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Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster [1899], at


XVIII. (1) R. Joshua, son of Levi, tells, 'Paradise has two gates of carbuncle, and sixty myriads of ministering angels keep watch over them. Each of these angels shines with the lustre of the heavens. When the just man approaches them they divest him of the clothes in which he had been buried, and clothe him with eight cloths, woven out of clouds of glory, and place upon his head two crowns, one of precious stones and pearls, and the other of gold, and they place eight myrtles in his hand and praise him, and say to him, "Go and eat thy bread with joy." And they lead him to a place full of rivers (waters) surrounded by 800 species of roses and myrtles. Each one has a canopy according to his merits, as it is said, "For over all the glory shall be spread a canopy."

(2) 'And through it flow four rivers, one of oil, the other of

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balsam, the third of wine, and the fourth of honey. Every canopy is overgrown by a vine of gold, and thirty pearls hang down from it, each of them shining like the morning star. (3) In every canopy there is a table of precious stones and pearls, and sixty angels stand at the head of every just man, saying unto him, "Go and eat with joy of the honey, for thou hast worked assiduously in the law," of which it is said, "And it is sweeter than honey," "and drink of the wine preserved from the six days of Creation, for thou hast worked in the law which is compared with the wine," as it is said, "I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine." The least fair of them is as beautiful as Joseph and Johanan, and as the grains of the pomegranate lit up by the rays of the sun. There is no night, as it is said, "And the light of the righteous is as the shining light."

(4) 'And they undergo four transformations according to the four watches of the day. In the first watch the just is changed into a child, and he enters the compartment of children and tastes the joys of childhood. In the second watch he is changed into a youth, and there he enjoys the delights of youth. In the third watch he becomes a middle-aged man and rejoices accordingly. In the fourth watch he is changed into an old man: he enters the compartment of the old and enjoys the pleasures of mature age.

(5) 'In Paradise there are eighty myriads of trees in every corner; the meanest among them choicer than a garden of spices. In every corner there are sixty myriads of angels singing with sweet voices, and the tree of life stands in the middle and overshadoweth the whole of Paradise; and it has 500 tastes, each different from the others, and the perfumes thereof vary likewise. (6) Over it hang seven clouds of glory, and the winds blow from all the four corners and waft its many odours from one end of the world to the other. Underneath sit the scholars and explain the law. These have each two canopies, one of stars and the other of sun and moon, and clouds of glory separate one from the other. Within this is the Eden containing 310 worlds,

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as it is said, "That I may cause those that love Me to inherit Substance" (Prov. viii. 21) [the numerical Value of the Hebrew word (###) Substance is equivalent to 310] .

(7) 'Here are the seven compartments of the just. In the first are the martyrs, as, for instance, R. ‘Aqiba and his companions. In the second, those who were drowned. In the third, R. Johanan ben Zakkai and his disciples. The fourth group consists of those who were covered by the cloud of glory. The fifth group is that of the penitents, for the place occupied by a penitent not even a perfectly just man can occupy. The sixth group is that of children who have not yet tasted sin in their lives. The seventh group is that of the poor, who, notwithstanding their poverty, studied the law and the Talmud, and had followed a moral life. Of these speaks the verse, “For all that put their trust in Thee rejoice, and they shout for ever for joy.’

(8) 'And God Almighty sitteth in their midst, and expounds to them the law, as it is said, "Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with Me." And God hath not yet fully unveiled the glory which awaiteth the pious in the world to come, as it is said, "The eye hath not seen, O God, beside Thee, that which Thou workest for him that waiteth for Him."'

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