Bereshith! Rabbi Simeon spake and said: "I have put my words in thy month, and I have covered thee in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens and lay the foundation of the earth."Is. 51:16 These words inculcate that man should study and acquaint himself with the mysteries of the secret doctrine by day and by night, and that the Holy One regards those whose delights are therein. Every new thought suggestive or explanatory of it is crowned by him, and by it he forms a new heaven. It is said that whenever a man gives expression to such a word it ascends at once into the divine presence, who taketh and embraceth it and adorneth it with seventy crowns, all engraveth with his holy name. This word of mystic wisdom then descends and visits the children of light, who are the life of the world. Then it flies through seventy thousand worlds and stands before the Ancient of Days, with whose words, enfolding the deepest
mysteries, it then becomes united and together fly through eighteen worlds invisible to mortal eyesIs. 64:4 and known only to Alhim. Perfected and complete, it returns to the Ancient of Days and become to him a subject of delight as he takes and crowns it with three hundred and seventy thousand crowns, when at length it is transformed into and becomes a new world. So, with every such like word, it becomes a new world of hidden mysteries of heavenly wisdom, a new earth referred to in scripture. "As the new heaven and the new earth which l make abiding before me." Is. 66:22 Not which I have created, as in the past, but which I create in the present, by means of those holy words which preserve and renew the worlds, and this is the occult signification of these words. Observe, it is said, not the heavens, but new heavens."
Said Rabbi Eleazar: "What is the occult meaning of the words, 'In the shadow of mine hand have I hid thee?'"Is. 51:16
Rabbi Simeon replied: "When the secret doctrine and its hidden mysteries was delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai myriads of angels endeavored, through jealousy, to consume him with their fiery breath. Then the Holy One covered him with his hand, so that they did him no hurt. Also, with the word of which we have just described proceeding from human lips, it also is covered and protected from the wrath and envy of angels, until it becomes a new heaven or a new earth; for then only become they uncovered and their meaning revealed. This is furthermore shown by the words, 'Say unto Sion Ammi Atha' (thou art my people). They should rather be rendered, 'Immi Atha' (thou art with me), with me as an associate, just as my word was with me when I created the world, as it is written: 'By the word of the Lord the heavens were made.'Ps. 33:6 And so it is with words containing mysteries of the secret doctrine uttered by us. We become creators, and happy- am! blessed are I hey who consecrate themselves to the study and teaching of this holy science and knowledge. If, however, you say that such a word may proceed from or be spoken by one who has no knowledge or understanding of sacred mysteries, observe that, if this should happen, then the word spoken by one who is ignorant of the secret doctrine is seized hold of by a demon called aishtahphucoth (froward lips), who casts it into the great abyss when it becomes a false heaven, and know as Tohu (vanity). When this heaven of falsehood is formed, forthwith it becomes united with another demon named esithzenonim (or lady of seductions),
who causeth the ruin and destruction of thousands and as long as this false heaven subsists and power and rule predominate.5a-5b Therefore is it written: 'Woe unto you who draw iniquity (avon) with cords of vanity and sin (hatah), as with a cart rope.'Isa 5:18 What is Hatah? It is this seductress who, proceeding from this world of vanity, destroyeth the children of man. The cause of all this is the student who has not attained to the wisdom and science of an initiate or master. God preserve us from becoming such! See to it, therefore, that ye let not a single word escape your lips concerning divine mysteries without understanding or before consulting with a master that ye may not be originators of Hatah, and thus cause the destruction and ruin of many souls."
With one accord exclaimed the students of Rabbi Simeon: "God keep and preserve us from this!"
Continuing his discourse, Rabbi Simeon said: "Mark this also. It was by means of the secret doctrine that the Holy One created the world. Holy scripture affirms that it was with him and was his delight daily. He examined it attentively and minutely, and then uttered it, and thereby produced all his works in order to teach us to study occult science and sacred mysteries calmly and reverently, and thus avoid falling into error and causing many to stumble, to fall, to perish. It is written, "Then did he see it and declare it. He prepared it; yea, searched it out."Job 28:27 in which verse are the words yaha (see), yesaphrah (declared), kenah (prepared), hakar (searched), showing what carefulness was exercised by the Holy One before creating the world. For ere doing so he formed the four words corresponding to those we have just particularized, viz.: Bereshith, bara, Alhim, ath, implying a fourfold examination of the secret doctrine ere he used it in Creation."
Rabbi Eleazar went one day to visit his uncle, Rabbi Jose,, and Rabbi Abba was with him. A porter followed behind them. I
Said Rabbi Abba: "As the time and opportunity are favorable, let us discourse and search a little into the secret doctrine."
Then spake Rabbi Eleazar, and said: "It is written, 'Ye shall keep my sabbaths.'Lev. 19:30 Observe that in six days the Holy One created the world that each day was distinguished by a special production. But on what day appeared the production that was fruitful? On the fourth; for those of the three first days were unmanifested and hidden, viz.: fire, water, and earth. If you say that the earth was clothed with vegetation on the third. it
was truly so. It was, however, really on the fourth day that the results became manifest and distinctive in themselves, and thus it became the fourth pedestal of the heavenly throne. All the works of creation were finished certainly on the Sabbath,5b as it is written: 'And Alhim created on the seventh day,' the Sabbath, which was the fourth day of the earth's fruitful production. But what meaneth 'Ye shall keep my Sabbaths,' as though there were two or more sabbaths? The scripture, by this plural word, designates the eve of the Sabbath and the day of the Sabbath, distinct yet not separate."
Then spake the porter who had followed them, and said: "But what is the signification of the following words: 'Ye shall reverence my sanctuary.'"
Rabbi Eleazar replied: "They refer to the holiness of the Sabbath."
"What do you mean by the holiness of the Sabbath?" asked the stranger.
"It is the heavenly holiness which cometh down upon the earth on that day," replied Rabbi Eleazar.
"If so, then you make not the Sabbath holy, but a something which is from above."
"That truly is so," said Rabbi Abba, "what Rabbi Eleazar has said, for it is written: 'Call the Sabbath a delight, and the Holy of the Lord honorable.'Is. 58:13 Therefore there is a distinction between the Sabbath day and the Holy of the Lord."
"What, then, meaneth the Holy of the Lord?" asked the stranger again.
"It is," replied Rabbi Abba, "as has been just said, a heavenly holiness coming from above on that day."
"Then," answered the stranger, "in that ease the heavenly holiness is glorious and hallowed, but not the day of the Sabbath; and yet the scripture says, "Glorify the Sabbath day."
"Men," said Rabbi Eleazar to Rabbi Abba, "let this man speak on, for he seems to be endowed with a wisdom and knowledge we do not possess."
"They turned toward the stranger and said: "Give us your opinion on the subject."
"It is written," he said to them, "'Keep my Sabbaths,'Lev. 19:30 words which show plainly that there are two sabbaths--one heavenly and one earthly--yet are they but one, both alike in their esoteric meaning. There is another Sabbath--a third one, not mentioned in scripture, and which was unhonored. This Sabbath
said to the Holy One: 'Thou art my maker, and I am called Sabbath. Now, there is no day without a night. Let there a Sabbath night or eve, as well as a Sabbath day, be kept.' To which the Holy One replied: 'My child, Sabbath art thou, and Sabbath thou shalt he called. I will yet adorn three with great honor and beauty.' Then made he proclamation, and said: 'Reverence my sanctuary.' That is to say, the Sabbath eve, which is also to be reverenced and kept; for the name of the Holy One is found in the word. I will now inform you how my father explained this to me. 'Imagine,' said he, 'a square within a circle, symbolizing two divine forms, which, though distinct, are not separate; for there is not division or separation in the divine essence. An earthly resemblance to this divine union is that between Jacob and Joseph.5b-6a There is also a resemblance in the repetition of the word peace, in that verse of scripture, "Peace to those that are far off and peace to those that are near,"Is. 57:19 those that are far off referring to Jacob and those that are near to Joseph, symbolical of the Sabbath and the Sabbath eve, distinguished by 'Keep the Sabbath'Deut. 5:12
Ex. 20:8 and 'remember the Sabbath day.' But the words, 'Reverence my sanctuary,' designate a point in the middle of the square and circle which is the most sacred of all--he who violates and breaks this commandment is punishable with death, as it is written, 'Whoso violates it shall be put to death';Ex 31:14 that is, who enters into the circle and square to the middle point and profanes it. Therefore is it said, 'Reverence ye,' for that middle point is called Ani (Me). which is but another term or name of the Great Unknown, the Divine Being."
After hearing these words from the unknown stranger, they embraced him, and said:
"Possessed of such knowledge of the secret doctrine, you must not follow behind, but go before us. What is thy name?"
"Ask me not," he replied. "But let us go forward discoursing on occult mysteries, each of us giving utterance to words of hidden wisdom which shall lighten the way."
Said they: "How came you to follow us'?"
"Yod," he replied, "made war against two other letters, Caph and Samech (ch and S), in order that they might become attached to me. Koph was unwilling to be joined to one without whose help it could not subsist a single moment, and Samech was equally unwilling to become bound to Koph, and thus he unable to help those who stumble and fall. Then Yod, coming
to me, embraced me, caressed me, wept with me, and said: 'My child, what can I do for you? I aim about to ascend on high, and shall acquire amongst many good things secret letters. all capitals, and valuable. I will then come back to thee and help thee and give thee other letters, better and stronger than those who have forsaken and left thee, even Ysh (blessing), who will he to thee treasures filled with good things. Go, therefore, my child, and mount thy ass.' And this is why I am here."
Rabbi Eleazar and Rabbi Abba were greatly pleased, and said: "Go on before and we will follow after thee."
Replied the stranger: "have I not told you it was through the King's orders that I have come hither?"
They said: "But you have not told us your name. Where de you dwell?"
"My habitation is a fine and strong one, a high tower, in which the Holy One and myself only reside. Just now I am here riding on my ass."
Then Rabbi Eleazar and Rabbi Abba pondered awhile and meditated on these sayings and the meaning of them, which to them were as honey and manna. Then said they unto him: "Who is thy father? If thou wilt tell us we will make obeisance unto thee."
"Wherefore should I?" he answered. "It is not usual with me to impart occult science to anyone. However, my father lives in the great sea, and was a great fish. He was great and strong and full of years, so that he swallowed up all the other fishes of the sea and then sent them forth living and filled with all the good things of the world. His power is such he can run through the sea in a moment, and he sent me forth as an arrow from the how of a skilled archer and concealed me in the place of which I have spoken; but he himself has returned, and remains hidden in the sea."
Rabbi Eleazar, after reflecting a moment, exclaimed: "Thou art the son of the great mystic teacher Rabbi Hammenuna, the Aged, the great initiate in the secret doctrine!"
Then they embraced him and went forward, saying: "Let it please thee, Oh, master, tell us thy name?"
"Then," said he, "it is written, 'Benaiah, Son of Jehoida.'2 Sam 23:20 We have already expounded the signification of these words. It will, however, be profitable to consider the deeply occult meaning of them, which has reference to human life. To continue, 'Son of a living man'; that is, of the just one--the life of the
world. 'Who wrought many great works,' meaning Lord of all workers and of the heavenly hosts, all of whom are marked and distinguished by the letters of the divine name, Yehoval Sabaoth, the greatest of all names. 'The Lord of great works'; that is, the Lord of 'Mequabsel,' a mighty and most lordly tree. Where is its locality, and in what consists its magnificence? 6a-6bThe scripture refers to it as being on high, where 'Eye hath not seen it, save thine alone, Oh, Lord.'Isa. 64:4 In it is contained the life and essence of all existing things and living creatures, angels, archangels, heavenly hierarchies, principalities and powers, the universe with its unnumbered systems of stars and constellations; yea! all things are contained therein as in a glorious and magnificent palace, and from it come forth all things visible and reflective of its glory and magnificence. 'He killed two lions of Moab,' referring to the first and second temple of Jerusalem, which subsisted until the heavenly light which enlightened them was withdrawn from them; then were they destroyed and the holy throne demolished. Thus it is written: 'I was in the captivity';Ezek. 1:1 that is to say, this divine glory or essence called Ani (I) was in captivity. Why does the scripture still proceed, saying: 'By the River Chebar?' Because Chebar is the mysterious river of the heavenly light which floweth forth, but became dried up and ceased to flow when I was in captivity, and this is the meaning of the words, 'The river decayeth and drieth up,'Job 14:11 referring to the two temples of Jerusalem. With respect to the words, 'He killed two lions of Moab,' this latter word should be rendered Meab--of the father in heaven, having the same occult meaning. Again it is said of Benaiah, 'He went down and slew a lion in the midst of the pit in time of snow.' In former times, when the river of divine radiance and glory was flowing, the children of Israel flourished and lived in peace and offered up daily sacrifices for their sins, when a celestial being, with the emblematic form of a lion, was seen by them descending on the altar, consuming and devouring the offerings with the avidity of a hungry man, during which the demons of evil, like dogs, fled away and hid themselves. But, on account of the sins of the people, the Most High came down and killed the lion, if it may be so expressed. 'He killed it in a pit,' meaning in presence of the dog-like demons, living in dark subterranean places, that they might see they could seize and devour now the sacrifices, as they were of no worth in his sight. Now, the name of the lion was Ouriel, because lion-like in form, and the name of
the demons was Baladan, or not human but dog-like. 'In the time of snow'; that is, when the children of Israel sinned and were consumed by divine justice. Such also is the significance of the words, 'She feareth not for her house of snow.'Prov. 31:21 Why? Because arrayed with purple, and thus able to resist the fiercest flame. To proceed further, 'And he killed an Egyptian, a goodly man,' teaching that whenever Israel sins it loses the blessing and light of the divine presence which it once enjoyed. 'And he killed the Egyptian,' referring to the light which illuminated Israel, viz.: Moses, who was called an Egyptian by the daughters of Jethro, when they said to him: 'An Egyptian hath helped us.'Ex. 2:19 In Egypt he was born and reared, and there he became initiated in the secret doctrine. 'A goodly man,' for he saw the Lord clearlyNum. 12:8 and not in dark speeches. He was a divine man, a man of God,Deut. 33:1 a recipient of divine science as no other man had ever enjoyed before. 'And in hand of the Egyptian was a spear.' This was the sceptre or rod of God that was handed to Moses, as mentioned by scripture: 'And the rod of the Alhim was in my hand,'Ex. 17:9 the rod which was made when the sun rose for the first time, and on it was engraved the Shem Hamphorash, or most holy divine name. By it he smote the rock, as it is written: 'And he struck the rock with his rod twice.'Num. 20:11 Then said the Holy One: 'Moses, my rod was not given to thee to be used thus. I swear, by thy life, from this moment thou shalt not retain it.' Therefore we read: 'He descended with the rod,' which proved a great affliction for Israel, for then the rod was taken away. 'And he wrested the spear from out of the hand of the Egyptian,' meaning the rod, and it was never seen again. Then, furthermore, he read: 'He killed him with his spear for the sin committed by a wrong use of the rod. Moses died and was not allowed to enter into the promised land, and that light was taken from Israel. The scripture further relates that he, Benaiah, 'Was more honorable than the thirty, but he was not one of the three.'2 Sam. 23:23 'More honorable than the thirty, referring to the thirty years he was separated from the heavenly powers on high, and who, at the end of life, took him to themselves again. 'But he became not one of the three, viz.: the Divine, under three hypostases or forms, and who gave him the desire of his heart. 'Nevertheless, David set him over his guard'; that is, David, being attached to him, retained his services, so that they might not be separated from one another, in the same
way that the moon is attached to the sun, to which it addresses its song of praise as the center and source of its light."
Rabbi Eleazar and Rabbi Abba knelt and prostrated themselves before the stranger, and then--but where was he? He had suddenly disappeared. They looked around amazed, but he was not to be seen. They sat down and pondered, bewildered and speechless. At length Rabbi Abba spake, and said:
"True is it that whenever students of esoteric truths travel together, discoursing amongst themselves on the mysteries of the secret doctrine, then are they visited by spiritual masters and teachers from on high. This stranger was indeed none other than Rabbi Hammenuna, the Aged, who has taught us truths which have never been divulged and revealed to anyone before, and leaving us before we were able to recognize him."
Then rose they up to mount their asses, but were unable to do so. Again they tried, with no better success. Filled with a feeling of trepidation, they fled away and left their asses behind, and to this day that place is known and called Assfield.