The stranger began speaking again. "Know you," said he, "why the sacred name I. H. V. H. is found mentioned in the verse, "Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from heaven" (Gen. XIX. 24) instead of the divine name Alhim which is exclusively used in connection with the account of the deluge? Listen to the explanation handed down by tradition through the masters of the Secret Doctrine. Wherever the name Jehovah is found in Scripture it designates the Holy One sitting and presiding over the members of his executive tribunal of justice. But when Alhim is used, it refers to his tribunal only. At the destruction of these two cities involving but a small part of the world, Jehovah acted along
with his judicial executive whilst at the deluge when the whole world perished only the members of it were concerned in carrying out the divine decrees. If it is objected, that the whole world of human beings was not destroyed, inasmuch as Noah and his family were preserved from perishing, what differentiates the punishment of the deluge from that inflicted upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Our reply is, that Noah by his entry and inclusion in the ark became sequestered from mankind as a whole which was destroyed by the operation of the Alhim, whilst the overthrow of the cities of the plain was accomplished openly by Jehovah in concert with His celestial tribunal.
The mystery of this difference is referred to in the words "the Lord was seated at the time of the flood" (Ps. XXIX. 10). What does the word yeshab (was seated) really mean? but that He was alone and by himself at the time the deluge occurred; which interpretation unless corroborated by other texts in scripture, we would not have dared to apply to the Divine Being and therefore conclude that the Holy One was not conjoined with the members of his justiciary tribunal, the Alhim in the destruction of the world by the deluge. That this view is correct is further proved by the use of the word yasheb in Lev. XIII, 46. "He shall dwell alone (yasheb) without the camp shall be his habitation." Thus it was that Noah hidden in the ark, escaped the general destruction and after divine justice had been appeased, we read that then the Alhim remembered or thought of Noah (Gen. VIII. 1). From these remarks we infer that the Holy One punishes sometimes openly and sometimes in secret, openly when acting with and through the Alhim whose jurisdiction extends over and throughout the world--secretly when sitting in that celestial sphere whence descends all the blessings of heaven. Knowing this we can understand why the precious goods a man hides are sources of blessings, whilst those that are visible and perceived by all excite envy and covetousness through the influence of the demon known as Ra-ain (evil eye)." 1
As the stranger ceased speaking Rabbi Jose was delighted and exclaimed, "blessed are we students of Rabbi Simeon through whose teachings and instruction we have been able to understand and comprehend what has just been imparted to us. Truly this stranger has been divinely directed and sent to64b instruct us in the Secret Doctrine concerning truths and teachings
the most ennobling and sublime." On reaching the dwelling of Rabbi Simeon they related to him all that the stranger has said unto them whereon after listening to them he replied, "well and truly hath the stranger spoken."
271:1 This opinion is frequently expressed in the Talmud: see Tract Baba Bathra fol. 6.