"AND God said let there be light and light was.' To whom spake Alhim these words, 'let there be light?' It was to the dwellers on the earth; but 'light was' refers to the light made for the world to come. The higher light, the light of the eye was created first by the Holy One who caused Adam, the protagonist, to behold it so that he was able to view the world at a glance. This was the divine light enjoyed by David, who in a moment of spiritual ecstasy exclaimed, 'How great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee' (Ps. xxxvi. 20), and it was the self-same light by which God showed Moses the promised land from Gilead unto Dan. From the beginning, this divine light was hidden and concealed, as the Holy One perceived that the generations of men who lived in the time of Enoch and Noah, and also during the building of the tower of Babel, would use it for selfish purposes. He imparted it to Moses, who made use of it three months after his birth, as it is written, 'She hid him three months' ( Ex. ii. 7), after which he was brought into the Presence of Pharaoh. Then the Holy One took it away from him until his ascent of Mount Sinai in order to receive the law. On that occasion it was again imparted to Moses and enjoyed by him during his lifetime. To such an
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extent was its manifestation, that it is said, 'the skin of his face shone, so that the children of Israel were afraid to come nigh unto him' (Ex. xxxiv. 30).31b-32a Moses was so invested with this divine light that it seemed like a talith or garment about him. This same divine light is referred to by the psalmist. 'Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment' (Ps. civ. 2). 'Let there be light and light was.' Wherever in the Scripture this word yehe (let there be) is used, it refers to or signifies this divine light, both in this world and the world to come."
Said Rabbi Isaac: "The light created by God in the work of creation, filled the world with its splendor, but was eventually withdrawn and concealed, why? In order that transgressors of the good law might not participate in it, and therefore the Holy One conceals and preserves it for the right-doers as it is written, 'Light is sown for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart' (Ps. xcvii. 11). When it shall prevail again throughout the world humanity will become renewed and live the Higher life and make it one with angelic life. Till then, however, this divine light is concealed in darkness which is as a covering to it. And this is why God called the light 'Day,' and the darkness He called 'Night,' the one being only a diminution of the other as it is written, 'Light and darkness are both alike to thee. He discovereth deep things out of darkness'" (Job xii. 22).
Said Rabbi Jose: "The meaning of those words is this, that the great mysteries of life, at present veiled and hidden in darkness, become revealed to the 'Illuminate' or enlightened by the adaptation of their modes of thinking, and thus comprehensible to the human understanding with its limited powers of expression, so that the words of Scripture are realized, 'And the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun' (Is. xxi. 26). That this might become actual, there was needed language or audible speech. This speech is that known by the term Sabbath: and because of its purity, it is forbidden to give utterance to any idle or profane word on that day. This is why Rabbi Simeon used to say to his mother, whenever he heard her speaking on secular and profane subjects during the sabbath day, 'Mother, remember it is the holy day and do not indulge in idle discourse, for that is forbidden!' This form or kind of language it is, that should prevail everywhere because, as it symbolizes the union of the active principle of light with the passive principle of darkness, it is the only means for giving expression and form to the hidden mysteries of life."
Said Rabbi Isaac: "If this is to be, wherefore is it then written, 'And God divided the light from the darkness?'"
Rabbi Jose replied: "In order that light might give rise to day and darkness to night.32a Afterwards He associated them together and made them as one, wherefore it is written, 'And the evening and the morning were day one (one day) (Gen. i.) the evening, morning and day forming one whole.'"
Said Rabbi Isaac: "Until the manifestation of Alhim, the creative Logos, the male principle was in the light, and the female principle, in the darkness. In the work of creation they became unified, and formed the necessary complements of each other. If it be asked, why were they separated and disjoined) it was that there might be a distinction between them; and they became united in order that the true light might be found in its complement, the darkness, and the true darkness in its complement, the light. Though at present there are many different shades and degrees between them, yet, notwithstanding, they form but one whole, as it is written, 'Day, one.'"
Said Rabbi Simeon: "It is on this union of light and darkness that the whole universe is based and formed. In Scripture it is referred to and spoken of as a covenant. Thus it is written, 'If my covenant be not with day and night and if I had not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth' (Jer. xxxiii. 25). What is this covenant? It is the good law of justness, right and harmony, that form the basis of all existence throughout the universe. The import and mystery of it is expressed in the word zacor (remember). Day and night in their adjustment to each other symbolizing the great law of harmony and unity, it follows that it lies as the root of all created existence and therefore saith the Scripture, 'but for this covenant or union between day and night, I should not have established the laws and ordinances of heaven and earth,' and which in all worlds throughout the universe form one and the same rule of life."
Rabbi Simeon again spake and said: "It is written, 'By the voice of the Mediator or Harmonizer, amongst those who draw forth water, shall be proclaimed the divine law of Justness' (Jud. v. 11). The voice of the Mediator (Kol mkhtztzim) here signifies the voice of Jacob, the word mkhtztzim being equivalent to ash ha-benaim. 'Those who draw forth water' are they who draw the water of life flowing from an inexhaustible fountain on high, that gives strength and vitality to every animated being. It is further added, 'and the clemency or goodness
of God shall be poured in abundance upon Israel, and the people of God (those who live conformably to the good law) shall appear at the gates.' Israel here signifies the children of light to whom as a heritage the Holy One has laid up and reserved this divine life forever when they become circumcised in heart, the sine qua non of its enjoyment. When this is not the case, then are realized the words of Scripture, 'They forsook the Lord God of their fathers' (Jud. ii. 12). This apostasy lasted until Deborah, the prophetess, appeared and led them back into the true path; so that it is said, 'The people willingly offered themselves' (Jud. v. 2). Furthermore, it is written, 'The inhabitants of the villages, ceased, they ceased in Israel until that Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel' (Jud. v. 7).
"What is the esoteric meaning of 'a mother in Israel?'32a-32b The phrase refers to the celestial mother by whom the heavenly waters of life were made to flow into the world, so that the children of light might be strengthened and established and the true source of it be made known and manifested. This great unknown truth is referred to in the words, 'The righteous One hath founded the world' (Prov. x. 24). The three come forth from the one. One is in three and stands between two, forming a triad from which has proceeded everything; so that One is all and all is One; as it is written, 'It was evening and it was morning, day one, for the day, with its evening and morning, is one.' This mystery is further expressed. It is written, 'And God said let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters and let it divide the waters from the waters'" (Gen. i. 6).
Said Rabbi Jehuda: "Seven firmaments are there on high founded on and governed by the great law of universal harmony, of which the Tetragrammaton or sacred name is a symbol. The firmament here mentioned is established in the midst of the waters. It is above the Hayoth or living creatures and divideth the waters above from the waters below and serves as an intermediary between them. When the waters below call to the waters above, it is through it that the latter descend and give life and strength to all creatures as hath been stated. It is written, 'a garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed' (Cant. iv. 12). By 'a garden enclosed' is meant, the spouse congealed therein, the universal mother of existing things, from whom floweth forth the great river of the water of life, which if it should cease to flow the waters below would become congealed and infertile. As rivers and streams become
frozen when the north wind blows, and remain so until the south wind comes and dissipates by its warmth and heat the frost, in like manner, the waters of the river of life do not flow into the world of humanity except under the influence of the life divine. Such is the esoteric meaning of the firmament existing between the higher and lower regions of life. Scripture saith not, "let there be made a firmament and let it be placed in the midst of the waters, i.e., between the waters above and those below; for the firmament here mentioned existed before the beginning of the creation of the world and was only placed between them, that is, above the Hayoth or living creatures."
Said Rabbi Isaac: "In the human body, there exists an organ called the diaphragm, separating the heart from the abdomen, so that what the former receives or takes in is transmitted to the latter. So is it with the firmament in the midst of the waters, or the higher and lower spheres of existence. What it receives from the higher it transmits to the lower spheres for the maintenance and continuity of human and annual life. There is an allusion to this in the words, 'And the veil shall divide between the holy place and the holy of Holies'" (Ex. xxvi. 33).
Said Rabbi Abba: "'Who hideth himself in the waters and maketh the clouds his chariot and walketh upon the wings of the wind' (Ps. civ. 3). By the waters is signified the waters on high by which the house was built, as it is written, 'Through wisdom (hochma), the house is built, and by understanding (binah) it is established' (Prow. xxiv. 3). 'Who maketh the clouds his chariot.'32b Rabbi Yessa the aged separated the word 'abim' (clouds) into ab (cloud), and im (ocean), denoting that the darkness proceeded from the left side of the sephirotic tree of creation. 'And walketh upon the wings of the wind' refer to the holy Spirit from on high, symbolized by the two golden cherubim placed at each end of the mercy-seat, as it is written, 'Thou shalt make two cherubim of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them' (Ex. xxv. 18). Of these cherubim we also read, 'He rode upon a cherub and did fly, yea, He did fly upon the wings of the wind' (Ps. xviii. 10). Whilst the manifestation of the Divine is confined and limited to the higher or heavenly spheres He is said to ride upon a cherub, but after its appearance in the world, then He rides upon the wings of the wind."
Said Rabbi Jose: "It is written, 'He weigheth the waters by measure' (Job xxviii. . .25). These words refer to that just
proportion or measure of the life principle necessary for the development and perfection of all animated creatures, and which proceeds from the sephiroth Geburah (Justice or Justness)."32b-33a
Said Rabbi Abba: "The ancients relate that when the great teachers descended and came upon earth, they began their meditations on the mysteries of creation by observing the strictest silence, impelled thereto by the fear lest by a single word they should divulge what was revealed to them and thus subject themselves to condemnation."
Said Rabbi Eleazar: "At first the initial letter of the alphabet, alternately ascending and descending, impressed on the surface of the lower waters the forms of all the other letters, and they became the complement of each other. After the formation of these letters they became the foundation of the world. Then the waters above mingled with those below, giving rise to the words called Beth (house). This is why Scripture commences with the letter B in order to teach that the origin of the world is due to the mingling and blending of these waters which continued until the firmament which now separates them was established and fixed. This separation took place on the second day of creation and on that day was also created Gehenna, which continues to exist as the place of the devouring fire reserved for the wicked and wrongdoers.The remainder of 32a-33b omitted by NdM.