of these verses speak of one thing - the uniting of a man with the Blessed One to the extent that he cannot separate himself and move from Him. And our Sages of blessed memory have said (Bereshith Rabbah 80:7), "R. Shimon ben Lakish said, `The Holy One Blessed be He employed three terms of love in relation to Israel, and we learn them from the episode of Shechem ben Chammor - `communion,' `longing' and `desire.' " These are essentially the principal branches of love - the yearning that I mentioned before, the clinging to God and the pleasure and joy derived from occupying oneself with that which is associated with the Beloved.

The second main branch of love is joy, a fundamental principle in Divine service, in relation to which David exhorted us (Psalms 100:2), "Serve God with joy; come before Him with song" and (Ibid. 68:4), "And the righteous will rejoice. They will exult before God and be filled with happiness." And our Sages of blessed memory have said (Shabbath 306), "The Divine Presence comes to rest upon one only through his rejoicing in a mitzvah." In relation to the aforementioned verse, "Serve God with joy," they said (Midrash Shochar Tov ad loc.), "R. Ibu said, `When you stand before him in prayer, let your heart rejoice that you are praying to a God without parallel.' " This is true joy - rejoicing that one has been privileged to serve the Blessed Master, who has no equal and to occupy oneself with His Torah and His mitzvoth, which embody true perfection and eternal preciousness. Solomon, in his wisdom, expressed the idea thus (Song of Songs 1:4): "Draw me on; we will run after You. The King has brought me to his chambers; we will rejoice and be happy in You." The further a person is privileged to enter into the chambers of the knowledge of the greatness of the Blessed One, the greater is his happiness and his heart rejoices within him. And again (Psalms 149:2), "Israel will be happy in its Maker. The sons of Zion will rejoice in their King." David, who had already reached a high plane in the cultivation of this trait, said (Ibid. 104:34), "Let my words be pleasant to Him; I will rejoice in God" and (Ibid. 43:4), "And I will come to the altar of the Lord, to the God who is the joy of my rejoicing and I will praise You with the harp, O God" and (Ibid. 71:23), "Let my lips rejoice, for I will sing to You, and my soul which You have redeemed." His joy waxed so strong within him that his lips moved of themselves and sang upon his being engaged in the praises of the Blessed One - all this because of the great fervor of his soul, which was consumed in its joy before him, as he concludes, "and my soul which you have redeemed." We find that the Holy One Blessed be He stormed against the Jews because they omitted this element in their Divine service, as it is said (Deuteronomy 28:47), "Because you did not serve the Lord your God with happiness and willingness of heart." David, seeing in the spirit with which the Jews donated towards the building of the Temple that they had already attained to this trait, prayed that it remain with them and not depart, as it is said (I Chronicles 29:17,18), "And now, Your people that are found here I have seen offering to You with joy. O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, our fathers, preserve this eternally for the inclination of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and set their hearts aright with You."

The third branch of the love of God is jealously - being jealous for the Holy One's Name, hating His enemies and striving to humble them as much as possible so that the service of the Blessed One will be done and His honor magnified. As David, may Peace be upon him, said (Psalms 139:21,23), "Will 1 not hate those who hate You, O Lord, and will .I not rebuke those who rise against You? I hate them to the limits of hatred..." Elijah said (I Kings 19:10), "I have been exceedingly jealous for the Lord of Hosts..." It was because of this jealousy for his God that he attained such heights, as in the verse (Numbers 25:13), "Because he was jealous for his God and brought about atonement for Israel." Our Sages of blessed memory were very extreme in their statements (Shabbath 546) concerning those who are in a position to rebuke others for their wrongdoing but fail to do so, stating that they themselves will be judged as having committed the sin. In Midrash Eichah (1.34) it is stated, " `Her leaders were like harts' (Lamentations 1:6)just as harts, when it is hot, turn their faces one beneath the other, so the great men of the Jews saw sin and turned their faces from it. The Holy One Blessed be He said about them, `The time will come when I will do the same to them."' It is evident that just as one who loves his friend will not tole. rate his being beaten or insulted, but will certainly rise to his defense, so one who loves the Name of the Blessed One will not be able to abide the desecration of His Name (G-d forbid) and the transgression of His mitzvoth. As Solomon said (Proverbs 28:7), "The deserters of Torah will praise the wicked and the observers of Torah will rebuke them." Those who praise the wicked individual in his wickedness and do not hold his misdeed up to him are deserters of Torah, who abandon it to desecration (God forbid). The observers of Torah, those who strengthen themselves in strengthening Torah, will certainly rebuke them. They will not be able to contain themselves and remain still. The Holy One Blessed be He said to Job (Job 40:11-13), "Spread out the fury of Your wrath, and see every proud man and lower him. See every proud man and humble him and stamp down the wicked beneath them. Bury them together in the earth, their faces enclosed in hiddenness." This is the intensity of the love that one who truly loves his Creator should be able to display. As it is said (Psalms 97:10), "Those who love God hate evil."

We have thus far dealt with those aspects of Saintliness concerned with the deed and with the manner of its performance. We shall now speak of intention in relation to Saintliness.

We have already discussed the performance of actions, for the sake of Heaven or not for the sake of Heaven, according to their various levels. It cannot be said that one who is motivated in his Divine service by a desire to purify his soul before his Creator so that he can come to sit in His presence together with the just and the Saintly, to see the pleasantness of God, to dwell within His Sanctuary and to receive the reward of the World to Come - it cannot be said that such a person is badly motivated. On the other hand, we cannot say that his motivation is a very good one either. For as long as a person is concerned with his own good, his Divine service is also performed for his own good. The true motivation, which is common to Saints, who have exerted themselves and persevered to acquire it, is to serve solely for the purpose of magnifying and extending the honor of the Master of Blessed Name. One will serve for this end only after he has grown strong in love for the Blessed One, and longs and lusts for the magnification of His honor, and is pained by anything which detracts from it. He will hope that he is at least doing his part towards magnifying the honor of the Blessed One and he will wish that all others possessed this aspiration. The shortcomings of others in this respect will pain and grieve him, not to speak of his own unintentional and accidental lapses and those resulting from his natural weakness, which makes it difficult for him to constantly protect himself against sin, as it is stated (Ecclesiastes 7:20), "A man is not righteous in the land, who will do good and not sin."

The Saintly attitude we are discussing has been set forth in Tanna d'bei Eiiyahu (Chapter 4): "Every sage in Israel who possesses the words of Torah according to their true significance and grieves for the honor of the Holy One Blessed be He and for the honor of Israel all his days, and lusts and feels pain for the honor of Jerusalem and of the Temple and for the swift flowering of salvation and the ingathering of the exiles, attains to the infusion of the Divine spirit in his words... " This, then, is the proper frame of mind for one to cultivate, removed as it is from all considerations of personal pleasure, directed only towards the honor of the Presence and towards the sanctification of His Name, which is sanctified by His creations when they do His will. In relation to this it is said (Zohar Mishpatim), "Who is a Saint -one who is Saintly with his Creator." A Saint of this kind, aside from being motivated in the proper manner in relation to the performance of mitzovth in pursuance of his Divine service, must, without doubt, constantly feel actual pain over Jerusalem and the Destruction because of their tendency to minimize the honor of the Blessed One, and will lust for the Redemption so that the honor of the Blessed One may grow. As stated by the aforementioned Tanna d'bei Eliyahu, "And he lusts and feels pain for the honor of Jerusalem and prays constantly for the Redemption of Israel and for the restoration of the honor of Heaven to its former pre-eminence." If one would say, "Who am I and what am I worth that I should pray for Jerusalem etc... Will the exiles be gathered in and will Salvation sprout because of my prayer?" his answer awaits him. As we learned (Sanhedrin 37a), "Man was created individually so that each man should say, `The world was created for my sake.' " it is the Blessed One's pleasure that His sons desire and pray for this. And though their desire may not be fulfilled because the proper time has not yet arrived or for some other reason, they will have done their part and the Holy One Blessed be He rejoices in it. The Prophet stormed over the absence of this attitude (Isaiah 59:16), "And he saw that there was no man and he was amazed that there was no contender" and (Ibid. 63:5), "And I looked and there was no helper, and I was amazed and there was no supporter" and (Jeremiah 30:17), "It is Zion; no one inquires after it." Commenting upon this verse our Sages of blessed memory said (Sukkah 41a), "This shows that it needs inquiring after." We see, then, that we are dutybound in this respect. We cannot exempt ourselves because of our inadequate strength, for in relation to all such things we learned (Avoth 2.16), "The work is not yours to complete, but you are not free to abstain from it." And the Prophet says elsewhere (Isaiah 51:18), "She has no one to lead her from among all the sons to whom she has given birth; no one to hold her hand from among all the sons she has raised." And the verse (Ibid. 40:6), "All flesh is grass and all of his kindness is as the blossoming of the field," our Sages of blessed memory interpreted (Avodah Zarah 2b) as meaning that all of their kindnesses are performed for their own sake, for their own good and pleasure, that they are not governed by this pure motivation and do not seek the magnification of God's honor and the redemption of Israel. The honor of God can grow only with the redemption of Israel and the growth of their honor, the one, in reality, being dependent upon the other, as may be seen in the aforementioned Tanna d'bei Eliyahu, "And he grieves over the honor of the Holy One Blessed be He and over the honor of Israel."

There are two considerations, then, in relation to this aspect of intention. The first is that the intention behind every mitzvah and act of Divine service be the magnification of the honor of the Presence, which derives from His creations' giving pleasure to Him, and the second that one feel pain for His honor, and long that it be perfectly magnified through the magnification of Israel's honor and through their well-being.

The second aspect of intention concerns the good of the generation. It befits every Saint to be motivated in his actions by a concern for the good of the entire generation, a desire to benefit and protect them. This is the intent of the verse (Isaiah 3:10), "Praise the righteous for he is good; for they eat the fruits of their deeds." The whole generation eats of their fruits. Our sages have commented similarly (Bava Bathra 15a), " `Does it contain trees? ' (Numbers 13:20) - is anyone there who shelters his generation as a tree?" We see it to be the will of the Presence that the Saints of Israel benefit and atone for all of the other levels within the nation, as our Sages of blessed memory intimated in their statement concerning the lulav and its accompanying species (Vayikra Rabbah 30.12), "Let these come and atone for those." For the Holy One Blessed be He does not desire the destruction of the wicked; it is rather a mitzvah devolving upon the Saint to benefit and atone for them. This intention must be contained in his Divine service and it must manifest itself in his prayers; that is, he must pray on behalf of his generation to seek atonement for him who needs atonement, to turn to repentance him who requires it, and to speak in defense of his entire generation. Our Sages of blessed memory tell us (Ein Yaakov Yoma Ch. 8) in relation to the verse Daniel 10:12), "And I have come with your words," that Gabriel did not return within the Divine Curtain until he had defended Israel. And about Gideon it is said (Yalkut), "Go with this, your strength" (Judges 6:14), the strength of his having defended his people. The Holy One Blessed be He loves only him who loves Israel; and to the extent that one's love for Israel grows, to that extent does the love of the Holy One Blessed be He grow for him. These are the true shepherds of Israel whom the Holy One Blessed be He greatly desires, who sacrifice themselves for His sheep, who concern themselves with their peace and well-being, and exert themselves for it in every way possible, who always stand in the breach to pray for them, to nullify stern decrees and to open the gates of blessing for them. The situation is analogous to that of a father, who loves no man more than the one whom he sees to have a genuine love for his sons. Human nature attests to this. And this is the idea behind the statement concerning the High Priests (Makkoth lla), "They should have pleaded for mercy on behalf of their generation, but failed to do so, " and behind the statement (Ibid.), "A man was eaten by a lion at a distance of three miles from R. Joshua ben Levi and Elijah did not appear to him for three days." We see, then, that it is the Saint's duty to seek the good of his generation and to exert himself for it.

We have now explained the chief divisions of Saintliness. It is for each man of intelligence and for each pure heart to deal with particular instances, to conduct himself justly in relation to them, each in its own time, according to the principles here set forth.

31.5.20 The Weighing of Saintliness



WHAT MUST Now be explained is the weighing of one's deeds in relation to the aforementioned standards of Saintliness. This is an extremely fundamental process and one which constitutes the most difficult operation in Saintliness because of the great subtlety it demands and because of its susceptibility to great inroads by the evil inclination. The weighing of Saintliness entails great danger because it is within the power of the evil inclination to draw many good things far from one, as if they were evil and to draw many sins near to him, as if they were great mitzvoth. The truth is that a man must fulfill three requirements in order to succeed in this "weighing." He must possess the most just of hearts, whose only inclination is to give pleasure to the Blessed One; he must submit his actions to the closest scrutiny and exert himself to perfect them in accordance with this end; and after all this, he must cast his lot with God, after which it may be said of him (Psalms 84:6,12), "Happy is the man whose strength is in You ... Goodness will not be lacking for those who walk in purity." if one of these conditions is not observed, he will not attain to Wholeness and he will be very apt to stumble and fall. That is, if his intention is not select and pure, or if he weakens in the analysis of his deeds so that his full potential is not brought to bear upon them, or, if after all .this, he does not put his trust in his Master, it will be very difficult for him not to fall. But if he correctly observes all three - purity of thought, analysis, and trust, he will walk securely in truth and no evil will befall him, as Channah said in her prophecy (I Samuel 2:9), "He will protect the feet of his Saints." And David also said (Psalms 37:28), "And He will not forsake his Saints; they will forever be protected."

What must be understood is that actions should not be judged for saintliness at first glance, but should be carefully observed and reflected upon so that it may be determined how far their results extend. For at times an action in itself may seem worthy of performance, but because its results are evil, one will be obliged to leave it; and if he does not, he will be adjudged a sinner rather than a Saint. The episode of Gedaliah ben Achikam (Jeremiah 40:13ff) provides a clear illustration of this fact. Because of his abundant Saintliness, which would not permit him to judge Yishmael adversely, or which would not permit him to receive slander, he said to Yochanan ben Kareach, "You are speaking falsely of Yishmael." What was the result? He died, the Jews were scattered, and their last hope was extinguished. And Scripture attributes to him the death of those men who were killed, as if he were the murderer, as indicated by the comment of our Sages of blessed memory upon the verse, (Jeremiah 41:9), "All of the corpses of the men who were killed through Gedaliah."

It was also such incorrectly weighed Saintliness in the incident of Bar Kamtza (Gittin 56a) that was responsible for the destruction of the Temple: "The Rabbis thought to sacrifice the animal. R. Zechariah ben Avkulos said to them, `They will say that animals with imperfections may be sacrificed upon the altar.' The Rabbis thought to kill him [Bar Kamtza]. R. Zachariah ben Avkulos said to them, `They will say that one who causes an imperfection in sacrificial animals should be killed.' While all this was going on, the evildoer slandered the Jews to the emperor, who came and destroyed Jerusalem." It was to this that R. Yochanan was referring when he said, "The humility of R. Zechariah destroyed our Temple, consumed our Sanctuary and exiled us among the nations."

We see, then, that one should not decide upon the saintliness of a deed on the basis of surface appearances, but should view it from every angle that human intelligence can be brought to bear upon it, until he can truthfully determine the better course - performance or abandonment.

For example, the Torah commanded us (Leviticus 19:16), "Rebuke your friend firmly." Very often a man will undertake to rebuke sinners in such a place or at such a time that he will cause them to go even further in their wickedness and to add to their sins by desecrating the Name of God. In such cases, silence alone constitutes Saintliness. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Yevamoth 656), "Just as it :s a mitzvah to say what will be listened to, so is it a mitzvah not to say what will not be listened to." It goes without saying that one should attempt to be in the forefront in the pursuit of mitzvoth and to be among those who occupy themselves with them. But sometimes this may lead to quarrels, which might result more in shame to the mitzvah and desecration of the Name of Heaven than in honor. In situations of this kind the Saint is certainly required to leave the mitzvah and not pursue it. As our Sages of blessed memory have stated in relation to the Levites (Bamidbar Rabbah 5.1), "Because they knew that the reward of those who carried the ark was greater, they abandoned the table, the candlestick and the altars, and they all ran to the ark to receive reward. This resulted in quarrels - one saying, `I will carry here' and the other saying, `1 will carry here.' This, in turn, led to frivolity, and the Divine Presence assailed them..."

Again, a man must observe all of the mitzvoth with all of their fine points without fear or shame, no matter in whose presence he finds himself, as it is stated (Psalms 119:46), "And I will speak of Your testimonies before kings and I will not be ashamed" and (Avoth 5.23), "Be strong as a leopard ..." But this, too, requires distinction and discrimination, for all this was said in relation to the mitzvah in itself, for whose sake one must set his face like flint. But there are some additions to Saintliness which, if a man will perform them in public, will cause men to laugh at and ridicule him, rendering them sinners and liable to punishment because of him. Because he can forego these actions, their not being absolutely required, the Saint would certainly do better to leave them than to do them. And the Prophet said (Micha 6:8), "And walk modestly with your God." Many great Saints left off some of their accustomed ways of Saintliness when in public so as not to appear proud. In fine, what is essential in respect to mitzvoth must be performed in the face of all mockery, and what is not essential and provokes laughter and ridicule should not be performed.

We see, then, that one who would be a true Saint must weigh all of his deeds in relation to their results and in relation to all of the circumstances surrounding their performance - time, social environment, situation and place. And if he finds that not doing will go farther towards sanctifying the Name of Heaven and giving pleasure to God than doing, he must refrain from doing. Or, if one action appears good, but is bad in its results or in its complements, and another appears bad, but is good in its results, he must decide on the basis of the conclusion and the result, the true fruit of the action. This decision is left to an understanding heart and an honest intelligence, for, in view of their innumerability, it is impossible to consider particular instances. "God gives wisdom; from His mouth stems knowledge and understanding" (Proverbs 2:6).

The episode of R. Tarfon (Berachoth 10b) substantiates what has been said. Although he took upon himself the more stringent decision of Beth Shammai, he was told, "You would rightly have been accounted the cause of your own death, for you violated the words of Beth Hillel." All this because the controversy between Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel had become an area of difficulty to Israel in view of the great contention that had grown up between them; and after it had finally been ruled that the law should constantly be decided in accordance with Beth Hillel it was essential for the very endurance of Torah that this ruling forever retain its force and not be weakened in any way lest the Torah come to take on the semblance of two Torahs (God forbid). Hence, the view of this Mishnah that it is Saintlier to hold with Beth Hillel even when more lenient, than to be more stringent in accordance with Beth Shammai. This should serve us as a guide to perceive the path where light resides with truth and faith for the doing of what is just in the eyes of God.

31.5.21 The Means of Acquiring Saintliness



WHAT IS VERY INSTRUMENTAL in the acquisition of Saintliness is much observation and thought. For when a person expends much thought upon the greatness of the Blessed One's majesty, upon His absolute perfection, and upon the infinitely great gap between His sublimity and our lowliness, he will be filled with fear and tremble before Him. And in thinking upon His great lovingkindness to us, upon the strength of the Blessed One's love for man, upon the nearness of the just to Him, and upon the nobility of Torah and mitzvoth - in thinking upon these and upon similar ideas, he will certainly be fired with a strong love for God and will choose and lust to be united with Him. For when he sees that the Blessed One is actually a Father to us and pities us as a father pities his sons, he will naturally be awakened with a desire and a longing to reciprocate to Him, as a son to his father. But to acquire this attitude, he must closet himself and gather all of his knowledge and thought for consideration and study of the truths that we have mentioned. He will certainly be aided in this by much preoccupation with and close application to the Psalms of David, may Peace be upon him, and by reflection upon their statements and ideas. For since the Psalms are all filled with the love and fear of God and with all types of Saintliness, in thinking upon them he cannot but be greatly inspired to follow in the Psalmist's footsteps and to walk in his ways. Also helpful is the reading of those works which deal with incidents in the lives of the Saints, for these incidents stimulate the intelligence to take counsel and to imitate the Saint's worthy deeds. This is evident.

The deterrents to Saintliness are preoccupation and worries. When one's intelligence is preoccupied and pressed with his worries and his affairs, it cannot turn to the thoughts we have spoken of; and without reflection Saintliness cannot be attained. And even if one has already attained it, preoccupations exert pressure upon his intelligence and confuse it and do not permit him to strengthen himself in fear and love and in the other aforementioned aspects of Saintliness. This is the intent behind the statement of our Sages of blessed memory (Shabbath 30b), "The Divine Presence does not reside in the midst of sadness ..."

What we have said holds especially true of enjoyments and pleasures, which are diametrically opposed to Saintliness, for they induce the heart to be pulled along after them and to depart from all aspects of Separation and true knowledge. However, a man can be protected against these deterrents and rescued from them by trusting to God, by casting his lot with Him in the realization that a person can never be deprived of what has been set aside for him, as our Sages of blessed memory have said (Beitzah 16a), "A man's entire sustenance is determined for him on Rosh Hashana ..." and (Yoma 38b), "A man cannot touch even a hairsbreadth of what has been set aside for his neighbor." A man could sit idle and what was ordained for him would materialize, were it not for the penalty imposed upon all men: "With the sweat of your brow shall you eat bread" (Genesis 3:19), because of which, by Divine decree, a man is required to exert himself somewhat for his sustenance. This is a tax, as it were, which must be paid by every member of the human race and which cannot be evaded. In the words of our Sages of blessed memory (Sifrei), "I would think that a man would be permitted to sit idle, had we not been told (Deuteronomy 28:20), `With all the putting forth of your hand which you undertake.' " This is not to say that the exertion produces the results, but that it is necessary. Once one has exerted himself, however, he has fulfilled his responsibilities and made room for the blessing of Heaven to rest upon him, and he need not consume his days in striving and exertion. As King David, may Peace be upon him, said (Psalms 75:7,8), "For not from east or west and not from the wilderness comes uplifting. This one He puts down and this one He lifts up. For God rules." And King Solomon, may Peace be upon him, said (Proverbs 23:4), "Do not weary yourself to become rich; cease from your understanding." The correct approach in this area is that of the early Saints, who made their Torah primary and their labor secondary, and were successful in both; for once a man does a little work, from then on he need only trust in his Master and not be troubled by any wordly matters. His mind will then be free and his heart ready for true Saintliness and pure Divine service.

31.5.22 The Trait of Humility



WE HAVE ALREADY discussed the shamefulness of pride and have been made aware, by inference, of the praiseworthiness of Humility. We shall now discuss Humility directly, and the nature of pride will become clear of itself.

The essence of Humility is in a person's not attaching importance to himself for any reason whatsoever. This trait is the very opposite of pride and its results are the very opposite of the results of pride. Analysis will reveal that Humility is dependent upon thought and deed. Before a man conducts himself in the way of the Humble, he must first be Humble in thought. One who attempts to be Humble in deeds without first having cultivated an attitude of Humility belongs to that class of wicked, deceitful, "humble" men which we mentioned previously, that class of hypocrites, than which there is nothing more evil in the world.

We shall now explain these divisions.

Humility in thought consists in a person's reflecting upon and recognizing as a truth the fact that he does not deserve praise and honor (let alone elevation above his fellow men), both because of his natural limitations and because of his accumulated defects. As far as natural limitations are concerned, it is obvious that it is impossible for any man, regardless of the level of perfection he has reached, to be without many faults, whether because of his own nature, because of his family and relatives, because of certain experiences he has had, or because of his deeds. ("For a man is not righteous in the land who will do good..." [Ecclesiastes 7:20] ) All of these are defects in a person which allow no room at all for the feeling of self-importance; for though he may possess many virtues, these faults suffice to overshadow them.

The factor that is responsible more than any other for a person's coming to feel self-important and proud is wisdom. This is so because wisdom is a superior quality of the person himself, a function of his most honored faculty, intelligence. But there is no sage who will not err and will not need to learn from the words of his friends and, very often, even from those of his disciples. How, then, can he pride himself in his wisdom? In truth, one who is possessed of an honest intelligence, even if he has managed to become a toweringly great sage, will see, when he looks into the matter, that there is no room at all for pride and self-importance. For a man of intelligence, one who knows more than others, acts only according to the dictates of his nature, as it is natural for a bird to fly, and as it is dictated for an ox to pull with his strength. One is wise only because his nature has led him to be so. And one who is not so wise now, were he in possession of the sage's natural intelligence, would become just as wise as he. There is no place, then, for self-importance and pride in respect to wisdom. Rather, if one possesses much wisdom, he is duty-bound to impart it to those in need of it. As stated by R. Yochanan ben Zakkai (Avoth 2.9), "If you have learned much Torah, do not take credit for it, for you were created to do so." One who is wealthy may rejoice in his lot, but at the same time he must help those in need. If one is strong, he must assist the weak and rescue the oppressed. The situation is analogous to that of a household where there are different servants assigned to different tasks, and where each servant must fulfill his appointed task if the affairs and requirements of the household are all to be attended to. In truth there is no place for pride here.

This is the type of analysis and reflection that should be engaged in by every man of honest, unperverted intelligence. And when this idea becomes clear to him, he will be reckoned the truly Humble man, Humble in his heart and in his very being. As David said to Michael (II Samuel 6:22), "And I was lowly in my eyes." And as our Sages of blessed memory have said (Sotah 56), "How great are the Humble in spirit! In the time of the Temple if one sacrificed a burnt-offering, he was accredited with a burnt-offering; if he sacrificed a meal-offering, he was accredited with a meal-offering. But if one possesses a Humble spirit it is considered by Scripture as if he had offered all of the sacrifices, as it is said (Psalms 51:19), `The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.' " This is the praise of the lowly in spirit, the Humble in heart and in thought. Elsewhere it is said (Chullin 89a), " `Not because you are more numerous than the other nations' (Deuteronomy 7:7) - the Holy One Blessed be He said to Israel, `My sons, I desire you because even when I impart greatness to you, you demean yourselves before Me. I gave greatness to Abraham and he said (Genesis 18:27), `And I am dust and ashes.' I gave greatness to Moses and Aaron and they said (Exodus 16:7), `What are we?' I gave greatness to David and he said (Psalms 22:7), `And I am a worm and not a man.'" All this because the man with an honest heart does not permit himself to be deceived by any virtue that he might possess, knowing the truth - that he does not thereby emerge from his lowliness, because of all of the faults that he must perforce possess. He realizes, too, that even in relation to those mitzvoth which he has attained he has not arrived at the ultimate goal. And he is aware that even if he possessed no other shortcoming than that of being flesh and blood, being born of woman, it would be more than enough to render him so lowly and inferior as to cause the feeling of sell-importance to be completely unbefitting him; for every virtue that he attains represents nothing more than God's lovingkindness to him, God's desire to be gracious to him, in spite of the fact that in point of his nature and his earthiness he is extremely lowly and shameful. His reaction, then, should be to thank Him who has been so gracious, and to constantly grow in Humility.

The situation is analogous to that of a pauper who accepts the gifts of kindness and cannot help but be ashamed because of them. The more kindness he receives the greater grows his shame. The similarity in situations will be perceived by anyone whose eyes are open enough to see himself as attaining virtues through the Blessed One. As King David said (Psalms 116:12), "What can I return to God for all of his lovingkindness to me?" We are acquainted with instances of great Saints who were punished because, with all of their Saintliness, they took credit for themselves. In relation to Nehemiah ben Chachaliah our Sages of blessed memory said (Sanhedrin 936), "Why was his work not called by his name? Because he took credit for himself." And Hezekiah said (Isaiah 38:17), "Peace is very bitter for me," because the Holy One Blessed be He had answered him (Ibid. 37:35), "And I will protect this city. I will come to its aid for my sake and for the sake of David, my servant." As our Sages of blessed memory say (Berachoth 10b), "That which one attributes to his own merit will be attributed to the merit of another." We see, then, that a man should not even take credit for the good things he has done, let alone become self-important and proud because of them.

But, in truth, all that we have said is intended for those who are like Abraham, Moses, Aaron and David and the other Saints that we have mentioned, but we, who are orphans of orphans, do not need all this, for we, have so many faults that we need not engage in much analysis to see our lowliness and to realize that all of our wisdom is of no account.

The greatest sage among us is no more than the disciple of the disciples of the early generations. It would do for us to understand and acknowledge this truth so that our hearts do not swell in vain. Let us recognize that our minds are insubstantial and our intelligence very weak, that we are very ignorant and very much subject to error, and that what knowledge we do possess is extremely minute. This being the case, there should certainly be no room in a person's feelings for self-importance, but only for shame and lowliness. This is self-evident.

We have thus far spoken of Humility of thought. We shall now speak of Humility of deed. This latter area is divided into four parts: conducting oneself with lowliness, bearing insults, hating authority and fleeing honor, and apportioning honor to all men.

Conducting oneself with lowliness: This applies to one's manner of speaking, walking and sitting, and to all of one's movements. In relation to one's speech our Sages of blessed memory have said (Yoma 86a), "A man should always speak gently with his fellow men." And Scripture explicitly states (Ecclesiastes 9:17), "The words of the wise, spoken gently, are accepted." One's words must be words of honor and not words of shame, as it is said (Proverbs 11:12), "One who shames his friend is lacking a heart," and (Ibid. 18:3), "When the wicked man comes, there also comes shame."

In relation to one's manner of walking our Sages of blessed memory said (Sanhedrin 88b), "They sent from the Holy Land, `Who will inherit the World to Come? A humble man, whose knee is low, who is bent coming in and bent going out.' " One should not walk erect, nor in a formalized, mincing manner, but as one going about his tasks. Our Sages of blessed memory have said (Kiddushin 31a), "If one walks erect it is as if he pushes the feet of the Divine Presence." And it is written (Isaiah 10:33), "Those of great stature will be cut down."

As far as one's manner of sitting is concerned, a person should see to it that his place is among the lowly and not among the high. In this, too, Scripture is explicit (Proverbs 25:6), "Do not glorify yourself before a king and do not stand in the place of the great . . ." Along the same lines, our Sages of blessed memory said in Vayikra Rabbah (1.5), "Withdraw two or three levels from your place so that they will say to you, `Come forward,' rather than go forward and be told, `Get back.' " And concerning those who belittle themselves they said (Bava Metzia 85b), "All who belittle themselves for the sake of Torah in this world are elevated in the World to Come." They added further ( Yalkut Ezekiel 361), " `Remove the turban and lift off the crown' (Ezekiel 21:31) - all who are great in this world are small in the World to Come;" and, conversely, if one is small in this world, his time of greatness is in the World to Come. Elsewhere they said (Sotah 5a), "A man should learn from the example set by his Master. The Holy One Blessed be He bypassed all the mountains and hills, and caused his Divine Presence to come to rest upon Mount Sinai." This because of its lowliness. And (Rosh Hashanah 17a), " `To the remnant of His inheritance' (Micah 7:18) - to those who act as if they considered themselves remnants."

Bearing insults: Our Sages of blessed memory have explicitly stated (Ibid.), "Whose sins does He forgive? The sins of those who overlook the wrong committed against them." And (Shabbath 886), "Concerning those who are insulted but do not insult in return, who are shamed, but do not shame in return, it is said (Judges 5:31), `His lovers are like the emerging of the sun in its strength.' " They told of the great Humility of Bava ben Buta (Nedarim 666): "A Babylonian went up to Israel and got married. One time he said to his wife, `Cook for me ... Go and break them over the head of the door.' While Bava ben Buta was sitting in judgment, she, having mistaken her husband's meaning, broke them over his head. He asked her, `Why have you done this?' and she answered, `My husband told me to.' He said, `You did the will of your husband. May the Presence bring forth from you two sons like Bava ben Buta.' " They spoke likewise of the great Humility of Hillel (Shabbath 30b), "Our Rabbis learned, `One should always be humble in the manner of Hillel. . .' " And R. Abahu, with all of his Humility, found that he was not yet worthy of being considered Humble (Sotah 40a) : "R. Abahu said, "At first I though I was Humble, but when I saw that R. Abba of Akko gave one reason and his interpreter another, and he still did not become angry. I said to myself, `I am not humble."'

Hating authority and fleeing honor are explicitly treated in the Mishnah (Avoth 1.10) : "Love labor and hate authority." (Ibid. 4.9), "One whose heart swells in his handing out of legal decisions is foolish, wicked and haughty." (Eruvin 13b), "If one pursues honor, honor flees from him." (Pesikta Rabbathi), " `Do not be quick to enter into controversy' (Proverbs 28:8) - do not pursue authority, for what will you do afterwards? The next day they will come and put questions to you. How will you answer them?" "R. Menachama in the name of R. Tanchum said, `All who accept positions of authority for their personal satisfaction are like adulterers who derive enjoyment from the body of a woman.' " "R. Abahu said, `I [the Holy One Blessed be He] am called "holy"; if you do not possess all of My traits, do not assume authority.' " The incident of the disciples of Rabbi Gamliel bears out this idea. Although they were sorely pressed by their poverty, they declined positions of authority. In the words of our Sages of blessed memory (Horioth 10a), "Do you think I give you lordship? I give you servitude..." And (Pesachim 87b), "Woe to lordship, which buries its possessors." How do we know this? Through Joseph, who, because he conducted himself authoritatively, died before his brothers (Berachoth 55a).

In sum, authority is only a great burden upon the shoulders of those who bear it; for as long as a man is alone, dwelling in the midst of his nation, just one among many, he is held responsible only for himself, but once he ascends to lordship and authority he is held responsible for all who come within his authority and jurisdiction. He must look to the welfare of all of them, lead them with knowledge and intelligence, and set their actions aright. And if he does not do so, he comes, according to our Sages of blessed memory (Devarim Rabbah 1.10) within the province of "And their guilt is on your heads" (Deuteronomy 1:13). Honor is nothing but the vanity of vanities, which causes a man to defy his own mind and that of his Master and to forget his entire duty. One who recognizes it for what it is will certainly find it despicable and will hate it. The praise of men will be a burden to him, for when he sees men heaping praises upon him for qualities he does not even possess, he will only be ashamed and will grieve, feeling that it is not bad enough that he does not possess the virtues he is being praised for, but men must add to his shame by praising him falsely. Apportioning honor to all men: We have learned (Avoth 4.1), "Who is honored? One who honors his fellow-men." They said further, "How do we know that one must accord honor to his neighbor if he knows him to be greater than himself in even one respect ... (Pesachim 113b). "Hasten to greet every man" (Avoth 4:15), It was said (Berachoth 17a) about R. Yochanan ben Zakkai that no man ever preceded him in the pronunciation of the greeting, even a gentile in the market place." One must act with honor towards his neighbors, both in word and deed. Our Sages of blessed memory (Yevamoth 62b) have told of the twenty-four thousand disciples of R. Akiva who died because they did not accord honor to each other.

Just as shame is identified with the wicked, as seen in the aforementioned verse (Proverbs 18:3), "When the wicked man comes, there also comes shame," so is honor identified with the righteous. Honor dwells with them and does not separate itself from them, as Scripture states (Isaiah 24:23), "And before His elders there is honor."

The chief divisions of Humility have been explained. Decisions in relation to particular instances, as in all such cases, are subject to considerations of situation, time and place. "Let the wise man listen and add to his understanding" (Proverbs 1 :5).

Unquestionably, Humility removes many stumbling blocks from a man's path and brings him near to many good things; for the Humble man is little concerned with wordly affairs and is not moved to envy by its vanities. Furthermore, his company is very pleasant and he gives pleasure to his fellowmen. He is perforce never aroused to anger and to controversy; he does everything quietly and calmly. Happy are those who have been privileged to attain this trait! Our Sages of blessed memory have said (Yerushalmi Shabbath 1.3), "That which wisdom made a wreath for its head, Humility made a heel for its sandal." All of wisdom cannot approach it. This is clear.

31.5.23 The Means of Acquiring Humility



THERE ARE TWO FACTORS which bring a person to Humility: habit and thought. Habit, in this respect, consists in a person's accustoming himself little by little to Humility by conducting himself with lowliness after the fashion previously mentioned - occupying a humble seat, walking at the end of the company, and wearing modest garments (respectable but not showy). By accustoming himself to this mode of conduct, he will cause Humility to enter into his heart and to inhabit it little by little until it has securely imbedded itself there. For since it is a person's nature to swell with self-importance, it is difficult to root out this inclination at its source. It is only through outward actions, which are under his control, that he can affect his inner self, which is not to a similar extent subject to his direction, as we explained in relation to Zeal. All of this is contained in the statement of our Sages of blessed memory (Berachoth 17a), "A man should always be subtle in his fear of God;" that is, he should seek devices by which to counteract his nature and its inclination until he is victorious over them.

Thought in respect to the acquisition of Humility resolves itself into several considerations. The first is ,contained in the words of Akavia ben Mahalalel (Avoth 3.1), "Know whence you come -from a putrid drop; and where you are going - to a place of dust, worms and maggots; and before whom you are destined to give an accounting - before the King of Kings, the Holy One Blessed be He." In truth, all of these thoughts counteract pride and promote Humility. When a man regards the lowliness of his earthly nature and his inferior beginnings, he has no reason to feel self-important at all, but to be ashamed and degraded. The situation is analogous to that of a swineherd who has attained lordship. As long as he remembers his early days it will be impossible for him to become proud. If one considers also that after all of his greatness he will return to the earth to be food for maggots, it is certain that his pride will be humbled and his grandeur forgotten. For what is his good and his greatness if the end is shame and disgrace? And if he will reflect further and picture the moment of his entering the great court of the heavenly host, seeing himself in the presence of the King of Kings, the Holy One Blessed be He, holy and pure to the limits of holiness and purity, in the midst of holy ones, servants of strength, strong in power, doing His bidding, entirely free of imperfection - and he standing before them, deficient, lowly and shameful in point of his nature; unclean and ugly in point of his actions -will he be able to raise his head, to open his mouth? And if he is asked, "Where then is your mouth? Where is the pride and honor that you knew in your world?" what will he answer? How will he meet this rebuke? There is no question that if a person would for one moment form a true, forceful impression of this idea, all pride would take flight from him, never to return.

The second consideration that should be reflected upon for the purpose of acquiring Humility is the variation of circumstances that is produced by time and the many changes to which it gives rise. The rich may easily become poor; the rulers, servants; and the honored, insignificant. If one can so easily be reduced to a condition which he finds so shameful today, how can he feel pride in his own condition, with which he cannot be secure? How many different kinds of sicknesses (God forbid) is a person prone to, which could make it necessary for him to beg others for help and assistance, for a little relief? How many afflictions (God forbid) may visit him, which could cause him to seek out many whom he formerly disdained to greet in order to gain their help. We see these things with our own eyes every day. They should serve to remove a man's pride from his heart and to clothe him in humility and lowliness.

And if a person thinks further into his duty in relation to the Blessed One and considers how much he forsakes it and how weak he is in its performance, he will certainly be ashamed and not proud. He will feel degraded and his heart will not swell. As stated by Scripture (Jeremiah 31 :17,18), "I have heard Ephraim lamenting . .. `For after I repented I knew regret, and after I understood, I smote my thighs. I felt ashamed and degraded ... " Above all, one should constantly reflect upon the weakness of human intelligence and the many errors and deceits to which it is subject, upon its always being closer to error than to true understanding. He should constantly be in fear, then, of this danger and seek to learn from all men; he should give ear to advice lest he go astray. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Avoth 4.1), "Who is wise? One who learns from all men." And it is stated (Proverbs 12:15), "One who gives ear to advice is wise."

Among the deterrents to Humility are an abundance of the goods of this world and satiation with them; as Scripture explicitly states (Deuteronomy 8:12), "Lest you eat and become satiated . .. And your heart be uplifted. .." It is for this reason that the Saints found it beneficial for a man to afflict himself at intervals - to suppress the inclination to pride, which grows strong only through abundance. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Berachoth 32a), "A lion does not roar over a basket of straw, but over a basket of meat."

Heading the list of deterrents are ignorance and insufficiency of true understanding. It is to be observed that pride is most prevalent among the more ignorant. Our Sages of blessed memory have said (Sanhedrin 24a), "A sign of pride is poverty of Torah" and (Zohar Balak), "A sign of complete ignorance is self-praise" and (Bava Metzia 856), "One coin in a pitcher makes a great deal of noise" and (Bereshith Rabbah 16.3), "The barren trees were asked `Why are your voices heard?' and they answered, `So that at least our voices might be heard and remembered.' " We have seen that Moses, the choicest of men, was the humblest of all men.

Another deterrent to Humility is keeping company with or being served by flatterers, who, to steal a person's heart with their flattery so that he will be of benefit to them, will praise and exalt him by magnifying to their very limits the virtues that he does possess and by attributing to him virtues that he does not possess, his attributes sometimes being the very opposite of those he is being praised for. And since, in the last analysis, a person's understanding is insubstantial and his nature weak, so that he is easily deceived (especially by something towards which his nature inclines), when he hears these words being uttered by someone he has faith in, they enter into him like poison and he falls into the net of pride and is broken. A case in point is that of Yoash, who acted virtuously all the days that he was taught by Yehoyada Hakohen, his mentor (II Kings 12:3). When Yehoyada died, Yoash's servants came and began to flatter him and to magnify his virtues until, after they had virtually deified him, he gave heed to them. It is to be clearly seen that most officers and kings, and men in a position of influence in general, regardless of their level, stumble, and are corrupted by the flattery of their subordinates.

One whose eyes are open will, therefore, exercise more care and vigilance in relation to the actions of one he would choose as his friend or advisor or as the overseer of his household than he would in relation to his food and drink. For food and drink can injure one's body alone, whereas companions and overseers can destroy his soul, his might and all of his honor. King David, may Peace be upon him, said (Psalms 101:6,7), "One who walks uprightly, he will serve me. A deceiver will not dwell within my house..." A person's good, then, is to seek honest friends, who will open his eyes to what he is blind to and rebuke him with love in order to rescue him from all evil. For what a man cannot see because of his natural blindness to his own faults, they will see and understand. They will caution him and he will be protected. Concerning this it is said (Proverbs 24:6), "There is salvation in much counsel."

31.5.24 The Fear of Sin



OUR SEEING that this trait comes after all of the worthy traits heretofore mentioned is enough to awaken us to its great nobility, its integral significance and the difficulty of its attainment; for it can be attained only by one who has already acquired all of the previously mentioned traits.

At the outset it should be stated that there are two types of fear, which resolve themselves into three types. The first type is very easy to attain; there is nothing easier. The second is the most difficult of attainment, and perfection in it is, accordingly, of a very high order. The first type is fear of punishment and the second, fear of Divine Majesty, of which fear of sin is a part. We shall now explain these types of fear and their differences.

Fear of punishment, as the words imply, consists in a person's being afraid of violating God's commands, because of the punishmer+ to body or soul which is meted out for transgressions. This type of fear is certainly easy to attain, for every man loves himself and fears for his soul; and there is nothing more effectual in withdrawing one from an action than the fear that it might harm him in some way. But this type of fear befits only the ignorant and women, who lack sufficient strength of mind; it is not the fear of sages and of men of understanding.

The second type of fear, fear of Divine Majesty, consists in one's withdrawing himself and abstaining from sin because of the great honor of the Blessed One. For how can a lowly, despicable heart of flesh and blood permit and abide the doing of what is opposed to the will of the Creator of blessed and exalted Name? This type of fear is not very easily attained, for it is born only of the knowledge and intelligence which go into reflection upon the majesty of the Blessed One and the lowliness of man. It is born only of the activities of the understanding, insightful mind. It is this type of fear which was classified as the second half of one of the divisions of Saintliness which we discussed earlier. One who experiences it will feel shame and will tremble in standing before his Master to pray or in performing an act of Divine service. This is the extremely worthy type of fear in which the great Saints distinguished themselves. As stated by Moses (Deuteronomy 28:58), "To fear this honored, Awesome Name, the Lord, your G-d."

The fear of sin which we are here concerned with is, in one respect, part of the fear of Divine Majesty mentioned above, and, in another, a distinct entity. It consists in a person's constantly fearing and worrying that some trace of sin might have intruded itself into his actions or that they contain something, small or great, which is inconsonant with the grandeur of the Blessed One's honor and with the majesty of His Name. Here we see the strong relationship between fear of sin and fear of Divine Majesty - their common concern being that one do nothing in opposition to the great Majesty of the Blessed One. There is a distinction between them, however, which sets the fear of sin apart and gives it its distinct name : The fear of Divine Majesty obtains only during the performance of a deed, during Divine service, or upon the materialization of an opportunity for transgression. That is, when one is standing in prayer or engaging in Divine service, he should feel ashamed and degraded; he should quake and tremble before the supreme Majesty of the Blessed One. Or, when an opportunity for transgression presents itself to him, and he recognizes it as such, he must keep himself from sinning so that nothing be done contrary to the honor of the Blessed One (God forbid). The fear of sin, however, obtains at all periods and times. At every moment one must be afraid of going astray and doing something or part of a thing in opposition to the honor of the Blessed One's Name. Hence, the expression "fear of sin," the essence of the fear being that sin not enter into and involve itself in one's actions, whether through an intentional act, weakness, oversight or any other means. In relation to this it is said (Proverbs 28:14), "Happy is the man who fears always," which our Sages of blessed memory interpreted (Berachoth 60a) as referring to matters of Torah. Even when one does not see a stumbling block before him, his heart must tremble within him for fear that he is threatened by one hidden at his feet. About such fear, Moses our Teacher, may Peace be upon him, said (Exodus 20:17), "And so that His fear be upon your faces, that you not sin." This is the central element in fear - that a person constantly fear and tremble until the fear can no longer depart from him. In this manner he will certainly avoid sin, and any sin that he might commit will be accounted accidental. Isaiah said in his prophecy (Isaiah 66:2), "And to such shall I look - to the poor, to the broken in spirit and to those who tremble at my word." King David exulted in the possession of this trait, saying (Psalms 119:161), "Princes pursued me for naught and my heart feared at Your word." We find that the majestic, exalted angels constantly fear and tremble before God's greatness. Our Sages of blessed memory say by way of analogy (Chagigah 13b), "What is the source of the stream of fire?-the sweat of the holy creatures." The angels respond in this manner because of the fear of the Majesty of the Blessed One, which is constantly upon them and which causes them anxiety as to any possible failings on their part in relation to the honor and holiness demanded by His Presence. Whenever and wherever the Divine Presence manifests itself there is trembling, tumult and fright. As Scripture states (Psalms 68:9), "The earth shook ; even the heavens dripped. .. before God" and (Isaiah 63:19), "Is it for them that You tore the heavens, that You descended, that mountains flowed before You?" How much more so, then, should human beings tremble and quake in the knowledge that they stand always in the presence of God and so might easily do what is not in accordance with the majestic honor of the Blessed One. As Eliphaz said to Job (Job 15:14,15), "What is man that he would be found pure? Would one born of woman be found righteous? He does not put trust in His holy ones and the heavens are not pure in His eyes" and (Ibid. 4:18,19), "He puts no trust in His servants and invests not His angels with light. Much more so dwellers m houses of clay . . . This should certainly cause every man to constantly fear and tremble. In the words of Elihu (Ibid. 37:1,2), "At this, too, my heart fears and is moved from its place, hearing the clamor of His voice..." This is the true fear which should always be upon the face of a Saint and never depart from him.

There are two aspects to this type of fear - the first pertaining to the present or the future, and the second to the past. In relation to the present, a person should always fear and worry that there may be present in what he is doing, or that there might enter into what he is going to do, that which is not in accordance with the honor of the Blessed One, as mentioned above. In relation to the past, a person must fear and worry that he might unknowingly have committed some sin. Bava ben Buta, for example, (Kerithuth 25a) would sacrifice a provisional guilt offering every day.

And Job, after his sons' feast, "arose and sacrificed burntofferings according to the number of all of them; for Job said, `Perhaps my sons have sinned.. .' " (Job 1:5). Our Sages of blessed memory commented along these lines in connection with the oil of anointment with which Moses anointed Aaron, as he was commanded to do in the face of the interdict (Exodus 30:32), "Let it not anoint the flesh of man." They feared that they might have violated the interdict in some way and have committed an act of desecration. (Horioth 12a) : "Moses worried, saying, `Perhaps I have desecrated the oil of anointment,' at which a heavenly voice went forth and said (Psalms 133:2), 'As the good oil upon the head descends upon the beard, the beard of Aaron... as the dew of Hermon.' Just as there is no desecration in relation to the dew of Hermon, so, too, there is no desecration in relation to the oil of anointment upon the beard of Aaron.' But still Aaron was worried, `It may be that Moses did not commit an act of desecration, but that I did,' at which a heavenly voice went forth and said (Ibid.), `How good and how pleasant for brothers to dwell together.' Just as Moses is not guilty of desecration, you, too, are not guilty." We see, then, that it is characteristic of Saints to worry even in relation to the mitzvoth that they have done, fearing that some trace of impurity might have intruded itself into them (God forbid). Abraham, after he had gone to the assistance of his nephew, Lot, who had been taken captive, was afraid that his actions had not been entirely pure. As our Sages of blessed memory said (Bereshith Rabbah 44.4) in relation to the verse (Genesis 15:1), "Do not fear, Avram," "R. Levi said, `Because Abraham was afraid and said, `Perhaps among all the soldiers I have killed there was one righteous man or one who feared Heaven,' he was told, `Do not fear, Avram.' " And in Tana D'bei Eliyahu (Chapter 25) it is stated, "'Do not fear, Avram' - 'Do not fear' is said only to one who fears Heaven in truth." This is the true fear about which it was said (Berachoth 33b), "The Holy One Blessed be He has in His world only a treasure of fear of Heaven." Only Moses because of his intimacy with the Blessed One could attain it easily. Others, unquestionably, are greatly deterred by the earthy element within them. However, it befits every Saint to exert himself to attain as much of this fear as he can, as Scripture states (Psalms 34:10), "Let His holy ones fear God."

31.5.25 The Manner of Acquiring Fear of Sin



THE MANNER of acquiring this fear is to reflect upon two truths. The first is that the Divine Presence is found everywhere and the Blessed One looks to all things, great and small, nothing being hidden from His eyes, whether by its magnitude or by its smallness. Great and small, imposing and humble alike, He sees and understands without distinction. As stated by Scripture (Isaiah 6:3), "The whole earth is filled with His glory" and (Jeremiah 23:24), "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" and (Psalms 113:5), "Who is like the Lord, our God, who sits on high, who stoops to look upon heaven and earth" and (Ibid. 138:6), "For God is high; He sees the lowly and knows the proud from afar." Once it has become clear to one that wherever he may be, he is standing before the Presence of the Blessed One, there will come to him of itself, the fear and trepidation of going astray in his actions so that they do not accord with the majesty of the Blessed One. As it is stated (Avoth 2.1), "Know what is above you: a seeing eye, a listening ear and a book in which all of your deeds are inscribed." Since the Holy One Blessed be He looks to everything, sees everything and knows everything, it follows that all actions leave an impression. And they are all inscribed in a book, whether they be in one's favor or against him. This understanding, however, imprints itself in a person's mind only through constant reflection and deep analysis, for since it is removed from our senses, our intelligence will formulate it only after much thought and consideration. And even after the idea has been assimilated, it may be easily lost if it is not constantly reflected upon. It is seen, then, that just as protracted thought is the means of acquiring ever-present fear, so is inattentiveness and desistence from thought its greatest deterrent, whether it results from preoccupation or is intentional. All inattentiveness nullifies constancy of fear. As the Holy One Blessed be He commanded in relation to a king (Deuteronomy 17:19), "And it shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to fear, the Lord, his God." This teaches us that fear is learned only by uninterrupted study. It is to be noted that we have "so that he may learn to fear," rather than "so that he may fear," the underlying idea being that this fear is not naturally attainable, but that, to the contrary, it is far removed from one because of the physical nature of his senses and can be acquired only through learning. And the only manner in which one may learn to fear is through constant, uninterrupted study of the Torah and its ways, through constantly (when sitting, walking, retiring and arising) reflecting upon and analyzing, until it implants itself in his mind, the truth of the existence of God's Presence in all places, and of our literally standing before Him at all periods and times. He will then fear God in truth. This was the intent of David's prayer (Psalms 86:11), "Teach me, O God, Your ways 1 will walk in Your truth. Unite my heart to fear Your Name."

31.5.26 The Trait of Holiness



HOLINESS IS TWO-FOLD. Its beginning is labor and its end reward; its beginning, exertion and its end, a gift. That is, it begins with one's sanctifying himself and ends with his being sanctified. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Yoma 39a), "If one sanctifies himself a little, he is sanctified a great deal; if he sanctifies himself below, he is sanctified from above." Exertion in this respect consists in one's completely separating and removing himself from earthiness and clinging always, at all periods and times, to his God. It was because of the possession of this trait that the Prophets were called "angels," as stated in relation to Aaron (Malachi 2:7), "For the lips of the Priest will guard knowledge, and Torah will be sought from his mouth for he is an angel of the Lord of Hosts." And (II Chronicles 36:16), "And they disparaged the angels of God.. . " Even when one is engaged in the physical activities required by his body, his soul must not deviate from its elevated intimacy, as it is stated (Psalms 63:9), "My soul clings to You; Your right arm sustains me ."However, because it is beyond a person's ability to place himself in this situation, since, in the last analysis, he is a creature of flesh and blood, I have stated that the end of Holiness is a gift. What one can do is to persevere in the pursuit of true understanding and constantly give thought to the sanctification of deeds.

In the end, the Holy One Blessed be He leads him upon the path that he desires to follow, causes His Holiness to rest upon him, and sanctifies him, thus enabling him to maintain a constant intimacy with Him, the Blessed One. Where his nature hinders him, the Blessed One will aid and assist him, as it is stated (Psalms 84:12), "He does not withhold good from those who walk in purity."

This is the intent of the above statement. "If one sanctifies himself a little," by what he can acquire through his own exertions, "he is sanctified a great deal," by the help he receives from the Blessed One.

If one sanctifies himself with the Holiness of his Creator, even his physical actions come to partake of Holiness. This is illustrated by the eating of sacrificial offerings (itself a mitzvah) in relation to which our Sages of blessed memory have said (Pesachim 596), "The Priests eat and the owners are atoned for."

Note the distinction between one who is Pure and one who is Holy. The earthy actions of the first are necessary ones, and he is motivated by necessity alone, so that his actions escape the evil in earthiness and remain pure. But they do not approach Holiness, for it were better if one could get along without them. One who is Holy, however, and clings constantly to his God, his soul traveling in channels of truth, amidst the love and fear of his Creator -such a person is as one walking before God in the Land of the Living, here in this world. Such a person is himself considered a tabernacle, a sanctuary, an altar. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Bereshith Rabbah 47.8), " `And God went up from him' (Genesis 35:13) -the patriarchs are the Divine chariot" and, "The righteous are the Divine chariot." The Divine Presence dwells with the Holy as it dwelt in the Temple. It follows, then, that the food which they eat is as a sacrifice offered upon the fire. There is no question that what was brought up upon the altar was greatly elevated because of its being sacrificed before the Divine Presence, elevated to such an extent that its entire species throughout the world was blessed, as our Sages of blessed memory indicate in the Midrash (Tanchumah Tetzaveh). In the same way, the food and drink of the Holy man is elevated and is considered as if it had actually been sacrificed upon the altar. As our Sages 'of blessed memory have said (Kethuvoth 105b), "If one brings a gift to a Scholar, it is as if he offers up first fruit" and (Yoma 71a), "In the place of libation, let him fill the throat of the Scholars with wine." The meaning here is not that Scholars should lust, glutton-like, to fill their throats with food and drink (God forbid), but rather, as we have indicated, that Scholars, who are Holy in their ways and in all of their deeds, are literally comparable to the sanctuary and the altar, for the Divine Presence dwells with them just as it dwelled in the sanctuary. Their consuming of food is similar to the offering up of a sacrifice upon the altar, and the filling of their throats is analogous to the filling of the basins. In accordance with this view, anything at all which is made use of by them in some way is elevated and enhanced through having been employed by a righteous individual, by one who communes with the Holiness of the Blessed One. Our Sages of blessed memory have already referred to "the stones of the place" that Jacob took and set around his head (Chullin 91b), "R. Yitzchak said, `This teaches us that they all gathered together, each one saying, `Let the righteous one lay his head upon me.'"

In fine, Holiness consists in one's clinging so closely to his God that in any deed he might perform he does not depart or move from the Blessed One, until the physical objects of which he makes use become more elevated because of his having used them, than he descends from his communion and from his high plane because of his having occupied himself with them. This obtains, however, only in relation to one whose mind and intelligence cling so closely to the greatness, majesty and Holiness of the Blessed One that it is as if he is united with the celestial angels while yet in this world. I have already indicated that one cannot accomplish this by himself, but must awaken himself to it and strive for it. But first, he must have attained all of the noble traits previously mentioned - from the beginning of Watchfulness until the Fear of Sin. Only in this way will he arrive at Holiness and succeed in it; for if he lacks the preceding traits, he is akin to an outsider, the bearer of an imperfection, about whom it is said (Numbers 18:4), "An outsider shall not come near." But if, after having undergone all these preparations, he steadfastly pursues with strong love and great fear, the contemplation of the greatness of the Blessed One and the might of His majesty, he will separate himself little by little from earthy considerations and in all his actions and movements will direct his heart to the intimacies of true communion until there is conferred upon him a spirit from on high and the Blessed One causes His Name to dwell with him as He does with all of His Holy ones. He will then be in actuality like an angel of God, and all of his actions, even the lowly, physical ones, will be accounted as sacrifices and Divine service.

It is to be seen that the means of acquiring this trait arc much separation, intense contemplation of the secrets of Divine governance and the mysteries of creation, and understanding of the majesty of the Blessed One and His excellence, to the point where one cleaves closely to Him and is capable of performing physical activities with the same motivation with which it befits the Priest to slaughter the sacrificial animal, receive its blood, and sprinkle it in order to receive from the Blessed One the blessing of life and peace. Without the above orientation one will find it impossible to attain Holiness, and regardless of what level he may have reached, he will nonetheless remain earthy and physical, like all other men.

What assists one towards the acquisition of this trait is much solitude and separation, which, by eliminating the claims upon a person, allows his soul to grow in strength and to unite itself with the Creator.

The deterrents to Holiness are a lack of true understanding and much association with people; for earthiness finds its counterpart and takes on new strength, and the soul remains trapped within it, unable to escape. However, when one dissociates himself from them and remains alone, preparing himself for the reception of His Holiness, he is conducted along the path which he wishes to travel; and, with the help that God gives him, his soul grows strong within him, overcomes his physical element, unites itself with the Holiness of the Blessed One and perfects itself in it. From this level one proceeds to an even higher one, that of The Holy Spirit, his understanding coming to transcend the bounds of human nature. It is possible for one to reach such a high degree of communion with God as to be given the key to the revival of the dead, as it was given to Elijah and Elisha. It is this gift which reveals the strength of one's union with the Blessed One, for since He is the source of life, the giver of life to all living creatures, as our Sages of blessed memory have said (Ta'anith 2a), "Three keys were not entrusted to intermediaries: the key of the revival of the dead . . ." - since this is so, then one who is perfectly united with the Blessed One will be able to draw even life from Him; for it is that which more than anything else is particularly attributed to Him, as I have written. Hence the conclusion of the Baraitha: " Holiness leads to the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit leads to the Revival of the Dead."


And now, dear reader, I realize that you know just as well as I that I have not exhausted in this work all of the provisions of Saintliness and that I have not said all there is to say about it, for it has no end, and there is no conclusion to thought. However, I have said a little about each of the particulars of the Baraitha upon which this work is based. This may serve as a beginning towards a broader study of these views, in that their nature has been revealed and their paths exposed so that one may walk steadily upon them. In relation to all such things it has been said (Proverbs 1:5), "The sage will listen and add to his wisdom and the man of understanding will acquire devices" and, "One who seeks purification is assisted therein" (Shabbath 104a). "For God gives wisdom; from His mouth stem knowledge and understanding" (Proverbs 2:6) wherewith every man may set his path aright before the Blessed One.

It is understood that each individual must guide and direct himself according to his calling and according to the particular activities in which he is engaged. The path of Saintliness appropriate to one whose Torah is his calling is unsuited to one who must hire himself out to work for his neighbor, and the path of neither of these is suitable for one who is engaged in business. This holds true for all of the particulars in the affairs of men, each calling for a path of Saintliness corresponding to its nature. This is not to say that Saintliness varies in nature. It is unquestionably the same for everyone, in that its intent is the doing of that which brings pleasure to the Creator. But in view of the fact that circumstances vary, it follows, of necessity, that the means by which they are to be directed towards the desired goal vary in kind. One who, out of necessity, plies a humble trade, can be a true Saint, just as one from whose mouth learning never departs. It is written (Proverbs 16:4), "God created everything for His sake" and (Ibid. 3:6), "In all your ways know Him and He will straighten your paths."

May the Blessed One in His mercy open our eyes to His Torah,
teach us His ways, and lead us in His paths;
and may we be worthy of honoring His name and bringing pleasure to Him.

"The honor of God will endure forever;
God will be happy in His works" (Psalms 104:31).

"Let Israel be happy in its Maker,
the sons of Zion rejoice in their King" (Ibid. 149:2).

31.6 Midrash Tanhuma

The Torah is full of holy fire; it was written with a black fire upon a white fire.

The Torah has meekness as its footgear, and the fear of God as its crown. Hence Moses was the proper person through whose hands it should be delivered; he was meek, and with the fear of the Lord he was crowned.

You cannot expect to occupy yourself with the study of the Torah in the future world and receive the reward for so doing in this world; you are meant to make the Torah your own in this life, and to look for reward in the life to come.

Cain's offering consisted of the seed of flax, and that of Abel of the fatlings of his sheep. This is probably the reason why the wearing of a garment of various materials, as of woolen and linen together, was prohibited.

As one who finishes the building of his house proclaims that day a holiday, and consecrates the building, so God, having finished creation in the six days, proclaimed the seventh day a holy day and sanctified it.

If the fraudulent man and the usurer offer to make restitution, it is not permitted to accept it from them.

The Bible, or written law, contains unexplained passages and hidden sentences, which can not be fully understood without the help of the oral law. Further, the written law contains generalities, whilst the oral law goes in for explanations in detail, and is consequently much larger in volume. Indeed, as a figure of speech we could apply to it the words in Job (iv. 9), "The measure thereof is longer than the earth and broader than the sea." The knowledge of this oral law can not be expected to be found amongst those who are bent on enjoying earthly life and worldly pleasures; its acquisition requires the relinquishment of all worldliness, riches and pleasures, and requires intellect aided by constant study.

There is no evil that has no remedy, and the remedy for sin is repentance.

Whatever hardships may be imposed upon Jews by the powers that be, they must not rebel against the authorities who impose them, but are to render compliance, except when ordered to disregard the Torah and its injunctions; for that would be tantamount to giving up their God.

He that stole an ox had to restore fivefold, and he that stole a sheep had to give back only fourfold, because by stealing the ox he may have prevented the owner from plowing or doing other agricultural work for the time being.

There is a wall of separation erected between the Shechinah and the following three classes, a wall that can never be razed: The cheat, the robber, and the idle worshiper.

The meaning of the phrase, "God made man in his own image," is that, like his Maker, a man is to be righteous and upright. Do not argue that evil inclination is innate in you; such argument is fallacious; when you are a child you commit no sin; it is when you grow out of infancy that your evil inclination becomes developed. You have the power of resisting the evil inclination if you feel so inclined, even as you are able to convert the bitter elements of certain foods into very palatable eatables.

Hadrian King of Rome (Edom), having made great conquests, requested his court in Rome to proclaim him God. In answer to this modest request, one of his ministers said, "If your Majesty desires to become God, it will be necessary to quit God's property first, to show your independence of him. He created heaven and earth; get out of these and you can proclaim yourself God." Another counselor replied by asking Hadrian to help him out of a sad position in which he was placed. "I have sent a ship to sea," he said, "with all my possessions on board of her, and she is but a short distance - about three miles from shore - but is struggling against the watery elements, which threaten her total destruction." "Do not trouble," replied the King, "I will send some of my ships well manned, and your craft shall be brought to the haven where she would be." "There is no need for all that," said the counselor satirically; "order but a little favorable wind, and her own crew will manage to bring her safely into port." "And where shall I order the wind from? How have I the power to order the wind?"answered Hadrian angrily. Has your Majesty not even a little wind at your command?" said the King's adviser mockingly, "and yet you wish to be proclaimed God!"

Hadrian then retired to his own rooms angry and disappointed, and when he told his wife of the controversy he had had with his ministers she remarked that his advisers did not strike on the proper thing which would bring his wish to a happy consummation. "It seems to me," she said mockingly, "that the first thing you must do is to give God back what he has given you and be under no obligation to him." "And what may that be?" inquired the heathen. "The soul, of course," answered his wife. "But," argued the King, "if I give back my soul, I shall not live." "Then," said his wife triumphantly, "that shows that you are but mortal, and can not be God."

The slanderer seems to deny the existence of God. As King David has it, "They say, Our lips are with us, who is Lord over us?" (Ps. xii.)

Let us not lose sight of the lesson that it is meant to convey to us by the expression, "And the Lord came down to see" (Gen. xi.), namely that we are not to judge merely by "hearsay" and to assert anything as having taken place unless we saw it.

Elijah quickened the dead, caused rain to descend, prevented rain from coming down, and brought fire down from heaven; but he did not say " I am God."

When Noah set out to plant the vine, Satan encountered him and asked upon what errand he was bent" I am going to plant the vine," said Noah. "I will gladly assist you in this good work," said Satan. When the offer of help was accepted Satan brought a sheep and slaughtered it on the plant, then a lion, then a pig, and finally a monkey. He thus explained these symbols to Noah. When a man tastes the first few drops of wine he will be as harmless as a sheep; when he tastes a little more he will become possessed of the courage of a lion and think himself as strong; should he further indulge in the liquid produced by your plant he will become as objectionable as a pig; and by yet further indulgence in it he will become like a monkey.

Because the Torah mulcts the thief in double, and in some cases more than double, the value of what he has stolen, one is not to conclude that he is allowed to steal when in want, with the intention of paying back double and more than double the value.

The promise to Abraham that he should become a great nation was fulfilled when the Israelites became the recipients of God's laws. Moses, on account of their being the possessors of the Torah, styles them "a great nation " (Deut. iv.).

Blessings proceed from Zion (Ps. cxxxiv.), the dew is blessed from Zion (Ps. cxxxiii.), so does help come from Zion (Ps. xx.), and salvation (Ps. xiv.). The future blessings of Israel will proceed from Zion (Ps. cxiii.), and Zion itself will receive God's blessings.

The comparison in beauty of any woman to Sarah is like comparing monkeys with men.

"This shall not be thine heir, but he that cometh forth out of thy loins shall be thine heir" (Gen. xv. 4). There is a story of a man blessed with learning, wisdom, and riches, who had an only son, to whom be naturally gave the best education, and whom he sent to Jerusalem for the purpose of completing his education. He had all arrangements made for his bodily comforts, and took every care that the young man, who was very promising and on whom he doted, should want for nothing. Shortly after his son's departure, he took to his bed, from which he rose not again.

His death caused immense regret in the place of his residence, for in him the poor had lost a real support, and many a man a wise counselor and adviser. It was felt that the town in general had lost one whom it would be difficult to replace.

The funeral and the days of mourning over, a friend who was known to be the executor of the dead man's last will, and who had duly informed the son by letter of the sad death of his father, proceeded to break the seal of the will and see its contents. To his great astonishment, and no less to the astonishment of every one who learned the nature of its contents, the whole of the dead man's property, personal and otherwise, movable and immovable, after leaving considerable amounts to various charities, was left to his negro slave; there was but a saving clause that his beloved son should have the privilege of choosing one thing, but one only, out of the whole estate.

The son, though duly informed of the details of this strange will, was so immersed in grief at the Ion of his father that his mind could not be diverted to anything else; and it was only when his teacher alluded to his father's death and the inheritance which he might expect, and advised him to use it for the same laudable purposes, that the young man informed his beloved master that by his father's will he had been reduced to a beggar. Meanwhile, the negro slave of the departed man, having gone through all the formalities and proved his title, lost no time in taking possession of his dead master's property. He was ready and willing enough to grant the son one thing out of his late father's goods, whenever he should come and claim the object of his choice. The acute rabbi, on reading the will, saw at once the drift of the testator's intention, and told his pupil that he should proceed to his native town and take possession of his property. "But I have no property to take possession of," pleaded the young man, "except one article of my late father's goods." "Well then," replied the teacher, unable to conceal a smile, "choose your late father's negro slave out of his estate, and with him will go over to you all he possesses, since a slave can own nothing, and all he has belongs to his master. That, indeed, was your father's clever device. He knew that if the will were to state that all was left to you, the negro, being by the force of circumstances in charge of everything that was left, would probably in your absence take for himself and his friends all the valuables on which be could lay his hands; whereas if he knew or thought all belonged to him he would take care of everything that was left. Your wise father knew that the one thing he gave you the power to choose would be no other than his slave, and with him you would become the just and rightful owner of everything."

You can not be too careful about prayer, and you should never omit to pray. Prayer eclipses all other services, and towers above sacrifices; and the sinful man may receive God's grace through prayer.

As one is prohibited from reciting any portion of the Torah by heart, but must read it out of the written scroll, so is he who expounds any portion thereof not allowed to read his exposition from anything written, but must deliver it by word of mouth.

When God's creatures incur punishment, the Merciful One looks for one to plead for the guilty people, to open a way, as it were, as was the case in the time of Jeremiah. (See Jer. v.)

The proverb says, "If you rub shoulders with the anointed you will become anointed." Lot, being associated with Abraham, became hospitable; whilst his character does not indicate inclination to hospitality on his own part.

You must not in any way mislead your fellow men, not even to the extent of asking the price of anything he may have for disposal, so as to make him believe that you are a likely purchaser, whilst you have no intention of purchasing the article.

The righteous are put to more and severer trials than the unrighteous. So the owner of flax will beat out the good flax often and severely, so as to make it purer, but does not treat the inferior article in the same way, lest it fall away into small pieces.

The following tend to make a man prematurely old: Fear, war, trouble from his children, or a shrew of a wife.

As there is a regularity in the position of the sun daily three times: in the morning he is in the east, at noon between the east and west, and in the evening in the west, so must there be an inflexible regularity with every Jew in reciting his Prayers three times daily, morning, afternoon, and evening.

A widower with unmarried sons is advised to see his sons married before he marries again.

Adrianus (Hadrian), discussing with Rabbi Joshua the innumerable adversaries that the Israelites had to encounter, said, "Great is the sheep that can withstand seventy wolves." Rabbi Joshua replied, "Greatest is the shepherd who enables the sheep to outlive the constant attacks of the wolves."

There is merit and even dignity in handicraft.

Do not say, I need not work for my living, but cast my hope on God who supports all living creatures. You must work for a livelihood, and look up to God to bless the work of your hands. Jacob, in alluding to the delivery from Laban's house, says, "God hath seen the labor of my hands" (Gen. xxxi.).

A homely domesticated wife is like the altar in the temple; and she is even an atonement as the altar was.

Isaiah committed sin by saying, “In the midst of a people of unclean lips do I dwell” (Isa. vi.). For this, the slander which is compared to fire, he was punished with fire, with the live coal taken from the altar (Isa. vi.).

However adverse one's opinion may be of any one placed in a high position, he is bound to pay him the respect due to his position. Rabbi Judah Hannasi, when writing to Antoninus, invariably used the phrase, "Judah, thy servant, sends greeting."

A modest woman is worthy of being the wife of a high priest, for she is like an altar in her home.

God wishes man to ask forgiveness, and not to see him in his guilt.

So exceedingly handsome was Joseph that when the friends Of Potiphar's wife visited her, and the hostess proffered them fruit, the Egyptian women cut their fingers instead of the fruit, as they could not take their eyes off the wonderfully handsome Hebrew slave; and they sympathized with their friend when he scorned her advances.

Give me the admonition of the old in preference to the flattery of the young.

When Moses said to the people, "After the Lord your God shall ye walk" (Deut. xiii.), they took alarm at the formidable, or rather impossible, task imposed upon them. "How," said they, "is it possible for man to walk after God, who hath his way in the storm and in the whirlwind, and the clouds are the dust of his feet" (Nahum i.), "whose way is in the sea and his path in the great waters "? (Ps. lxxvii.). Moses explained to them that to walk after God meant to imitate humbly his attributes of mercy and compassion by clothing the naked, visiting the sick, and comforting the mourner.

A fatality seems to have been attached to Shechem. in connection with Israel's sorrows. The capture of Dinah took place at Shechem. Joseph was sold there into slavery. David's kingdom was split in Shechem; and thd advent of Jeroboam also took place in Shechem.

O woman, what mischief thou causest! Even the worshiping of idols did not cause such trouble and loss of life as a woman caused. The making and worshiping of the golden calf caused the loss of three thousand men (Exod. xxxii.) ; but through a woman at Shittim twenty-four thousand were the victims.

Good men lift up their eyes and look one straight in the face; bad, wicked men drop their eyes.

"Should not a man pray every hour?" asked Antoninus of his friend Rabbi Judah Hannasi. He demurred on receiving a reply in the negative. After a while the Rabbi called on Antoninus, and was as careful as always to address him with considerable deference.

After about an hour he came again, and addressed him again carefully with all the titles he was wont to use, and so the Rabbi repeated his visits and expressions of homage about every hour during the day. When, at last Antoninus told his friend that he felt himself slighted instead of honored by the frequency of the visits, and the expressions of homage with which Rabbi Judah meant to honor him, "Therein," the sage said, "lies my reason for telling you that man was not to address the throne of mercy every hour as you contended, since such frequency savors of contempt."

There is a most remarkable identity between the occurrences in the life of Joseph and those in the history of Zion and Jerusalem, and a remarkable similarity in the phrases employed in describing the respective events of each, whether in their adversity or in their prosperity. We read: "Israel loved Joseph" (Gen. xxxvii.), "The Lord loveth the gates of Zion" (Ps. lxxxvii.). Joseph's brethren hated him; "My heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest, it crieth out against me, therefore I hate it " (Jer. xii.). Joseph speaks of making sheaves; there are sheaves in connection with Zion (Ps. cxxvi.). Joseph dreamed: "When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion we were like them that dream" (Ps. cxxvi.). Joseph was asked, "Wilt thou rule over us?" "Say unto Zion thy God ruleth" (Isa. Iii.). Joseph was asked whether his father and brothers would prostrate themselves before him. "They shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth" (Isa. xlix.). Joseph's brethren were jealous; "Thus said the Lord of Hosts, I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy " (Zech. viii.). Joseph went to inquire about the peace of his brothers; Zion was to seek the peace of the city where she is captive (Jer. xxix.). - Joseph's brethren saw him from the distance; the same is said about Zion (Ezek. xxiii.). Joseph's brothers contemplated his destruction; so the nations contemplated the destruction of Zion (Ps. 1xxxiii.). Joseph was stripped of his coat of many colors; concerning Zion, the prophet says, " They shall strip thee of thy clothes" (Ezek. xvi.). Joseph was put into a pit; "They have put me alive into the dungeon" (lam. iii.). The pit into which Joseph was put contained no water. In connection with Zion, Jeremiah was put into a pit where there was no water (Jer. xxxviii.). Joseph's brothers sat down to their meal; "We have given the hand to Egyptians and to Assyrians to be satisfied with bread" (Lam. v.). Joseph was pulled up from the pit; Jeremiah, who in connection with his prophecy about Zion was put into a dungeon -as stated above - was drawn up from the dungeon (Jer.

iii.). Lamentations were raised about Joseph; " And in that day did the Lord call for weeping and mourning" (Isa. xxii.). In the case of Joseph consolation was rejected. " Labor not to comfort me" (Isa. xxii.) - Joseph was sold; " the children of Judah and of Jerusalem have you sold unto the Grecians " (Joel iv.). Joseph is described as handsome; " Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion " (Ps. x1viii.). Joseph was the greatest in his master's house; " the glory of the latter house shall be greater than the former" (Hag. ii.). The Lord was with Joseph; "Now mine eyes shall be open and mine ears attent unto the prayers that are made in this place" (2 Chron. vii.). Grace and loving kindness were shown to Joseph; concerning Zion God says, " I remember the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals " (Jer. ii.). Joseph was rendered presentable by changing his clothes, etc.; "When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion " (Isa. iv.). The throne of Pharaoh was above Joseph; " At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord " (Jer. iii.). Joseph was clothed, in grand garments; "Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion, put on thy beautiful garments " (Isa. lii.). Joseph was met by an angel; " Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way " (Mal. iii.).

There is a tendency with every man to become humble when near his death.

It matters not where the body is buried; the spirit goes whither it is destined.

Jacob's objection to being buried in Egypt was due to the fact that the Egyptians practised witchcraft by means of dead bodies, and be would not have his body utilized for such abominable practises.

There is no death to the righteous.

The righteous bless their offspring before they depart hence.

David was descended from Judah.

"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together "- or in unity (Ps. cxxxiii.). "O that thou wert as my brother" (Songs viii.). There are brothers and brothers. Cain and Abel were brothers, but the former slew the latter. Ishmael and Isaac were brothers, but there was no love lost between them. Jacob and Esau had no brotherly love for one another, nor did Joseph and his brothers show much love between them. David and Solomon had in their minds Moses and Aaron as typical brothers. One of the reasons why Moses so persistently hesitated to be the messenger to Pharaoh was his consideration for his brother Aaron, who was older and more eloquent than he, so that be hesitated to usurp what he considered should be Aaron's function. God, who knows the innermost thoughts of man, knew the real motive of Moses's refusal to accept the mission. Therefore we find God telling Moses, " Behold Aaron the Levite, thy brother, I know that he can speak well, and also behold be cometh forth to meet thee, and when he seeth thee he will be glad in his heart " (Exod. iv.). And as Aaron's delight at his younger brother's elevation was so great - for the phrade " glad in his heart " conveys his great delight - he was rewarded in that the Urim. and Thummim were on his heart (Exod. xxviii.). When Aaron met his brother in the mount of God he kissed him (Exod. iv.).

The staff of Moses had the initials of the names of the ten plagues written on it, in order that Moses should know in which order they were consecutively to be brought on Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

When we are told that Pharaoh took six hundred chosen chariots with which to pursue the Israelites, we are naturally met with the question whence he got those six hundred chosen chariots. He could not have obtained them from his people the Egyptians, for we find that " all the cattle of the Egyptians died " (Exod. ix.). They could not have been his own, for his own cattle also perished (Exod. ix.). Nor did the Israelites supply them, since they left with an their cattle; there was not a hoof to be left.

The explanation is found in the fact that those who feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made their cattle flee into the house when the bail was predicted (Exod. ix.), and these "fearers of the word of the Lord" among the Egyptians supplied Pharaoh with their animals for the purpose of pursuing the Israelites. By the character of those among the Egyptians who " feared the word of the Lord " that of the nation can be judged.

" Fear not, thou worm Jacob," says the prophet (Isa. x1i.). Why was Israel compared to a worm? As the insignificant worm is able to destroy a big cedar with no other weapon than its small weak mouth, even so is Israel able to prevail against his great persecutors with no other weapon but the prayers emanating from troubled hearts and uttered with the mouth.

How great is faith! It secures happiness and salvation. Abraham's faith was accounted to him as righteousness. It was the faith which the Israelites had that redeemed them from Egypt (Exod. iv. 31). Their faith on the bank of the Red Sea carried them over that sea and brought them to the land of promise. The Lord keepeth the faithful (Pa. xxxi.). The righteous liveth by his faith (Habak. ii.). The last redemption of Israel will only be effected through faith. See bow King David values faith (Pa. cv.). Concerning faith, David says, "This is the gate of the Lord, the righteous shall enter therein."

The lifting up of Moses's hands did not defeat Amalek, nor did the copper serpent stay the biting of the burning serpents. It was the directing by these of the hearts of the Israelites, with their prayers heavenward, that defeated Amalek and caused the fiery serpents to cease.

If you have acquired knowledge, do not simultaneously acquire a haughty spirit on account of your knowledge; and if you intend to expound God's word, recite to yourself twice or thrice what you intend saying. Even so great a man as Rabbi Akiba, when once called upon in the assembly to get up and preach, declined to do so, on the ground that he never preached unless he rehearsed his intended speech twice or thrice to himself.

Whilst man is not to seek public notoriety and distinction, he is not to err on the side of modesty and seclusion, and refuse to give his services in communal matters. Rabbi Asy, when approaching death, was visited by his nephew, who found the patient very depressed. "Death," said his nephew, "should not in your ease be attended with feelings of alarm. Think what you leave behind you, the learning you have acquired and imparted to an army of students, the charity you have practised, and the kindly acts you have done; is there any good that it was in your power to do that you have left undone? And you have been so modest withal; you have always eschewed putting yourself forward or seeking notoriety, and have not mixed in disputes and in communal matters."

"This," replied the good man, "even if all the good you said about me were quite correct, this alone would be sufficient cause for my depression, for I might perhaps have been able to render some service, had I not kept to myself but taken upon me the burden of communal affairs."

With idol-worshipers it is the habit to treat their gods according to the circumstances in which they find themselves, which they attribute -to' the actions of their gods. If their condition is favorable, they pay tribute to their god. " Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag, because by them their portion is fat and their meat plenteous," says the prophet (Habak. i.). If, on the other hand, adversities overtake them, they vent their anger on their gods. "And it shall come to pass," the prophet tells us, " that when they shall be hungry they shall fret themselves and curse their king and their god (Isa. viii.). Not so shall you do, my people, whose destiny is shaped out by the Creator of heaven and earth. Whatever befalls you, give thanks and praise unto your God. Are you in prosperity? do not forget the Giver; do not say in your heart, " My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth," but like David say, " I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of my God." If adversity overtakes you, if sorrow and trouble overtake you in the midst of the smooth current of your affairs, take up David's words again and say, " I found trouble and sorrow, then I called upon the name of my God."

The altar of God was to prolong man's life, and iron is a metal which can destroy man's life; therefore it was forbidden to use iron in the erection of the altar.

Slight no man. Every man was created in God's image.

Onkeles, the nephew of Hadrian - his sister's son - being anxious to embrace Judaism, yet being afraid of his uncle, told him that he wished to embark on a certain enterprise. When Hadrian offered him some money he refused to accept it, but said he wanted his uncle's advice, as he was inexperienced in the ways of the world. "Purchase goods," replied his uncle, "which do not, at present, command a high price, and are not favorites in the market, but for which there is reason to believe a demand at higher prices will eventually arise." Onkeles betook himself to Palestine, and gave himself up to study. After a time Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua recognized in him the face of a student; they took him in hand, solved all the difficult problems he put before them, and generally befriended him. On his return home he again visited his uncle Hadrian, who, noticing that his nephew did not look as well as was his wont, inquired whether he had met with any monetary reverses in his new enterprise, or had been injured in any way. "I have met with no monetary losses," said Onkeles, " and as your nephew I am not likely to be hurt by any one." Being further pressed for the reason of his poor looks, Onkeles told his uncle they were due to his excessive studies and to the fact that he bad undergone circumcision. "And who told you to do such a thing as to undergo circumcision? " demanded Hadrian. "I acted on your advice," replied Onkeles. "I have acquired a thing that stands at a low price just now, but will eventually rise in value. I found no nation in such low esteem and so sure to rise in value as Israel. For thus said the Lord, We Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, kings shall see and arise and princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful and the Holy One of Israel, he shall choose them 11 (Isa. xlix.). One of Hadrian's counselors advised his master to visit his nephew's misdeed with death, for which advice the adviser received such a sharp rebuke from Hadrian that he committed suicide. Hadrian, after the death of his minister, further discussed with his nephew the matter of his conversion, and again asked for the reason of circumcision. Onkeles, asked his uncle whether he had ever bestowed any distinction on any of his army who were not willing and ready to fight for his Majesty and for the country at the risk of life. " Neither could I be received into the fold of those to whom God has given his behests and statutes without having the seal of those great statutes put on me even at the risk of my life."

Whilst the Torah teaches peace and good-will to ones fellow man, it likewise teaches the necessity of standing up against evil deeds and even rebuking the evil-doer. Moreover, though all reverence and deference are due to one's teacher, yet in the matter of censurable conduct it becomes the pupil's duty to protest against it. Bad conduct is contaminating. One is apt to fall into the same error if one sees any evil act and does not lift up one's voice to protest against it.

He who rebukes his fellow man with a sincere desire to make him better comes within the inner walls of the heavenly pavilion.

You are not permitted to select injunctions of the Torah which you consent to observe, and reject others for the observance of which you can find no reason. In accepting God's word one is bound to implicit obedience to it, the rich should ever bear in mind that his wealth may merely have been deposited with him to be a steward over it, or to test what use he will make of his possessions. Not less should the poor remember that his trials may have been sent as a test of his fortitude.

Poverty outweighs all other sorrows.

“If you have taken a pledge from the poor,” says God to the rich, “do not say he is your debtor and you are therefore justified in retaining his garment. Remember you are my debtor, your life is in my hand. I return you all your senses and all your faculties after your sleep every day.”

Jewish litigants are to bring their disputes for adjustment before a Jewish court, and not to have recourse to outside tribunals.

Although witnesses have always to give their evidence standing, yet an exception may be made in the case of a distinguished (learned) man, who may be allowed to sit whilst giving evidence. Should he consider it beneath his dignity to give evidence at all, be may be exempted. This only applies to any suit regarding money matters (civil cases), but in criminal matters he is not to be exempted.

God's works accommodate one another without asking any interest. The day accommodates the night, and the night the day (according to season). The moon borrows from the stars, and the stars from the moon. The higher wisdom borrows from the simple or common sense; kindness borrows from charity, the heavens from the earth, and the earth from the heavens. The Torah borrows from righteousness, and righteousness from the Torah; all without charging any interest. Is man, and man only, not to extend a helping hand to his fellow man without exacting usury for a kind act?

Regarding the giving of alms, judgment and discretion should be exercised. Obviously, poor relatives have a prior claim to any other, and the poor of your town claim priority over those of another town.

"He who hath pity on the poor lendeth unto the Lord," says Solomon (Prov. xim). It is surely good enough for you, O man, to be God's creditor. Not that he will return to you exactly the coin you give to the poor; he will look even further into your deed. The poor man was perhaps famishing, and your timely help may have rescuea him from an untimely death; God, whose creditor you have become when you helped the helpless, will rescue you and yours from danger when it is near.

He who by usury and ill-gotten gain increaseth his substance, it sball be taken from him by him who pities the poor (Prov. xxviii.). When a non-Jew wants to borrow of you, you will perhaps say that since you are not permitted to take usury from your own compatriot you may take it from a nonJew. Be assured that such ill-gotten gain will be taken from you; probably by the authorities, to erect baths or other sanitary buildings for the poor or the stranger.

Why, asked Turnus Rufus, a heathen King, of Rabbi Akiba, have we incurred the hatred of your God so that He says, "I hate Esau"? (Mal. iii.). The Rabbi said he would reply to the question the next day. On his making his appearance the following day, the King, thinking that Rabbi Akiba bad postponed the answer the day before in order to invent meanwhile some lame explanation, said to the sage satirically, "Well, Akiba, what have you dreamt during the night?" Rabbi Akiba, taking the very question as the text for his reply, said, "I dreamed I became possessed of two dogs which I named Rufus and Rufina" (the names of the questioner and his wife).

The King, in a great fury, asked Rabbi Akiba how he dared offer him and his queen so gross an insult as to name his dogs by their names. "Wherefore this indignation?" returned R. Akiba calmly; "you and yours are God's creatures, so are dogs God's creatures; you eat and drink, produce your species, live, decay, and die; all this is also the case with dogs. Yet what umbrage you take because they bear the same name as you! Consider then that God stretched forth the heavens and laid the foundations of the Earth, is the Creator, Governor, and Ruler of all animate and inanimate things; yet you make an idol of wood and stone, worship it and call it by the name of God. Should you not then incur his hatred?"

A distinguished scholar was on a voyage at sea, and on board the same ship were some merchants with their goods. In the course of conversation they asked the scholar what was the nature of his goods. "My goods," he replied, "are invaluable." Knowing, however, that there was no cargo of his on board the ship, they ridiculed his assertion. After sailing some distance from shore the ship was overtaken by pirates, who robbed the ship of its cargo and took the very clothes the passengers were wearing, so far as they were of any value. Passengers and crew were only too thankful to escape with their lives and to clothe themselves with the rags which the pirates rejected. The scholar, as he did not wear any valuable clothes, was spared by the pirates as not being worth robbing, and landed at a small town, together with his fellow passengers, who made a sorry sight in the rags that served them as clothes. The learned man, whose reputation had gone before him, was asked and consented to deliver lectures on various scientific subjects, which he handled in a masterly fashion. The lectures excited great interest, and attracted large audiences from all the neighboring towns, with the result that the man not only found his lectures remunerative from a pecuniary point of view, but soon won the friendship of the leading men of the place, where he settled down and became an influential member of the community. Fate did not smile quite so kindly on his former fellow passengers, who, having unfortunately lost all their possessions, having no trade or profession, and being clothed in rags, found it impossible to get employment. Seeing the great position the professor held in the town, they called upon him and solicited the favor of his influence on their behalf.

This he unhesitatingly and ungrudgingly gave them; he procured employment for them, and reminded them how perfectly justified he was in styling his goods invaluable.

On several occasions the Israelites were numbered, a census taken. Nor as the owner of a flock of sheep is anxious to know how many he possesses, when anything untoward happens, when a wolf has been in their midst, he is again anxious to ascertain what loss has been sustained by the mishap. Thus Moses had the people numbered to see what loss there was after their punishment for making the golden calf.

Poor ignorant man, you want to find out God's ways; explain first the phenomenon of your own eye; it consists of white and black, and according to all reason the white should supply light, but in reality the little spot in the center of your eye is the lens to give you sight.

A man however so learned should not preach if his preaching is not agreeable to his audience.

A public teacher (preacher) must not only be thoroughly conversant with the twenty-four books of the Bible, but must be known to his flock as modest and distinguished for hiq virtues.

Moses, in spite of his being the mediator between God and his people in promulgating God's behests to them, and knowing God's intention of giving his law to his people Israel, in spite of all his varied and most wonderful qualities, and his having been in the mountain forty days and forty nights, during which he ate no bread and drank no water, in spite of all this, he is only looked upon as an earthly, a mortal being, the greatest of men, but only a mortal man.

There were forty thousand of the mixed multitude, who forced themselves on the Israelites at the Exodus and came out with them from Egypt. Among them were the two great Egyptian magicians of Pharaoh who imitated Moses's miracles before Pharaoh. Their names were Junus and Jumburius.

The living always have to arrange for the dead, such as bringing them to their resting-place, etc., but the dead are not called upon to provide anything for the living; yet behold, when any serious trouble or threats overtook the Israelites, though there were many righteous men in the camp, Moses, in his intercession had no recourse to them, but fell back upon those who had long since departed. "Remember," he prayed, "thy servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Solomon alluded to this when be said, "Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living, which are yet alive " (Eccles. iv.).

The "Mishna" would have been incorporated with the written Torah, but God saw that the Torah would eventually be translated into Greek and published as though it were the code entrusted to Greeks. Had the Mishna been together with the written law, the nations would have claimed to be the custodians of the whole of God's word. But the oral law, the key to and interpreter of the written law, being entrusted to Israelites only (which could not have been done had it been written) the Jews alone have the whole of God’s word with the interpretation in full.

Wisdom is granted by God to him who already possesses knowledge, not to the ignorant. A certain matron was arguing with Rabbi Jose ben Chlafta on this point of God giving wisdom to men of understanding. This, she thought, was paradoxical, as it would be more proper if God granted wisdom to simpletons, who are more in want of it than wise men.

Rabbi Jose put a simple question to her. "If two men," he asked, "were to appear before you, one wealthy and the other poor, each asking you for a loan of money, whom would you be more inclined to trust?" "Surely the one possessed of wealth," she replied. "God in his dispensation," said Rabbi Jose, "giveth wisdom to the man of understanding, who possesses and knows the value of it, and will make profitable use of the augmentation: like a man whom you would prefer to trust with your money, knowing that he has facilities to employ profitably what you lend him; whereas the fool entrusted with wisdom would abuse the precious gift and convert it into folly, like the poor man whom you would not care to trust, lest the money should be lost through his inability to employ it profitably."

Rabbi Eliezer ben Jose stated that he saw in Rome the mercy-seat of the temple. There was a bloodstain on it. On inquiry he was told that it was a stain from the blood which the high priest sprinkled thereon on the Day of Atonement.

The Torah was given in the wilderness, and, like the wilderness, it is free and open to all comers -without formalities or introductions: all that wish to do so can enter into it.

The boards for the Mishkan were made from shittim-wood, from a tree that does not bear fruit; thereby man is taught the virtue of economy: he should not waste anything of greater value when the same can be obtained by using articles of lesser value. Even the Mishkan was not to be made out of fruit-trees, since it could be made equally as effective out of trees bearing no fruit.

It is but right and proper that one should be right in the sight of God, but it is also desirable so to act as to be just and right in the eyes of man.

Slander no one, whether thy brother or not thy brother, whether a Jew or not a Jew.

In connection with the poor man's sacrifice, that of a handful of flour, and not in connection with the rich man's sacrifices (of bulls and rams) do we find the expression "and if any soul." God looked upon the poor man's offering of a handful of flour as though he had offered his life.

The righteous stand on a higher level than angels.

Those who aim at greatness do not always get it. Moses fled from it, but it was forced upon him.

God consulted the Torah when about to create man, but the Torah was dubious about calling man into existence, for since his days would be so short and his ways so perverted be would require much forbearance. God's reply was, "By thee (Torah) I declare myself as a God merciful, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and in truth."

"Swear not at all, not even to the truth."

Future bliss can neither be imagined, explained, nor described. We know nothing of its nature, form, greatness, or beauty, its quantity or quality. This much one should know, the phrase, "the world to come," does not imply that it is a world yet to be called into existence; it exists already, but the phrase is employed to describe the life into which those who are in the present stage of existence will be transposed when they throw off this mortal coil.

The leper, the blind, the abject poor, and those who have no progeny are as though dead.

Rabbi Judah Hannasi, arriving at a place called Semunia, was entreated by the community to select a rabbi for them. He sent them Rabbi Levi ben Sissyas, a learned and able man. Not long afterward the newly appointed Rabbi came to R. Judah Hannasi, the donor of his living, and whilst thanking him for the appointment expressed the fear that his position was not tenable. On being questioned for his reasons he answered that Scriptural passages were submitted to him for solution by his congregants which it was above his capability to solve. Among others be mentioned the passage, I will show thee that which is written, and which is true (Dan. x.). Hence they argue that there must be something written and which is -not true. Rabbi Judah Hannasi then explained: "Man," he said, "incurs retribution if he leaves matters as they are, and does nothing to avert the punishment decreed upon him. In this case what is written is true: his punishment will overtake him. But on the other hand, if he reflects and thinks over his evil ways, becomes contrite, repents and asks his merciful Father for forgiveness, and the deserved punishment is held back, in this instance what is written is not true."

By this hypothesis you are to reconcile some seemingly contradictory passages in Scripture, such as in 1 Sam. (ii. 25), where in connection with Eli's sons we have it that they harkened not unto the voice of their father because the Lord wanted to slay them. But, through the prophet, God sends us a message, "As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezek. xxxiii.). The answer is that there are sinners and sinners, those who do and those who do not repent.

Two sheep and two-tenth parts of flour were demanded as an offering, whereas of wine only the smallest possible quantity was to be offered. This was a hint that wine is always to be used sparingly, as indulgence in it leads to mischief.

The guardian angels are always near God's throne, but the accusing ones are kept at a distance.

Have no undue compassion for tyrants, and you will not become a tyrant over those who deserve compassion.

As an example of good manners and the virtue of considering the feelings of others, a story is related of a distinguished man who invited friends to his son's marriage. During the feast the bridegroom himself went to the cellar to fetch some very old and costly wine for the guests, when he was fatally bitten by a snake which was hidden under the casks. When the host learned the shocking news of his son's death he refrained from disturbing his guests' enjoyment, and when the feast was over and prayers after meat were about to be pronounced, he told the assembly that there would be burial-prayers for his son, who had met his death by the bite of a snake.

At Sinai the women received and accepted the Decalogue before the men.

Palestine is destined to be the center of the globe.

Before man had yet made his appearance on earth, the angels sanctified God's name and sang hymns before him in anticipation of man's advent. The words they used for their hymns were, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting." When Adam made his appearance they asked, "Is this the human creature in anticipation of whose advent we sang hymns?" They were told that this was not the one, as he would prove to be dishonest. At Noah's birth the angels exclaimed, "This time we behold the man." "No," they were told, this one will be given to "drinking." Nor did they guess well when they suggested Abraham was the right man when be made his appearance, for his progeny was Ishmael. Again they were undeceived when they hit upon Isaac as the man for whose coming they had sung hymns, for did he not beget Esau whom God hated. At the appearance of Jacob they again ventured a guess, and this time God said to them, "You have fixed on the right man. He shall be named Israel, and his descendants shall be called by his name." Hence God said to Moses, "Tell the children of Israel that they were sanctified before they were called into existence, and must therefore remain holy, even as their God is holy." So a king when bringing his newly married bride into his palace might say to her: "You are now united to me. I am king, therefore be you henceforth queen."

"When you come into the land you shall plant all manner of trees for food" (Lev. xix.). Although you will find "the land filled with all good things," yet you are not to abstain from labor, especially agriculture; you are to occupy yourselves in these pursuits. Even the old who have no reasonable expectation of eating of the fruits of their labor shall participate in the work of cultivating the ground.

The caution which King Solomon utters, "Rob not the poor" (Prov. xxii.), would seem superfluous. Who is likely to rob a poor man who has nothing to be robbed of? But his words go further than they seem to go at first sight. They mean that if you are in the habit of apportioning some of your substance to the poor it should not enter your mind to discontinue doing so. If you are tempted to say, why should I give my substance to others, remember that by your discontinuance you are robbing the poor. He and you are mine, and I may reverse the condition of things.

Regarding the ceremony of the red heifer (Numb. xix.), Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai explained to his pupils that its ashes could not render any unclean person clean. But as this is a statute of the Torah, we must inquire for no reason. If we refused to do anything that God commands without a definite reason, we should no longer be paying him simple obedience.

In addition, he continued, supposing one of the children of the kings servants had soiled the king's palace, the mother would naturally be fetched and asked to wash out the stain which her child had made. So the mother of the calf with which the Israelites polluted God's world is called into requisition to purify the pollution made by her offspring.

Apart from the essential qualifications for the office of high priest, he had also to be handsome, healthy, in a good financial position, a man of mature judgment, and of advanced age. When he was poor, but otherwise qualified, he was placed in a position beyond want One Pinchus, "the stone-cutter," being in every respect eminently fitted for the office of high priest except that he was poor, the priests amongst themselves contributed enough to make him actually a man of affluence.

Out of certain classes of things God has chosen one. Of days, the seventh was chosen and sanctified. Of years, too, the seventh was chosen as the Sabbatical year; and out of seven Sabbatical years one was selected as the Jubilee. Of countries, God made choice of Palestine. Of the heavens, the Aroboth was chosen for God's throne. Of nations, Israel was the choice, and of the tribes of Israel, that of Levi.

God blessed Adam, Noah, and Abraham, but he endowed Abraham with the power of blessing which the Lord will indorse.

During the twenty-six generations that passed from the creation to the giving of the Torah, the world was upheld by God's loving-kindness, which was, so to speak, the pivot upon which the world existed. When the Torah was given to and accepted by Israel, an additional support was given to the world upon which it could stand, and yet it was only like a bench standing upon two feet, not very well supported. With the erection of the Mishkan the world received a substantial support. So a stool which only stood upon two legs receives a third, and is rendered firm.

At the Exodus a compact was made with the Israelites, by which they undertook to erect the Mishkan for the Shechinah to dwell amongst them, and this is indicated in the 29th chapter of Exodus, "And they shall know that I am the Lord their God that brought them -forth out of the land of Egypt that I may dwell among them."

In order not to cause jealosy as to who should be the seventy elders, Moses cast lots by taking seventy-two slips representing six of each tribe, writing the word "elder " onseventy of the slips and leaving the two odd ones blank. Seventy-two men then drew blanks of them a slip, and those who drew blanks had to give up their claims.

The harp upon which the Levites played had seven strings.

God's behest were to be the guiding principle of the Israelite in all his doings throughout his earthly career. Plowing, sowing, reaping, threshing: these have all their laws by which he is to conduct them. In the making of dough, in killing meat, in the fruit of his trees, he has his laws, also about the hair of his head, his apparel, the building of his house, and the burying of his dead.

Orientals have some commendable habits. When they kiss they kiss the hand, not the mouth. They do not handle meat with their hands, but use knives. When they have to consider any important public matter, they assemble in the open outside the town.

The "Shekel, when mentioned in the Pentateuch, means one "sela"; in the Prophets it amounts to five and twenty "selaim"; but those in the Holy Writings (Hagiographa) are one hundred "selaim." There is an exception in the case of the "shekolim" which Ephron the Hittite asked of Abraham for the "cave of Machpelah": they also were one hundred "selaim " each.

Midian and Moab were enemies from time immemorial; but for the purpose of injuring the Israelites they overlooked their long-standing enmity: just as two dogs will very quickly desist from fighting if they see a wolf approaching, and will unite their strength against the advancing enemy. Balaam's services were so anxiously sought after because the Israelites and their leader, Moses, were known to have immense power with their mouth (prayer); therefore they wanted one who also bad great power with his eloquence.

When man confesses and says, "O God, I have sinned," the very messenger sent to punish him for that sin has his power paralyzed and his hand stayed.

To entice a man to sin is tantamount to taking his life.

If Moses had been a selfish man and had only considered himself and his own interest he would have delayed to avenge the Israelites on the Midianites as long as possible, because the duration of his earthly life was fixed for the time when he should have brought about vengeance on Midian (Numb. xxxi.). But like a faithful shepherd, unselfish and self-sacrificing as he was, he strove to consummate all his work without regarding his own life or his own interest, and as soon as that part of his duty was ripe for performance, and when it was to the advantage of his flock he set himself to do the work, knowing well that when that work was finished his earthly career was finished.

"Ye shall keep my statutes and my judgments, which if a man do he shall live in them" (Lev. xviii.): live in them, says God, but not die by them.

God gave the Torah to Israel, but all nations are to benefit by it.

Jews are under an oath not to reveal the time of redemption (those who may know it), not to prolong its consummation by their unrighteousness, and not to rebel against the ruling power.

Moses was born and died on the same day of the month, namely, the seventh day of Adar.

Moses prayed to God to show him his glory, and in compliance with that prayer God says, "I will pass all my goodness before thee" (Exod. iii.). Because God's goodness is God's glory; mercy and goodness are the brightest jewels in God's crown.

Death is designed for man from time immemorial. When the hour of man's departure hence arrives, nothing will save him from it If he had the wings of an eagle and could soar high up above the earth, he would, of his own accord, come down to meet his fate.- Death is a new gate for the righteous to enter in.

Do not weigh, as it were in scales, the importance or the insignificance of your acts, as long as they are acts of righteousness; and do not speculate and say, "I will not do is or that because it is only a small or light act in the scale of God's commandments; I will therefore rather perform a more important act, and my reward will be correspondingly greater." For this reason God hath concealed the nature of the reward for carrying out his statutes. A certain king hired workmen to cultivate his garden, but did not tell them what the reward would be for raising each kind of fruit or plant, for if he had done so the workmen would one and all have endeavored to produce the fruit for which the highest wage was promised, and the other products would have been neglected. Yet there are two commandments, one apparently of slight and the other of great importance, for which precisely the same reward is promised. (1) That of sending away the dam and retaining its young, for the carrying out of which well-being and long life are promised (Dent. xxii.); and (2) the honoring of parents, for which the same reward is assured. This tends to indorse what we maintain, that it is not for man to define the smallness or greatness of a godly act, or the nature and quality of the rewards. It is sufficient to know that the doing of God's will carries with it reward for faith and for doing it simply because we are told to do so.

Let not the Israelites be haughty and say that they only are the people who possess and live up to the commandments of God, for other nations, though not the recipients of God's laws, also have the commandments of the Lord as their life's guide, and glorify his name.

No affliction overtakes man without his having first some foreboding or warning of its coming.

No evil-doer can plead ignorance; for the two ways, the good and the evil, are so distinctly marked that it is impossible to mistake the one for the other. Moses was like the old watchman who sat on the high road where two paths, a stony and a smooth one, met, and constantly warned wayfarers which one to take.

God will eventually reveal his glory to all mankind as unmistakably as though he had placed his throne in the center of the heavens, and then moved it from one extreme end to the other, so that everybody should see and know it.

No one can imagine the reward of him who accepts all his sorrows and reverses with religious resignation.

Rabbi Akiba, in defiance of the mandate of the Grecian authorities, who prohibited the study of the Torah, was found by his friend, Prysus ben Judah, with a host of disciples, diligently pursuing his wonted research. "Knowest thou not," asked his friend, "the great danger thou art facing by thus defying the authorities? Take my advice and desist from thy studies."

"Your advice," returned Rabbi Akiba, "seems to me like the advice of the fox who., on seeing fishes swimming in a river here and there, told them to come out, and he would show them a resting-place in the rocks. 'Are you the wise one amongst the beasts of the field?' retorted the fishes. 'If in our own element we can find no rest and safety, how much worse will it be with us when we are out of it?' With us Jews the Torah is our very life (Prov. iv.). In pursuing its study I may incur the risk of losing my earthly life; in relinquishing it I face the certainty of moral and spiritual death."

The heart and mind of the priest when conducting divine service was not to be diverted by anything else; his whole heart and mind was to be concentrated upon the service.

It is not too much to say that discretion should be exercised regarding the names one gives to his children. There are instances in which a name implying evil qualities has been given to a child, and the child, when grown up into manhood, has exemplified by his life the meaning of his name.

Hope is held out here for man for everything. If he is in abject poverty, he may become rich; if he is sickly, it is not beyond the range of possibility for him to become robust; if he is captive, he may regain his liberty. Death is the only thing which man can not hope to escape. But let man take comfort in the thought that even so great a man as Moses, who spoke with God face to face, the head of all prophets, the greatest of men, did not escape death.

31.7 Perkei Avot

31.7.1 Chapter 1

1. Moses received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua; Joshua to the elders; the elders to the prophets; and the prophets handed it down to the men of the Great Assembly. They said three things: Be deliberate in judgment, raise up many disciples, and make a fence around the Torah.
2. Shimon the Righteous was one of the last survivors of the Great Assembly. He used to say: On three things the world is sustained: on the Torah, on the (Temple) service, and on deeds of loving kindness.
3. Antigonus of Socho received the Torah from Shimon the Righteous. He used to say: Be not like servants who minister unto their master for the sake of receiving a reward, but be like servants who serve their master not upon the condition of receiving a reward; and let the fear of Heaven be upon you.
4. Yosi ben Yoezer of Tzeredah and Yosi ben Yochanan of Jerusalem received the Torah from them. Yosi ben Yoezer of Tzeredah said: Let your house be a meetinghouse for the sages and sit amid the dust of their feet and drink in their words with thirst.
5. Yosi ben Yochanan of Jerusalem said: Let your house be wide open and let the poor be members of thy household; and do not talk much with women. This was said about one's own wife; how much more so about the wife of one's neighbor. Therefore the sages have said: He who talks too much with women brings evil upon himself and neglects the study of the Torah and will in the end inherit Gehenna.
6. Joshua ben Perachyah and Nittai the Arbelite received the Torah from them. Joshua ben Perachyah said: Provide for yourself a teacher and get yourself a friend; and judge every man towards merit.
7. Nittai the Arbelite said: Keep far from an evil neighbor and do not associate with the wicked; and do not abandon belief in retribution.
8. Judah ben Tabbai and Shimon ben Shetach received the Torah from them. Judah ben Tabbai said: Do not make yourself like those that present before judges. When parties to a Torah suit are standing before you they should be in your eyes as wicked men, but when they have departed from you they should be in your eyes as innocent, if they have accepted the verdict.
9. Shimon ben Shetach said: Examine the witnesses diligently and be cautious in your words lest through them they learn to falsify.
10. Shemayah and Avtalion received the Torah from them. Shemayah said: Love work; hate domination; and seek not undue intimacy with the government.
11. Avtalion said: Sages, be careful with your words lest you incur the penalty of exile and are called to a place where the waters of learning are impure and the disciples that come after you drink of them and die; and the Heavenly Name is consequently profaned.
12. Hillel and Shammai received the Torah from them. Hillel said: Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving your fellow creatures and bringing them close to the Torah.
13. Hillel used to say: He who aggrandizes his name, loses his name. He who does not increase his knowledge, decreases it. He who learns not, forfeits his life. He who makes unworthy use of the crown (of the Torah) shall pass away.
14. Hillel used to say: If I am not for myself who will be for me? Yet, if I am for myself only, what am I? And if not now, when?
15. Shammai said: Make your study of the Torah a fixed habit. Say little and do much, and receive all men with a cheerful face.
16. Rabban Gamaliel said: Provide yourself with a teacher and remove yourself from doubt, and do not accustom yourself to give tithes by estimation.
17. Shimon his son said: All my days have I grown up among the wise and I have not found anything better for a man than silence. Studying Torah is not the most important thing rather fulfilling it. Whoever multiplies words causes sin.
18. Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel said: On three things the world is sustained: on truth, on judgment, and on peace, as it is it says (Zechariah 8:16): “Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace.”

31.7.2 Chapter 2

1. Rabbi Judah the Prince said: Which is the proper course that a man should choose for himself? That which is an honor to him and elicits honor from his fellow men. Be as scrupulous about a light precept as of a weighty one, for you do not know the reward allotted for each precept. Balance the loss incurred by the fulfillment of a precept against the gain and the accruing from a transgression against the loss it involves. Reflect on three things and you will never come to sin: Know what is above you --a seeing eye, a hearing ear, and all your
deeds recorded in a book
2. Rabban Gamaliel the son of Rabbi Judah the Prince said: Great is study of the Torah when combined with a worldly occupation, for toil in them both puts sin out of mind. All study of the Torah which is not supplemented by work is destined to prove futile and causes sin. Let all who occupy themselves with communal affairs do so for Heaven's sake, for then the merit of their fathers sustains them and their righteousness endures forever. And as for you, G-d will then say: I count you worthy of great reward as if you had done it all yourselves.
3. Be careful in your relations with the government; for they draw no man close to themselves except for their own interests. They appear as friends when it is to their advantage, but they do not stand by a man in his time of stress.
4. He used to say: Do His will as if it was your will that He may do your will as if it was His will. Make your will of no effect before His will that He may make the will of others of no effect before your will.
5. Hillel said: Do not separate yourself from the community; and do not trust in yourself until the day of your death. Do not judge your fellow until you are in his place. Do not say something that cannot be understood but will be understood in the end. Say not: When I have time I will study because you may never have the time.

That one should not hold a grudge that will separate oneself from the community is essential here. To be a Jew is to forget grudges. One should attend a house of prayer regularly and recognize that while one prays in a community, the community may not accept him. Even Ruth, the great-grandmother of King David was not completely accepted so we must learn that we trust in G-d and not in man.[2951]

That one should speak openly and not cryptically; do not confuse others or put oneself above others with self-aggrandizing prophecies.

6. Hillel used to say: A brutish man cannot fear sin; an ignorant man cannot be pious, nor can the shy man learn, nor the impatient man teach. He who engages excessively in business cannot become wise. In a place where there are no men strive to be a man. 7. Moreover he saw a skull floating on the surface of the water and he said unto it: Because you drowned others they drowned you; and those that drowned you will eventually be drowned.
8. He used to say: The more flesh the more worms; the more possessions the more anxiety; the more women the more witchcraft; the more maidservants the more lewdness, the more manservants the more theft. But the more Torah the more life, the more schooling the more wisdom; the more counsel the more understanding; the more righteousness the more peace. If a man has acquired a good name he has gained something which enriches himself; but if he has acquired words of the Torah he has attained afterlife.
9. Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai received the Torah from Hillel and from Shammai. He used to say: If you have learnt much Torah do not claim for yourself moral excellence, for to this end you were created.
10. Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai had five disciples and these
are they: Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, Joshua ben Chananiah, Yosi the Priest, Shimon ben Natanel, and Elazar ben Arach.
11. He used to say their praise: Eliezer ben Hyrcanus is a plastered cistern which does not lose a drop; Joshua ben Chananiah -- happy is she that gave birth to him; Yosi the Priest is a saintly man; Shimon ben Natanel is fearful of sin; Elazar ben Arach is an ever-flowing spring.
12. He used to say: If all the sages of Israel were in one scale of the balance and Eliezer ben Hyrcanus in the other, he would outweigh them all. Abba Shaul, however, said in his name: If all the sages of Israel, together with Eliezer ben Hyrcanus were in one scale of the balance, Elazar ben Arach would outweigh them.
13. Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai said to them: Go and see which is the good a man shall cherish most. Rabbi Eliezer said, a good eye. Rabbi Joshua said, a good companion. Rabbi Yosi said, a good neighbor. Rabbi Shimon said, foresight. Rabbi Elazar said, a good heart. He said to them: I prefer the words of Elazar ben Arach to your words, for in his words yours are included.
14. He said to them: Go and see which is the evil way which a man should avoid. Rabbi Eliezer said, an evil eye. Rabbi Joshua said, an evil companion. Rabbi Yosi said, an evil neighbor. Rabbi Shimon said, he that borrows and does not repay. He that borrows from a man is as one that borrows from God, for it is written (Psalm 37:21) "The wicked borrow, and do not pay back, but the righteous are generous and keep giving." Rabbi Elazar said, an evil heart. He said to them: I prefer the words of Elazar ben Arach to your words, for in his words your yours are included.
15. They each said three things. Rabbi Eliezer said: Let the honor of your fellow be as dear to you as your own. Be not easily moved to anger. Repent one day before your death. Warm yourself before the fire of the sages, but be heedful of their glowing coals for fear that you be burned, for their bite is the bite of a jackal and their sting the sting of a scorpion and their hiss the hiss of a serpent, and all their words are like coals of fire.
16. Rabbi Joshua said: The evil eye, the evil desire and hatred of his fellow creatures put a man out of the world.
17. Rabbi Yosi said: Let the property of your fellow man be as dear to you as your own. Prepare yourself for the study of the Torah, for the knowledge of it is not yours by inheritance. Let all your deeds be done for the sake of Heaven.
18. Rabbi Shimon said: Be careful in the reciting of the
Shema and in prayer. When you pray do not make your prayer a form of routine but a plea for mercy and supplications
before G-d, for it is written (Joel 2:13), "For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing." Do not be wicked in your own mind.
19. Rabbi Elazar said: Be eager to study the Torah. Know what to respond to a heretic. Know before whom you toil and who is your employer who shall pay you the reward of
your labor.
20. Rabbi Tarfon said: The day is short, the task is great, the laborers are lazy, the wage is abundant and the master is urgent.
21. He used to say: It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task. Yet, you are not free to desist from it. If you have studied much in the Torah much reward will be given you, for faithful is your employer who shall pay you the reward of your labor. And know that the reward for the righteous shall be in the time to come.

31.7.3 Chapter 3

1. Akavya ben Mahalalel said: Reflect upon three things and you will not come to sin. Know from where you came and where you are going and before whom you are destined to give account and reckoning. From where have you come?--from a putrid drop. Wherr are you going?--to the place of dust, worm, and maggot. Before whom are you destined to give account and reckoning?--before the supreme King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be he.
2. Rabbi Chanina, an assistant of the high priest said: Pray for the welfare of the government, since but for fear of it men would swallow each other alive.
3. Rabbi Chananiah ben Teradion said: If two sit together and no words of Torah are interchanged between them, theirs is the session of the scornful, as it is written (Psalm 1:1) "Nor sit in the seat of scoffers." But when two sit together and words of Torah pass between them, the Divine Presence rests
between them, as it is written (Malachi 3:16) "Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the Lord and thought on his name." Scripture speaks here of two. Whence do we learn that if even one sits and occupies himself in the Torah, the Holy One blessed be he, appoints him a reward? Because it is written (Lamentations 3:28) "to sit alone in silence when the Lord has imposed it."
4. Rabbi Shimon said: If three have eaten at one table and have not spoken over it words of Torah, it is as though they had eaten of the sacrifices of the dead, for it is written (Isaiah 28:8) "All tables are covered with filthy vomit; no place is clean." But if three have eaten at one table and have spoken over it words of Torah, it is as if they had eaten from the table of God, for it is written (Ezekiel 41:22) "He said to me, "This is the table that stands before the Lord."
5. Rabbi Chaninah ben Chachinai said: He who stays awake at night and goes on his way alone and turns his heart to idle thoughts is liable for his life.
6. Rabbi Nechunya ben Hakanah said: Whoever takes upon himself the yoke of Torah, from him will be taken away the yoke of government and the yoke of worldly care; but whoever throws off the yoke of Torah, upon him will be laid the yoke of government and the yoke of worldly care.
7. Rabbi Chalafta ben Dosa of Kefar Chanania used to say: If ten men sit together and occupy themselves with the Torah, the Divine Presence rests among them as it is written (Psalm 82:1) "God has taken his place in the divine council." And from where do we learn that this applies even to five? Because it is written (Amos 9:6) "And founds his vault upon the earth." And how do we learn that this applies even to three? Because it is written (Psalm 82:1) "In the midst of the gods he holds judgment." And from where can it be shown that the same applies even to two? Because it is written (Malachi 3:16)"Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened." And from where even of one? Because it is written (Exodus 20:24) "In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you."
8. Rabbi Elazar of Bartota said: Render to Him that which is his, for you and all that you have are His, as David said (I Chronicles 29:14): "For all things come from You, and of Your own have we given you."
9. Rabbi Jacob said: If a man is walking by the way and is studying and then interrupts his study and says: "How fine is this tree?" or "How fine is this ploughed field?" Scripture regards him as though he was liable for his life.
10. Rabbi Dostai ben Yannai said in the name of Rabbi Meir: He who forgets one word of his study, Scripture regards him as though he was liable for his life; for it is written (Deuteronomy 4:9) "But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as not to forget the things that your eyes have seen." Could this apply even if a man's study was too hard for him? Scripture says (ibid.): "Nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life." Thus a person is not guilty unless he deliberately puts those lessons away from his heart.
11. Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa said: He in whom the fear of sin takes precedence of wisdom, his wisdom will endure; but he in whom wisdom takes precedence of his fear of sin, his wisdom will not endure.
12. He used to say: He whose works exceed his wisdom, his wisdom endures; but he whose wisdom exceeds his works, his wisdom will not endure.
13. He used to say: He who in whom fellow people find no delight, in him the G-d finds no pleasure.
14. Rabbi Dosa ben Hyrcanus said: Sleeping away the morning, drinking at noonday, childish playing and sitting in the meetinghouses of the unlearned remove a man from this world.
15. Rabbi Elazar of Modiim said: If a man profanes things which are sacred, and offends the holidays and puts his fellow to shame publicly, and makes void the covenant of Abraham our father, and teaches meanings in the Torah which are not according to Halakhah, even though he has a knowledge of the Torah and good works, he has no share in the world to come.
16. Rabbi Yishmael says: Be submissive to an elder and courteous to the young. Receive every man with good cheer.
17. Rabbi Akiva said: Jesting and frivolity lead a man towards promiscuity. Tradition is a safeguarding fence around the Torah. Tithes are a fence to wealth. Vows a fence to abstinence. Silence is a fence to wisdom.
18. Rabbi Akiva used to say: Beloved is the man that he was created in the image of G-d; an extra love is made known to him that he was created in G-d's image, as it says (Genesis 9:6) "for in His own image G-d made humankind". Beloved are the Jews that they are called sons to G-d; an extra love is made known to them that they are called sons to G-d, as it says (Deuteronomy 14:1) "You are children of the Lord your G-d." Beloved are the Jews that there has been given to them the precious instrument; an extra love is made known to them that they were given the precious instrument of the world's creation, as it says (Proverbs 4:2) "For I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching."
19. Rabbi Akiva said: All is foreseen, but freedom of choice is given. The world is judged in goodness, yet all is proportioned to one's work.
20. Rabbi Akiva used to say: All is given against a pledge, and the net is cast over all living; the shop stands open and the shopkeeper gives credit and the account book lies open and the hand writes. Every one that wishes to borrow let him come and borrow; but the collectors go their daily rounds and exact payment from man with or without his consent; for the collectors have that on which they can rely; and the judgment is a judgment of truth; and all is made ready for a feast.
21. Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah used to say: Where there is no Torah there is no culture; and where there is no culture there is no Torah. Where there is no wisdom there is no fear of G-d, and where there is no fear of G-d there is no wisdom. Where there is no knowledge there is no discernment; and where there is no discernment there is no knowledge. Where there is no food there is no Torah; and where there is no Torah there is no food.
22. He used to say: He whose wisdom is more abundant than his works, to what is he like? To a tree whose branches are abundant but whose roots are few; and the wind comes and uproots it and overturns it, as it is written (Jeremiah 17:6) "They shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when relief comes. They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land." But he whose works are more abundant than his wisdom, to what is he like? To a tree whose branches are few but whose roots are many; so that even if all the winds in the world come and blow against it, it cannot be stirred from its place, as it is written (Jeremiah 17:8) "They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit."
23. Rabbi Elazar Ben Chisma used to say: The rules about bird offerings and the rules about ritual impority of women are essentials of the Torah; but astronomy and linguistic numerics are incidentals to religious learning.

31.7.4 Chapter 4

1. Ben Zoma said: Who is wise? He who learns from all men, as it is written (Psalm 119:99) "I have gained understanding from all my teachers."
Who is mighty? He who subdues his passions, as it is written (Proverbs 16:32) "One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one whose temper is controlled than one who captures a city."

Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion, as it is written (Psalm 128:2) "You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you." "You shall be" refers to this world; and "it shall be well with you" refers to the world to come.

Who is honored? He that honors his fellow men as it is written (I Samuel 2:30) "For those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be treated with contempt."

2. Ben Azzai said: Be eager to fulfill the smallest duty and flee from transgression; for one duty induces another and one transgression induces another transgression. The reward of a duty is a duty, the reward of one transgression is another transgression.
3. He also used to say: Despise no man and deem nothing impossible; for there is no man who does not have his day and there is no thing that does not have its place.
4. Rabbi Levitas of Yavneh used to say: Be exceeding lowly of spirit, for the hope of man is with worms.
5. Rabbi Yochanan ben Baroka said: Whoever profanes the name of Heaven in secret will pay the penalty in public, whether it be done accidentally or intentionally.
6. Rabbi Yishmael his son used to say: He who learns in order to teach will be enabled both to learn and to teach. But he who learns in order to practice will be enabled to learn, to teach, to observe, and to practice.
7. Rabbi Tzadok used to say: Do not make the Torah a crown with which to aggrandize yourself, nor use it as a spade with which to dig. As Hillel used to say: He who makes worldly use of the crown of the Torah shall perish. Thus you may infer that any one who exploits the words of the Torah removes himself from the world of life.
8. Rabbi Yosi used to say: He who honors the Torah is himself honored by mankind. He who dishonors the Torah shall himself be dishonored by mankind.
9. Rabbi Yishmael his son said: He who shuns the office of judge rids himself of enmity, theft, and false swearing. He who presumptuously rules in Torah matters is foolish, wicked, and arrogant.
10. He used to say: Judge not alone, for none may judge alone except One. And say not, "Accept my opinion," for it is for them to decide and not you.
11. Rabbi Yonatan said: He who fulfills the Torah in poverty shall in the end fulfill it in wealth. He who disregards the Torah in wealth shall in the end disregard it in poverty.
12. Rabbi Meir said: Engage little in business but occupy yourself with Torah. Be humble in spirit before all men. If you neglect Torah many causes for neglecting it will present themselves to you; but if you labor in Torah then G-d has abundant reward to give you.
13. Rabbi Eliezer ben Jacob used to say: He who performs one commandment acquires for himself one advocate, while he who commits one transgression has gotten for himself one accuser. Penitence and good deeds are as a shield against punishment.
14. Rabbi Yochanan the sandal-maker said: Every assembly that is for a hallowed purpose shall in the end be established. But any assembly that is not for a hallowed purpose shall not ultimately be established.
15. Rabbi Elazar ben Shammua used to say: Let the honor of your student be as precious to you as your own; and the honor of your colleague as the respect due your teacher; and the respect towards your teacher as your reverence for G-d.
16. Rabbi Judah used to say: Be careful in teaching, for error in teaching amounts to deliberate sin.
17. Rabbi Shimon used to say: There are three crowns--the crown of the Torah, the crown of the priesthood, and the crown of kingship, but the crown of a good name surpasses them all.
18. Rabbi Nehorai said: Go as a voluntary exile to a place of Torah, and do not say that the Torah will follow you, for it is your companions who will make it your permanent possession. Do not rely upon your own understanding.
19. Rabbi Yannai used to say: It is not in our power to explain the well-being of the wicked or the sorrows of the righteous.
20. Rabbi Matyah ben Cheresh used to say: Be first in greeting every man. Be a tail among lions rather than a head to foxes.
21. Rabbi Jacob used to say: This world is like a hallway to the future world. Prepare yourself in the hallway that you may enter into the banquet hall.
22. He also would say: Better is one hour of penitence and good deeds in this world than all the life of the world to come. Better is one hour of spiritual repose in the world to come than all the life of this world.
23. Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar used to say: Do not appease your fellow in the time of his anger, nor comfort him while his dead lies before him. Do not question him in the time of his vow. Do not try to see him in the time of his disgrace.
24. Samuel the Younger used to say (Proverbs 24:17-18) "Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble, or else the Lord will see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from them."
25. Elisha ben Avuyah used to say: He who learns as a child, what is he like? He is like ink written on new paper. He who learns as an old man, what is he like? He is like ink written on blotting paper.
26. Rabbi Yosi bar Judah of Kefar ha-Bavli said: He who learns from the young, what is he like? He is like one who eats unripe grapes and drinks wine fresh from his wine press. But he who learns from the aged, what is he like? He is like one who eats ripe grapes and drinks old wine.
27. Rabbi Meir used to say: Do not look at the flask but at what is in it; there may be a new flask that is full of old wine and an old flask that does not even have new wine in it.
28. Rabbi Eleazar ha-Kappar used to say: Jealousy, lust, and ambition remove man from the world.
29. He also used to say: They who have been born are destined to die. They that are dead are destined to be made alive. They who live are destined to be judged, that men may know and make known and understand that He is G-d, He is the maker, He is the creator, He is the discerner, He is the judge, He is the witness, He is the complainant, and it is He who will in the future judge, blessed be He, in whose presence is neither guile nor forgetfulness nor respect of persons nor taking of bribes; for all is His. And know that everything is according to the reckoning. And let not your evil nature assure you that the grave will be your refuge: for despite yourself you were fashioned, and despite yourself you were born, and despite yourself you live, and despite yourself you die, and despite yourself shall you are destined to give account and reckoning before the supreme King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.

31.7.5 Chapter 5

1. By ten divine sayings the world was created. Could it not have been created by one? What does this teach us? In order to emphasize the guilt of the wicked who destroy the world that was created with ten sayings and the merit of the righteous who preserve the world that was created with ten sayings.
2. There were ten generations from Adam to Noah, to show how great was His patience, for every one of those generations provoked Him continually until he brought upon them the waters of the Flood.
3. There were ten generations from Noah to Abraham, to show how great was His patience, for every one of those generations provoked Him continually until Abraham, our father, came and received the reward of them all.
4. With ten tests was Abraham, our father, tested and he stood steadfast in them all; [they were] to show how great was His love.
5. Ten wonders were performed for our fathers in Egypt and ten at the sea.
6. Ten plagues did the Holy One, blessed be He, bring upon the Egyptians in Egypt and ten more at the sea.
7. Ten times our ancestors in the wilderness tested the Holy One, blessed be He, as it is written (Numbers 14:22) "Who ... tested me these ten times and have not obeyed my voice."
8. Ten miracles were performed for our fathers in the Temple:
  1. No woman miscarried from the odor of the flesh of the offerings;
  2. The flesh of the offerings never turned putrid;
  3. No fly was ever seen in the place of slaughter;
  4. The high priest never suffered a pollution on the Day of Atonement;
  5. Rain never quenched the fire of the wood arranged on the altar;
  6. No wind prevailed over the pillar of smoke;
  7. Never was a defect found in the omer or in the two loaves or in the showbread;
  8. Though the worshipers stood pressed together, they could freely prostrate themselves;
  9. Never did serpent or scorpion do harm in Jerusalem;
  10. And no man said to his fellow, “There is no room for me to lodge in Jerusalem.”

9. Ten things were created at twilight on the eve of the first Sabbath:
  1. The mouth of the earth (Numbers 16:32);
  2. The mouth of the well (Numbers 21:16);
  3. The mouth of the ass (Numbers 22:28);
  4. The rainbow;
  5. The manna;
  6. Aaron's staff;
  7. The Shamir, writing;
  8. The inscription on the tablets of the Ten Commandments;
  9. And the tablets themselves.
  10. Some also include the evil spirits, the grave of Moses, the ram of Abraham; and others add the original tongs, for tongs must be made with tongs.

10. Seven marks characterize the clod and seven the wise man.
  1. The wise man does not speak before one who is greater than he in wisdom
  2. And he does not break in upon the speech of his fellow.
  3. He is not hasty to answer.
  4. He asks what is relevant and answers according to the Halakah.
  5. He speaks on the first point first and on the last point last.
  6. Where he has heard no tradition he says, “I have not heard”;
  7. And he agrees to what is true. The opposites of these attributes are the marks of the clod.

11. Seven kinds of punishment come upon the world for seven classes of transgression.
  1. If some give tithe and some do not give tithe, there comes famine from drought. Some hunger while some have a sufficiency.
  2. When all resolve not to give tithes there comes famine from tumult and drought.
  3. And if they will not set apart dough offerings (Numbers 15:20) there comes an all-consuming famine.
  4. Pestilence comes upon the world because of crimes deserving the death penalties enjoined in the Torah that are not brought before the court; and because of the transgressions of the Torahs of the seventh year produce (Leviticus 25:1-7).
  5. The sword comes upon the world because of the delaying of justice and the perverting of justice; and because of those that teach Torah not according to the Halakah.
  6. Evil beasts come upon the world because of false swearing and the profaning of the name.
  7. Exile comes upon the world because of idolatry and incest and the shedding of blood; and because of neglect to give release to the soil during the sabbatical year.

12. At four periods pestilence increases:
  1. In the fourth year and the seventh year and in the year after the seventh year, and at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles every year.
  2. “In the fourth year”--because of neglect of the Poorman's Tithe in the third year (Deuteronomy 14:28-30).
  3. “In the seventh year”--because of neglect of the Poorman's Tithe in the sixth year.
  4. “In the year after the seventh year”--because of transgressing the Torahs of the seventh year produce.
  5. “At the end of the Feast of Tabernacles every year”--because of robbing the poor of the harvest gifts that are their due.

13. There are four types among men:
  1. He who says, "What is mine is mine and what is yours is yours"--this is the common type, though some say that this is the type of Sodom.
  2. He who says, "What is mine is yours and what is yours is mine"--he is an ignorant man.
  3. He who says, "What is mine is yours and what is yours is thine own"--he is a saintly man.
  4. And he who says, "What is yours is mine, and what is mine is mine"--he is a wicked man.

14. There are four temperaments among men:
  1. Easy to provoke and easy to appease--his loss is canceled by his gain.
  2. Hard to provoke and hard to appease--his gain is canceled by his loss.
  3. Hard to provoke and easy to appease--he is a saintly man.
  4. Easy to provoke and hard to appease--he is a wicked man.

15. Four characteristics are found among students:
Quick to learn and quick to forget, his gain is canceled by his loss.

Slow to learn and slow to forget, his loss is canceled by his gain.

Quick to learn and slow to forget, his is a happy lot.

Slow to learn and quick to forget, his is an unhappy lot.

16. There are four types of charity-givers:
He who wants to give but does not wish that others should give--he begrudges what belongs to others.

He who wants that others should give but not that he should give--he begrudges what belongs to himself.

He who wants to give and also that others should give--he is a saintly man.

He who does not want to give himself and does not wish that others should give--he is a wicked man.

17. There are four types among those who attend the house of study:
He who goes and does not practice (study)--he has the reward of his going.

He who practices (studies) but does not go--he has the reward of his practicing (studying).

He who goes and also practices (studies)--he is a saintly man.

He who neither goes nor practices (studies)--he is a wicked man.

18. There are four types among those who sit in the presence of the sages: the sponge, the funnel, the strainer, and the sieve.
"The sponge," who soaks up everything. "The funnel," who takes in at this end and lets out at the other. "The strainer," who lets out the wine and retains the dregs. "The sieve," who removes the coarse meal and collects the fine flour.

19. Whenever love depends upon something and it passes, then the love passes away too. But if love does not depend upon some ulterior interest then the love will never pass away.
What is an example of the love which depended upon some material advantage? That of Amnon for Tamar. And what is an example of the love which did not depend upon some ulterior interest? That of David and Jonathan.

20. Any controversy waged in the service of God shall in the end be of lasting worth, but any that is not shall in the end lead to no permanent result.
Which controversy was an example of being waged in the service of G-d? Such was the controversy of Hillel and Shammai. And which was not for G-d? Such was the controversy of Korah and all his company.

21. Whoever leads the masses in the right path will not come to any sin, but whoever leads the masses astray will not be able to repent for all the wrong he commits.
Thus Moses was virtuous and he led the masses in the right path, and their merit is ascribed to him, as it is written (Deuteronomy 33:21) "He executed the justice of the Lord, and His ordinances for Israel."

But Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, sinned and caused the multitude to sin, and so the sin of the masses is ascribed to him as it is written (I Kings 15:30) "Because of the sins of Jeroboam that he committed and that he caused Israel to commit."

22. Whosoever possesses these three qualities belongs to the disciples of Abraham our father: a generous eye, a humble spirit, and a meek soul.
But he who possesses the three opposite qualities--an evil eye, a proud spirit, and a haughty soul--is of the disciples of Balaam the wicked.

How do the disciples of Abraham differ from the disciples of Balaam? The disciples of Abraham enjoy this world and inherit the world to come, as it is written (Proverbs 8:21) "Endowing with wealth those who love me, and filling their treasuries." The disciples of Balaam inherit Gehenna and go down to the pit of destruction, as it is written (Psalm 55:23) "But you, O G-d, will cast them down into the lowest pit; the bloodthirsty and treacherous shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you."

23. Judah ben Teima used to say: Be strong as the leopard, swift as the eagle, fleet as the gazelle, and brave as the lion to do the will of your Father in Heaven. He also used to say: The impudent are for Gehenna and the affable for Paradise. (He used to pray ): May it be thy will, O Lord our G-d and G-d of our fathers, that the Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days, and grant our portion in your Torah.
24. He used to say: At five years old a person should study the Scriptures, at ten years for the Mishnah, at thirteen for the commandments, at fifteen for the Talmud, at eighteen for the bridechamber, at twenty for one's life pursuit, at thirty for authority, at forty for discernment, at fifty for counsel, at sixty to be an elder, at seventy for gray hairs, at eighty for special strength (Psalm 90:10), at ninety for decrepitude, and at a hundred a man is as one who has already died and has ceased from the affairs of this world.
25. Ben Bag-Bag used to say of the Torah: Turn it and turn it again, for everything is in it. Pore over it, and wax gray and old over it. Stir not from it for you can have no better rule than it.
26. Ben Heh-Heh used to say: According to the effort is the reward.[2952]


Text 31-3: When the rain comes down
When the rain comes down it will wash away our sins.
It will wash away our lonely tears.
Rain comes down.

Text 31-4: Tree and animals
Trees bow down, animals serving; these are the symbols of this time.

Text 31-5: Sidhartha on Playing the Song of Life
“If you tighten the string to tight it will snap; if you leave it to loose it will not play.”
(Sidhartha’s awakening from asceticism.)

Text 31-6: Walt Whitman on the Atoms that All of Us Have Shared Over Time
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same”
(Walt Whitman, ‘Song of Myself’)

Be bittul and humble and nullify your own importance.

Text 31-7: Lao Tzu
“Those who know others are clever; those who know themselves have discernment;
those who overcome others have force; those who overcome themselves are strong;
those who know contentment are rich; those who persevere are people of purpose.”
-- Paraphrase of Lao Tzu[2953]

Text 31-8: Leonardo da Vinci
"...and once you have tasted flight
you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,
for there you have been and there you long to return."
-- Leonardo da Vinci

31.9 Rabbi Nachman’s Seven Beggars

Rabbi Nachman shows how every disadvantage we appear to have is a gift to help others.[2954]

Text 31-9: The Story of the Seven Beggars, by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.

It once happened that there was a king that had an only son. The king decided to hand over the kingdom to his son, during his lifetime. The king held a huge feast, in order to celebrate the transfer of the monarchy. For sure, anytime that a king holds a feast, it is a time of great rejoicing, and especially on such an occasion, to celebrate such an important event. All the ministers of the kingdom and all the nobility of the land were invited, and there was tremendous joy at the feast. Also the people of the land were very excited that the king was handing over the monarchy, for this was also a very great honor for the king himself. There were all kinds of entertainment at the ball, orchestras and comedians, and so on, and an atmosphere of complete happiness.
In the midst of the celebration, the king stood up and spoke to his son, "Since I am an astrologer, I can see from the stars that in the future you are going to lose the monarchy, and when that happens, I want you to be very careful not to fall into depression. Rather, you must force yourself to remain happy. And if you do succeed in remaining happy, then I will also be happy. In fact, even if you become depressed, I will still be happy. I will be happy that you are no longer king. For if you can not remain happy despite losing the kingship, that will be a sign that you were not worthy of being king. But if you do manage to remain happy, then I will be very happy indeed."
The prince took complete control over the kingdom. He appointed new ministers and officers of state. The prince was extremely wise. He loved wisdom very much, and he surrounded himself with wise men. Anyone who was a master of any particular type of wisdom found great favor in his eyes, and was given much importance, and either money or honor, whichever he preferred. And since wisdom was so important, all the people, also, started to dedicate themselves to learning all kinds of wisdom, in order to receive either wealth or honor. However, because the whole nation was completely immersed in their learning, they forgot all the strategies of war. This continued until they reached such a level, that even the simple people of that land, in any other country, would be considered extremely wise. And the wise men were very wise indeed. But because of their wisdom they all became atheists, and they drew the king after them, into their atheism. However this did not affect the simple people, the highest levels of wisdom were too abstract for them to grasp, so they were not damaged. But the very wisest men and the king, they all became complete atheists.
The king, because he still had some good inside him, for he had been born with good qualities, would think to himself, from time to time, "Where have I got to, how can it be that I should conduct myself in such a way...," and he would moan and sigh that he had fallen into such twisted and mistaken ways. But immediately he would return to his wisdoms, and in doing so, return to his atheistic beliefs. This would happen to him regularly.

It once happened that there was a flight from a certain country, the whole country fled. During the flight they passed through a forest, and a little boy and a little girl, about four or five years old, got lost. They started crying, because they had nothing to eat. Suddenly a beggar appeared, with his sack on his shoulder. The children went over to him, and started to follow him. He gave them some bread, which they ate. He asked them, "How did you get here?" They answered that they did not know, for they were very young children. He started to walk away, so they asked him if he would take them with him. He answered that he did not want to take them with him. During this conversation they suddenly realized that he was blind, and they could not understand how he was able to find his way. (It is interesting that they were able to appreciate the problem, for they were still very young, however they were very intelligent.) The beggar blessed them that they should become like him, that they should be old like him, and then he left them some more bread to eat, and he went on his way. The children realized that Hashem was watching over them, and that He had sent the beggar to bring them food.
When they had finished the bread, they started to cry out for more food. Later night fell, and they went to sleep. In the morning they woke up, and again cried for more food. Suddenly a deaf beggar appeared. They tried to speak to him, but he signaled to them with his hands that he was unable to hear. He also gave them bread to eat, and started to go on his way. They wanted him to take them with him, but he did not agree. However, he did bless them that they should be like him, and then he also left them some bread, and went on his way.
Again, the bread finished and they cried out for more food. Suddenly a beggar appeared, who stammered. They tried to speak to him, but they were unable to understand his answers. He understood them, but they could not understand him. He also gave them bread to eat, blessed them that they should be like him, and went on his way.
Then came a beggar with a crooked neck, and exactly the same story as before. Then a hunch-backed beggar. Then a beggar with no hands, and finally a beggar with no feet, each one gave them bread, and blessed them that they should be like him, as above.
Again they finished the bread, and so they decided to walk and see if they could find some kind of a settlement. They walked until they found a path, and followed the path until they came to a village. They walked up to a house, where the people had mercy on them and gave them bread. Similarly at the second house, and so on. They realized that things were going well for them, and made a pact between them that they should always stay together. They made for themselves large sacks, with which they went begging from door to door, and to all the celebrations, to the special meals served for a Bris Mila and to Weddings and so on. They then moved on to the next town. And from town to town, begging from door to door, and at the markets they used to sit amongst the other beggars, holding out their begging bowls. Until they became well known amongst the beggars. They all knew them, that they were the children that had got lost in the forest.
One time there was a huge market in a certain town. The beggars went there, and so too did the children. The beggars hit upon the idea of marrying the two children together. Everyone agreed, and the matter was decided. The only question was how to make for them a marriage feast. Then they remembered that soon it was going to be the king's birthday, and they decided that all the beggars should go to the feast, and whatever they managed to beg for themselves there, meat and bread, with that they would make the wedding. So that is what they did, they collected whatever bread and meat that they could, also anything left over, and they went and dug a huge pit in the ground, big enough to hold a hundred people, and they covered it over with sticks and earth and refuse. And they all went inside and held a wedding for the children. It was a tremendously happy occasion, and the children themselves were also very happy.
The children remembered the great kindness that Hashem had done for them, in sustaining them while they were in the forest, and they started to cry out and yearn for the first beggar, the blind one, that had given them bread while they were in the forest. And as they were yearning for him to come to the celebration, he suddenly spoke up and said, "Here I am. I have come to your wedding. And now I will give you as a wedding present that which I blessed you before, that you should be old like me. When I first met you, I only gave it to you as a blessing, but now I am giving it to you as a wedding present, that you should have a long life, like mine. You think that I am blind, but in fact I am not blind at all. It is just that all the time that the world has been in existence is no longer for me than the wink of an eye. (Which is why it seemed as if he was blind, for he simply did not look at the world at all, since all the time that had passed in the world was to him just the time it takes to blink the eye.) For I am very, very old, and yet I am like a suckling child, that has not even started to live. Nevertheless, I am still very old. And not only I myself say this, I also have the approbation of the Great Eagle. I will relate to you the story.... Once there were many people traveling in ships on the sea. A storm wind blew up and destroyed all the ships, but the people were saved. They came to a tower, and went inside, and found there sufficient food and drink and clothes to cover all their needs. They had there everything that they could possibly need. They decided that each one of them should tell an old story, that they should each relate their very earliest memory. There were both young and old people there. They decided to honor the oldest person there by letting him tell his story first. He said, "What can I tell you, I can remember as far back as the apple being cut from the branch." And no one there understood what he meant. However, there were some very wise men there, and they said that that was certainly a very old story indeed. And it was the turn of the next oldest. The next eldest said, "You call that an old story? I myself remember that, and not only that, but I also remember the candle when it was lit." Everyone agreed that that was certainly an older story than the first. But still, it was a wonder to them, how the second, who was younger than the first, could actually remember further back. And then it was the turn of the third oldest. He spoke up and said, "I remember when the fruit first started to be formed." They all agreed that this was an even older story than the first two. The fourth eldest related, "I remember when the seed was taken to be planted." The fifth eldest related, "I even remember the wise men planning and inventing the seed." The sixth related that he could remember the taste of the fruit, even before it had entered into the fruit. The seventh related that he could remember the fragrance of the fruit, even before it entered into the fruit. The eighth remembered the look of the fruit, even before it became a fruit. I, (the blind beggar telling the story,) also was there, I was a very young child, and I told them how I could remember all their stories, and furthermore, I could remember when there was absolutely nothing at all. They all agreed that this was the oldest story of all, and they could not understand how the youngest could actually tell the oldest story, that he could remember more than those older than him. Following this, the Great Eagle came and knocked on the tower, and said to them, "Stop being so poverty stricken. Return to your treasures, and use them." He told them that they should leave the tower in descending order, eldest first, and he took them all out of the tower. First of all, he took the very youngest, who was in fact, older than them all. Then the next youngest, and so on, the eldest of all leaving last of all. Because whoever was the younger, was actually the older, and the oldest was the youngest of all.
The Eagle said to them, "I will explain to you the stories that each of you told. The one who told how he could remember the apple being cut from the branch. He was able to remember only as far back as the cutting of his umbilical cord. The one who remembered the lit candle, he could remember as far back as when he was an embryo, and a candle was alight above his head. The one who remembered the forming of the fruit, was remembering the actual forming of his body, at the time of the creation of the embryo. The one who remembered the seed being taken to be planted, was remembering the transferring of the seed at the time of conception. The one who remembered the wise men inventing the seed, was remembering the time that the seed was still in the brain, (for the creation of the seed starts in the brain.) The one who remembers the taste, that is the soul, (the nefesh.) The smell, that is the spirit, (the ruach.) The sight, that is the inner most point, (the neshama.) And the child that remembered nothing at all, his is the earliest memory of all, for he remembers even that which came before the nefesh, ruach and neshama, which is the aspect of absolutely nothing."
The Eagle then said to them, "Return to your ships, which are your broken bodies which have been rebuilt. Now you will be able to return to them." And he blessed them. And as for me, (the blind beggar telling the story,) the Great Eagle said to me, "You come with me, because you are like me. For you are very old, and yet very young, and still, you have hardly even started to exist. Even so, you are very very old. I am also that way, for I am also very old, and yet very young." So you see, I have the approbation of the Great Eagle, (that I have lived a very long life,) and now I give you a long life, like mine, as a wedding present." And there was tremendous happiness and rejoicing, there at the feast.

On the second of the seven days of the wedding feast the young couple remembered the second beggar, the deaf one, that had sustained them and given them bread. They were yearning and longing for him to come to the feast, and suddenly he appeared and said, "Here I am." And he embraced them and kissed them and said, "Now I will give you a present, that you will be like me. That you should have a very good life, like mine. Originally I gave it to you as a blessing, but now I am giving you the good life that I lead, as a present. You think that I am deaf. But really I am not deaf at all. It is simply that the whole world has no value in my eyes whatsoever, that I should listen to all its lackings. Because all the sounds that are heard in the world are only due to something that is lacking. Every single person crying out over what he is missing. And even all the sounds of happiness in the world, even they are only due to a lack of something, that the person was lacking something, which he has now received. Therefore, all the sounds of the world are of no importance to me, that I should allow to enter into my ears all the cries of the people crying out for what they are missing. For I live such a good life that I do not lack for anything. And I have the approbation regarding this, that I live such a good life, from the Land of Riches." And the good life that he lead was that he had bread to eat and water to drink. (And he related to them the story...)
"For there is a country that is tremendously rich, that has unbelievable treasures. One time a group of people got together, and each one was boasting about the good life that he lead, how he was able to live such a good life. I stood up and said to them, "The good life that I lead is far better than the good life that any of you lead. And the proof is... if you lead such a good life, let us see if you can save a certain country. For there is a country that used to have a garden, and the fruit that grew in the garden had all the tastes in the world. The fruit also contained all the smells and sights in the world. It also grew all the flowers in the world, everything possible grew in the garden.
There was a gardener there who watched over the garden. The people of that country used to live such a good life, because of that garden. But then they lost the gardener, and everything in the garden went to ruin, for there was no one to watch over it. Still, they were able to continue to live from the under growth that still remained. Then a cruel king attacked their country, but he had no success against them. So he went and damaged the good life that they still had from the garden. Not that he was able to damage the garden itself. Rather, what he did was to place in the country three groups of slaves, and he commanded them to do exactly according to his instructions. And through this they damaged the sense of taste. For through whatever it was that they did, all the food that every one ate had the taste of rotting flesh. They also damaged the sense of smell, so that all the smells had a smell of bitterness. Similarly they damaged the sense of sight, so that it seemed to people that they were looking at everything through clouds and darkness." (This is all through what the slaves of the cruel king achieved, through following his instructions.) "And now, if you are really able to live the good life, let us see if you are able to save them. Furthermore, (all this is being said by the deaf beggar,) if you do not save them, all the suffering that this particular country is going through, you could find yourselves facing exactly the same problems.
So all the rich people traveled to that country, and I went with them. And on the journey, each one of them continued to live his own particular good life, for they still had all their treasures, etc. But when they started to come close to the country, also their sense of taste, etc. began to be damaged. I said to them, "If you have not even reached there yet, and already you are starting to be affected, what is going to be when you get there? And furthermore, how on earth are you going to be able to save them?" So I took from my bread and water and gave some to them, and they were able to taste in my bread and water all the tastes in the world, and their sense of taste, etc. was restored.
Meanwhile, in the country with the garden, the people started looking into how they would be able to rectify the damage that they were suffering. They said to themselves..."What about the Land of Riches, (the one mentioned previously,) surely the gardener who used to work here, (through whom they received their good life,) is from the same root as the people there, for they also have a good life." They decided to send for help to that country, for surely they would be able to save them. And we happened upon the messengers that they had sent, as they traveled towards us, in the direction that we had come from. They asked the messengers..."Where are you going?" They answered, "We are going to the Land of Riches, to ask them for help, that they should come and save us." The people from the Land of Riches said..."We are from that land, and we are on our way to you." I, (the deaf beggar telling the story,) said to them, "You are going to need my help, because you alone will not be able to save them, (as previously explained.) In fact, you had better wait here, while I go with the messengers to save the country."
So I went with them, and entered into one of the cities. and I heard how one person would tell a joke, and a few people would gather around, and they would all laugh together. I listened more closely, and heard that they were telling obscene jokes. One would tell a dirty joke, and a second would continue it, another would laugh, and a fourth would listen in enjoyment, etc. I then went to a different city. I saw two people arguing over a business deal. They went to court and the case was decided. But when they left the court, they started arguing again, because they were not happy with the judgment. They then decided to go to a different court, for judgment. After leaving the court, one of them started arguing with somebody else, and they then went to a yet another court for judgment. The whole city was full of arguments, and people taking each other to court, so the whole city had to be full of courts. I realized that all this was because there was no truth there. The judge would favor one side, and then he would do the other a favor in return, and ultimately the whole city was full of bribery, and not the slightest trace of justice.
I later noticed that in fact, all their behavior was completely immoral, so much so that it had become totally permitted to them. And I said to them that this is the reason that their taste, smell and sight had been damaged. For the cruel king had left his three groups of slaves there, in order to damage their way of life. And they went around making obscene jokes, which introduced obscenity into the land, which is what ruined the sense of taste, that all foods tasted like rotting flesh. They also introduced bribery into the land, which affected their eyes and ruined their sight, as it is written, "bribery blinds the eyes of the wise." They also introduced immoral behavior into the land, which ruined the sense of smell, (as we have said elsewhere, that immoral behavior damages the sense of smell.) "Therefore, purge the land of these three sins, and hunt out these three groups of slaves, and throw them out. And if you do all this, not only will you repair the senses of taste, sight and smell, you may even be able to find your lost gardener."
They did this, and started to cleanse the country of these three sins. Also they searched after the cruel king's slaves, and each time they would catch someone, they would ask him, "Where are you from?" Until they identified all the slaves, and threw them out, and purified the country from all the sins. Suddenly a commotion was heard, "Could this crazy person who is wandering around saying that he is the gardener, the one that everyone throws stones at and runs him away, could it really be that this is our old gardener?" And they bought him before the leaders, who were rectifying the country, (and the deaf beggar was also amongst them,) and I said to them, "Absolutely, this is your true gardener." (So it turns out that through him, the country was rectified.)
So you see, I have the approbation of the Land of Riches that I really do lead the good life, for I was able to fix that country. And now, I give you as a gift my good life." And the happiness and rejoicing was overwhelming, there at the feast. (And so it is with each of the beggars, they each come to the feast, and give as a present, that which was originally given as a gift, that the couple should be like them, etc.) The first one gave them a present of a long life, and the second gave them a present of a good life.

On the third day, the couple remembered the third beggar, the one who stammered, and longed and yearned for him to come to the feast. As they were yearning for him, suddenly he appeared, and said, "Here I am." He embraced and kissed them, and said, "Previously I only blessed you, that you should be like me, but now I give it to you as a wedding present. You think that I am unable to speak properly, but that is incorrect, it is just that all the speech of the world, which is not praise of Hashem, is incomplete. I, however, am a fabulous orator, and I can tell over the most wondrous poetry and prose. So much so, that no being in the world would not want to listen to me. And everything that I say is filled with the most wondrous wisdom. And I have the approbation regarding this from a great man, who is known as the Man of True Kindness. And about this there is a whole story.
Once, all the wise men were sitting together, and each one was boasting about his particular wisdom. One boasted that, with his wisdom, he had been able to invent iron. Another had invented a different metal. Yet another said that he had invented silver, which was even more valuable. And another said that he had invented gold. One said that he had invented weapons, and one said that he had invented the making of metals out of other metals. Another boasted about a different wisdom. For there are many things in the world that have been created through wisdom, for instance gun powder, and the like. Each one boasted about his particular wisdom.
One of the people there said, "I am wiser than all of you, for I am as wise as the day." No one understood what he meant. He explained, "All your wisdoms could be collected together, and it would not amount to more than one hour. Despite the fact that they have all been drawn from different days, according to whatever was created on that particular day, still they are only combinations, that could be combined into one hour. But my wisdom is that of a complete day." I, (the beggar with the stammer,) asked him, "Like which day are you as wise as?" He answered, "This man is wiser than me, since he has the intelligence to ask such a question. The answer to your question is that I am as wise as any day that you choose." Now you could ask, how come the one who asked, "like which day," is wiser than the one who is as wise as any day, and regarding this there is a complete story....
For this Man of True Kindness is indeed a very great man, and the beggar with the stammer goes around collecting all the acts of true kindness that are done, and brings them to the Man of True Kindness. For the main existence of time, (for time itself is a creation,) is through all the true acts of kindness that are done. And the beggar with the stammer, he collects them all up, and brings them to the Man of True Kindness.
For there is a mountain, and on this mountain stands a rock, and from the rock flows a Spring. Everything that exists has a heart. Also the world itself has a heart. And the Heart of the world is a complete structure, with a face, and arms, and legs etc. But the toenail of the Heart of the world has more heart in it than any other heart in the world. And this mountain with its rock and its Spring, stands at one end of the world, and the Heart of the world stands at the other end. And the Heart stands opposite the Spring, and is filled with a mighty yearning to come to the Spring, crying out constantly, that it should be able to come to the Spring. And the Spring, similarly, is constantly yearning for the Heart. But the Heart has two things that weaken it, one is that the sun concentrates its rays on it and burns it, (because it is longing so much to go to the Spring.) And the second is that it is terribly weak, precisely because of its tremendous yearning to go to the Spring. And when it needs to rest a little, that it needs to have a break from such a powerful desire, a huge bird comes and flaps its wings on it, and shields it from the sun. But even while it is resting, still it is constantly looking at the Spring, and yearning to come to it. So if it is yearning so much to come to the Spring, why does it not just get up and go to it? The reason is, that when it comes close to the mountain, it can no longer see the summit, and therefore it can not see the Spring. And were it to stop looking at the Spring, it would die, because its whole existence comes from the Spring. As long as it stands at a distance, it can see the summit of the mountain, and the Spring, but as soon as it gets close to the mountain, it looses sight of the summit, (as can be easily demonstrated,) and therefore of the Spring, and then it starts to die, G-D forbid. For were the Heart to die, G-D forbid, the whole world would cease to exist. For the Heart is the life of everything in existence, and obviously, there is no life without a heart. This is the reason that it cannot go to the Spring. All it can do is to stand opposite it, and yearn and cry out for it.
And as for the Spring, it has no time of its own, because it does not exist within the parameters of time. However, the Heart gives it time as a present, one day at a time. And when it comes to the end of each day, at which point the Spring has no more time, and is about to die, G-D forbid, which would thereby cause the Heart to die also, G-D forbid, which would cause the whole world to cease to exist, G-D forbid. At the very end of the day, the two take leave of each other, with the most wonderful poems and verse, filled as they are with such a love and longing for each other. That is when the Man of True Kindness, who is watching over them, at the very last possible minute, gives a present of one day to the Heart, and the Heart gives it to the Spring. And the Spring thereby has another day to exist. And this day, where it comes from, its source, it also comes with the most wonderful poetry and verse, (which is made up of all the wisdoms.) And all the days are completely different, for there is sunday and monday etc. also the first day of each month, and also the holidays, and so on.
And all the time that the True Man of Kindness has, it all comes from me, (the beggar that stammers.) For I go and collect all the acts of true kindness, from which time is created. (Which is why he is wiser even than the wise man mentioned earlier, because he is as wise as any of the days. For all the existence of the time, and of the days, it is all because of him. Because he collects all the acts of true kindness, from which the time is created, and brings them to the True Man of Kindness, who gives it as a day to the Heart, who gives it in turn to the Spring. And through this does the whole world remain in existence. So it turns out that the very existence of time, with all its songs and prose, which have in them all the wisdom of the world, it is all because of the beggar that stammers.)
That is why I have the approbation of the True Man of Kindness, that I am able to speak the most wonderful poetry and verse, which contains within it all the wisdom of the world. And now I give it to you as a wedding present, that you should be like me." And the happiness and rejoicing continued, there at the feast.

As the day's celebrating came to an end, the couple retired for the night. In the morning they once again yearned for the beggar who had sustained them in the forest, the one with the crooked neck. Suddenly he appeared, and said, "Here I am. Previously I blessed you that you should be like me, but now I give it to you as a wedding present. You think that I have a crooked neck, but in truth, my neck is not crooked at all. Quite the opposite, my neck is completely straight. It is just that there are all kinds of vapors in the world, and I do not want to have any part of them. (Which is why his neck seemed crooked. He made it so in order to not be any part of the vapors of the world.) Really, I have a very beautiful and wonderful neck. For I have a very beautiful voice, and all the sounds of the world, that are not actual speaking, I can make with my voice. For I have a truly wonderful neck and voice, and regarding this, I have the approbation of a certain land. For there is a land, where the people are very expert at playing music. And all the people there are occupied with this, even young children. There is no such thing as a child there that does not know how to play an instrument. And the youngest child there, would be considered a great expert in any other country. And the experts, and the king there, and all the musicians, they are talented beyond belief.
One time a group of these expert musicians were sitting together, and each was boasting about his particular expertise. One boasted that he was able to play a certain instrument, and another a different instrument. One boasted that he was able to play a number of different instruments, and one boasted that he was able to play all the instruments. One boasted that with his voice he was able to make the sound of a certain instrument, and one that he could make the sound of a number of different instruments. One boasted that he was able to make the exact sound of drums, as if he was actually drumming, and another said that he could make the sounds of gunfire. I also was there, and I said to them, "My voice is better than all of yours. And the proof is, that if you are such musical experts, you should be able to save a certain two countries. These two countries are a thousand miles apart, and in both of them, when night falls, no one is able to sleep. Because at night, all the people there, men, women and children, they all wail. The sound of their wailing is enough to melt a stone. Because at night, they hear a sound of such great wailing, and then they start wailing themselves. (It is the same in both countries.) These two countries are a thousand miles apart. And if you are all such musical experts, let us see if you can save them, or if you are even able to copy the sound of the wailing that is heard there." They said to him, (the musical experts to the beggar with the crooked neck,) "Can you take us there?" I said that I could, and we all got up and traveled there.
We got to one of the countries, and as it became night, everyone there started wailing. The wise men that had traveled with me also started wailing. (So obviously they would be unable to save the two countries.) I said to them, "At least, can you tell me from where the wailing is coming from?" They said to me, "Do you know?" I answered, "Of course. For there are two birds, a male and a female, the only two of their kind in the world. The female got lost. They both went looking for each other. They both searched for a long time, until they were both completely lost, and realized that neither of them would be able to find the other. So they remained where they were, and built nests. Each one close to one of the two countries mentioned. Not too close, but close enough to hear their calls. And when night falls, they both start to wail at the top of their voices, calling for their partner. This is the sound that is heard in the two countries." (And it is because of their wailing, that all the people in the two countries wail also, and no one is able to sleep.) They did not believe that this was the true cause. They said to me, "Can you take us to see them?" I said , "Yes, but you cannot go there. For if you get too close, you will not be able to stand the wailing. For you can not even stand it from here, where you are now, and already you are wailing with them. If I were to take you there, you would not be able to stand it at all. Also by day, it is impossible to come close to them, because it is impossible to stand the happiness that there is there. Because by day, all the other birds gather around them, and comfort them and raise up their spirits, and speak to them words of consolation telling them that they should not give up hope, for surely it is still possible that they will each find the other, until it is impossible to approach close to them, due to the tremendous happiness there. However the sound of the happiness can not be heard at a distance, only close by. Only the sound of the wailing at night can be heard at a distance. And that it why it is not possible to come close to them." They asked me, "Can you help them?" I answered them, "Yes, because I can make all the sounds in the world, and also throw my voice, so that here, where I am making the sound, no sound will be heard. It will only be heard at a distance. Therefore I can make the sound of the male bird, and it will be heard close to the female. And also the opposite, and that way bring them closer and closer to each other, until they meet."
But who could believe such a claim? So I took them into a forest, and they heard a sound of someone opening a door, and then closing it again, and locking it with a bolt. They heard the sound of the bolt, and then the sound of gunfire, and the sending of the dog after whatever had been shot. And the dog was rummaging and searching in the snow. All these sounds they heard, but when they looked, they could not see anything. Also they did not hear the slightest sound coming from me. (The beggar with the crooked neck was making all these sounds which they heard, and they had to admit that he was certainly capable of making any sound in the world, and sending them wherever he wanted. So he would also be able to help the two birds, as he had related to them. Rabbi Nachman did not explain any further, specifically regarding the birds, and it was obvious that he was deliberately leaving out this part of the story.) So it turns out that I have the approbation of that land that I have a truly wonderful voice. And that I am able to make all the sounds in the world. And now I am giving that to you as a wedding gift, that you should be like me." And there was great happiness and rejoicing there at the feast.

On the fifth day, there was also tremendous rejoicing. They remembered the beggar with the hunch-back, and longed for him to come to their celebration. How could they get him to come to the feast, for if he were to come, their happiness would know no bounds. Suddenly he appeared and said, "Here I am. I have come to your wedding." And he hugged them and kissed them and said, "Originally I blessed you that you should be like me, but now I give it to you as a wedding present. In truth, I am not a hunch-back at all, in fact, I have such shoulders that I am the aspect of the 'little that can hold a lot,' and I have an approbation regarding this.
For one time, there was a group of people, each boasting that he has this quality of being the 'little that holds a lot.' One of them, they just made a joke of him, but the rest, their words were accepted, that they had this aspect of the 'little that holds a lot.' But the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot' that I have, is greater than all of theirs. One of them claimed that his brain was this aspect of the 'little that holds a lot,' for he sustained with his brain myriads of people, with all their needs and behaviors, all their lives and movements, he held them all in his brain, which meant that he had an aspect of the 'little that holds a lot.' They all laughed at him and said, "The people are nothing and you are nothing." One of them said, "I once saw a 'little holding a lot' similar to you. Once I saw a mountain that was completely covered in garbage and filth, and I could not understand how so much filth and garbage could have got there. There was a man living there, on the mountain, and he told me, "All this is from me." For that was were he lived, and that was where he threw his garbage from his food and drink, and relieved himself, until he had raised up an unbelievable pile of filth. So he certainly has this aspect of the 'little that holds a lot,' for only from him comes this huge pile of filth." (And similar to this was the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot' of the one who boasted that he held so many people in his brain.)
Another boasted that he was the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot,' for he was the owner of a small estate that gave forth a huge amount of fruit. And when they measured the fruit produced, there was no way that so much fruit could have come from that size estate. There simply was not enough space to grow so much fruit. So it turns out that it is the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot.'.
One related that he had a wonderful orchard, filled with fruit, and many many people used to visit there, it was so beautiful. And there was no way that such a small orchard could hold so many people. So he certainly had the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot,' and his claim was also accepted.
One of them said that his speech was the aspect of the 'little that held a lot,' for he was the secretary to a king. Many people used to come to him, one with praises of the king, another with petitions for the king, and so on. Obviously the king did not have time to listen to all of them, so the secretary had to condense all their words into a small amount, and present it before the king, yet his words had to contain all their praises and claims etc. So he certainly had this aspect of the 'little that holds a lot.'
Another one said that his silence had the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot.' For he had many accusers and much hostile criticism of him. And his answer to all their accusations was complete silence. (In other words, his silence was his only reply to all their accusations.) So his silence was the aspect of the 'little that held a lot.'
Another one said that he was this aspect of the 'little that held a lot,' for there is a poor, blind person who is very great. And the one telling the story was very small, and he leads the blind person. So he has this aspect of the 'little that holds a lot,' because the blind person could slip and fall, so he protects him by leading him. So he is the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot,' because he is very small, and he holds up the blind person who is very great. And I, (the hunch-back beggar who is telling the story,) I was also there, and I said to them, "In truth, you all have this aspect of the 'little that holds a lot.' And I understood all that you intended with each of your stories. And the last one to speak, the one that leads the blind person, he is the greatest of all of you. But I am on a level much much higher even than that. For the one that told how he leads the blind person who is very great, his meaning is that he leads the moon, which has this aspect of blindness. For the moon has no light, or anything else of her own. And the one telling the story leads the moon, even though he is very small, and the moon is very large. He is sustaining the whole world, for the world needs the moon. So he really is the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot,' but the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot' that I possess is greater than all of you.
And the proof is, that once there was a group of people arguing about the type of shade preferred by each animal. Because every animal has a certain shade under which it prefers to rest. There is a special shade for every type of animal. For each animal chooses its own shade, and in that particular shade it always rests. Also each bird has its favorite branch, and on that branch in particular it likes to sit. Their argument was whether it is possible to find such a tree that all the animals would like to rest underneath, and that all the birds would choose to sit in its branches. And they decided that there must be such a tree, and they wanted to go and see it. For the euphoria there, by such a tree must be very great indeed. For all the animals and birds are to found there, basking in happiness, with none of them damaging another. All of them resting and playing together, and just to be able to be there would have to be the most tremendous pleasure. They were arguing as to which direction they would have to go to get to this tree. They argued and argued, but could not come to a decision. One said that they should go north, and one south, etc. but they were unable to come to an agreement.
Then a wise man came, and said to them, "Why are you arguing about which direction to go in? You should first of all argue about who will be able to go there, to the tree. Because not everyone is able to go to such a tree, only one who has the particular aspects of that tree. For the tree has three roots: the first is faith, the second is fear of heaven, and the third is humility, and the trunk of the tree is truth, from which fan out all the branches. Therefore it is only possible to come to the tree if you have all these qualities." And this group of people had a tremendous love and unity between them, and they did not want to be separated, one from the other, that some of them should be able to go to the tree, and some not. For not all of them were able to go to the tree, because only a few of them had all the necessary qualities. So they decided to wait while those who were lacking some of the necessary qualities would struggle and work on themselves, and raise themselves up, until also they had all the qualities needed, so that they could all go to the tree together. So that is what they did, all of them struggled and worked until they were all on the same level. And when they had all reached that level, they also discovered that they were all in agreement as to which direction they had to go in to get to the tree, and they set off to go there.
They traveled for some time, until they were able to see the tree in the distance. And they looked and saw that the tree did not stand in space, for it occupied no place at all. And if it does not exist in space, how can one possibly get to it? And I, (the hunch-backed beggar,) I was also there with them. And I said to them, "I can take you to the tree. For this tree does not exist in space at all, for it is completely above space, whereas the concept of the 'little that holds a lot' only exists within space. In other words, the tree certainly must occupy the slightest amount of space, and it is precisely there, that minuscule amount of space, that has the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot.' And the aspect of the 'little that holds a lot' that I possess is at the very end of space, above which there is no further space. Therefore I can take all of you to the tree, which is completely above space." (I.e. the beggar's aspect of the 'little that holds a lot' enabled him to be both in space and above space. For he possessed the highest possible perfection of the 'little that holds a lot,' which is the aspect of the final limit of space, above which there is no more space, for there, it is already the aspect of completely above space.) And I took them, and carried them all to the tree.
So I have the approbation of those people that I have the highest possible aspect of the 'little that holds a lot.' (And this is why he seemed to be a hunch-back, because he was able to carry so much, which was the aspect of the 'little holding a lot.') And now I give it to you as a wedding present, that you should be like me." And the happiness and rejoicing continued there at the feast.

On the sixth day there was also great rejoicing. And the young couple yearned for the beggar with no hands to come to the feast. Suddenly he appeared and said, "Here I am. I have come to join your wedding celebration." And he kissed and hugged them. And he also said to them, "You think that I have a defect in my hands, but this is not the case. In fact, my hands are tremendously powerful, but I do not use the power in my hands in this world. Because I need to use them for a different matter. And I have the approbation regarding this from the Water Castle.
Once, there were some people sitting together, and each one was boasting about the power in his hands, each with a different power. One boasted that his hands were so powerful that even after he had shot an arrow, he could retrieve it and bring it back to himself. I asked him, "Which arrow can you bring back?" For there are ten different types of arrows, depending on which of the ten different types of poisons the arrow is dipped in, each poison more powerful than the last. The arrows all being identical, just which poison used being the difference. Which is why I asked him which type of arrow was he able to bring back. I also asked him whether he was able to retrieve the arrow even after it had hit the target, or only before it hit. To that, he answered that he was able to retrieve it even after it had hit the target, but as to which arrow he was referring to, he specified only one type. I, (the beggar with no hands,) said to him, "If so, you will not be able to heal the Princess, if you are only able to retrieve the one type of arrow."
One boasted that the power in his hands was such that any time he received anything from anyone, he was actually giving to them. (His actual taking was an act of giving.) Therefore he was a master at giving charity. I asked him which charity he was able to give. (For there are ten different types of charity.) He answered that he was able to give a tithe. I said to him, "If so, you will not be able to heal the Princess, because you will not be able to get to her. For you are only able to go through the first wall."
Another described the power in his hands, saying that there are ministers throughout the world, who each need a certain wisdom, and through the power of his hands, he is able to give them that wisdom through placing his hands upon them. I asked him, "Which wisdom are you able to give with your hands?" For there are ten types of wisdom. He told me which type. I said to him, "In that case, you will not be able to heal the Princess. Because you will not be able to read her pulse, because you only know one type of pulse. For there are ten types of pulse, and if you are only able to bestow one type of wisdom with your hands, you will only be able to know one of the types of pulse."
One boasted that he was able to quench a storm wind with his hands, and turn it into a gentle breeze. I asked him, "Over which wind do you have control?" For there are ten different types of wind. He told me which particular one. I said to him, "In that case you will not be able to heal the Princess. Because you will only be able to play one particular tune for her. For there are ten types of tunes, and through music she can be healed, but you will only be able to play for her one of the tunes." They then asked me, "So what are you able to do?" I answered, "I can do all that all of you are unable to do. I can do all that you can do, and also the other nine that you can not.
And regarding this there is a story. Once there was a king that wanted to capture a certain Princess. He tried all kinds of schemes until he finally succeeded. One time he had a dream that she was standing over him and killing him. When he awoke, he could not get the dream out of his mind. So he called all his dream interpreters, and they explained the dream to him in its simple sense, that she really was going to kill him. The king could not decide what to do about it. To kill her would upset him very much. To expel her would be even worse, because then somebody else would take her. And he had had to work so hard to capture her in the first place, and now she would belong to someone else. And also, if she had someone else to help her, it would be even more likely that the dream would come true, and that she would kill him. Yet he was scared to keep her by him, because of the dream. He could not decide what to do. Meanwhile, his love for her gradually died, because of the dream. And her love for him also gradually died, until she came to hate him, and she ran away from him.
The king sent out people to find out where she is. And the word came back that she was at the Water Castle. For there is a Water Castle, which has ten walls, each inside the other, all of them made of water. Also the grounds within the Castle were made of water. There were also trees and fruit, all made of water. There is no need to add how wonderful that Castle was. For such a thing is completely unheard of, that a whole castle should be made of water. To enter the Castle was impossible, for one would drown in the water.
The Princess, when she ran away, came to this Castle, and was wandering around the outside of it. They told the king where she was, and he went, with his soldiers to capture her. When she saw them, she decided to run into the Castle, for it was preferable to her to drown in the water, than that she should be captured again by the king. And who knows, perhaps she would survive, and be able to enter the Castle. When the king saw her running into the Castle, he said, "So be it," and he ordered his soldiers to shoot at her, and if she were to die, too bad. So they shot at her, and hit her with all the ten types of arrows, coated with the ten different poisons. She ran away into the Castle, and went through the gates in each of the ten walls made of water. For there were gates in each wall. And she went right through them all, into the inside of the Castle, and fell down and fainted there. And I, (the beggar with no hands,) heal her.
For one who does not have in his hands the ten types of charity, (mentioned previously,) can not enter through the ten walls, for he would drown in the water. And the king and his soldiers chased after her, and did indeed drown. But I am able to enter through all the ten walls, which are made like waves of the sea, standing as walls, and held up by the winds. And these waves, which are the ten walls, they stand there permanently, and I am able to enter into them, and remove the ten arrows from the Princess. I also know all the ten types of pulse, which can be felt through the ten fingers. Because each of the ten fingers can register one of the ten types of pulse. And I can heal her through the ten types of tunes. And I go ahead and heal her. So it is clear that I have all the aforementioned powers in my hands. And this I now give to you as a gift." And the happiness and rejoicing was overwhelming, there at the wedding feast.

[This story has not one single redundant word, and anyone well versed in the sacred literature, will be able to find a number of clues there, as to things mentioned in the story. For instance, regarding the arrows, that is what is written in Devarim, 32:41, "My hand will take hold of judgment," and Rashi explains there, a human fires an arrow, but can not retrieve it, Hashem, however, can both fire an arrow and retrieve it after He has fired it.
Regarding the ability to give charity, which was needed to pass through the walls of water, that is what is written, Isaiah, 48:18, "and thy righteousness (charity) as the waves of the sea."
Regarding the one who could control the wind with his hands, it is written, Proverbs, 30:4, "Who has gathered the wind in his fists?" Which is the aspect of music, see Likutei Moharan, I:54.
Regarding the ten types of tune, connected to the ten types of pulse, see Likutei Moharan, II:24.
The stories also mention some of the earlier Tzaddikim, for instance King David, who stood at the edge of the world and cried to the spring that flowed from the rock on the top of the mountain, as he says in Tehillim 61. All the above we heard from Rabbi Nachman himself. In fact the whole Psalm there is referred to in the story of the third day, as it says, "Add days to the life of the King," i.e. add a new day each day. "Appoint loving kindness and truth that they may preserve him," here we see the Man of True Kindness. For all the days are created by him, and he continually gives and adds on to the days of the King, which is the Heart, which is the aspect of King David. And as it says there, "that they may preserve him," for as it comes to the final minutes of each day, at which point the Spring is soon to die, and therefore the Heart, and therefore all the world, G-D forbid, the Man of True Kindness is watching over all this, and he comes and gives another day to the Heart, etc. Which is, "Thus will I praise your name for ever, as I pay my vows, day by day." For each day that he gives to the Heart, comes with its songs and melodies, as above. And when the Heart needs to rest, a bird comes and shelters it from the sun, as it says, "I will trust in the shelter of your wings for ever."
In the story of the first day, with each of the elders remembering their earliest memory, where the youngest of all can only remember as far back as his umbilical cord being cut, Rabbi Nachman said that this is referred to in the Yerushalmi, (Kesuvos, 36b,) where Shmuel boasts that he can remember the pain of the Milah, and etc. see there.
But as to the story itself, who were the beggars, when did this all happen, what are all the stories about, these things Rabbi Nachman did not explain. The story of the seventh day, about the beggar with no feet, and the conclusion of the introduction, about the king's son that took over the kingdom, these he said that he would not tell. Who can fathom even a fraction of the many clues and wondrous secrets contained in this story.
(We have been forced to sacrifice a literal translation in favor of readability, nevertheless, we have kept as close as we could to the original.)]

31.10 Bahir

31.10.1 The Book of Illumination

"The Book of Illumination."[2955] Attributed to Rabbi Nehunia ben HaKana

The Bahir is one of the oldest and most important of all Kabbalistic texts. Until the publication of the Zohar, the Bahir was the most influential source of Kabbalistic teachings. It is quoted in virtually every major Kabbalistic work and is cited numerous times by the Ramban in his commentary on the Torah. It is also paraphrased and quoted many times in the Zohar.

The name 'Bahir' literally means 'brilliant' or 'Illumination', and is derived from the first verse quoted in the text of the Bahir "And now they do not see the light, it is brilliant [bahir] in the skies", which itself is a quote from the book of Job (37:21).

This book is also called "The Midrash of Rabbi Nehuniah ben haKana". Although the Bahir is a fairly small book, 12,000 words in all, it was very highly esteemed. It was first published in Provence in 1176. Most Kabbalists ascribe authorship to Rabbi Nehuniah ben haKana, a Talmudic sage of the first century.

One of the most important concepts revealed in it is that of the ten Sefirot. Also discussed are the opening verses of Genesis and their true meaning; The mystical aspects of the Hebrew alphabet; A discussion of Gilgul [reincarnation]; The 32 paths of Wisdom, and the Tzimtum, among other topics.[2956]

INDEX The First Verses of Creation

1. Rabbi Nehuniah ben HaKana said: One verse (Job 37:21) states, "And now they do not see light, it is brilliant (Bahir) in the skies...[round about God in terrible majesty]." Another verse, however, (Psalm 18:12), states, "He made darkness His hiding place." It is also written (Psalm 97:2), "Cloud and gloom surround Him." This is an apparent contradiction. A third verse comes and reconciles the two. It is written (Psalm 139:12), "Even darkness is not dark to You. Night shines like day - light and darkness are the same."

2. Rabbi Berachiah said: It is written (Genesis 1:2), "The earth was Chaos (Tohu) and Desolation (Bohu). What is the meaning of the word "was" in this verse? This indicates that the Chaos existed previously [and already was ]. What is Chaos (Tohu)? Something that confounds (Taha) people. What is Desolation (Bohu)? It is something that has substance. This is the reason that it is called Bohu , that is, Bo Hu - "it is in it."

3. Why does the Torah begin with the letter Bet ? In order that it begin with a blessing (Berachah). How do we know that the Torah is called a blessing? Because it is written (Deuteronomy 33:23), "The filling is God's blessing possessing the Sea and the South." The Sea is nothing other than the Torah, as it is written (Job 11:9), "It is wider than the sea." What is the meaning of the verse, "The filling is God's blessing?" This means that wherever we find the letter Bet she indicates a blessing.[2957] It is thus written (Genesis 1:1), "In the beginning (Bet Reshit) [God created the heaven and the earth." BeReshit is Bet Reshit.] The word "beginning" (Reshit) is nothing other than Wisdom. It is thus written (Psalm 111:10), "The beginning is wisdom, the fear of God." Wisdom is a blessing. It is thus written, "And God blessed Solomon." It is furthermore written (I Kings 5:26), "And God gave Wisdom to Solomon." This resembles a king who marries his daughter to his son. He gives her to him at the wedding and says to him, "Do with her as you desire."

4. How do we know that the word Berachah [usually translated as blessing] comes from the word Baruch [meaning blessed]? Perhaps it comes from the word Berech [meaning knee]. It is written (Isaiah 44:23), "For to Me shall every knee bend." [Berachah can therefore mean] the Place to which every knee bends. What example does this resemble? People want to see the king, but do not know where to find his house (Bayit). First they ask "Where is the king's house?" Only then can they ask "Where is the king?" It is thus written, "For to Me shall every knee bend" - even the highest - "every tongue shall swear."

5. Rabbi Rahumai sat and expounded: What is the meaning of the verse (Deuteronomy 33:23), "The filling is God's blessing, possessing the Sea and the South"? This means that wherever we find the letter Bet it is blessed. This is the Filling referred to in the verse, "The filling is God's blessing." From there it nourishes those who need it. It was from this Filling that God sought advice. What example does this resemble? A king wanted to build his palace among great cliffs. He mined into the bedrock and uncovered a great spring of living water. The king then said, "Since I have flowing water, I will plant a garden. Then I will delight in it, and so will all the world." It is therefore written (Proverbs 8:30), "I was with Him as a craftsman, I was His delight for a day, a day, frolicking before him at every time." The Torah is saying, "For two thousand years I was in the bosom of the Blessed Holy One as His delight." The verse therefore says, "a day, a day." Each day of the Blessed Holy One is a thousand years, as it is written (Psalm 90:4), "A thousand years in Your eyes is as but yesterday when it is passed." From then on, it is at times, as the verse states, "[frolicking before Him] at every time." The rest is for the world. It is thus written (Isaiah 48:9), "I will [breathe out] My praise through My nose for you." What is the meaning of "My praise"? As it is written (Psalm 145:2), "A praise of David, I will raise You high [my God, O King, and I will bless Your name for the world and forever]." Why is this a praise? Because I will "raise You high." And what is this elevation? Because "I will bless Your name for the world and forever."

8. What is a blessing? It can be explained with an example. A king planted trees in his garden. It may rain and water them, and the ground may be wet and provide them with moisture, but still, he must water them from the spring. It is thus written (Psalm 111:10), "The beginning is Wisdom, the fear of God, good intelligence to all who do them [His praise endures forever]." You may think that it lacks something. It is therefore written, "His praise endures forever."

7. Rabbi Amorai sat and expounded: What is the meaning of the verse (Deuteronomy 33:23), "The filling is God's blessing, possessing the Sea and the South?" Moses was saying, "If you follow my decrees, you will inherit both this world and the next." The World to Come is likened to the sea, as it is written (Job 11:9), "It is wider than the sea." The present world is referred to as the South. It is thus written (Joshua 15:19), [Give me a blessing] for you have set me in the land of the south, [therefore give me springs of water]." The Targum translates this, "behold the earth is the south."

8. Why did God add the letter Heh to Abraham's name, rather than any other letter? This was so that all parts of man's body should be worthy of life in the World to Come, which is likened to the sea. To the extent that we can express it, the Structure was completed in Abraham. [Regarding this Structure] it is written (Genesis 9:6), "For in the form of God, He made the man." The numerical value of Abraham is 248, the number of parts in man's body.

9. What is the meaning of (Deuteronomy 33:23), "[The filling is God's blessing, the Sea and the South] he shall inherit it (YiRaShaH)?" It would have been sufficient if the verse said, "inherit (RaSh) [the Sea and the South]." But this comes to teach us that God must also be included. The word YiRaShaH thus contains the letters RaSh YH [meaning, "inherit God"]. What does this resemble? A king had two treasuries, and he hid one away. After many days he said to his son, "Take what is in these two treasuries." The son replied, "Perhaps you are not giving me all that you have hidden away." The king said, "Take everything." It is thus written, "the Sea and the South, he shall inherit it." Inherit God (YH RaSh) - everything will be given to you if you only keep My ways.

10. Rabbi Bun said: What is the meaning of the verse (Proverbs 8:23), "I was set up from eternity (Me-Olam), from a head, before the earth?" What is the meaning of "from eternity (Me-Olam)?" This means that it must be concealed (He-elam) from the world. It is thus written (Ecclesiastes 3:11), "He has also placed the world (Ha-Olam) in their hearts [that they should not find out the work that God has done from the beginning to the end]." Do not read Ha-Olam (the world), but He-elam (concealment). The Torah said, "I was first, so that I might be the head of the world." It is thus written, "I was set up from eternity, from a head." You may think that the earth was before it. It is therefore written, "before the earth." It is thus written (Genesis 1:1), "In the beginning created God the heaven and the earth." What is the meaning of "created"? He created everything that was needed for all things. And then God. Only after that is it written "the heaven and the earth."

11. What is the meaning of the verse (Ecclesiastes 7:14), "Also one opposite the other was made by God." He created Desolation (Bohu) and placed it in Peace, and He created Chaos (Tohu) and placed it in Evil. Desolation is in Peace, as it is written (Job 25:2), "He makes peace in His high places." This teaches us that Michael, the prince to God's right, is water and hail, while Gabriel, the prince to God's left, is fire. The two are reconciled by the Officer of Peace. This is the meaning of the verse, "He makes peace in His high places."

12. How do we know that Chaos is in Evil? It is written (Isaiah 45:7), "He makes peace and creates evil." How does this come out? Evil is from Chaos, while Peace is from Desolation. He thus created Chaos and placed it in Evil, [as it is written "He makes peace and creates evil." He created Desolation and placed it in Peace, as it is written, "He makes peace in His high places."]

13. Rabbi Bun also sat and expounded: What is the meaning of the verse (Isaiah 45:7), "He forms light and creates darkness?" Light has substance. Therefore, the term "formation" is used with regard to it. Darkness has no substance, and therefore, with regard to it, the term "creation" is used. It is similarly written (Amos 4:12), He forms mountains and creates the wind." Another explanation is this: Light was actually brought into existence, as it is written (Genesis 1:3), "And God said, let there be light." Something cannot be brought into existence unless it is made. The term "formation" is therefore used. In the case of darkness, however, there was no making, only separation and setting aside. It is for this reason that the term "created" (Bara) is used. It has the same sense as in the expression, "That person became well (hi-Bria)."

14. Why is the letter Bet closed on all sides and open in the front? This teaches us that it is the House (Bayit) of the world. God is the place of the world, and the world is not His place. Do not read Bet , but Bayit (house). It is thus written (Proverbs 24:3), "With wisdom the house is built, with understanding it is established, [and with knowledge are its chambers filled]."

15. What does the Bet resemble? It is like a man, formed by God with wisdom. He is closed on all sides, but open in front. The Aleph , however, is open from behind. This teaches us that the tail of the Bet is open from behind. If not for this, man could not exist. Likewise, if not for the Bet on the tail of the Aleph , the world could not exist.

16. Rabbi Rahumai said: Illumination preceeded the world, since it is written (Psalm 97:2), "Cloud and gloom surround Him." It is thus written (Genesis 1:3), "And God said, 'let there be light,' and there was light." They said to Him, "Before the creation of Israel your son, will you then make him a crown?" He replied yes. What does this resemble? A king yearned for a son. One day he found a beautiful, precious crown, and he said, "This is fitting for my son's head." They said to him, "Are you then certain that your son will be worthy of this crown?" He replied, "Be still. This is what arises in thought." It is thus written (2 Samuel 14:14), He thinks thoughts [that none should be cast away]. The Aleph-Beth

17. Rabbi Amorai sat and expounded: Why is the letter Aleph at the beginning? Because it was before everything, even the Torah.

18. Why does Bet follow it? Because it was first. Why does it have a tail? To point to the place from which it came. Some say, from there the world is sustained.

19. Why is Gimel third? It has three parts, teaching us that it bestows (gomel) kindness. But did Rabbi Akiba not say that Gimel has three parts because it bestows, grows, and sustains. It is thus written (Genesis 21:8), "The lad grew and was bestowed." He said: He says the same as I do. He grew and bestowed kindness to his neighbours and to those entrusted to him.

20. And why is there a tail at the bottom of the Gimel? He said: The Gimel has a head on top, and is like a pipe. Just like a pipe, the Gimel draws from above through its head, and disperses through its tail. This is the Gimel.

21. Rabbi Yochanan said: The angels were created on the second day. It is therefore written (Psalm 104:3), "He rafters His upper chambers with water [He makes the clouds His chariot, He walks on the wings of the wind]." It is then written (Psalm 104:4), "He makes the winds His angels, His ministers from flaming fire." [ Rabbi Haninah said: The angels were created on the fifth day, as it is written (Genesis 1:20), "And flying things shall fly upon the firmament of heaven." Regarding the angels it is written (Isaiah 6:2), "With two wings did they fly."] Rabbi Levatas ben Tavrus said: All agree, even Rabbi Yochanan, that the water already existed [on the first day]. But it was on the second day that "He raftered His upper chambers with water." [At that time He also created] the one who "makes the clouds his chariot," and the one who "walks on the wings of the wind." But His messengers were not created until the fifth day.

22. All agree that none were created on the first day. It should therefore not be said that Michael drew out the heaven at the south, and Gabriel drew it out at the north, while God arranged things in the middle. It is thus written (Isaiah 44:24), "I am God, I make all, I stretch out the heavens alone, the earth is spread out before Me." [Even though we read the verse "from Me" (May-iti), it can also be read] Mi iti - "Who was with Me?" I am the One who planted this tree in order that all the world should delight in it. And in it, I spread All. I called it All because all depend upon it, all emanate from it, and all need it. To it they look, for it they wait, and from it, souls fly in joy. Alone was I when I made it. Let no angel rise above it and say, "I was before you." I was also alone when I spread out My earth, in which I planted and rooted this tree. I made them rejoice together, and I rejoiced in them. "Who was with Me?" To whom have I revealed this mystery?

23. Rabbi Rahumai said: From your words we could conclude that the needs of this world were created before the heavens. He answered yes. What does this resemble? A king wanted to plant a tree in his garden. He searched the entire garden to find a spring flowing with water that would nourish the tree, but could not find any. He then said, "I will dig for water, and will bring forth a spring to nourish the tree." He dug and opened a well, flowing with living water. He then planted the tree, and it stood, giving forth fruit. It was successfully rooted, since it was always watered from the well.

24. Rabbi Yanai said: The earth was created first, as it is written (Genesis 2:4), "[On the day that God made} earth and heaven." They said to him: Is it not written (Genesis 1:1), "[In the beginning God created] the heaven and the earth"? He replied: What is this like? A king bought a beautiful object, but since it was not complete, he did not give it a name. He said, "I will complete it, I will prepare its pedestal and attachment, and then I will give it a name." It is thus written (Psalm 102:26), "From eternity You founded the earth" - and then, "the heavens are the work of Your hands." It is furthermore written (Psalm 104:2), "He covered Himself with light like a garment, He spread out the heaven like a curtain, He rafters His upper chambers with water." It is then written (Psalm 104:4), "He makes the winds His angels, His ministers of flaming fire." Finally, it is written (Psalm 104:5), "He founded the earth on its pedestals, that it not be removed for the world and forever." When He made its pedestal, He strengthened it. It is therefore written, "that it not be moved." What is its name? "And Forever (VoEd) is its name. And [the name of] its pedestal is "World" (Olam). It is therefore written, "for the World And Forever."

25. Rabbi Berachiah said: What is the meaning of the verse (Genesis 1:3), And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light"? Why does the verse not say, "And it was so"? What is this like? A king had a beautiful object. He puts it away until he had a place for it, and then he put it there. It is therefore written, "Let there be light, and there was light." This indicates that it already existed.

26. Rabbi Amorai said: What is the meaning of the verse (Exodus 15:3), "God is a man (Ish) of war"? Mar Rahumai said to him: Great master, do not ask about something that is so simple. Listen to me and I will advise you. He said to him: What is this like? A king had a number of beautiful dwellings, and he gave each one a name. One was better than the other. He said, "I will give my son this dwelling whose name is Aleph. This one whose name is Yod is also good, as is this one whose name is Shin." What did he do then? He gathered all three together, and out of them he made a single name and a single house. He said: How long will you continue to conceal your meaning? The other replied: My son, Aleph is the head. Yod is second to it. Shin includes all the world. Why does Shin include all the world? Because with it one writes an answer (T'shuvah).

27. The students asked him: What is the letter Daleth? He replied: What is this like? Ten kings were in a certain place. All of them were wealthy, but one was not quite as wealthy as the others. Even though he is still very wealthy, he is poor (Dal) in relation to the others.

28. They said to him: What is the letter Heh? He grew angry and said: Did I not teach you not to ask about a later thing and then about an earlier thing? They said: But Heh comes after [Daleth]. He replied: The order should be Gimel Heh. Why is it Gimel Daleth? Because it must be Daleth Heh. And why is the order Gimel Daleth? He said to them: Gimel is in the place of Daleth, on its head it is in the place of Heh. Daleth with its tail is in place of the Heh.

29. What is the letter Vav? He said: There is an upper Heh and a lower Heh.

30. They said to him: But what is Vav? He said: The world was sealed with six directions. They said: Is not Vav a single letter? He replied: It is written (Psalm 104:2), "He wraps Himself in light as a garment, [he spreads out the heavens like a curtain]."

31. Rabbi Amorai asked: Where is the Garden of Eden? He replied: It is on earth.

32. Rabbi Ishmael expounded to Rabbi Akiba: What is the meaning of the verse (Genesis 1:1), "[In the beginning God created] (et) the heaven and (et) the earth"? [Why is the word et added in both places?] If the word et (an untranslated preposition that connects a transitive verb to its predicate noun) were absent, we would think that "heaven" and "earth" were gods. [For we could have read the verse, "In the beginning, God, the heaven and the earth created..." taking all three nouns as subjects of the sentence.] He replied: By the Divine Service! You may have reached out for the true meaning, but you have not sorted out, and therefore you speak in this manner. But [in the case of "heaven"] the word et comes to include the sun, moon, stars and constellations, while [in the case of "earth"] it comes to add trees, plants, and the Garden of Eden.

33. They said to him: It is written (Lamentations 2:1), "He threw the beauty of Israel from heaven to earth." From here we see that it fell. He replied: If you have read, you did not review, and if you reviewed, you did not go over it a third time. What does it resemble? A king had a beautiful crown on his head and a beautiful cloak on his shoulders. When he heard evil tidings, he cast the crown from his head and the cloak from his shoulders.

34. They asked him: Why is the letter Cheth open? And why is its vowel point a small Patach? He said: Because all directions (Ruach-ot) are closed, except for the North, which is opened for good and for evil. They said: How can you say that it is for good? It is not written (Ezekiel 1:4), "And behold, a stormy wind coming from the north, a great cloud and burning fire." Fire is nothing other than fierce anger, as it is written (Leviticus 10:2), "And fire went out from before God, and it consumed them and killed them." He said: There is no difficulty. One case is speaking of when Israel does the will of God, while the other is speaking of when they do not do His will. When Israel does not do His will, then the fire comes close [to destroy and punish]. But when they do God's will, then the Attribute of Mercy encompasses and surrounds it, as it is written (Micah 7:18) , "He lifts up sin and passes over rebellion."

35. What is this like? A king wanted to punish and whip his slaves. One of his governors stood up and asked the reason for this punishment. When the king described the offence, the governor said, "Your slaves never did such a thing. I will be their bondsman until you investigate it more thoroughly." In the meantime, the king's anger was calmed.

36. His students asked: Why is the letter Daleth thick on the side? He replied: Because of the Segol which is in the small Patach. It is thus written (Psalm 24:7), "The openings (pitchey) of the World." There He placed a Patach above and a Segol below. It is for this reason that it is thick.

37. What is the Petach? It is an opening (Petach). What is meant by an opening? This is the direction of north, which is open to all the world. It is the gate from which good and evil emerge. And what is good? He mocked them and said: Did I not tell you that it is a small Patach (opening)? They said: We have forgotten, teach us again. He reviewed it and said: What is this like? A king had a throne. Sometimes he carried it on his arm, and sometimes on his head. They asked why, and he replied: Because it is beautiful and it is a pity to sit on it. They asked: Where did he place it on his head? He replied: In the open Mem. It is thus written (Psalm 85:12), "Truth sprouts up from the earth, and the righteousness looks down from heaven."

38. Rabbi Amorai sat and expounded: What is the meaning of the verse (Psalm 87:2), "God loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob." "The gates of Zion" are the "openings of the World." A gate is nothing other than an opening. We thus say, "Open for us the gates of mercy." God said: I love the "gates of Zion" when they are open. Why? Because they are on the side of evil. But when Israel does good before God and are worthy that good be opened for them, then God loves them - "more than all the dwellings of Jacob." ["The dwellings of Jacob"] are all peace, as it is written (Genesis 25:27), "Jacob was a simple man, dwelling in tents.

39. This is like two men, one who is inclined to do evil and does good, and the other who is inclined to do good and does evil. Who is more praiseworthy? The one who is inclined to do evil and does good, for he may do good again. It is therefore written (Psalm 87:2), "God loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob." These [dwellings] are all peace, as it is written (Genesis 25:27), "Jacob was a simple man, dwelling in tents."

40. His students asked: What is Cholem? He replied: It is the soul - and its name is Cholem. If you listen to it, your body will be vigorous (Chalam) in the Ultimate Future. But if you rebel against it, there will be sickness (Choleh) on your head, and diseases (Cholim) on its head.

41. They also said: Every dream (Chalom) is in the Cholem. Every white precious stone is in the Cholem. It is thus written [with regard to the High Priest's breastplate] (Exodus 28:19), "[And in the third row...] a white stone (aChLaMah)."

42. He said to them: Come and hear the fine points regarding the vowel points found in the Torah of Moses. He sat and expounded: Chirek hates evildoers and punishes them. Its side includes jealousy, hatred and competition. It is thus written (Psalm 37:12), "He gnashes (Chorek) his teeth at them." Do not read chorek (gnashes), but rochek (repels). Repel (rachek) these traits from yourself, and repel yourself from evil. Good will then certainly attach itself to you.

43. Chirek. Do not read ChiRiK but KeRaCh (Ice). Whatever the Chirek touches becomes ice. It is thus written (Exodus 34:7), "and cleanses."

44. What is the indication that Chirek has the connotation of burning? This is because it is fire that burns all fire. It is thus written (1 Kings 18:38), "And God's fire fell, and it consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, the dust, and evaporated the water that was in the trench." The Seven Voices and the Sephiroth

45. He ( Rabbi Amorai) said: What is the meaning of the verse (Exodus 20:15), "And all the people saw the voices." These are the voice regarding which King David spoke. It is thus written (Psalm 29:3) , "The voice of God is upon the waters, the God of glory thunders." [This is the first voice.] [The second voice is] (Psalm 29:4), "The voice of God comes in strength." Regarding this it is written (Isaiah 10:13), "By the strength of my hand have I done it." It is likewise written (Isaiah 48:13), "Also My Hand has founded the earth." [The third voice is] (Psalm 29:4), "The voice of God is with majesty." It is also written (Psalm 111:3), "Splendour and majesty are His works, his righteousness stands forever." [The fourth voice is] (Psalm 29:5), "God's voice breaks the cedars." This is the bow that breaks the cypress and cedar trees. [The fifth voice is] (Psalm 29:7), "God's voice draws out flames of fire." This is what makes peace between water and fire. It draws out the power of the fire and prevents it from evaporating the water. It also prevents [the water] from extinguishing it. [The sixth voice is] (Psalm 29:8) , "God's voice shakes the desert." It is thus written (Psalm 18:51) "He does kindness to his Messiah, to David and his descendants until eternity" more than [when Israel was] in the desert. [The seventh voice is] (Psalm 29:9), "God's voice makes hinds to calf, strips the forests bare, and in His Temple, all say Glory." It is thus written (Song of Songs 2:7) "I bind you with an oath, O daughters of Jerusalem, with the hosts, or with the hinds of the field." This teaches us that the Torah was given with seven voices. In each of them the Master of the universe revealed Himself to them, and they saw Him. It is thus written, "And all the people saw the voices."

46. One verse states (2 Samuel 22:10), "He bent the heavens and came down, with gloom under His feet." Another verse says (Exodus 19:20) "And God came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain." Still another verse, however, (Exodus 20:22) states "From heaven I spoke to you." How is this reconciled? His "great fire" was on earth, and this was one voice. The other voices were in heaven. It is thus written (Deuteronomy 4:36) , "From the heavens He let you hear His voice, that He might instruct you. And on the earth He showed you His great fire, and His words you heard from the fire." Which [fire] was that? It was the "great [fire" that was on the earth.] From where did the speech emanate? From this fire, as it is written, "and His words you heard from the fire."

47. What is the meaning of the verse (Deuteronomy 4:12), "You saw no form, only a voice"? This was explained when Moses said to Israel (Deuteronomy 4:15), "You did not see an entire image." You saw an image, but not an "entire image." What is this like? A king stands before his servants wrapped in a white robe. Even though he is far away, they can still hear his voice. This is true even though they cannot see his throat when he speaks. In a similar manner, they saw an image, but not an "entire image". It is therefore written, "You saw no form, only a voice." It is also written (Deuteronomy 4:12) "A voice of words you heard."

48. One verse (Exodus 20:15), states, "and all the people saw the voices." Another verse, however, (Deuteronomy 4:12) states, "The voice of words you heard." How can [the two be reconciled]? At first they saw the voices. What did they see? The seven voices mentioned by David. But in the end they heard the word that emanated from them all. But we have learned that there were ten. Our sages taught that they were all said with a single word. But we have said that there were seven. There were seven voices. Regarding three of them it is written (Deuteronomy 4:12), "The voice of words you heard, but you saw no form, only a voice." This teaches us that they were all said with a single word. This is so that Israel should not make a mistake and say, "Others helped him. It might have been one of the angels. But His voice alone could not be so powerful." It was for this reason that he came back and included them [in a single word].

49. Another explanation: It was so that the world should not say that since there were ten sayings for ten kings, it might be that He could not speak for them all through one. He therefore said (Exodus 20:2), "I am [the Lord you God]," which included all ten. What are the ten kings? They are the seven voices and three sayings (Amarim). What are the sayings? [They are the ones alluded to in the verse] (Deuteronomy 26:18) "God has said for you today." "What are the three? [Two are mentioned in the verse] (Proverbs 4:7), "The beginning is Wisdom: acquire Wisdom, with all your acquisition, acquire Understanding." It is thus written (Job 32:8), "The soul of Shaddai gives them Understanding." The soul of Shaddai is what gives them Understanding. What is the third one? As the old man said to the child, "What is hidden from you, do not seek, and what is concealed from you, do not probe. Where you have authority, seek to understand, but you have nothing to do with mysteries."

50. We have learned (Proverbs 25:2), "The glory of God is to hide a word." What is "a word"? That of which it is written (Psalm 119:160), "The Beginning of Your word is truth." [It is also written] (Proverbs 25:2), "The glory of kings is to probe a word." What is this "word"? That of which it is written (Proverbs 25:11), "A word spoken in its proper place (Aphen-av) ", do not read "its proper place" (Aphen-av), but "its wheel" (Ophen'av).

51. The students asked Rabbi Berachiah, "Let us discuss these words with you," but he would not give them permission. Once, however, he did give them permission, but he did so to test them, to see if they would now pay good attention. One day he tested them and said, "Let me hear your wisdom." They began and said: "In the beginning" is one. [Two is] (Isaiah 57:16), "The spirit that unwraps itself is from Me, and I have made souls." [Three is] (Psalm 65:10), "The divisions of God are filled with water." What are these "divisions?" You taught us, our master, that God took the waters of creation and separated them, placing half in the skies and half in the ocean. This is the meaning of "the divisions of God are filled with water." Through them, man studies the Torah. Rabbi Chama thus taught: Because of the merit of deeds of kindness, a person can study the Torah. It is thus written (Isaiah 55:1), "Ho, let all who are thirsty come for water, let him without silver come, stock up and eat." Go to Him, and He will do kindness with you, and you will "stock up and eat."

52. “Let him without silver come” can also be explained in another way. Let him come to God, for He has silver. It is thus written (Haggai 2:8), “Mine is the silver, and Mine is the gold.” What is the meaning of the verse, “Mine is the silver, and Mine is the gold”? What is this like? A king had two treasuries, one of silver, and one of gold. He placed that of silver to his right, and that of gold to his left. He said [of the silver], “This should be ready, and easy to take out.” He keeps his words calm. He is attached to the poor and directs them calmly. It is thus written (Exodus 15:6), “Your right hand, O God, is mighty in power.” If he rejoices in his portion, then all is well. If not, then (Exodus 15:6), “Your right hand, O God, crumbles the enemy.” He said to them: This is referring to the gold. It is thus written, “Mine is the silver, and Mine is the gold.”

53. Why is [gold] called Zahav? Because it includes three attributes, [alluded to in its three letters, Zayin, Heh, Beth ]. [The first attribute is] Male, (Zachar) . This is the Zayin. [The second is] the Soul. This is the Heh. [The numerical value of Heh is five, alluding to] the five names of the soul: Nephesh, Ruach, Neshamah, Chiah, Yechidah. What is the purpose the Heh ? It is a throne for the Zayin . It is thus written (Ecclesiastes 5:7), "For one above the other watches." The Beth is its sustenance. It is thus written (Genesis 1:1), “In (Beth) the beginning [God] created...”

54. What is its function here? What is this like? A king once had a daughter who was good, pleasant, beautiful and perfect. He married her to a royal prince, and clothed, crowned and bejewelled her, giving her much money. Is it possible for the king to ever leave his daughter? You will agree that it is not. Is it ever possible for him to be with her constantly? You will also agree that it is not. What can he then do? He can place a window between the two, and whenever the father needs the daughter, or the daughter needs the father, they can come together through the window. It is thus written (Psalm 45:14) , "All glorious is the king's daughter inside, her garment is interwoven with gold ."

55. What is the Beth at the end? [As it is written] (Proverbs 24:3), "With wisdom will the house (Bayit) be built." The verse does not say "was built", but "will be built". In the future God will build and decorate it, thousands of times more than it was. It is as we have said: Why does the Torah begin with a Beth ? As it is written (Proverbs 8:30) , "I was with Him as a craftsman, I was His delight for a day, a day, [frolicking before Him at every time]." These are the two thousand years, which are the "beginning". Two? But the scripture says seven, as it is written (Isaiah 30:26), "The light of the moon shall be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold [like the light of the seven days." And we said, "Just like the sun was for seven, so the moon was for seven." [He replied,] "I said thousands." 56. They said to him: Up until now there are five. What comes next? He replied: First I will explain gold. What is gold? We learn that it is where justice emanates. If you bend your words to the right or left, you will be punished.

57. What is the meaning of the verse (Isaiah 30:26), “The light of the moon shall be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, like the light of the seven days.” The verse does not say “seven days,” but “the seven days.” These are the days regarding which it is written (Exodus 31:17), “For six days God made [the heaven and the earth].” As you said, God made six beautiful vessels. What are they? “The heaven and the earth.” Are they not seven? Yes, as it is written (ibid.) “And on the seventh day, He rested and souled.” What is the meaning of “souled?” This teaches us that the Sabbath sustains all souls. It is therefore written that it souled.

58. Another explanation: This teaches us that it is from there that souls fly forth. It is thus written, "and He souled." This continues for a thousand generations. It is thus written (Psalm 105:8), "The word that He commanded until a thousand generations." Immediately after this it says, "[the covenant] that He cut with Abraham." What is the meaning of "cut"? He cut a covenant between the ten fingers of his hands and the ten toes of his feet. Abraham was ashamed. God then said to him (Genesis 17:4), "And I, behold My covenant is with you," and with it, "you will be the father of many nations."

59. Why is heaven called Shamayim? This teaches that God kneaded fire and water, and combined them together. From this He made the "beginning of His word." It is thus written (Psalm 119:160), "The beginning of your word is truth." It is therefore called Shamayim Sham Mayim (there is water) Esh Mayim (fire water). He said to them: This is the meaning of the verse (Job 25:2), "He makes peace in His heights." He placed peace and love between them. May He also place peace and love among us.

60. We also say (Psalm 119:164), "seven times each day I praised You for Your righteous judgement." They asked him, "What are they?" He replied, "You do not look at it carefully. Be precise and you will find them."

61. They asked him, "What is the letter Tzaddi?"" He said: Tzaddi is a Nun and a Yod . Its mate is also a Nun and a Yod. It is thus written (Proverbs 10:25), "The righteous (Tzadik) is the foundation of the world."

62. They asked him: What is the meaning of the verse [with regard to Balak and Balaam] (Numbers 23:14), "And he took him to the field of the seers."? What is the "field of the seers"? As it is written (Song of Songs 7:12), "Come my beloved, let us go out to the field." Do not read Sadeh (the field), but Sidah (carriage). What is this carriage? He said, "The Heart of the Blessed Holy One." His heart said to the Blesssed Holy One, "Come my beloved, let us go out to the carriage to stroll. It will not constantly sit in one place."

63. What is his heart? He said: If so, Ben Zoma is out side, and you are with him. The heart (Lev) [in numerical value] is thirty-two. These are concealed, and with them the world was created. What these 32? He said: These are the 32 Paths. This is like a king who was in the innermost of many chambers. The number of such chambers was 32, and to each one there was a path. Should the king the bring everyone to his chamber through these paths? You will agree that he should not. Should he reveal his jewels, his tapestries, his hidden and concealed secrets? You will again agree that he should not. What then does he do? He touches the Daughter, and includes all the paths in her and in her garments. One who wants to go inside should gaze there. He married her to a king, and also gave her to him as a gift. Because of his love for he, he sometimes calls her "my sister," since they are both from one place. Sometimes he calls her his daughter, since she is actually his daughter. And sometimes he calls her "my mother."

64. Furthermore, if there is no wisdom, then there is no justice. It is thus written (1 Kings 5:26), "And God gave wisdom to Solomon." He then judged the case [of the two mothers and the infant] correctly, and it is then written (1 Kings 3:28), "And all Israel of the judgement that the Kind had judged, and they feared the king, for they say that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgement."

65. And what wisdom did God give to Solomon? Solomon had God's name. We have thus said that whenever Solomon is mentioned in the Song of Songs, it is a holy name, except in one case. God said to him, "Since your name is like the name of My Glory, I will let you marry my daughter." But she is married! Let us say that He gave her to him as a gift. It is thus written (1 Kings 5:26), "And God gave wisdom to Solomon." Here, however, it is not explained. Where then is it explained? When the scripture states (1 Kings 3:28), "For they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgement." We then see that the wisdom that God gave him was such that he could "do judgement." What is the meaning of "to do judgement?" As long as a person does judgement, God's wisdom is inside him. This is what helps him and draws him near. If not, it repels him, and not only that, but it also punishes him. It is thus written (Leviticus 26:28), "I will chastise you, also I."

66. And Rabbi Rahumai said: What is the meaning of the verse (Leviticus 26:28), "[I will chastise you,] also I"? God said, "I will chastise you." The Congregation of Israel said, "Do not think that I will seek mercy for you, but I will chastise you. Not only will I render judgement, but I will also chastise you."

67. What is the meaning of (Leviticus 26:28), "[I will chastise you, also I], seven for your sins"? The Congregation of Israel said: "I will chastise you, also I" and also those regarding which it is written (Psalm 119:164) , "Seven each day I praised You." They joined her and replied: Also us seven. Even though among us is the one who reverses itself, the one who oversees good and merit, we too will reverse ourselves and chastise. Why? Because of your sins. But if you return to Me, then I will return to you. It is thus written (Malachi 3:7), "Return to Me, and I will return to you." The scripture does not say, "I will bring you back to Me." Instead it says, "I will return to you" with you. We will all seek mercy from the King. What does the King say? [He says] (Jeremiah 3:22), "Return you backsliding children, I will heal your backslidings." [He also says] (Ezekiel 18:30), "Return and bring back." What is the meaning of the verse, "Return and bring back"? Come back and ask those Seven to return with you. The scripture therefore says, "and bring back " those regarding which it is written, "seven for your sin."

68. The disciples asked Rabbi Rahumai: What is the meaning of the verse (Habakkuk 3:1), "A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, for errors." A prayer? It should be called a praise [since it speaks of God's greatness]. But whoever turns his heart from worldly affairs and delves in the Works of the Chariot * is accepted before God as if he prayed all day. It is therefore called "a prayer." What is the meaning of "for errors"? As it is written [regarding wisdom] (Proverbs 5:19), "With its love you shall always err." Regarding what is this speaking? The Works of the Chariot, as it is written (Habbakuk 3:2) * i.e "Maaseh Merkavah" or Merkavah Mysticism which Kaplan says was synonymous with the Qabalah at the time the Bahir was first composed. "O God, I heard a report of You and I feared."

69. What is the meaning of, "I heard a report of You and I feared, [O God, bring to life Your works in the midst of the years]"? Why does the verse say "I feared" after "I heard a report of You," and not after "in the midst of the years"? But it was "from the report of You" that "I feared." What is the "report of You"? It is the place where they listen to reports. Why does the verse say "I heard" and not "I understood"? [The word "heard" has the connotation of understanding] as we find (Deuteronomy 38:49), "A nation whose language you do not hear."

70. Why did he say "I feared"? Because the ear looks like the letter Aleph . The Aleph is the first of all letters. Besides this, the Aleph causes all the letters to endure. The Aleph looks like the brain. When you mention the Aleph you open your mouth. The same is true of thought, when you extend your thoughts to the Infinite and Boundless. From Aleph emanate all letters. Do we not see that it is first? It is thus written (Micah 2:13), "God (YHVH) is at their head." We have a rule that every Name that is written Yod He Vav He is specific to the Blessed Holy One and is sanctified with holiness. What is the meaning of "with holiness"? This is the Holy Palace. Where is the Holy Palace? We would say that it is in thought and in the Aleph . This is the meaning of the verse, "I heard a report of You and I feared."

71. Habakkuk therefore said: I know that my prayer is accepted with delight. I also delighted when I cam to that place where I understood "a report of You and I feared." Therefore, "Bring to life your works in the midst of the years" through Your unity. What is this like? A king who was talented, hidden and concealed went into his house and commanded that no one seek him. One who does seek is therefore afraid, lest the king find out that he has violated the king's order. [Habakkuk] therefore said, "I feared, O God, bring to life Your works in the midst of the years." This is what Habakkuk said: Because You name is in You, and You is Your name, "bring to life Your works in the midst of the years." Thus will it be forever.

72. Another explanation of "Bring to life Your works in the midst of years": What is this like? A king had a beautiful pearl, and it was the treasure of his kingdom. When he is happy, he embraces it, kisses it, places it on his head, and loves it. Habakkuk said: Even though Kings are with You, the beloved pearl is in Your world. Therefore, "Bring to life Your works in the midst of years." What is the meaning of "years"? It is written (Genesis 1:3), "And God said, `Let there be light.'" Light is nothing other than day, as it is written (Genesis 1:16) , "The great light to rule the day, and the small light to rule the night." Years are made from days. It is thus written, "Bring to life Your works in the midst of years" in the midst of that pearl that gives rise to years.

73. But it is written (Isaiah 43:5), "[Fear not, for I am with you,] I will bring your seed from the east." The sun rises in the east, and you say that the pearl is day. [He replied:] I am only speaking with regard to the verse (Genesis 1:5) "And it was evening and it was morning, day." Regarding this it is written (Genesis 2:4), "In the day that God made earth and heaven."

74. And it is written (Psalm 18:12), "He made darkness His hiding place round about, His Succah the darkness of waters , thick clouds of the skies (Shechakim)." He said: Regarding this it is written (Isaiah 45:8), "The skies (Shechakim) pour down righteousness." This righteousness (Tzadik) is the Attribute of Judgment for the world. It is thus written (Deuteronomy 16:20), "Righteousness, righteousness shall you pursue." Immediately after this, it is written, "that you may live and occupy the land." If you judge yourself, then you will live. If not, then it will judge you, and it will be fulfilled, even against your will.

75. Why does the Torah say "righteousness, righteousness" twice? He said: Because the scripture continues (Psalm 18:13), "At the glow opposite Him." The first "righteousness" is literal righteousness (Tzedek). This is the Divine Presence [i.e Shekinah]. It is thus written (Isaiah 1:21), "Righteousness dwells in it." What is the second "righteousness"? This is the righteousness that frightens the righteous. Is this righteousness charity (Tzadakah) or not? He said that it is not. Why? Because it is written (Isaiah 59:17), "He put on righteousness like a coat of mail, and [a helmet of salvation on His head]." His head is nothing other than Truth. It is thus written (Psalm 119:160), "The head of Your word is truth." Truth is nothing other than peace. It is thus written [that King Hezekiah said] (Isaiah 39:8), "There shall be peace and truth in my days." Is it possible for a man to say this? But this is what Hezekiah said: The attribute that You gave to David my ancestor is half of my days, and peace and truth are half of my days. It is for this reason that he mentioned "my days." He mentioned both "peace and truth" and "in my days," since it is all one. It is thus written (Genesis 1:5), "And it was evening, and it was morning, one day." [The day reconciles morning and evening, and is therefore peace.] Just as the day is peace, so he chose peace. It is therefore written (2 Kings 20:19), "Peace and truth shall be in my days." This shall be through the attribute that You gave to David. Regarding this, it is written (Psalm 89:37), "His throne shall be like the sun before Me."

76. What is the meaning of the verse (Habakkuk 3:2), "In the midst of years make it known"? He said: I know that You are the holy God, as it is written (Exodus 15:11), "Who is like You, mighty in holiness?" Holiness is in You and You are in holiness. Nevertheless, "in the midst of years make it known." What is the meaning of "make it known"? [This means] that You should have mercy. It is thus written (Exodus 2:25), "And God saw the children of Israel, and God knew." What is the meaning of, "and God knew"? What is this like? A king had a beautiful wife, and had children from her. He loved them and raised them, but they went out to bad ways. He then hated both them and their mother. The mother went to them and said, "My children! Why do you do this: Why do you make your father hate both you and me?" [She spoke to them in this manner] until they had remorse and did the will of their father. When the king saw this, he loved them as much as he did in the beginning. He then also remembered their mother. This is the meaning of the verse, "And God saw... and God knew." This is also the meaning of the verse, "In the midst of years make it known."

77. What is the meaning of the verse (Habakkuk 3:2) "In anger, you shall remember love (rachem)" ? He said: When Your children sin before You and You are angry at them, "remember love." What is the meaning of "remember love"? That regarding which it is written (Psalm 18:2), "I love (rachem) You O God, my strength." And You have him this attribute, which is the Divine Presence of Israel. He recalled his son whom he inherited, and whom You gave to him. It is thus written (I Kings 5:26), "And God gave wisdom to Solomon." And You should remember their father Abraham, as it is written (Isaiah 41:8), "The seed of Abraham My friend" "In the midst of years make it known."

78. Where do we see that Abraham had a daughter? It is written (Genesis 24:1), "And God blessed Abraham with all (Bakol)." It is also written (Isaiah 43:7), " All that is called by My name, for My glory I created it, I formed it, also I made it." Was this blessing his daughter, or was it not? Yes, it was his daughter. What is this like? A king had a slave who was complete and perfect before him. The king tested the slave in many ways, but the slave withstood all temptation. The King said, "What will I give that slave? What should I do for him? I can do nothing but command my older brother to advise him, watch over him and honour him." The slave thus went to the older brother and learned his attributes. The brother loved him very much, and called him his friend. It is thus written (Isaiah 41:8), "The seed of Abraham My friend." He said, "What will I give him? What can I do for him? Behold I have made a beautiful vessel, and in it are beautiful jewels. There is nothing like it in the treasuries of kings. I will give it to him, and he will be worthy in his place." This is the meaning of the verse, "And God blessed Abraham with all."

79. Another explanation: [It is written] (Habakkuk 3:2), "I heard a report of You and I feared." [This means] "I understood what was reported about You and I feared." What did he understand? He understood God's thought. Even [human] thought has no end, for man can think, and descend to the end of the world. The ear also has no end and is not satiated. It is thus written (Ecclesiastes 1:8), "The ear is not satiated from hearing." Why is this so? Because the ear is in the shape of an Aleph. Aleph is the root of the Ten Commandments. Therefore "the ear is not satiated from hearing."

80. What is the meaning of the letter Zayin in the word Ozen (ear)? We have said that everything that the Blessed Holy One brought into His world has a name emanating form its concept. It is thus written (Genesis 2:19), "All that the man called each living soul, that was its name." This teaches us that each thing's body was thus. And how do we know that each thing's name is its body? It is written (Proverbs 10:7) , "The memory of the righteous shall be a blessing, and the name of the wicked shall rot." What actually rots, their name or their body? [One must agree that it is their body.] Here too, [each thing's name refers to] its body.

81. What is an example of this? Take the word for root Shoresh (Shin Resh Shin). The letter Shin looks like the roots of a tree. [ Resh is bent, since] the root of every tree is bent. And what is the function of the final Shin? This teaches us that if you take a branch and plant it, it will root again. What is its function of the Zayin [in Ozen ear]? [Its numerical value is seven] corresponding to the seven days of the week. This teaches us that each day has its own power. And what is its function [in the word Ozen ]? This teaches us that just like there is infinite wisdom in the ear, so is there power in all parts of the body.

82. What art the seven parts of man's body? It is written (Genesis 9:6), "In the form of God, He made man." It is also written (Genesis 1:27), "In the form of God He made him" counting all his limbs and parts. But we have said: What does the letter Vav resemble? It is alluded to in the verse (Psalm 104:5), "He spreads out light like a garment." For Vav is nothing other than the six directions. He replied: The covenant of circumcision and man's mate are considered as one. His is two hands then make three, his head and body, five, and his two legs make seven. Paralleling all these are their powers in heaven. It is thus written (Ecclesiastes 7:14) , "Also one opposite the other had God made." These are the days [of the week, as it is written] (Exodus 31:17), "Because six days God made the heaven and the earth." The scripture does not say "in six days," but rather, "six days." This teaches us that each day [of the week] has its own specific power.

83 What is the significance of the Nun [in the word Ozen ]? This teaches us that the brain is the main part of the spinal cord. It constantly draws from there, and if not for the spinal cord, the brain could not endure. And without the brain, the body could not endure. The entire body exists only in order to provide for the needs of the brain. And if the body did not endure, then the brain would also not endure. The spinal cord is the channel from the brain to the entire body. It is represented by the bent Nun . But [in the word Ozen ] the Nun is a straight one. The straight Nun is the one that is always at the end of a word. This teaches us that the straight Nun includes both the bent one and the straight one. But the bent Nun is the Foundation. This teaches us that the straight Nun includes both male and female.

84. The open Mem . What is the open Mem ? It includes both male and female. What is the closed Mem ? It is made like a belly from above. But Rabbi Rahumai said that the belly is like the letter Teth . He said it is like a Teth on the inside, while I say that it is like a Mem on the outside.

85 What is a Mem? Do not read Mem, but Mayim (water). Just like water is wet, so is the belly always wet. Why does the open Mem include both male and female, while the closed Mem is male? This teaches us that the Mem is primarily male. The opening was then added to it for the sake of the female. Just like the male cannot give birth, so the closed Mem cannot give birth. And just like the female has an opening with which to give birth, so can the open Mem give birth. The Mem is therefore open and closed.

86. Why should the Mem have two forms, open and closed? Because we said: Do not read Mem, but Mayim (Water). The woman is cold, and therefore, must be warmed by the male. Why should the Nun have two forms, bent and straight? Because it is written (Psalm 72:17), "Before the sun shall his name reign (ya-Nun)." [This is] from two Nuns, the bent Nun and the straight Nun, and it must be through male and female.

87. It is written (Ecclesiastes 1:8), "The ear is not satiated from hearing." It is also written (Ecclesiastes 1:8), "The eye is not satiate from seeing." This teaches us that both draw from thought. What is thought? It is a king that is needed by all things that were created in the world, both above and below.

88. What is the meaning of the expression, "It rose in thought"? Why do we not say that "it descended [in thought]"? Indeed, we have said, "One who gazes into the vision of the Chariot first descends and then ascends." We use the expression [of descent] there because we say, "One who gazes into the vision (Tzafayat) of the Chariot." The Aramaic translation of "vision" (Tzafiyat) is Sechuta [meaning a covering, and alluding to the fact that one is looking down from above]. It is also written (Isaiah 21:8), "And he called as a lion: `Upon the watchtower (Mitzpeh), O God.'" Here, however, we are speaking of thought, [and therefore only speak of ascent]. For thought does not include any vision, and has no ending whatsoever. And anything that has no end or limit does not have any descent. People therefore say, "Someone descended to the limit of his friend's knowledge." One can arrive at the limit of a person's knowledge, but not at the limit of his thought.

89. Rabbi Amorai sat and expounded: What is the meaning of the Segol? Its name is Segulah (treasure). It comes after the Zarka. What is the meaning of Zarka? It is like its name something that is thrown (ni Zrak). It is like something that is thrown, and after it comes (Ecclesiastes 2:8), "the treasures of kings and lands."

90. What is the reason that it is called Zarka? It is written (Ezekiel 3:12), "Blessed is the glory of God from His place." This indicates that no being knows His place. We recite [God's] name of the Crown, and it goes to the head of the Owner. It is thus written [regarding God] (Genesis 14:19), "Owner of heaven and earth." When it goes, it is like it is thrown (Zarka) . Following it is treasure (Segulah). It is at the head of all letters.

91. Why is [this accent] at the end of a word, and not at the beginning? This teaches us that this Crown rises higher and higher. It is included and crowned, as it is written (Psalm 118:22), "The stone that the builders rejected has become the head cornerstone." It ascend to the place from which it was graven, as it is written (Genesis 49:24), "From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel."

92. He also said: What is the reason that we place blue wool in the Tzitzit? And why are there 32 [threads]? What is this like? A king had a beautiful garden, and in it were 32 paths. He placed a watchman over them to show that all these paths belong to him alone. [The king] said to him, "Watch them, and walk upon them every day. As long as you walk these paths, you will have peace." What did the watchman do? He appointed other watchmen [as his assistants to watch] over them. He said, "If I remain alone on these paths, it is impossible for me, a single watchman, to maintain them all. Besides that, people may say that I am the king." The watchman therefore placed his assistants over all the paths. These are the 32 paths.

93. What is the reason for the blue? The watchman said, "Perhaps those assistant watchmen will say that the garden belongs to us." He therefore gave them a sign, and told them, "See this. It is the sign of the king, indicating that the garden belongs to him. He is the one who made these paths, and they are not mine. This is his deal." What is this like? A king and his daughter had slaves, and they wanted to travel abroad. But [the slaves] were afraid, being in terror of the king. He therefore gave them his sign. They were also afraid of the daughter, and she [also] gave them a sign. They said, "From now on, with these two signs, `God will watch you from all evil, He will safeguard your soul.'"

94. Rabbi Amorai sat and expounded: What is the meaning of the verse (1 Kings 8:27), "Behold the heaven and the heaven of heaven cannot contain You"? This teaches us that the Blessed Holy One has 72 names. All of them were placed in the Tribes [of Israel]. It is thus written (Exodus 28:10), "Six of their names on one stone, and the names of the other six on the other stone, according to their generations." It is also written (Joshua 4:9), "He raised up twelve stones." Just like the first are (Exodus 28:12), "stones of memorial," so these are (Joshua 4:7), "stones of memorial." [There are therefore] 12 stones [each containing six names] making a total of 72. These parallel the 72 names of the Blessed Holy One. Why do they begin with twelve? This teaches us that God has twelve Directors. Each of these has six Powers [making a total of 72]. What are they? They are the 72 languages.

95. The Blessed Holy One has a single Tree, and it has twelve diagonal boundaries: The northeast boundary, the southeast boundary; The upper east boundary, the lower east boundary; The southwest boundary, the northwest boundary; The upper west boundary, the lower west boundary; The upper south boundary, the lower south boundary; The upper north boundary, the lower north boundary; They continually spread forever and ever; They are the arms of the world. On the inside of them is the Tree. Paralleling these diagonals there are twelve Functionaries. Inside the Sphere there are also twelve Functionaries. Including the diagonals themselves, this makes a total of 36 Functionaries. Each of these has another. It is thus written (Ecclesiastes 5:7), "For one above another watches." [This makes a total of 72.] It therefore comes out that the east has nine, the west has nine, the north has nine, and the south has nine. These are twelve, twelve, twelve, and they are the Functionaries in the Axis, the Sphere, and the Heart. Their total is 36. The power of each of these 36 is in every other one. Even though there are twelve in each of the three, they are all attached to each other. Therefore, all 36 Powers are in the first one, which is the Axis. And if you seek them in the Sphere, you will find the very same ones. And if you seek them in the Heart, you will again find the very same ones. Each one therefore has 36. All of them do not have more than 36 forms. All of them complete the Heart [which has a numerical value of 32]. Four are then left over. Add 32 to 32 and the sum is 64. These are the 64 Forms. How do we know that 32 must be added to 32? Because it is written (Ecclesiastes 5:7) , "For one above another watches, [and there are higher ones above them]." We thus have 64, eight less than the 72 names of the Blessed Holy One. These are alluded to in the verse, "there are higher ones above them," and they are the seven days of the week. But one is still missing. This is referred to in the next verse (Ecclesiastes 5:8), "The advantage of the land in everything is the King." What is this "advantage"? This is the place from which the earth was graven. It is an advantage over what existed previously. And what is this advantage? Everything in the world that people see is taken from its radiance. Then it is an advantage.

96. What is the earth from which the heavens were graven? It is the Throne of the Blessed Holy One. It is the Precious Stone and the Sea of Wisdom. This parallels the blue in the Tzitzit. Rabbi Meir thus said: Why is blue chosen above all other colours [for the Tzitzit]? Because the blue resembles the sea, the sea resembles the sky,l and the sky resembles the Throne of Glory. It is thus written (Exodus 24:10), "They saw the God of Israel, and under His feet was like a pavement of sapphire, like the essence of heaven in clarity." It is furthermore written (Ezekiel 1:26) , "As the likeness of a sapphire stone was the appearance of a Throne."

97. Rabbi Berachiah sat and expounded: What is the meaning of the verse (Exodus 25:2), "And they shall take for Me a lifted offering (Terumah) "? It means, "Lift Me up with your prayers." And whom? Those whose "hearts make them willing." These are the ones who are willing to draw themselves away from this world. Honour him, for it is in him that I rejoice, since he knows My name. From him it is fitting to take My lifted offering, as it is written (Exodus 25:2), "from each man whose heart makes him willing, you shall take My lifted offering." From he who makes himself willing. Rabbi Rahumai said: [This refers to] the righteous and pious in Israel who raise Me over all the world through their merit. From them the Heart is sustained, and the Heart sustains them.

98. And all the Holy Forms oversee all the nations. But Israel is holy, taking the Tree itself and its Heart. The Heart is the beauty (hadar) of the fruit of the body. Similarly, Israel takes (Leviticus 23:40), "the fruit of a beautiful (hadar) tree." The date palm is surrounded by its branches all around it and has its sprout (Lulav) in the centre. Similarly, Israel takes the body of this Tree which is its Heart. And paralleling the body is the spinal cord, which is the main part of the body. What is the Lulav ? [It can be written] Lo Lev "it has a heart." The heart is also given over to it. And what is this Heart? It is the 32 Hidden paths of Wisdom that are hidden in it. In each of their paths there is also a Form watching over it. It is thus written (Genesis 3:24) , "To watch the way of the Tree of Life."

99. What are these Forms? They are that regarding which it is written (Genesis 3:24), "And He placed the Cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden, and the flame of a sword revolving, to guard the way of the Tree of Life." What is the meaning of, "He placed to the east (kedem) of the Garden of Eden"? He placed it in those paths that preceded (kadmu) the place that was called the Garden of Eden. It was also before the Cherubim, as it is written, "the Cherubim." It was furthermore before the flame, as it is written, "the flame of a sword revolving." Is it then before [the flame]? Heaven is called Shamayim , indicating that fire and water existed before it. It is written (Genesis 1:6), "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it be a division between water and water." It is then written (Genesis 1:8), "And God called the firmament heaven (Shamayim). " How do we know that the heaven is fire? It is written (Deuteronomy 4:24), "For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."

100. And how do we know that "" refers to the Blessed Holy One? It is written (1 Kings 8:36), "And you, O Heaven, shall hear." Was Solomon then praying to heaven that it should hear their prayers? But [we must say the he was praying] to the One whose name is Heaven. It is thus written (1 Kings 8:27), "Behold the heaven and the heaven of heaven cannot contain You." This is the name of the Blessed Holy One. You therefore have fire. How can you then say that it was before? But we must say that their Power existed before the Forms of that place. Only then did these Holy Forms come into existence. What is their Power? It is that regarding which it is written (I Samuel 2:2), "There is none holy like God, there is none other than You, and there is no Former like our God."

101. Rabbi Berachiah sat and expounded: What is the Lulav that we discusses? It is the 36 (Lu) given over to 32 (Lav). And how? He replied: There are three Princes, the Axis, the Sphere and the Heart. Each one is twelve, and the three therefore constitute a sum of 36, through which the world is sustained. It is thus written (Proverbs 10:25), "And Righteous is the foundation of the world."

102. We learned: There is a single pillar extending from heaven to earth, and its name is Righteous (Tzadik) . [This pillar] is named after the righteous. When there are righteous people in the world, then it becomes strong, and when there are not, it becomes weak. It supports the entire world, as it is written, "And Righteous is the foundation of the world." If it becomes weak, then the world cannot endure. Therefore, even if there is only one righteous person in the world, it is he who supports the world. It is therefore written, "And a righteous one is the foundation of the world." You should therefore take My lifted offering from him first. Then (Exodus 25:3), "And this is the lifted offering that you should take from them" from the rest. What is it? "Gold, silver and copper."

103. Another explanation: It is written (Exodus 25:2) , "and the shall take for Me (Li) a lifted offering." [ Li (for Me) can also be read, "for the Yod. "] They shall take the Yod , which is the tenth, as a lifted offering to make it holy. How do we know that the tenth is holy? Because it is written (Leviticus 27:32) "The tenth shall be holy to God." What is holy? That regarding which it is written (Ezekiel 44:30), "The beginning of all the first fruits ... and every lifted offering of every thing." It is furthermore written (Psalm 111:10) , "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God." Do not read "is the fear" but "and the fear." [The verse will then read, "The beginning is wisdom and the fear of God.]

104. The disciples asked Rabbi Eliezer: Our master, what is the meaning of the verse (Exodus 13:2), "Sanctify to Me every first-born"? Does the Blessed Holy One then have a first-born? He replied: "Sanctify to Me (Li) every first-born" refers to nothing other than the second level of holiness. It is the name that is given to Israel, as it is written (Exodus 7:22), "My son, My first-born, Israel." To the extent that we can express it, He was with them [in Egypt] in the time of their oppression. It is therefore written (Exodus 4:27), "Send forth My son and he will serve Me." [Here, only "My son" is mentioned,] and not "My first-born." Rabbi Rahumai said: What is the meaning of the verse (Deuteronomy 22:7), "You shall surely send away the mother, and the children you shall take for yourself." Why does it not say, "You shall surely send away the father"? But the scripture says, "you shall surely send away the mother" in honour of the one who is called the Mother of the World. It is thus written (Proverbs 2:3), "For you shall call Understanding a Mother."

105. What is the meaning of, "and the children you shall take for yourself"? Rabbi Rahumai said: These are the children that she raised. And who are they? They are the seven days of creation, and the seven days of Sukkot . Are the seven [days of Sukkot ] then not the same as the seven days of the week? The difference is that [the days of Sukkot ] are more holy. Regarding them it is written (Leviticus 23:37), "holy convocations." But then, why not [also include the seven weeks before] Shavuot, since this is also called (Leviticus 23:21), "a holy convocation"? He replied: Yes, but this is the one and the other is two. It is thus written (Exodus 12:16), "The first day shall be a holy convocation, and the seventh day shall be a holy convocation." He said: Why is Shavuot one [day]? Because the Torah was given to Israel on that day. And when the Torah was created in the beginning, the Blessed Holy One ruled His world alone with it. It is thus written (Psalm 111:10), "The beginning is wisdom, the fear of God." [God] said [to it], "This being so, your holiness shall be yours by yourself." And what is Sukkot? He replied: the letter Beth [which has the connotation of a house (Bayit) ]. It is thus written (Proverbs 24:3), "With wisdom a house is built." And how do we know that Sukkot has the connotation of a house? As it is written (Genesis 33:17) , "And Jacob travelled to Sukkot. He built himself a house, and for his livestock he built Sukkot (huts). Therefore he named the place Sukkot."

106. Rabbi Berachiah sat and expounded: What is the Axis (Teli) ? This is the likeness that is before the Blessed Holy One. It is thus written (Song of Songs 5:11), "His locks are curled (Taltalim). " What is the Sphere? This is the Womb. What is the Heart? It is that regarding which it is written (Deuteronomy 4:11), "unto the heart of heaven." In it are included the 32 mystical paths of Wisdom.

107. What is the meaning of the verse (Numbers 6:24-26) , "May God (YHVH) bless you and watch you. May God (YHVH) make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May God (YHVH) lift His face to you and give you peace." This is the explicit Name of the Blessed Holy One. It is the Name containing twelve letters, as it is written, YHVH YHVH YHVH. This teaches us that God's names consists of three troops. Each troop resembles the other, and each one's name is like [the other's] named. All of them are sealed with Yod He Vav He . And how? The [four letters] Yod He Vav He can be permuted 24 different ways, forming one troop. This is, "May God (YHVH) bless you..." In a similar manner, the second one, "May God (YHVH) make His face shine..." These are 24 names of the Blessed Holy One. In a similar manner, the third one, "May God (YHVH) lift His face..." These are 24 names of the Blessed Holy One. This teaches us that each army, with its leaders and officers, has 24. Multiply 24 by three and you have the 72 names of the Blessed Holy One. These are the 72 names derived from the verses (Exodus 14:19-21), "And travelled... And came ... And stretched ..."

108. And who are the Officers? We learned that there are three. Strength (Geburah) is the Officer of all the Holy Forms to the left of the Blessed Holy One . He is Gabriel. The Officer of all the Holy Forms to His right is Michael. In the middle is Truth. This is Uriel, the Officer of all the Holy Forms [in the centre]. Each Officer is over 24 Forms. But there is no reckoning of his troops, as it is written (Job 25:3), "Is there a number to His troops?" But if so, then there are 72 plus 72 [making a total of 144]. He said: This is not the case. For when Israel brings a sacrifice before their Father in heaven, they are united together. This is the unification of our God.

109. Why is this sacrifice called a Karban [which means "bringing close"]? Because it brings the Forms of the Holy Powers close. It is thus written (Ezekiel 37:17) , "And you shall join one of them to the other, making one stick, and they shall become one in your hands." And why is [the sacrifice] called a "pleasant fragrance"? Fragrance is only in the nose. The sense of smell is through breath, and this is nowhere but in the nose. "Pleasant" (nicho'ach) means nothing other than "descending." It is thus written (Leviticus 9:22), "And he descended," and the Targum translates this as Ve-Nachit [having the same root as nicho'ach ]. The fragrance-spirit descends and unifies itself with those Holy Forms, bringing itself close through the sacrifice. It is for this reason that [a sacrifice] is called a Karban .

110. There is a name that is derived from the three verses (Exodus 14:19-21) , "And travelled ... And came ... And stretched..." The letters of the first verse, "And travelled..." are arranged in this name in the order that they are in the verse. The letters of the second verse, "And came ..." are arranged in the name in reverse order. The letters of the third passage, "And stretched..." are arranged in the name in the same order as they occur in the verse, just like the case of the first verse. Each of these verses has 72 letters. Therefore, each of the names that is derived from these three sentences, "And travelled... And came... And stretched..." contains three letters. These are the 72 names. They emanate and divide themselves into three sections, 24 to each section. Over each of these sections is a higher Officer. Each section has four directions to watch, east, west, north and south. The four directions then have a total of 24 forms. [This is true of the first section] as well as the second and the third. All of them are sealed with YHVH , God of Israel, the living God, Shaddai, high and exalted, who dwells in eternity on high, whose Name is holy, YHVH. Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever.

111. Rabbi Ahilai sat and expounded: What is the meaning of the verse, "God (YHVH) is King, God (YHVH) was king, God (YHVH) will be King forever and ever."? This is the Explicit Name (Shem Ha Mephoresh) , for which permission was given that it be permuted and spoken. It is thus written [regarding the above-mentioned Priestly Blessing] (Numbers 6:27) , "And they shall place My name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them." This refers to the Name containing twelve letters. It is the name used in the Priestly Blessing, "May God bless you..." It contains three names [each having four letters] making a total of twelve. Its vowel points are Yapha'al Y'pha'oel Yiph'ol. If one safeguards it and mentions it in holiness, then all his prayers are heard. And not only that, but he is loved on high and below, and immediately answered and helped. This is the Explicit Name that was written on Aaron's forehead. The Explicit Name containing 72 letters and the Explicit Name containing twelve letters were given over by the Blessed Holy One to [the angel] Mesamariah, who stands before the Curtain. He gave it to Elijah on Mount Carmel, and with them he ascended and did not taste death.

112. These are the Explicit Holy Exalted Names. There are twelve Names, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel: Ah-Tzitzah-ron Aklithah-ron Shemaqtharon Demushah-ron Ve-Tzaphtzaphithron Hurmyron Brach Yah-ron Eresh Gadra-aon Basavah Monahon Chazhavayah Havahayryhah Ve-Harayth-hon All of them are included in the Heart of heaven. They include male and female. They are given over to the Axis, the Sphere and the Heart, and they are the wellsprings of Wisdom.

113. Rabbi Rahumai sat and expounded: What are the twelve tribes or Israel? But this teaches us that the Blessed Holy One has twelve rods [on high. The word Shevet is the same for both "tribe" and "rod."] What are they? What is this like? A king had a beautiful fountain. All his brothers has no water other than this fountain, and could not endure thirst. What did he do? He made twelve pipes for the fountain, and named them afters his brothers' children. He then said to them, "If the sons are as good as their fathers, they will be worthy, and I will let water flow through the pipes. The fathers will then drink all they wish, and so will the sons. But if the sons are not worthy and do not do what is right in my eyes, then regarding this, these pipes will stand. I will give them water only on the condition that they give none to their children, since they do not obey my will."

114. What is the meaning of the word Shevet [which has the connotation of both a tribe and a rod]? It is something simple and not square. What is the reason? Because it is impossible to have one square inside another square. A circle inside a square can move. A square inside a square cannot move.

115. What are the things that are circular? They are the vowel points in the Torah of Moses, for these are all round. They are to the letters like the soul, which lives in the body of man. It is impossible for [man] to come [into this world] unless [the soul] endures within him. It is impossible for him to speak anything, great or small, without it. In a similar manner, it is impossible to speak a word, great or small, without the vowel points.

116. Every vowel point is round, and every letter is square. The vowel points are the life of the letters, and through them, the letters endure. These vowel points come through the pipes to the letters through the fragrance of a sacrifice, which immediately descends. It is therefore called "A descending (pleasant) fragrance to God" indicating that it descends to God. This is the meaning of the verse (Deuteronomy 6:4) , "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One."

117. Rabbi Yochanan said: What is the meaning of the verse (Exodus 15:3) , "God is a man (Ish) of war, God (YHVH) is His name"? Man (Ish) indicates a sign. The Targum thus renders, "God is a man of war," as "God is the Master of victory in war." What is this Master? Aleph is the first, the Holy Palace. Do we then say that the Palace is holy? Instead we say, "the Palace of the Holy One."

118. Yod is the Ten Sayings with which the world was created. What are they? They are the Torah of Truth, which includes all worlds. What is the Shin ? He said: It is the root of the tree. The letter Shin is like the root of a tree.

119. What is this tree that you mentioned? He said: It represents the Powers of the Blessed Holy One, one above the other. Just like a tree brings forth fruit through water, so the Blessed Holy One increases the Powers of the Tree through water. What is the water of the Blessed Holy One? It is wisdom. It is the souls of the righteous. They fly from the fountain to the great pip, ascend and attach themselves to the Tree. Through what do they fly? Through Israel. Whey they are good and righteous, the Divine Presence dwells among them. Their deeds then rest in the bosom of the Blessed Holy One, and He makes them fruitful and multiplies them.

120. How do we know that the Divine Presence is called Tzedek (Righteous)? It is written (Deuteronomy 33:26), “He who rides in the heavens is your help, and His majesty is in the skies (Shechakim).” It is also written (Isaiah 45:8), “The skies (Shechakim) run with Righteousness (Tzedek).” Tzedek is the Divine Presence, as it is written (Isaiah 1:21), "Righteousness (Tzedek) dwells in it." Righteousness was given to David, as it is written, (Psalm 146:10), “May God reign forever, your God O Zion, for generation to generation.” It is also written (1 Chronicles 11:1), “Zion is the city of David.”

121. What is the meaning of "generation to generation"? Rabbi Papias said: "A generation goes and a generation comes (Ecclesiastes 1:4)." Rabbi Akiba said: "The generation came" it already came.

122. What is this like? A king had slaves, and he dressed them with garments of silk and satin according to his ability. The relationship broke down, and he cast them out, repelled them, and took his garments away from them. They then went on their own way. The king took the garments, and washed them well until there was not a single spot on them. He placed them with his storekeepers, bought other slaves, and dressed them with the same garments. He did not know whether or not the slaves were good, but they were [at least] worthy of garments that he already had and which had been previously worn. [The verse continues] (Ecclesiastes 1:4), "But the earth stands forever." This is the same as (Ecclesiastes 12:6), "The dust returns to the earth as it was, but the spirit returns to God who gave it." The Ten Sephiroth

123. Rabbi Amorai said: What is the meaning of the verse (Leviticus 9:22) , "And Aaron raised up his hands to bless the people, and he blessed them and he descended [from making the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings]."? Did he not already descent? But he descended "from making the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings," and then "Aaron raised up his hands to bless the people." What is the meaning of this raising [of hands]? It was because he had offered a sacrifice and brought them before their Father in heaven, as we have said. Those who offer sacrifice must elevate them, [and those who] unify them [must] unify them among these. And; what are they? The people, as it is written "to the people." [This means] "for the sake of the people."

124. Why are the hands lifted when they are blessed in this manner? It is because the hands have ten fingers, alluding to the Ten Sephiroth with which heaven and earth were sealed. These parallel the Ten Commandments. In these Ten are included the 613 Commandments. If you count the letters in the Ten Commandments, you will find that there are 613 letters. They contain all 22 letters except Teth , which is missing in them. What is the reason for this? This teaches us that Teth is the belly and in not included among the Sephiroth.

125. Why are they called Sephiroth ? Because it is written (Psalm 19:2) , "The heavens declare (me-Saprim) the glory of God."

126. And what are they? They are three. Among them are three troops and three dominions. The first dominion is light. Light is the life of water. The second dominion includes the Chaioth Ha-Qadesh , the Ophanim , the wheels of the Chariot, and all the troops of the Blessed Holy One. The bless, exalt, glorify, praise and sanctify the might King with the Kedushah . Arranged in the mystery of the great Kedushah is the fearsome and terrible King. And they crown Him with three "holies."

127. Why are there three "holies" and not four? Because the holiness on high is three by three. It is thus written, "God is King, God was King, God will be King forever and ever." It is also written (Numbers 6:24-26) , "May God bless you... May God shine upon you... May God lift..." It is furthermore written (Exodus 34:6), "God (YHVH), God (YHVH). " The third one includes the rest of God's Attributes. What are they? [As the verse continues], "God, merciful and gracious" the thirteen Attributes [of Mercy].

128. [The Kedushah is the verse (Isaiah 6:3) , "Holy holy holy is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is filled with His Glory."] What is the meaning of "holy holy holy"? [And why is it] foollowed by, "the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is filled with His glory"? The [first] "holy" is the highest Crown. The [second] "holy" is the root of the Tree. The [third] "holy" is attached and unified in them all. [This is followed by], "the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is filled with His glory."

129. What is the "holy" that is attached and unified? What is this like? A king had sons, who in turn also had sons. When the [grand]sons do his will, he mingles with them, supports them, and satisfies them all. He gives [his sons] everything good, so that they should be able to satisfy their children. But when the [grand]children do not do his will, then he only gives the fathers as much as they need.

130. What is the meaning of, "the whole earth is filled with His glory"? This is the earth that was created on the first day. It is on high, filled with God's glory and paralleling the Land of Israel. And what is [this glory]? It is Wisdom, as it is written (Proverbs 3:35), "The wise shall inherit glory."

131. What is "God's glory"? What is this like? A king had a matron in his chamber, and all his troops delighted in her. She had sons, and each day they came to see the king and to bless him. They asked him, "Where is our mother?" He replied, "You cannot see her now." They said, "Let her be blessed wherever she is."

132. What is the meaning of "from His place"? This indicates that none know his place. This is like a royal princess who came from a far place. People did not know her origin, but they saw that she was a woman of valour, beautiful and refined in all her ways. They said, "She certainly originates from the side of light, for she illuminates the world through heer deeds." They asked her, "From where are you?" She replied, "From my place." They said, "If so, the people of your place are great. May you be blessed, and may you place be blessed."

133. Is this "glory of God" then not one of His hosts? Is it not inferior? Why then do they bless it? But what is this like? A man had a beautiful garden. Outside the garden but close to it, he had a nice section of field. On this section, he planted a beautiful flower garden. The first thing that he would water would be his garden. The water would spread over the entire garden. It would not reach the section of field however, since it was not attached, even though it was all one. He therefore opened a place for it and watered it separately.

134. Rabbi Rahumai said: Glory (Kavod) and Heart (Lev) both have the same [numerical value, namely 32]. They are both one, but Glory refers to its function on high, and Heart refers to its function below. "God's glory" and the heart of heaven" are therefore both identical.

135. Rabbi Yochanan said: What is the meaning of the verse (Exodus 17:11), "And it was when Moses would raise his hands, Israel would prevail, and when he would lower his hands, Amalek would prevail."? This teaches us that the whole world endures because of the Lifting of Hands. Why? Because the name of the power given to Jacob is Israel. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were each given a particular Power. The counterpart of the attribute in which each one walked was given to him. Abraham did deeds of kindness. He prepared food for everyone in his area and for all wayfarers. He acted kindly and went out to greet them, as it is written (Genesis 18:2), "and he ran to greet them." Not only that, but (Genesis 18:2) , "He bowed to the earth." This was a complete act of kindness. God therefore granted him the same measure and gave him the attribute of Kindness (Chesed). It is thus written (Micah 7:20) , "You give truth to Jacob, Kindness to Abraham, as You swore to our fathers from days of yore." What is the meaning of "from days of yore"? This teaches us that if Abraham did not do deeds of kindness, then he would not have been worthy of the attribute of Truth. Jacob would then not have been worthy of the attribute of Truth. In the merit through which Abraham was worthy of the attribute of Kindness, Isaac became worthy of the attribute of Terror. It is thus written (Genesis 31:53), "And Jacob swore by the Terror of his father Isaac." Does anyone then swear in this manner, mentioning his belief in the Terror of his father? But up until that time, Jacob had not been given any power. He therefore swore by the power that was given to his father. It is for this reason that it is written, "And Jacob swore by the Terror of his father Isaac." What is it? It is Chaos. It emanates from evil and astounds people. And what is that ? It is that regarding which it is written (I Kings 18:38), "And fire came down and it consumed the burnt offering, and the stones, and the earth, and it evaporated the water that was in the trench." It is also written (Deuteronomy 4:24), "The Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."

136. What is Kindness? It is the Torah, as it is written (Isaiah 55:1), "Ho, let all who are thirsty come for water, let he without silver come, [stock up and eat come, stock up wine and milk, without silver and without payment]." [Kindness is therefore] silver. It is thus written, "come, stock up and eat come, stock up wine and milk, without silver and without payment." He fed you Torah and taught you, for you have already earned it through the merit of Abraham, who did deeds of kindness. Without silver, he would feed others, and without payment, he would give them wine and milk.

137. Why wine and milk? What does one have to do with the other? But this teaches us that wine is Terror and milk is Kindness. Why is wine mentioned first? Because it is closer to us. Do you then think that this refers to actual wine and milk? We must say that it is the Form of wine and milk. Through the merit of Abraham, who was worthy of the attribute of Kindness, Isaac was worthy of the attribute of Terror. And because Isaac was worthy of the attribute of Terror, Jacob was worthy of the attribute of Truth, which is the attribute of Peace. God bestowed him according to his measure. It is thus written (Genesis 25:27) "Jacob was a complete man, dwelling in tents." The word "complete" means nothing other than peace. It is thus written (Deuteronomy 18:13), "You shall be complete with the Lord your God," and the Targum renders this, "You shall be at peace (sh'lim). " The word "complete" refers to nothing other than the Torah. It is thus written (Malachi 2:6), "A Torah of truth was in his mouth." What is written in the very next phrase? It sates, "With peace and uprightness, he walked before Me." "Uprightness" is nothing other than peace, as it is written (Psalm 25:21) , "Complete and upright." It is therefore written (Exodus 17:11), "And it was when Moses would raise his hands, Israel would prevail. This teaches us that the Attribute that is called Israel has in it a "Torah of Truth."

138. What is the meaning of "a Torah of Truth?" It is that which teaches (Moreh) the Truth of [all] worlds, as well as His deeds in thought. He erected Ten Sayings, and with them the world stands. It is one of them. In man He created ten fingers, paralleling these Ten Sayings. Moses raised his hands and concentrated to some degree on the Attribute that is called Israel, which contains the Torah of Truth. With his ten fingers, he alluded that he was upholding the Ten. For if [God] would not help Israel, then the Ten Sayings would not endure every day. It was for this reason that "Israel prevailed." [The verse continues], "And when he lowered his hands, Amalek prevailed." Would Moses then do anything that would cause Amalek to prevail? But [this teaches us] that it is forbidden for a person to stand for [more than] three hours with his hands spread out to heaven.

139. His disciples asked: To whom are the hands raised? He replied: To the heights of heaven. How do we know this? It is written (Habbakkuk 3:10) , "The deep gives forth its voice, it lifts up its hands on high." This teaches us that the Lifting of Hands is only to the heights of the heaven. When among Israel there are people who are wise and know the mystery of the Glorious Name, and they lift up their hands, they are immediately answered. It is thus written (Isaiah 58:9), "Then (Az) you will call and God will answer." If you call God "then" (Az) , He will answer you immediately.

140. What is the meaning of "then" [- Az spelled Aleph Zayin ]? This teaches us that it is not permissible to call Aleph alone. [It can] only [be called] through the two letters that are attached to it, which sit first in the kingdom. Together with the Aleph, they are then three. Seven of the Ten Sayings then remain, and this is the Zayin [which has the numerical value of seven]. It is also written (Exodus 15:1), "Then (Az) sang Moses and the children of Israel."

141. What are the Ten Sayings? The first is the Highest Crown. Blessed and praised be it name and its people. Who are its people? They are Israel. It is thus written (Psalm 100:3) , "Know that the Lord is God, He made us, and not (Lo) we, His people." [Lo is spelled Lamed Aleph and can be read, "to Aleph". ] The verse then reads, "to Aleph are we." [It is our duty] to recognise and know the Unity of Unities, who is unified in all His names.

142. The second one is Wisdom . It is thus written (Proverbs 8:22), "God procured me, the beginning of His way, before his works, from then (Az) ." A "beginning" is nothing other than Wisdom, as it is written (Psalm 111:10), "The beginning is wisdom, the fear of God."

143. The third one is the quarry of the Torah, the treasury of Wisdom, the quarry of the "spirit of God". This teaches us that God carved out all the letters of the Torah, engraved it with spirit, and with it made all Forms. This is the meaning of the verse (1 Samuel 2:2), "There is no Rock (Tzur) like our God" there is no Former (Tzayir) like our God.

144. These are three. What is the fourth? The fourth is (Deuteronomy 33:21) , "the charity of God," His merit and his Kindness (Chesed) to all the world. This is the Right Hand of the Blessed Holy One.

145. What is the fifth? The fifth is the great fire of the Blessed Holy One> Regarding this it is written (Deuteronomy 18:16) , "Let me see the great fire no more, lest I die." This is the Left Hand of the Blessed Holy One. What are they? They are the Chaioth ha-Qadesh and the holy Seraphim , to their right and their left. They are the "pleasant ones" which ascend higher and higher, as it is written (Ecclesiastes 5:7), "And ones higher than they." It is also written (Ezekiel 1:18), "And as for their height, they had height, and they had fear, and their height was filled with eyes, around the four." And around Him are angels. Those around them also bow down before them, kneeling and declaring, "The Lord He is God, the Lord He is God."

146. The sixth one is the Throne of Glory, crowned, included, praised and hailed. It is the house of the World to Come, and its place is in Wisdom . It is thus written (Genesis 1:3), "And God said, `Let there be light,' and there was light."

147. And Rabbi Yochanan said: There were two [types of] light, as it is written, "[let there be light,] and there was light." Regarding both of them it is written (Genesis 1:4) , "[And God saw the light] that it was good." The Blessed Holy One took one [of these types of light] and stored it away for the righteous in the World to Come. Regarding this it is written (Psalm 31:20), "How great is the good that You have hidden away for those who fear You, that You have accomplished for those who find shelter in You..." We learn that no creature could look at the first light. It is thus written (Genesis 1:4), "And God saw the light that it was good." It is furthermore written (Genesis 1:21) "And God saw all that He made, and behold, it was very good." God saw all that He had made and saw shining, brilliant good. He took of that good, and included in it the 32 paths of Wisdom, giving to this world. This is the meaning of the verse (Proverbs 4:2) , "I have given you a doctrine of good , My Torah, do not abandon it." We say that this is the treasury of the Oral Torah. The Blessed Holy One said, "This Attribute is considered to be included in this world, and it is the Oral Torah. If you keep this Attribute in this world, then you will be worthy of the World to Come, which is the good stored away for the righteous." What is it? It is the force of the Blessed Holy One. It is thus written (Habakkuk 3:4) , "And the glow will be like light, [He has rays from His hand, and His hidden force is there]." The glow that was taken from the first Light will be like [our visible] light if His children keep the "Torah and Commandment that I wrote to teach them." It is thus written (Proverbs 1:8), "Hear my son, the admonition of your father, and do not abandon the Torah of your mother."

148. And it is written (Habakkuk 3:4) , "He has rays from His hand, and His hidden force is there." What is "His hidden force"? This is the light that was stored away and hidden, as it is written (Psalm 31:20), "[How great is the good] that You have hidden away for those who fear You, [that You have accomplished for those who find shelter in You]." What remains for us in that which "You have accomplished for those who find shelter in You." These are the ones who find shelter in Your shadow in this world, who keep Your Torah, observe Your Commandments, and sanctify Your name, unifying it secretly and publicly. The verse thus concludes, "in the sight of the sons of man."

149. Rabbi Rahumai said: This teaches us that Israel had light. Torah is light, as it is written (Proverbs 6:23), "For a commandment is a lamp, Torah is light, [and the way of life is the rebuke of admonition]." And we say that a lamp is a commandment, illumination (Orah) Oral Torah, and light (Or) is the written Torah. [How can we then say that the Oral Torah is light (Or) ?] Because this light has already been kept, it is called light. What is this like? A room was hidden at the end of a house. Even though it is day, and there is bright light in the world, one cannot see in this room unless he brings along a lamp. The same is true of the Oral Torah. Even though it is a light, it needs the written Torah to answer its questions and explain its mysteries.

150. Rabbi Rahumai said: What is the meaning of the verse (Proverbs 6:23) , "And the way of life is the rebuke of admonition"? This teaches us that when a person accustoms himself to study the Mystery of Creation and the Mystery of the Chariot, it is impossible that he not stumble. It is therefore written (Isaiah 3:6) , "Let this stumbling be under your hand." This refers to things that a person cannot understand unless they cause him to stumble. The Torah calls it "the rebuke of admonition," but actually it makes one worthy of "the way of life." One who wishes to be worthy of "the way of life" must therefore endure "the rebuke of admonition."

151. Another explanation: "Life" is the Torah, as it is written (Deuteronomy 30:19), "And you shall choose life." It is furthermore written (Deuteronomy 30:20) , "For it is your life and your length of days." If one wants to be worthy of it, he should reject physical pleasure and accept the yoke of the commandments. If he is afflicted with suffering, he should accept it with love. He should not ask, "Since I am fulfilling the will of my Maker and am studying the Torah each day, why am I afflicted with suffering?" Rather, he should accept it with love. Then he will be completely worthy of the "way of life." For who knows the ways of the Blessed Holy One? Regarding all things, one must therefore say, "Righteous are You, O God, and Your judgment is fair. All that is done from heaven is for the good."

152. You said [that the sixth one was] His Throne. Have we then not said that it is the Crown of the Blessed Holy One? We have said, "Israel was crowned with three crowns, the crown of priesthood, the crown of royalty, and the crown of Torah above them all." What is this like? A king has a pleasing, beautiful vessel and he was very fond of it. Sometimes he placed it on his head this is the Tefillin worn on the head. At other times he carried it on his arm in the knot of the Tefillin worn on the arm. Sometimes he lend it to his son so that it should remain with him. Sometimes it is called His Throne. This is because He carries it as an amulet on His arm, just like a throne.

153. What is the seventh? It is the heaven [called] Aravot. And why is it called heaven (Shamayim)? Because it is round like a head. We learn that it is in the centre, with water at its right and fire at its left. It supports water (Sa Mayim) from fire and water, and brings peace between them. Fire comes and finds the attribute of fire on its side. Water comes and finds the attribute of water on its side. It is therefore written (Job 25:2) , "He makes peace in His high places."

154. Is it then the seventh? Is it nothing more than the sixth. But this teaches us that the Holy Palace is here, and it supports them all. It is thus counted as two. It is therefore the seventh. And what is it? It is Thought that does not have any end or boundary. This place likewise does not have any end or boundary.

155. The seventh one is the east of the world. It is from where the Seed of Israel comes. The spinal cord originates in man's brain and extends to the [sexual] organ, where the seed is. It is therefore written (Isaiah 43:5), "From the east I will bring your seed, [and from the west I will gather you]." When Israel is good, then this is the place form which I will bring your seed, and new seed will be granted to you. But when Israel is wicked, [then I will bring] seed that has already been in the world. It is thus written (Ecclesiastes 1:4), "A generation goes and a generation comes," teaching us that it has already come.

156. What is the meaning of the verse (Isaiah 43:5), "And from the west I will gather you"? [This means that "I will gather you"] from the attribute that always points to the west. Why is [west] called MaAReV? Because it is there that all seed is mixed together (MitAReV). What is this like? A king's son had a beautiful bride and he hid her in his chamber. He took riches from his father's house and constantly brought it to her. She in turn took everything, constantly put it away, and mixed it all together. Ultimately he seeks to see what he had gathered and accumulated. It is therefore written, "And from the west I will gather you." And what is his father's house? It is that regarding which it is written, "From the east I will bring your seed." This teaches us that it is brought from the east and sowed on the west. He then gathers what he has sowed.

157. What is the eighth one? The Blessed Holy One has a single Righteous One (Tzadik) in His world, and it is dear to Him because it supports all the world. It is the Foundation (Yesod). This is what sustains it, and makes it grow, increasing and watching it. It is beloved and dear on high, and beloved and dear below; fearsome and mighty on high, and fearsome and mighty below; rectified and accepted on high, and rectified and accepted below. It is the Foundation of all souls. Did you then say that it is the eighth? And do you say that it is the Foundation of all souls? Is it then not written (Exodus 31:17), "And on the seventh day He rested and souled"? Yes, it is the seventh. This is because it decides between them. There are six, and three are below and three above, and it decides between them.

158. Why is it called the seventh? Is it then the seventh? It is not. But it is because the Blessed Holy One rested on the Sabbath with the attribute regarding which it is written (Exodus 31:17), "For six days God made the heaven and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and souled." This teaches us that each day has a Saying that is its Master. This is not because it was created on that day, but because that is when it does the task to which it was assigned. Each one does its task and maintains its activities. The seventh day therefore comes and does its task, making them all rejoice. Not only that, but it also causes their souls to grow, as it is written, "on the seventh day He rested and souled."

159. What is this "rest"? It is the absence of work. It is a cessation which is called Shabbat (meaning rest). What is this like? A king had seven gardens, and the middle one contained a fountain, welling up from a living source. Three [of his gardens] are at its right, and three are at its left. When it performed its function and overflowed, they all rejoiced, saying, "It overflowed for our sake." It waters them and makes them grow, while they wait and rest. Do we then say that it waters the seven? But it is written (Isaiah 43:5), "From the east I will bring your seed." This indicates that one of [the seven] waters it. We must therefore say that it waters the Heart, and the Heart then waters them all.

160. Rabbi Berachiah sat and expounded: Each day we speak of the World to Come. Do we then understand what we are saying? In Aramaic, the "World to Come" is translated "the world that came." And what is the meaning of "the world that came"? We learned that before the world was created, it arose in thought to create an intense light to illuminate it . He created an intense light over which no created thing could have authority. The Blessed Holy One saw, however, that the world could not endure [this light]. He therefore took a seventh of it and left it in its place for them. Thee rest He put away for the righteous in the Ultimate Future. He said, "If they are worthy of this seventh and keep it, I will give them [the rest] in the Final World." It is therefore called "the world that came," since it already came [into existence] from the six days of creation. Regarding this it is written (Psalm 31:20), "How great is Your good that You have hidden away for those who fear You."

161. What is the meaning of the verse (Exodus 15:27), "And the came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy date palms, and they encamped there by the water"? What is so special about seventy date palms? In one small place there can be a thousand. But [this teaches us that] they were worthy of their counterpart. They are likened to date palms. It is written (Exodus 15:23) , "And they came to Marah, and they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter (marah) ." This teaches us that the north wind confused them. It is thus written (Exodus 15:25), "And he cried out to God, and He showed him a tree. He cast it into the waters, and the waters became sweet." God immediately placed His hand against the Satan and diminished him. It is thus written (Exodus 15:25), "There He gave them a decree and a law, and there He proved them." This teaches us that at this time, the Satan attached himself to them in order to blot them out from the world. It is thus written (Exodus 15:24), "And the people complained to Moses saying, `What shall we drink?'" [The Satan] continued to denounce Moses until he cried out to God and was answered. What is the meaning of the verse, "And He showed him a tree"? This teaches us that the Tree of Life was near the water. The Satan came and removed it in order to denounce Israel and cause them to sin against their Father in heaven. [The Satan] said to them, "Are you now then going into the desert? Even now [you have nothing] other than bitter water, but this has some benefit, since you can make some use of it. But when you enter the desert, you will not even find [water] with which to wash your hands and face. You will die from hunger and thirst, naked and having nothing." The people came to Moses and repeated these words, but he put them off. When [the Satan ] saw that he could not overcome them, he strengthened himself [to overcome] Israel and Moses. The people came, and "they complained to Moses." They said, "Even here we lack water. What will we drink in the desert?" The Satan had falsified the situation in order to cause the people to sin. As soon as Moses saw the Satan, "He cried out to God, and He showed him a tree." This is the Tree of Life that Satan had removed. He then "cast it into the water, and the water became sweet." The Blessed Holy One then gave the Satan a "decree and a law," and it was there that He "proved" Israel. The Blessed Holy One warned Israel saying (Exodus 15:26) , "If you listen to the voice of the Lord your God, [and do what is upright in His eyes, give ear to His commandments, and keep all His decrees, then all the sickness that I brought upon the Egyptians, I will not bring upon you, for I am God who heals you]."

162. What is this like? A king had a beautiful daughter, and others desired her. The king knew about it, but could not fight those who wanted to bring his daughter to evil ways. He came to his house and warned her, saying, "My daughter, do not pay attention to the words of these enemies and they will not be able to overcome you. Bo not leave the house, but do all your work at home. Do not sit idle, even for a single moment. Then they will not be able to see you and harm you." They have one Attribute which causes them to leave aside every good way and choose every evil way. When they see a person directing himself along a good way, they hate him. What is [this Attribute]? It is the Satan. This teaches us that the Blessed Holy One has an Attribute whose name is Evil. It is to the north of the Blessed Holy One, as it is written (Jeremiah 1:14), "From the north will Evil come forth, upon all the inhabitants of the earth." Any evil that comes to all the inhabitants of the earth comes from the north.

163. What is this One Attribute? It is the Form of a Hand. It has many messengers, and the name of them all is Evil Evil. Some of them are great, and some are small, but they all bring guilt to the world. This is because Chaos is toward the north. Chaos (Tohu) is nothing other than Evil. It confounds (Taha) the world and causes people to sin. Every Evil Urge (Yetzer HaRa) that exists in man comes from there. And why is it placed to the left? This is because it does not have any authority any place in the world except in the north. It is not accustomed to be anywhere except in the north. It does not want to be any place but in the north. If it remained in the south until it learned the routes of the south, how could it lead others astray? It would have to stay there for [several] days until it learned, and then it could not cause people to sin. It therefore is always in the north, to the left. This is the meaning of the verse (Genesis 8:21), "For the Urge of man's heart is evil from his youth." It is evil from his youth, and it does not incline [in any direction] other than the left, for it is already accustomed to be there. It is regarding this that the Blessed Holy One said to Israel (Exodus 15:26), "If you listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is upright in His eyes, and give ear to His commandments" and not to the commandments of the Evil Urge "and keep all His decrees" and not the decrees of the Evil Urge "[then all the sickness that I brought upon the Egyptians, I will not bring upon you,] for I am God who heals you."

164. What does the Evil Urge gain? What is this like? A king appointed clerks over the lands of his kingdom, over his work and over his merchandise. Each and every thing had its clerk. There was one clerk in charge of the storehouse containing good food. Another was in charge of the storehouse containing stones. Everyone came to the storehouse containing good food. The clerk in charge of the storehouse of stones came and saw that people were only buying from the other [clerk]. What did he do? He sent his messengers to tear down the weak house [so that people would need stones to rebuild them]. They could not do so, however, to the strong ones. He said, "In the time that it takes to tear down one strong [house], you can tear down ten weak ones. People will then all come and buy stones from me, and I will not be inferior to the other." It is thus written (Jeremiah 1:14), "From the north will evil come forth, upon all the inhabitants of the earth." The verse then continues (Jeremiah 1:15) "For I call all the families of the kingdom of the north says God and they will come, and each one will place his throne at the opening of the gates of Jerusalem..." Evil will be their business, and the Evil Urge will also constantly strive. The word Satan means "turning aside," since he turns all the world aside to the balance of guilt. How is this indicated? It is written (Genesis 38:16) , "And he turned aside to her," and the Targum renders this VeSata, [ Satah being the root of Satan]. It is likewise written (Proverbs 4:15), "Turn aside (S'the) from it and pass on."

165. What is the significance of the seventy date palms? They had accepted upon themselves the commandments, as it is written (Exodus 15:26), "If you listen to the voice of the Lord your God." Immediately after this we find (Exodus 15:27) "And they came to Elim (Elimah) [where there were twelve wells of water and seventy date palms]." What is the meaning of Elimah? It is Eli Mah "to me is what." "Where there were twelve wells of water." At first God gave it to them as wells, and in the end, he gave it back to them as stones. It is thus written [regarding the stones set up near the Jordan] (Joshua 4:9), "twelve stones." What it the reason? It is because the Torah was originally likened to water in the world. Only later was it put in a permanent place. Water, however, is here one day and elsewhere the next.

166. What are the seventy date palms? This teaches us that the Blessed Holy One has seventy Structures. These draw from the twelve Simple Ones. Just like water is simple, so are these simple. How do we know that the date palm is a Structure? Because it is written (Song of Songs 7:8) , "Your structure is like a date palm." Besides that, there are seventy kinds of date palms. It is therefore written that there were seventy date palms. One was not like the other, their functions were all different, and the taste of one was not like the taste of the other.

167. You said that the seventy date palms represent the seventy Structures. But have you not said that there are 72? There are 71. Israel makes 72, but it is not included. But did you not say that there were seventy? One is the Officer of the Satan. What is this like? A king had sons and bought slaves for them. The king then told his sons, "I am giving you all equally." One of them replied, "I do not want to be with you, for I have the power to steal everything from you." The king then said, "Because of this, you will not have a portion among them at all." [The rebellious son] did what he could. He went out and lay in wait for [the slaves], showing them much gold, jewels and troops. He said, "Come over to me." What did the king do? He amassed his armies together with the armies of all his sons. He showed them to the slaves and said, "Do not let him trick you into thinking that his armies are stronger than mine. Behold the troops of that son. He is deceitful and wants to rob you. Therefore, do not listen to him, for at first he will speak smoothly in order to entice you into his trap, but in the end he will laugh at you. You are my slaves, and I will do for you everything good if you turn away from him and do not listen to him." He is the Prince of Chaos. It is thus written (1 Samuel 12:21), "Do not turn aside, for you will follow Chaos. It will not help or save, for it is Chaos." [It cannot help or save,] but it can do harm. The advice that I give you is that you should (Exodus 15:26), "Listen to the voice of the Lord your God, do what is right in His eyes, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His decrees." When you keep all His decrees, then, "All the sickness that I brought upon the Egyptians, I will not bring upon you." Why did He say all this? In order to close all doors, so that he should not find you soft at times and hard at times. When you keep all His decrees, then "all the sickness that I brought upon the Egyptians" through My hand "I will not bring upon you." What is the meaning of "for I am God who heals you"? This means that even when he comes and strikes, I am God who will heal you.

168. Why do you call it the eight? Because with it the eight are begun, and with it the eight numbers are completed. In function, however, it is the seventh one. And what are [the eight] that were begun? This is the fact that a child enters the Covenant of Circumcision when eight days old. Are they then eight? They are nothing more than seven. Why then did the Blessed Holy One say eight? Because there are eight directions in man. What are they? They are as follows: The right and left hands; The right and left legs; The head, the body, and the Covenant as an arbitrator; And his wife, who is his mate. It is thus written (Genesis 2:24), "And he shall cling to his wife, and they shall be one flesh." They are the eight, and they parallel the eight days of circumcision. Are they then eight? They are nothing more that seven, since the body and covenant are one. It is therefore eight.

169. What is the ninth? He said to them: the ninth and tenth are together, one opposite the other. One is higher than the other by 500 years. They are like two Wheels (Ophanim). One inclines toward the north, while the other inclines toward the west. They reach down to the lowest earth. What is the lowest earth? It is the last of the seven earths down below. The end of the Divine Presence of the Blessed Holy One is under His feet. It is thus written (Isaiah 66:1) , "The heaven is My throne, and the earth is the hassock for My feet." The Victory (Nitzachon) of the world is there. It is thus written (Isaiah 24:10), "for Victory of Victories (Netzach Netzachim) ."

170. What is the meaning of "Victory of Victories"? There is a single Victory (Netzach). Which is it? It is the one that inclines toward the west. And what is secondary to it? This is the one that inclines toward the north. And the third one? This is the one that is below. The third one? But you have said that the Chariot has two wheels. We must therefore say that the end of the Divine Presence is also called Victory. This is the meaning of "Victory of Victories." "Victory" is one, and "Victories" is two, giving [a total of] three.

171. His disciples said to him: From above to below we know. But from below to above we do not know. He replied: Is it not all one below to above and above to below? They said: Our master, ascending is not the same as descending. One can run while descending, but cannot do so while ascending. He replied: Go out and see. He sat and expounded to them: There is a Divine Presence below, just like there is a Divine Presence above. What is this Divine Presence? We have said that it is the light that was derived from the first Light, which is Wisdom. It also surrounds all things, as it is written (Isaiah 6:3), "The whole earth is filled with His glory." What is its function? What is this like? A king had seven sons, and he assigned each one a place. He said to them, "Sit here, one above the other." The lowest one said, "I will not sit at the bottom. I do not want to be far from you." [The king] replied, "I will surround you and see you all day long." This is the meaning of the verse, "The whole earth is filled with His glory." Why is He among them? This is so that He should support them and sustain them.

172. And what are the sons? I have already told you that the Blessed Holy One has seven Holy Forms. All of them have a counterpart in man, as it is written (Genesis 9:6), "for in the form of God He made man." It is likewise written (Genesis 1:27), "In the form of God He made him, male and female He made them." This is what they are: The right and left legs; The right and left hands; The body, covenant and head. But these are only six. You have said that there are seven. The seventh is with his wife. It is thus written (Genesis 2:24) , "And they shall be one flesh." But she was taken from his ribs, as it is written (Genesis 2:21), "And He took one of his ribs." He said: Yes from his ribs. Does he then have a rib? Yes. It is written (Exodus 26:20), "the ribs of the tabernacle." The Targum renders this, "the side of the tabernacle." And what is His side? What is this like? A king had an idea to plant ten male trees in a garden. All of them were date palms. He said, "Since they are all the same kind, it is impossible for them to endure." What did he do? He planted and Etrog among them. This was one of those which he had intended to be male. And why is the Etrog female? Because it is written (Leviticus 23:40), "The fruit of a beautiful tree, fronds of a date palm, [branches of a tree of leaves, and willows of the brook]." What is the fruit of a beautiful (hadar) tree? The Targum renders this verse, "The fruit of the Etrog tree, and the Lulav. "

173. What is the meaning of "beautiful"? It is the beauty of all things. This is also the beauty of the Songs of Songs. Regarding it, it is written (Songs of Songs 6:10) , "Who is she who looks forth as the dawn, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, terrible like an army with banners?" This relates to the Female. Because of her, the female was taken from Adam. This is because it is impossible for the lower world to endure without the female. And why is the female called Nekevah ? Because her orifices (Nekev) are wide. Also because she has more orifices than the male. What are they? They are the orifices of the breasts, the womb, and the receptacle.

174. And what is the reason that you said that the Song of Songs is beautiful? Yes, it is the most beautiful of all the Holy Scriptures. Rabbi Yochanan thus said: All Scripture is holy, and all the Torah is holy, but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies. What is the meaning of the Holy of Holies? It means that it is holy for the Holy Ones. What are the Holy Ones? They are the counterparts of the six directions that are in man. That which is holy for them is holy for everything.

175. What is this that is Holy? It is the Etrog , which is the beauty (hadar) of them all. Why is it called beautiful (hadar) ? Do not read hadar , but HaDar "Which dwells." This refers to the Etrog which is not bound together with the Lulav. Without it the commandment of the Lulav cannot be fulfilled. It is also bound with them all. It is with each one of them, and is unified with them all.

176. What does the Lulav parallel? It is the counterpart of the spinal cord. It is thus written (Leviticus 23:40), "[fronds of a date palm,] a branch of a tree of leaves, and willows of the brook." The [leafy] branches [of the myrtle] must cover the majority [of the bunch]. If its branches do not cover its majority, it is invalid. Why? What is this like? A man has arms, and with them he protects his head. He has two arms, and his head makes three. [It is therefore called] "a branch of a tree of leaves." A "branch" is to the left, and the "leaves" are to the right. It then comes out that the "tree" is in the centre. And why is it called a "tree"? Because it is the Root of the Tree.

177. What are "willows of the brook"? There are two [willow branches in the Lulav, ] and these parallel the two legs in man. Why are the ["willows of the brook"] called Arvey Nachal ? Because the greater of the two is inclined toward the west (ma-Arev) and draws its strength from there. The one to the north is smaller than it by a journey of 500 years. It is on the northwest side, through which it functions. It is named after it, since they are both mixed (Arav) .

178. Another explanation: [Willows of the Brook] are called Arvey Nachal because the function of one is sometimes mixed (ma-arav) with that of the other. Why are they called Willows of the Brook ? This is because of the place in which they are fixed, which is called Brook. It is thus written (Ecclesiastes 1:7) , "All the Brooks go to the sea, but the sea is not filled." What is this sea? We say that it is the Etrog. How do we know that each of the seven Attributes is called a Brook (Nachal) ? Because it is written (Numbers 21:19), "From Gift to Nachaliel [, from Nachaliel to Bamot, and from Bamot to the valley that is in the Field of Moab, the head of the cliff, and it looks down on the face of the Yeshimon]." Do not read Nachaliel, but Nachley El Brooks of God. And all six then go on one path to the sea. What is this path? It is the one that arbitrates between them. It is thus written (Habbakuk 3:5), "Before Him goes the pestilence, and fiery bolt at His feet." All of them go to that pipe, and from that pipe to the sea. This is the meaning of the verse, "From Gift to Brooks of God." [Gift] is the place that is given, namely the brain. From there they go to the Brooks of God. "And from Brooks of God to Bamot." What is Bamot? As the Targut renders it, Ramta "heights." This is the Segol that follows the Zarka . [The verse continues,] "And from Bamot to the valley that is in the Field of Moab, the head of the cliff, and it looks down on the face of the Yeshimon." "And from the heights (Bamot) to the valley that is in the Field of Moab." This is that which is prepared. And what is that which was in the Field of Moab? Do not read Moab, but May- av "from a father." This is the father regarding which it is written (Genesis 26:5) "Because Abraham hearkened to my voice, kept My trust, My commandments and My decrees..." What is this field? It is the one that is at "the head of the cliff," and which also "looks down on the face of the Yeshimon." [Yeshimon] is interpreted to mean Heaven. Regarding that pipe, it is written (Song of Songs 4:15) , "A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, flowing from Lebanon." What is Lebanon? We say that this is Wisdom. What are the Willows of the Brook (Nachal) ? We say that this is that which gives inheritance (Nachalah) to Israel. It refers to the two Wheels of the Chariot.

179. We learned that there are Ten Spheres and Ten Sayings. Each Sphere has its Saying. It is not surrounded by it, but rather, it surrounds it. This [physical] world is like a mustard seed inside a ring. Why? Because of the Spirit that blows upon it, through which it is sustained. If this spirit were to be interrupted for even a moment, the world would be annihilated.

180. There are three Spheres in this world. How? This world inclines to the north and the south. How? North west south. North west is the first sphere that revolves around us. Do we then say that it is to the north-west? But we say that its strength is to the north. This is the left foot. Above it is the second Sphere, which is entirely to the west. Do we then say that it is to the west? But we say that its power is to the west. These are the Victories of the world. Above it is the third Sphere, and its power is to the south-west. What is the original power that you said was second? We say that this is the right foot. And what is the power that is to the south-west? This is the Foundation of the world. Regarding this it is written (Proverbs 10:25) , "The Righteous is the Foundation of the world." The second power stands behind the Chariot, while the first power stands in front of it. The "Righteous, Foundation of the world" is in the centre. It emanates from the south of the world, and is officer over the other two. In its hand are also the souls of all living things. It is the Life of Worlds. Whenever the word "creation" (Beriah) is used, it is done with it. Regarding it, it is written (Exodus 31:17) , "He rested and souled." This is the attribute of the Sabbath day. Regarding this it is written (Exodus 20:8), "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy." But it is also written (Deuteronomy 5:12), "Keep [the Sabbath]." This is speaking of the seventh attribute. Regarding this seventh attribute it is written (Leviticus 19:30) , "My sabbaths you shall keep , and My sanctuary you shall fear." What is the seventh attribute? This is the Blessed Holy One's attribute of Goodness.

181. Why is it written, "My sabbaths you shall keep," [in the plural] rather than "My sabbath" [in the singular]? What is this like? A king had a beautiful bride, and every week she would set aside a day to be with him. The king also had beautiful beloved sons. He said to them, "Since this is the situation, you should also rejoice on the day of my joy. For it is for your sake that I strive,, and you also respect me."

182. What is the reason that [the Torah says] "remember" [in one place,] and "keep" [regarding the Sabbath in another]? "Remember" (zachor) refers to the male (Zachar) . "Keep" (shamor) refers to the bride. Why is it connected to, "and My sanctuary you shall fear"? This is because My sanctuary is holy. Why? "Because I am God who makes you holy" from every side.

183. Why do we say [in the blessing after food], "On all that He created...[Blessed]is the Life of Worlds." Why do we not say, "On all that You created"? But we bless the Holy One, who grants His wisdom to this "Life of Worlds." It then provides for all.

184. What is the reason that we say [in blessings, "Blessed are you...] who made us holy with His commandments and commanded us" [in the third person]? Why do we not say, "that You made us holy with Your commandments, and You commanded us, " [in the second person]? This teaches us that all commandments are included in the Life of Worlds. Because of His love for us, He gave us [the commandments] in order that they should make us holy and allow us to be worthy. Why? Because when we are in this world, we can become worthy of the World to Come, which is great. In its hand is the treasury of souls. When Israel is good, these souls are worthy of emerging and coming to this world. But if they are not good, the [these souls] do not emerge. We therefore say, "The Son of David will not come until all the souls in the Body are completed." What is the meaning of "all the souls in the Body"? We say that this refers to all the souls in man's body. [When these are completed] new ones will be worthy of emerging. The Son of David (the Messiah) will then come. He will be able to be born, since his soul will emerge among the other new souls. What is this like? A king had an army, and he sent them much bread to eat. They were so lazy that they did not take care of [the bread] which they did not eat [immediately]. The bread therefore became mouldy and went to waste. The king investigated to find out if they had what to eat, and to see if they had eaten what he had sent them. He found that the bread had become mouldy and they were ashamed to ask for new bread. How could they tell the king, "We did not take care of [what you sent us,] but now we are asking for more"? The king also became angry. He took the mouldy bread and ordered that it be dried and rectified as much as possible. He swore to the men, "I will not give you any more bread until you eat all this mouldy bread." He then returned the bread to them. What did they do? They agreed to divide it up, and each one took his portion. The diligent one took his portion and placed it in the air, taking care of it and keeping it in good condition to eat. The other one took it and ate it lustfully. He ate what he could and laid the rest aside, not taking care of it since he had given up on it. It spoiled even more and became so mouldy that he could not eat it at all. He therefore starved to death. He was then blamed for the sin of his body: Why did you kill yourself? Is it not enough that you ruined the bread the first time? But I returned it to you and you ruined it [again]. You ruined your portion because you were too lazy to take care of it. And not only that, but you also killed yourself." [The solder] replied, "My lord, what could I have done?" He answered, "You should have taken care of it. And if you claim that you were not able to, you should have watched your friends and neighbours with whom you shared the bread. You should have seen what they did and how they took care of it, and you should have kept it like they did." They also interrogated him: Why did you kill yourself? Is it not enough that you ruined the bread? But you also went ahead and killed the matter of your body. You shortened the days of your life, or [at least] caused it. It may have been possible that you would have had a good son. He could have saved you, and [rectified] the damage that you and others did. Your suffering will therefore be increased on all sides. He became confused and replied, "What could I have done when I did not have any bread? With what could I have sustained myself?" They answered: If you would have strived and worked in Torah, you would not reply foolishly and brazenly like this. Because of your reply, it is obvious that you have not worked or strived in Torah. It is thus written (Deuteronomy 8:3) , "For not by bread alon does man live, but form all that emanates from God's mouth does man live." You should have searched and probed and asked, "what is it through which man lives?" What is this which "emanates from God's mouth" From here they said, "An ignoramus cannot be pious." If a person does not act with kindness (Chesed) toward himself, he cannot be called pious (Chasid) .

185. How can one do kindness to his Master? By studying the Torah. All study of Torah is a deed of kindness toward one's Master. It is thus written (Deuteronomy 33:26) , "He rides the heavens with your help, [His pride is in the skies]." God says, "When you study Torah for its own sake, then you help Me and I can ride the heavens." Then, "His pride is in the skies (Shechakim). " What is Shechakim ? We say that it is in the innermost chamber. The Targum thus renders it, "His word is in the Heaven of Heaven." Therefore, "not by bread alone does man live, but from all that emanates from God's mouth does man live." However, "the fool answers brazenly." "Abandon this brazenness, and do not reply in this manner!" He is therefore punished. What is his punishment? We have already discussed it.

186. What is the meaning of the verse (Job 15:2), "Should a wise man answer knowledge of spirit?" What is "knowledge of spirit"? This is the Knowledge that is close to the spirit. Regarding this it is written (Isaiah 11:2) , "And there will rest upon him a spirit of God, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, [a spirit of counsel and strength, a spirit of knowledge and the fear of God]." [First comes] Wisdom, and then comes Understanding. And in Understanding is "counsel, strength, knowledge and the fear of God." But you told us that "counsel" is deeds of Kindness, and that Understanding is the Attribute of Justice. [One is above the other.] Knowledge is Truth. Knowledge is therefore that with which one recognises the truth. "The fear of God" is the Treasury of the Torah . This is like I say, but one is above the other. Rabbi Akiba thus said: With whatever God created, He created its counterpart. It is thus written (Ecclesiates 7:14) , "Also one opposite the other has God made." What is the Treasury of the Torah? It is that regarding which it is written (Isaiah 33:6), "The fear of God is His treasury." A person must first be god-fearing, and then he can study Torah. This is like a person who comes to buy date honey but does not bring a vessel in which to carry it. He says, "I will carry it in my bosom." He tries to carry it in his bosom but it was very heavy, and he is also afraid that it will tear and soil his clothing. He therefore throws it away on the road. This person is then punished twice. First because he ruined good food, and second because he wasted his money.

187. The fear of God is the one that is higher. It is in the palm of God's hand. It is also His Force. This palm (kaf) is called the pan of merit (Kaf Zechut). This is because it inclines the world to the pan of merit. It is thus written (Isaiah 11:3), "I will grant him a spirit of the fear of God, and he will not judge by the sight of his eyes, he will not admonish according to what his ear hears." He will incline all the world to the pan of merit. From there counsel emanates, and from there health emanates to the world. [It is also written,] (Genesis 49:24) "From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel." This is the place that is called "There." Regarding this, it is written (Habakkuk 3:4), "[He has rays from His hand,] and His hidden Force is there. "

188. Once this thing comes, sharpen it. What is its sharpening? Tell us the meaning of the verse, "He has rays from His hand." Why does it first say "rays" and they "His hand"? It should have said "His hands" [in the plural]. There is no contradiction. This is very much like the verse (Exodus 32:19), "And Moses' anger flared, and he threw the tablets from his hands." The way this is written, however, it would be read "His hand" [in the singular]. It is likewise written (Exodus 17:12), "And his hands was faithful until the sun set." The verse says Emunah ("was faithful" - in the singular) and not Emunot ("were faithful" - in the plural). They replied: Our master, we are pointing out a contradiction in order to receive an answer, and you are covering our eyes. Did you not teach us, master, that you must answer first things first and last things last? [He said:] And what have you then asked? [The meaning of,] "He has rays from His hand." By the Divine service, I have just explained it to you with my words. They were ashamed. When he saw that they were ashamed is it not true that [at first] there was water, and that fire emanated form it? Water therefore included fire. And Master, what is the meaning of "rays"? He replied: There are five rays. These are the five fingers on man's right hand.

189. And master, you are the one who told us in Rabbi Yochanan's name that there are only tow arms of the world." He replied: Yes. But here "rays" allude to the two rays that are below them. And what are they? He said: With the anger of your head. And what is above? He said: The fear of God.

190. And what is the fear of God? It is the first light. Rabbi [Meir] thus said: Why is it written (Genesis 1:3), "And God said, 'let there be light,' and there was light"? Why does it not say, "and it was so"? But this teaches us that the light was very intense, so that no created thing could gaze upon it. God therefore stored it away for the righteous in the Ultimate Future. This is the measure of all merchandise (Secorah) in the world. It is also the power of the precious stones that are called Socheret and Dar. And upon what is the attribute of Dar? This teaches us that God took a thousandth of its radiance, and from it He constructed a beautiful precious stone. In it He included all the commandments. Abraham came, and He sought a power to give him. He gave him this precious stone, but he did not want it. He was worthy and took Kindness as his attribute, as it is written (Micah 7:20), "Kindness to Abraham." Isaac came, and He sought a power, but He gave it to him and he did not want it. He was worthy and took the attribute of Strength, which is [called] Terror. It is thus written (Genesis 31:53), "And Jacob swore by the Terror of Isaac his father." Jacob came and wanted it, but it was not given to him. They said, "Since Abraham is above and Isaac is below him, you will be in the centre and take all three." What is the centre? It is peace, as it is written (Micah 7:20), "You give Truth to Jacob." Truth is identical with Peace, as it is written (Esther 9:30), "Words of Peace and Truth." It is likewise written (2 Kings 20:19), "For peace and truth will be in my days." This is the meaning of the verse (Isaiah 58:14), "I will feed you with the inheritance of Jacob your father." This is a complete inheritance (Nachalah), comprising Kindness, Terror, Truth and Peace. It is therefore written (Psalm 118:22), "The stone despised by the builders has become the chief cornerstone." This is the Stone that was despised by Abraham and Isaac, the builders of the world, and that then became the chief cornerstone.

191. And why did they despise it? Is it not written (Genesis 26:5), "Because Abraham hearkened to My voice, and kept My watch, My commandments, My decrees, and My Torahs." What is the meaning of "My watch"? It refers to what the Attribute of Kindness said: As long as Abraham was in the world, I did not have to do my job. Abraham stood there in my place and "kept my watch." It is my task to bring merit to the world, and even when people are guilty, I bring them merit. I also bring them back, directing their hearts to do the will of their Father in heaven. All this Abraham did, as it is written (Genesis 21:33), "And he planted a tamarisk in Beersheba, and he called there in the name of the Lord, God of the world." He would share his bread and water with all the people in the world, bringing them merit. Seeking to convince them, he would say, "Whom then are you serving? Serve the Lord, God of heaven and earth." He would preach to them until they would repent. How do we know that he would also bring merit to those who were guilty? It is written (Genesis 18:17), "Shall I then cover from Abraham what I am doing? Abraham is becoming a great, mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him." [God said,] "I will give him merit. I know that he will seek mercy for them and be worthy." Is it then possible to say that the Blessed Holy One did not know that they could be saved? But He told this [to Abraham] to bring him merit. From here they said, "If one comes to purify himself, they help him. If one comes to defile himself, they open for him." What is the meaning of, "they open for him"? It refers to those that are always open. 192. [It is written that Abraham kept] (Genesis 26:5), "My commandments, My decrees, and My Torahs." He said, "Since I do not want [the precious stone], I will keep all the commandments that are included in it." What is the meaning of "My Torahs"? This teaches us that he knew and kept even the decisions (Horah) and discussions that are taught on high.

193. And what is the meaning of the verse (Genesis 49:24), "From there is the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel." From "There" is nourished the Rock of Israel. What is the meaning of "from There"? We say that this is the Supernal Righteous One (Tzadik). What is it? It is [the precious stone called] Socheret. And the stone that is below it is called Dar. And what are the rays mentioned in the verse (Habakkuk 3:4), "He has rays from His hand"? These are the five fingers of the right hand. Mysteries of the Soul

194. Rabbi Rahumai said: This I received [from the tradition]. When Moses wanted to know about the glorious fearsome Name, may it be blessed, he said (Exodus 33:18), "Show me please Your glory." He wanted to know why there are righteous who have good, righteous who have evil, wicked who have good, and wicked who have evil. But they would not tell him. Do you then think that they did not tell him? Can one then imagine that Moses did not know this mystery? But this is what Moses said: "I know the ways of the Powers, but I do not know how Thought spreads through them. I know that Truth is in Thought, but I do not know its parts." He wanted to know, but they would not tell him.

195. Why is there a righteous person who has good, and [another] righteous person who has evil? This is because the [second] righteous person was wicked previously, and is now being punished. Is one then punished for his childhood deeds? Did not Rabbi Simon say that in the Tribunal on high, no punishment is meted out until one is twenty years or older. He said: I am not speaking of his present lifetime. I am speaking about what he has already been, previously. His colleagues said to him: How long will you conceal your words? He replied: Go out and see. What is this like? A person planted a vineyard and hoped to grow grapes, but instead, sour grapes grew. He saw that his planting and harvest were not successful so he tore it out. He cleaned out the sour grape vines and planted again. When he saw that his planting was not successful, he tore it up and planted it again. How many times? He said to them: For a thousand generations. It is thus written (Psalm 105:8), "The word that He commanded for a thousand generations." It is in relation to this that they said, "Lacking were 974 generations. The Blessed Holy One stood up and planted them in each generation."

196. Rabbah said: If the righteous wanted, they could create a world. What interferes? Your sins, as it is written (Isaiah 59:2), "Only your sins separate between you and your God." Therefore, if not for your sins, there would not be any differentiation between you and Him. We thus see that Rabba created a man and sent it to Rav Zeira. He spoke to it, but it would not reply. But if not for your sins, it would also have been able to reply. And from what would it have replied? From its soul. Does a man then have a soul to place in it? Yes, as it is written (Genesis 2:7), "And He blew in his nostrils a soul of life." If not for your sins, man would therefore have a "soul of life." [Because of your sins, however] the soul is not pure. This is the difference between you and Him. It is thus written (Psalm 8:6), "And You have made him a little less than God." What is the meaning of "a little"? This is because [man] sins, while the Blessed Holy One does not. Blessed be He and blessed be His Name for ever and ever, He has no sins. But the [Evil] Urge comes from Him. Can we then imagine that it comes from Him? But it originated from Him until David came and killed it. It is thus written (Psalm 109:22), "My heart is hollow within me." David said: Because I was able to overcome it (Psalm 5:5), "Evil will not sojourn with You." How was David able to overcome it? Through his study, since he never stopped [studying] day or night. He therefore attached the Torah on high. For whenever a person studies Torah for its own sake, the Torah attaches itself to the Blessed Holy One. They therefore say, "A person should always study Torah, even not for its sake, since if [he studies it] not for its sake, he will eventually come to [study it] for its sake." What is this Torah that you are discussing? It is the Bride who is adorned and crowned, and who is included in the commandments. It is the Treasury of the Torah. It is the betrothed of the Blessed Holy One, as it is written (Deuteronomy 33:4), "Moses commanded us the Torah, the heritage (Morasha) of the congregation of Jacob." Do not read "heritage" (Morasha) but "betrothed" (Me'urasa). How is his so. When Israel engages in the Torah for its own sake, then it is the betrothed of the Blessed Holy One, then it is the heritage of Israel.

197. Rabbi Amorai sat and expounded: Why was Tamar worthy of being the mother of Peretz and Zerach? It was because her name was Tamar. Tamar was [also] the sister of Amnon. She was therefore made for this. Why were they called Peretz and Zerach? Peretz was named after the moon. The moon breaks out (paratz) at times, and will be built up in the future. Zerach was named after the sun, which always shines (zarach) in the same manner. But Peretz was the first-born. Is then the sun not greater than the moon? This is no difficulty, as it is written (Genesis 38:28), "One put out a hand," [indicating that Zerach's hand emerged before Peretz was born]. It is then written (Genesis 38:30), "This his brother, upon whose hand was the scarlet thread, emerged, and he was named Zerach." [Zerach] was supposed to have been the first-born. But God saw that Solomon would descend [from Peretz], and He had such great joy that He made [Zerach] return.

198. Why was she called Tamar and not any other name? Because she was female. Can we then say that [it was something special that] she was female? But it is because she included both male and female. For [Tamar means a date palm, and] every date palm includes both male and female. How is this? The frond (Lulav) is male. The fruit is male on the outside and female on the inside. And how? The seed of the date has a split like a woman. Paralleling it is the power of the moon above. The Blessed Holy One created Adam male and female, as it is written (Genesis 1:27), "Male and female He created them." Is it then possible to say this? Is it then not written (Genesis 1:27), "And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him"? It is only then later written (Genesis 2:18), "I will make him a helper opposite him," and (Genesis 2:21), "And He took one of his ribs, and closed the flesh under it." [We therefore see that the male was created first, and only later the female.] But we must say that the Torah uses [three different words]: "formed" (yatzar), "made" (asah), and "created" (bara). When the soul was made, the word "made" is used. [The word "created" is then used:] "Male and female He created them." The word "formed" was used when the soul was combined with the body and the spirit was brought together. How do we know that "forming" means bringing together? For it is written (Genesis 2:19), "And the Lord God formed (gathered) all the beasts of the field and all the flying things of the heaven, and He brought them to the Man to see what he would call each thing." This explains the verse (Genesis 5:2), "Male and female He created them." It is also written (Genesis 1:28), "And God blessed them."

199. The soul of the female comes from the Female, and the soul of the male comes from the Male. This is the reason why the Serpent followed Eve. He said, "Her soul comes from the north, and I will therefore quickly seduce her." And how did he seduce her? He had intercourse with her.

200. His disciples asked: Tell us how this took place. He replied: The wicked Samael made a bond with all the host on high against his Master. This was because the Blessed Holy One said [regarding man] (Genesis 1:26), "And let him rule over the fish of the sea and the flying things of heaven." [Samael] said, "How can we cause him to sin and be exiled from before God?" He descended with his entire host, and sought a suitable companion on earth. He finally found the serpent, which looked like a camel, and he rode on it. He then went to the woman and said to her (Genesis 3:1), "Did God also say, from all the trees of the garden [you shall not eat]?" [He said, "I know that He did not forbid all the trees,] but I will seek more - I will add in order that she should subtract." She replied, "He did not stop us from anything besides" (Genesis 3:2) "the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden. God said, 'Do not eat from it and do not touch it, lest you die.'" She added two things. She said, "from the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden," while [God] had only said (Genesis 2:17), "from the Tree of Knowledge." She also said, "do not touch it lest you die," [while God had only spoken of eating it]. What did Samael do? He went and touched the tree. The tree cried out and said, "Wicked one, do not touch me!" It is thus written (Psalm 36:12), "Let not a foot of pride overtake me, and let not the hand of the wicked move me. There have the workers of iniquity fallen - they are thrust down, they cannot rise." He then said to the woman, "See, I touched the tree and I did not die. You can also touch it and not die." The woman went and touched the tree. She saw the Angel of Death approaching her and said, "Woe is to me. Now I will die and the Blessed Holy One will make another woman and give her to Adam. I will therefore cause him to eat with me. If we die, we will both die, and if we live, we will both live." She took the fruit of the tree and ate it, and she also gave some to her husband. Their eyes opened and their teeth were set on edge. He said, "What is this that you have given me to eat? Just as my teeth were set on edge, so will the teeth of all [future] generations be set on edge." [God then] sat down in true judgment, as it is written (Psalm 9:5), "[You have upheld my cause, You have sat on the throne as a] righteous Judge." He called to Adam and said "Why do you flee from Me?" [Adam] replied (Genesis 3:10), " 'I heard Your voice in the garden' - and my bones trembled. 'I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid.' I was naked of works, I was naked of commandments, and I was naked of deeds." It is therefore written "because I was naked, and I hid." What was Adam's garment? It was a skin of fingernail. As soon as he ate from the fruit of the tree, this skin of fingernail was removed from him, and he saw himself naked. It is thus written (Genesis 3:11), "Who told you that you were naked? [Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from it?]" Adam said to the Blessed Holy One, "Master of all worlds: When I was alone, did I ever sin before You? But the woman that You placed with me enticed me from your word." It is thus written (Genesis 3:12), "The woman that you placed with me [gave it to me, and I ate]." The Blessed Holy One said to her, "Is it not enough that you sinned? But you also caused Adam to sin." She replied to Him, "Master of all worlds: The serpent enticed me to sin before You." [God] took the three of them, and decreed upon them a sentence of nine curses and death. He then cast the wicked Samael and his group from their holy place in heaven.[2958] He cut off the feet of the serpent and cursed it more than all the other animals and beasts of the field. He also decreed that it must shed its skin every seven years. Samael was punished and made the guardian angel over the wicked Esau. In the Future, when God uproots the Kingdom of Edom, he will lower him first. It is thus written (Isaiah 24:21), "God will punish the host of heights of high." This statement, death and punishment all came because she added to the commandment of the Blessed Holy One. Regarding this it is said, "Whoever increases diminishes."

May God enlighten our eyes with the light of His Torah,
May He place in our hearts His fear,
May we be worthy to greet Him.
He will enlighten the ear
Waken the heart with understanding
Make the heart shine with brilliance.

31.10.2 Sefer ha-Bahir

רבי נחוניא בן הקנה ז"ל
ספר הבהיר

ספר הבהיר - המיוחס לרבי נחוניא בן הקנה ז"ל

א. אמר ר' נחוניא בן הקנה כתוב אחד אומר (איוב ל"ז כא) ועתה לא ראו אור בהיר הוא בשחקים, וכתוב אחד אומר (תהלים י"ח י"ב) ישת חושך סתרו ואומר (תהלים צ"ז ב) ענן וערפל סביביו קשיא, בא הכתוב השלישי והכריע ביניהם (שם קל"ט יב) גם חשך לא יחשיך ממך ולילה כיום יאיר כחשיכה כאורה:

ב. אמר ר' ברכיה מאי דכתיב (בראשית א' ב) והארץ היתה תהו ובהו מאי משמע היתה, שכבר היתה תהו, ומאי תהו דבר המתהא בני אדם, ומאי בהו, אלא תהו היתה וחזרה לבהו, ומאי בהו דבר שיש בו ממש דכתיב בהו בו הוא:

ג. ומפני מה התחיל התורה בבי"ת כמה דאתחיל ברכה ומנלן דהתורה נקראת ברכה, שנאמר (דברים ל"ג כ"ג) ומלא ברכת ב' ים ודרום ירשה, ואין ים אלא תורה שנאמר (איוב י"א ט) ורחבה מני ים, מאי ומלא ברכת ה' אלא כל מקום שנאמר בי"ת הוא (היא) לשון ברכה כדאמרינן בראשית, ואין ראשית אלא חכמה שנאמר (תהלים קי"א) ראשית חכמה יראת ה', ואין חכמה אלא ברכה שנאמר ויברך אלהים את שלמה וכתיב (מלכים א ה כו) וה' נתן חכמה לשלמה, משל למלך שהשיא את בתו לבנו ונתנה לו בחתונה ואמר לו עשה בה כרצונך:

ד. ומאי דההוא ברכה לישנא דברוך הוא דילמא לישנא דברך הוא דכתיב (ישעי' מ"ה כג) כי לי תכרע כל ברך, מקום שכל ברך כורע, משל למה הדבר דומה למבקשים לראות את פני המלך ואינם יודעים אנה ביתו, שואלים אנה בית המלך תחלה ואח"כ שואלים אנה המלך, לפיכך כי לי תכרע כל ברך ואפילו עליונים, תשבע כל לשון:

ה. ישב ר' רחומאי ודרש מאי דכתיב (דברים ל"ג כג) ומלא ברכת ה' ים ודרשה ירשה, אלא בכל מקום בי"ת מבורך הוא, כי הוא המלא שנאמר ומלא ברכת ה' ומשם משקה הצריכים, ומן המלא נטלה עצה תחלה, משל למה"ד למלך שרצה לבנות פלטרין שלו בסלעים חזקים קצץ צורים וחצב סלעים ויצא לו מעין מים גדול מים חיים, אמר המלך הואיל ויש לי מים נובעים אטע גן ואשתעשע בו אני וכל העולם, הה"ד (משלי ח' ל) ואהיה אצלו אמון ואהיה שעשועים יום יום משחקת לפניו בכל עת, אמרה תורה אלפים שנה הייתי בחיקו של הקב"ה שעשועים שנאמר יום יום, ויומו של הקב"ה אלף שנה שנאמר (תהלים צ' ד') כי אלף שנים בעיניך כיום אתמול כי יעבור, מכאן ואילך לעתים שנאמר בכל עת, והשאר לעולם שנאמר (ישעי' מ"ח ט) ותהלתי אחטם לך, מאי ותהלתי דכתיב (תהלים קמ"ה ב) תהלה לדוד ארוממך, מאי תהלה, משום דארוממך, ומאי רוממות' משום דאברכה שמך לעולם ועד:

ו. ומאי ברכה, אלא משל למה"ד למלך שנטע אילנות בגנו, ואע"פ שירדו גשמים ושואב תמיד וגם הקרקע לח ושואב תמיד צריך הוא להשקותן מן המעיין שנאמר (תהלים קי"א ו') ראשית חכמה יראת ה' שכל טוב לכל עושיהם, ואז תאמר שהיא חסרה כלום הרי אומר (שם) תהלתו עומדת לעד:

ה. ז. ישב רבי אמוראי ודרש מאי דכתיב (דברים ל"ג כג) ומלא ברכת ה' ים ודרום ירשה, כך אמר משה אם תלך בחוקותיו תירש העולם הזה והעולם הבא, העולם הבא שהוא נמשל לים שנאמר (איוב י"א ט) ורחבה מני ים, והעוה"ז נמשל לדרום שנאמר (יהושע ט"ו יט) כי ארץ הנגב נתתני ומתרגמינן ארי ארעא דרומא:

ו. ח. ועוד למה הוסיף הקב"ה ה"א באברהם יותר משאר אותיות אלא כדי שיזכו כל אבריו של אדם לחיי עולם הבא שהוא נמשל ליום, כביכול בו נשלם הבנין דכתיב (בראשית ט' ו) כי בצלם אלהים עשה את האדם, ואברהם בגמטריא רמ"ח כמנין אבריו של אדם:

ז. ט. מאי דכתיב (דברים ל"ג כג) ירשה רש היה לו לומר, אלא אפי' הקב"ה בכלל, והיינו רש יה, למה"ד למלך שהי' לו ב' אוצרות והקצה אחד מהם, לסוף ימים אמר לבנו טול מה שיש בשני אוצרות הללו, אמר הבן שמא לא יתן לי מה שהקצה, א"ל טול הכל, והיינו דכתיב ים ודרום ירשה, ויה רש וינתן לך הכל ולואי שתשמור דרכי:

ח. י. אמר רבי בון מאי דכתיב (משלי ח' כ"ג) מעולם נסכתי מראש מקדמי ארץ, מאי מעולם, שצריך להעלימו מכולי עלמא דכתיב (קהלת ג' י"א) גם את העולם נתן בלבם, אל תקרא העולם אלא העלם, אמרה תורה אני קדמתי להיות ראש לעולם שנאמר מעולם נסכתי מראש ואם תאמר שמא הארץ קדמה לה ת'ל מקדמי ארץ כד"א בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ. ומאי ברא, ברא כל צרכי הכל ואח"כ אלהים, ומה כתיב בתריה את השמים ואת הארץ:

ט. יא. ומאי גם את זה לעומת זה עשה האלהים (קהלת ז' יד), ברא בהו ושם מקומו בשלום וברא תהו ושם מקומו ברע, בהו בשלום שנאמר (איוב כ"ה ב) עושה שלום במרומיו מלמד שמיכאל שר הימיני של הקב"ה מים וברד וגבריאל שר שמאלו של הקב"ה אש, ושר שלום ביניהם מכריע והיינו דכתיב עושה שלום במרומיו:

יב. ומנלן דתהו הוא ברע דכתיב (ישעי' מ"ה ז) עושה שלום ובורא רע, הא כיצד רע מתהו ושלום מבהו ברא תהו ושם מקומו ברע שנא' עושה שלום ובורא רע ברא בהו ושם מקומו בשלום שנאמר עושה שלום במרומיו:

י. יג. ועוד ישב ר' בון ודרש מאי דכתיב (ישעי' שם) יוצר אור ובורא חושך, אלא אור שיש בו ממש כתיב בו יצירה, חשך שאין בו ממש כתיב ביה בריאה, כמה דאת אמר (עמוס ד, יב) יוצר הרים ובורא רוח. ואי בעית אימא אור שיש בו הויה דכתיב (בראשית א' ג) ויאמר אלהים יהי אור ואין הויה אלא ע"י עשיה, קרי ביה יצירה, חשך דלא הוה ביה עשיה אלא הבדלה והפרשה בלבד קרי ביה בריאה כמד"א הבריא פלוני:

יא. יד. למה ב סתומה מכל צד ופתוחה מלפניה ללמדך שהוא בית לעולם והיינו דקב"ה מקומו של עולם ואין העולם מקומו, ואל תקרא ב אלא בית הדא היא דכתיב (משלי כ"ד ג) בחכמה יבנה בית ובתבונה יתכונן:

טו. ולמה ב' דומה, לאדם שנוצר בחכמה שסתום מכל צד ופתוח מלפניו והאל"ף פתוחה מלאחריו, לומר זה זנב הב' שפתוחה מלאחריו, שאלמלא כן לא יתקיים האדם כך אלמלא בית בזנבה של א' לא יתקיים העולם:

יג. טז. אמר ר' רחומאי האורה קדמה לעולם שענן וערפל סביביו שנאמר (בראשית א' ג) ויאמר אלהים יהי אור ויהי אור, אמרו לו קודם יצירת ישראל בנך תעשה לו עטרה, א"ל הן, משל למה"ד למלך שהתארה לבן ומצא עטרה נאה קלוסה ומשובחת שמח שמחה ואמר זה לבני לראשו כי לו נאה, א"ל ויודע הוא שבנו ראוי, אמר שתוקי כך עלה במחשבה ונודע שנאמר (שמואל ב' י"ד יד) וחשב מחשבות וגו'. יד:

יז. ישב ר' אמוראי ודרש למה אל"ף בראש, שהיא היתה קודמת לכל, ואפילו לתורה:

יח. ולמה בי"ת קרובה לה, מפני שהיא היתה תחילה, ולמה יש לה זנב, להראות מאיזה מקום היתה, וי"א שמשם נתקיים העולם:

יט. ולמה גימ"ל שלישית, מפני שהיא שלישית, ולהודיע שהיא גומלת חסדים. והלוא ר' עקיבא אמר למה ג שלישית מפני שגומלת ומתגדלת ומתקיימת כמה דאת אמר (בראשית כא ח) ויגדל הילד ויגמל, א"ל הוא דבריי כי הוא גודל וגומל חסד לשכנו עמו ואמון אצלו:

כ. ומפני מה יש לה זנב למטה לגימ"ל, אמר להם ראש יש לו לג' למעלה ודומה לצינור, מה צינור זה שואב מלמעלה ומריק למטה אף ג שואבת דרך הראש ומריקה דרך הזנב והיינו ג:

כא. אמר ר' יוחנן בשני נבראו המלאכים דכתיב (תהלים ק"ד ג) המקרה במים עליותיו וכתיב (שם ד) עושה מלאכיו רוחות משרתיו אש לוהט ואמר ר' לויטס בן טברוס הכל מודים ומודה ר' יוחנן דהמים כבר היו, אבל בשני המקרה במים עלי ותיו, ומי השם עבים רכובו, ומי המהלך על כנפי רוח, אבל שלוחים לא נבראו עד יום ה:

כב. ומודים הכל שלא נבראו ביום ראשון שלא יאמרו מיכאל היה מותח בדרומו של רקיע וגבריאל בצפונו והקב"ה סודר באמצעיתו, אלא אני ה' עושה כל נוטה שמים לבדי רוקע הארץ מאתי (ישעי' מ"ד כד) מי אתי כתיב אני הוא שנטעתי אילן זה להשתעשע בו כל העולם ורקעתי בו כל וקראתי שמו כל שהכל תלוי בו והכל יוצא ממנו, והכל צריכים לו, ובו צופים ולו מחכין, ומשם פורחים הנשמות בשמחה, לבדי הייתי כשעשיתי אותו, ולא יגדל עליו מלאך לאמר אני קדמתי לך, כי גם בעת שרקעתי ארצי שבה נטעתי ושרשתי אילן זה ושמחתי ביחד ושמחתי בהם, מי אתי שגליתי לו סודי זה:

טז. כג. אמר ר' רחומאי מדברך נלמד שצורך העולם הזה ברא הקב"ה קודם השמים, א"ל הן, משל למה"ד למלך שביקש ליטע אילן בגנו, השגיח בכל הגן לדעת אם יש שם מעיין נובע מים להעמיד אותו, ולא מצא, אמר אחפור מים ואוציא מעין כדי שיוכל להתקיים האילן, חפר והוציא מעין נובע מים חיים ואח"כ נטע האילן ועמד ועשה פרי והצליח בשרשיו שהשקוהו תמיד מן המעיין:

יז. כד. אמר ר' ינאי הארץ נבראה קודם לשמים שנאמר (בראשית ב' ד) ארץ ושמים, אמרו לו והכתיב (בראשית א' א) את השמים ואת הארץ, אמר להם למה"ד למלך שקנה חפץ נאה ולא היה שלם ולא קרא עליו שם, אמר אשלימנו ואתקן כנו וחבורו, ואז אקרא לו שם הה"ד (תהלים ק"ב כו) לפנים הארץ יסדת ואח"כ ומעשה ידיך שמים, ואומר (שם ק"ד ב) עטה אור כשלמה נוטה שמים כיריעה המקרה במים עליותיו וגו', ואומר (שם ד) עושה מלאכיו רוחות משרתיו אש לוהט, ואח"כ (שם ה) יסד ארץ על מכוניה בל תמוט עולם ועד, כשתיקן לה מכון אז האמיץ בה שנאמר בל תמוט, ומה שמה ועד שמה ומכונה עולם והיינו עולם ועד:

יח. כה. אמר ר' ברכיה מאי דכתיב (בראשית א, ג) ויאמר אלהים יהי אור ויהי אור, ולא והיה אור, משל למלך שהיה לו חפץ נאה והקצהו עד שזימן לו מקום ושמהו שם הה"ד יהי אור ויהי אור שכבר היה:

יט. כו. אמר ר' אמוראי מאי דכתיב (שמות ט"ו ג) ה' איש מלחמה, אמר ליה מר רחומאי ברבי לא תבעי לך מילתא דפשיטא, שמע לי ואמלכינך, א"ל למה"ד למלך שהיה לו דירות נאות ושם שם לכל אחד ואחד מהם וכולן זו טובה מזו, אמר אתן לבני דירה זו ששמה אל"ף, גם זו טובה ששמה יו"ד גם זו טובה ששמה שי"ן, מה עשה אספן כל השלשה ועשה מהם שם אחד ועשה מהם בית אחד, א"ל עד מתי תסתום דבריך, א"ל בני אל"ף ראש, יו"ד שני לה, שי"ן כולל כל העולם, ולמה שי"ן כולל כל העולם מפני שכתוב בה תשובה:

כ. כז. שאלו לו תלמידיו מהו דלי"ת, א"ל מלה"ד לעשרה מלכים שהיו במקום אחד, וכלם עשירים, ואחד מהם עשיר אך לא כאחד מהם, אע"פ שעשרו גדול דל נקרא לגבי העשירים:

כח. אמרו לו מה ה"א, כעס ואמר להם לא אמרתי לכם לא תשאלו לי על דבר אחרון ואח"כ על הראשון, אמרו לו וה"א אחרון כתובה, אמר להם ראוי הוא להיכתב גימ"ל ה"א ועל מה נכתב גימ"ל דלי"ת מפני שהיה לו לכתוב דלי"ת ה"א, ומפני מה כתב גימל דלית, אמר להם נחלפים הגימל במקום דלית בראשה במקום ה"א דלי"ת בקוצה מקום ה"א:

כט. מאי ה"א, אמר ה"א תחתונה וה"א עליונה:

ל. אמרו לו מאי וא"ו, אמר להם בששה קצוות נחתם העולם, אמרו לו והלא ו' אחת, אמר להם והלא כתוב (תהלים ק"ד ב) עוטה אור כשלמה כא:

לא. אמר ר' אמוראי גן עדן היכן הוא, א"ל בארץ:

לב. דרש ר' ישמעאל לר' עקיבא מאי דכתיב (בראשית א' א) את השמים ואת הארץ, אלמלא לא נאמר את היינו אומרים שמים וארץ אלהות הן, אמר לו העבודה נגעת אבל לא בררת, כן דברת, אבל את לרבות חמה ולבנה כוכבים ומזלות, ואת לרבות אילנות ודשאים וגן עדן:

לג. אמרו לו הכתיב (איכה ב' א) השליך משמים ארץ תפארת ישראל וא"כ נפלו, אמר להם אם קרו לא שנו ואם שנו לא שלשו, מלה"ד למלך שהיה לו עטרה נאה על ראשו מלת נאה בכתפיו ובא לו שמועה רעה השליך העטרה מעל ראשו והמלך מלפניו:

כב. לד. שאלו לו מפני מה חי"ת צורת פתח ונקודה בפתח קטן, א"ל מפני שכל הרוחות סתומות חוץ מפאת צפון שהוא פתוחה לטוב ולרע, א"ל לטובה והכתיב (יחזקאל א' ד) והנה רוח סערה באה מן הצפון ענן גדול אש מתלקחת, ואין' אש אלא חרון אף דכתיב (ויקרא י' ב') ותצא אש מלפני ה' ותאכל אותם וימותו, א"ל לא קשיא כאן בזמן שישראל עושין רצונו של מקום כאן כשאין ישראל עושין רצונו, בזמן שאין ישראל עושין רצונו אש קרובה, ובזמן שעושין רצונו מדת הרחמים מתגלגלת וסובבת הה"ד (מיכה ז' יח) נושא עון ועובר על פשע:

לה. משל למה"ד למלך שרצה לרדות את עבדיו וליסרם, עמד הגמון אחד ושאל על מה, אמר לו על כן, א"ל לא עשו עבדיך דבר זה מעולם ואני ערב לך בהם ואתה תבדוק אחריהם, בין כך ובין כך שככה חמת המלך:

לו. שאלו תלמידיו ואמרו מפני מה דלי"ת עבה מן הצד, אמר להם מפני הסגו"ל שהוא בפתח וקטן שנאמר (תהלים כד ז) פתחי עולם, שם שם פתח למעלה וסגול למטה ובאה עבה:

לז. מאי פתח, פתח, ומאי פתח, הוא רוח צפונית שהוא פתח לכל העולם, מן השער שיצא הרע יוצא הטוב, ומה טוב, לגלג עליהם הלא אמרתי לכם פתח קטן, אמרו לו שכחנו שנה לנו, שנה אמר להם למה"ד למלך שהיה לו כסא לפעמים לוקח אותו בזרועו ולפעמים על ראשו, א"ל למה, לפי שהוא נאה וחס לישב עליו, א"ל ואנא שמו על ראשו, אמר להם במ"ם פתוחה שנאמר (תהלים פ"ב יב) אמת מארץ תצמח וצדק משמים נשקף:

לח. ישב ר' אמוראי ודרש מאי דכתיב (תהלים פ"ז ב) אוהב ה' שערי ציון מכל משכנות יעקב, שערי ציון הם פתחי עולם, ואין שער אלא פתח כמד"א פתח לנו שערי רחמים, כך אמר הקב"ה אוהב אני שערי ציון כשהן פתוחין, למה, שהן מצד הרעה, וכשישראל טובים לפני המקום וראוים להפתח לטוב הקב"ה אוהבם מכל משכנות יעקב שהם כולם שלום שנאמר (בראשית כה כו) ויעקב איש תם ישב אהלים:

לט. משל לשני בני אדם אחד מזומן לעשות רעה ועשה טובה, ואחד מזומן לעשות טובה ועשה טובה, למי משבחין יותר למי שרגיל לעשות רע ועשה טוב, אולי יעשה פעם שניה הה"ד (תהלים פ"ז ב) אוהב ה' שערי ציון מכל משכנות יעקב שהן כולם שלום שנאמר (בראשית כ"ה כו) ויעקב איש תם ישב אהלים:

מ. שאלו תלמידיו מהו חולם, א"ל נשמה ושמה חולם שאם תשמע תחלים גופך לעתיד לבוניו ואם תמרוד בה ישובו חלאיך בראשך וחלים בראשה:

מא. ועוד אמרו שכל חלום הוא בחולם, וכל מרגלית לבנה הוא בחלם כדכתיב (שמות כ"ח יט) ואחלמה:

מב. אמר להם עולו ושמעו דקדוקי נקודה דאורייתא דמשה. ישב ודרש להם חיריק שונא את הרעים ומייסרם, ובצדו הקנאה והשנאה והתחרות דכתיב (תהלים ל"ז יב) וחרק עליו שניו אל תקרי חרק אלא רחק, רחק אלה המדות ממך ויתרחק ממך הרע, וכל שכן דהטוב ידבק בך:

מג. חרק אל תקרי חרק אלא קרח, אלא כל מקום שדבק חרק נשאר קרח שנאמר (שמות ל"ד ז) ונקה:

מד. ומאי משמע דהאי חרק לשון שורף משום דהיא אש שורפת כל האשות דכתיב (מ"א י"ח לח) ותפול אש ה' ותאכל את העולה ואת העצים ואת האבנים ואת העפר, ואת המים אשר בתעלה לחכה:

כה. מה. אמר מר מאי דכתיב (שמות כ' י"ח) וכל העם רואים את הקולות ואת הלפידים, וכי נראים קולות, אלא וכל העם רואים את הקולות אותן קולות שאמר דוד (תהלים כ"ט ג) קול ה' על המים אל הכבוד הרעים ה' גו' קול ה' בכח ואומר (ישעיה י' יג) בכח ידי עשיתי, ואומר (שם מ"ח יג) אף ידי יסדה ארץ, קול ה' בהדר ואמר קרא (תהלים קי"א ג) הוד והדר פעלו וצדקתו עומדת לעד, קול ה' שובר ארזים (שם כ"ט ה) זה קשת שמשברת עצי ברושים ועצי ארזים, קול ה' חוצב להבות אש (שם ד) זה שעושה שלום בין המים ובין האש, שחוצב כח האש ומונע אותו מללחוך המים וגם מונען מלכבותו, קול ה' יחיל מדבר (שם ח) שנאמר (שם י"ח נ"א) ועושה חסד למשיחו לדוד ולזרעו עד עולם, יותר מן המדבר, קול ה' יחולל אילות ויחשוף יערות ובהיכלו כולו אומר כבוד (שם כ' ט), וכתיב (שה"ש ב' ז) השבעתי אתכם בנות ירושלים בצבאות או באילות השדה, הא למדת שבשבע קולות ניתנה תורה, ובכלם נגלה אדון העולם עליהם וראוהו והיינו דכתיב וכל העם רואים את הקולות:

כו. מו. כתוב אחד אומר (שמואל ב כ"ב) ויט שמים וירד וערפל תחת רגליו, וכתוב אחד אומר (שמות י"ט כ) וירד ה' על הר סיני אל ראש ההר, וכתוב אחד אומר (שם כ' כ"ב) כי מן השמים דברתי עמכם, הא כיצד. אשו הגדולה היתה בארץ שהוא קול אחד ושאר הקולות היו בשמים דכתיב (דברים ד' לו) מן השמים השמיעך את קולו ליסרך ועל הארץ הראך את אשו הגדולה ודבריו שמעת מתוך האש, ומאי היא הגדולה, ומאין היה יוצא הדיבור מתוך האש שנאמר (שם) ודבריו שמעת מתוך האש:

כז. מז. ומאי ותמונה אינכם רואים זולתי קול (דברים ד' יב) ההוא כדאמר להם משה לישראל (שם ט"ו) כי לא ראיתם כל תמונה, תמונה ולא כל תמונה. משל למה"ד למלך שעומד על עבדיו מעוטף כסות לבנה לא די לאימת מלכות שיסתכלו במלבושיו, ועוד רחוק היה המלך ושמעו את קולו, יכולים לראות גרונו, אמרת לא, הא למדת שראו תמונה ולא כל תמונה. והיינו דכתיב (שם) ותמונה אינכם רואים זולתי קול, וכתיב (שם) קול דברים אתם שומעים:

כח. מח. כתוב אחד אומר (שמות כ' טו) וכל העם רואים את הקולות, וכתוב אחד אומר (דברים ד' יב) קול דברים אתם שומעים, הא כיצד, בתחילה רואים את הקולות. ומה ראו שבע קולות שאמר דוד. ולבסוף שמעו הדיבור היוצא מבין כולם. והא אנן עשרה תנן, דרבנן אמרו כולהו אמירן בחדא מילתא, כן כולה אמירן בחדא מילתא, והוי שבע אמירן דשבעה קולות, ועל תלתא מנייהו נאמר קול דברים אתם שומעים ותמונה אינכם רואים זולתי קול, הא למדת דכולהו בחדא מילתא אמירן, ובעבור שלא יטעו ישראל לומר אחרים עזרוהו או אחד מן המלאכים אך קולו לבד לא יוכל להיות חזק כל כך, בעבור כן חזר וכללן:

מט. ד"א שלא יאמרו העולם הואיל והם עשרה מאמרות לעשרה מלכים. שמא לא יוכלו לדבר ע"פ אחד כתב ביה אנכי וכלל כל העשרה, ומאי עשרה מלכים שבע קולות ושלשה אמרים, ומאי אמרים וה' האמירך היום (דברים כ"ו יח), ומאי נינהו שלשה דכתיב (משלי ד' ז) ראשית חכמה קנה חכמה ובכל קנינך קנה בינה, כד"א (איוב ל"ב ח) ונשמת שדי תבינם, נשמתו של שדי היא תבינם, שלישי מאי היא כדאמר ליה ההוא סבא לההוא ינוקא במופלא ממך אל תדרוש ובמכוסה ממך אל תחקור, במה שהורשת התבונן אין לך עסק בנסתרות:

נ. תנא כבוד אלקים הסתר דבר (משלי כ"ה ב), מאי דבר, כדאמר (תהלים קי"ט קס) ראש דברך אמת, וכבוד מלכים חקור דבר (משלי שם), מאי דבר, דכתיב (שם כ"ה יא) דבר דבור על אופניו, אל תקרי אופניו אלא אפניו:

כט. נא. שאלו תלמידיו את ר' ברכיה נרצה דברינו לפניך, לא נתן להם רשות, פעם אחת נתן להם רשות, והיא דעביד לבודקן אי אינון השתא כוונו נפשייהו, יום אחד בדק אותם אמר להם השמיעוני חכמתכם, פתחו ואמרו בראשית אחד ורוח מלפני יעטוף ונשמות אני עשיתי (ישעי' נ"ז טז) פלג אלהים מלא מים (תהלים ס"ה י) מאי פלג, כ