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RABBI ELEAZAR spake and said: "It is written 'the voice of the Lord is upon the waters.31a The God of glory thundereth, the Lord is upon mighty waters' (Ps. xxlx. 3). These words allude to the celestial river whose life-giving waters circulate and flow throughout the world and give life and strength to every creature that breathes and moves upon the face of the earth. 'The God of glory thundereth' signifies the sephiroth Geburah (power) as expressed in the words, 'but the thunder of his power (Geburah), who can understand?' (Job xxvi. 14). This awful power it is that proceeds from the left side of the sephirotic tree, by and through the God of glory that is on the right side. 'The Lord is upon mighty waters' alludes to the sephiroth Hochma (heavenly wisdom) described as God upon mighty waters, that is upon the secret place from which they flow forth, as it is written, 'Thy paths are on the mighty waters'" (Ps. lxxvii '19).

After this brief interlocution, Rabbi Simeon resumed his discourse find said: "It is written, Over against the border, shall the rings be for the places of the staves to bear the table' (Ex. xxv. 27). What is the esoteric meaning of the word 'border'

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[paragraph continues] (misghereth)? It refers to the secret place in the tabernacle kept continually closed to everyone except to him whose duty it was to enter therein and light the lamps. It was therefore called the 'closed place' and symbolized the world to come or the hidden and unseen world. The rings here mentioned, of which there were three linked one with the other, signify the sacred chain of the three elements, water, air and fire. The water proceeds from the air, the air from the fire and fire from the water. Thus these elements, though apparently different, are radically the same. 'Places of the staves' denote the modal combinations which these elements assume in the various types of things and creatures existent in the universe, the modus operandi, of which, Nature's great secret, is not imparted to a worldly minded man to fathom or understand. He remains ever in the outer court and is never permitted to enter her adytum and view the mysteries of the inner temple or Holy of Holies, inasmuch as the sight only of them would prove fatal to him. And this is why it is written 'the stranger that cometh nigh, shall be put to death'" (Num. i. 51).

"The letter B in the word Brashith is written larger than any other letter in the Pentateuch. What is the reason of this?" asked Rabbi Jose, "and what is the esoteric explanation31a-31b of the six days of creation which has been handed down by preceding adepts and teachers?"

Replying to these questions, Rabbi Simeon said: "As in Scripture is found the expression 'The cedars of Lebanon,' distinguishing them from all other cedars, so the six days of creation are separated and characterized especially as the days of Brashith (creation). With reference to these important days the Scripture thus refers to them: Thine Oh Lord is the greatness (gedulah), the power (geburah), and the victory (netzach), for all things in heaven and earth are thine. Thine is the kingdom (malcuth) and thou art exalted as head above all" (1 Ch. xxlx. 11). The word "All" in this verse signifies the just or the good law which prevails throughout the universe. The targum paraphrases these words thus: "The All (or the good law) binds together heaven and earth. It is the basis on which the universe is built. In heaven it is symbolized by the sephira Tiphereth (harmony or beauty) and in the world by the children or sons of light. This is the reason why the Scripture begins with the letter B (the numerical value of which is two) in the word Brashith, B---'two,' rashith--'beginning,' that is to say,

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by the second 'beginning,' or, in other words, by hochma (wisdom), the second in the first sephirotic triad, and which is the signification given by the targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel to this word. Brashith, for though hochma is placed second in the manifestation of Ain Soph (the boundless One), it is in essence one and the same with Kether (the crown), the supernal or higher sephira.31b The signification then of the initial words of Scripture, Brashith bra, Alhim (translated in the English version, 'In the beginning God created'), is this: By hochma (wisdom), the second manifestation of the Divine, or, in other words, the Creative Logos or Alhim created the heavens and the earth. From it proceeded the light which enters as a principle of life into every living existent thing and creature, as it is written, 'A river went forth out of Eden to water the garden,' that is, to prepare and qualify the earth for the production, growth and development of animated existences. By the word Alhim is signified the ever-living eternal Alhim.

"Now the words 'bra Alhim' created Alhim seem to indicate that Brashith, the supreme Alhim or Logos, created the lower Alhim. And this is true, for, owing to the celestial river from which all life has flowed into the universe, the first and the third sephiroth, viz.: Kether (crown) and Binah (understanding) in an ineffable manner, becoming united, gave rise or origin to the lower Alhim, who created the world and was thus the proximate source of all life necessary for its subsistence and endurance. To this Alhim was entrusted all power, both in heaven and earth, after they had been called into existence. The words 'athhashamayim' (the heavens) indicate that it was only after the ever-living and eternal Alhim had manifested as hochma the creative Logos that the third manifestation or Logos descended from on high upon the earth. Then it was that the three supreme Logoi became blended and unified in the work of creation, and then was it also that the sacred chain of three rings became complete and the resplendent light was manifested on creation as intimated in the words 'Brashith bra Alhim, ath hashamayim vatha aretz.' In the beginning God designed the world. By the second 'beginning' (hochma), wisdom, He formed it, and by the third 'beginning' (Binah), understanding, He manifested it and caused the light to descend from on high upon the world below. I now understand and grasp the esoteric meaning of the strange enigmatical words, 'Shall the axe magnify itself against him that heweth therewith' (Is. x. 15). It is to the hewer and not to

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the axe that honor must be ascribed, so to the first and supreme Logos who created the world by the other Alhim, or Logoi, should and ought to be attributed honor and glory."

Said Rabbi Jose: "This is the interpretation of the mystical words, 'What nation is there so great that hath God so nigh unto them as our Jehovah Alhim' (Lord of the Alhim) (Deuter. iv. 7), alluding to the supreme and other Alhim, or Logoi, who were the Pachad whom Isaac the patriarch worshipped and which, though differing in their manifestations, were one and the same in essence. The allocution of the words Brashith to the ten sephiroth is as follows: Brashith bra refer to Kether (crown), and Hochma (wisdom), Alhim to Binah, ath to gedulah and geburah, hashamayim to Tiphereth, vath to Netzach, Hod and Yesod and ha-aretz to malcuth.

Next: Chapter XV.