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As Rabbi Simeon ceased speaking the students rose up to depart, but ere they left he himself stood up and said: "I have still a few further remarks to make before going, on two passages of scripture, which seemingly are somewhat contradictory in expression to each other. The first is, 'The Lord thy God is a consuming fire' (Deuter iv. 24); the other is, 'but ye that cleaved unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day'" (Deuter. iv. 4).

"If the Lord be a consuming fire as here stated, how could the children of Israel on becoming joined unto the Lord escape from being consumed, and continue to lived? It has been explained how the Divine Being is a fire that consumes every other kind of fire, for there are flames of fire more intense in their nature than others. To this statement I wish to add a

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few supplementary remarks. Whoever wishes to understand the mystery of union with the Divine will do well to reflect and meditate upon the flame proceeding from a lighted candle or a burning coal, in which may be recognized two kinds of flame or light, one white and the other dark or bluish in color. The white flame ascends upwards in a straight line, the dark or blue part of the flame, being below it and forming its basis. Though these be conjoined together, the white flame is always seen clearly and distinctly, and of the two is the most valuable and precious.50b-51a From these observations we may gather somewhat of the occult meaning of the thekheloth (blue fringes) mentioned in scripture. The dark or blue flame is connected and conjoined with that above it, namely, the white, and also below it with the candle or coal in a state of combustion. It becomes sometimes red, whilst the superior white flame never varies in color and remains invariably the same. Furthermore, it is noticeable that the dark or blue flame consumes and wastes the substance of the coal or candle whence it emanates, but the white pure light consumes nothing and never varies. Therefore, when Moses proclaimed the Lord to be a consuming fire, he alludes to the astral fluid or flame that consumes everything similar to the dark flame that wastes and destroys the substance of the candle or coal. In using the term thy God, not our God, Moses refers to the white or Divine light which destroys nothing, in which he himself had been and came down from Mount Sinai out of it uninjured and intact. This is the case with everyone who lives in the Divine light of the higher life. He lives, then, the true or real life, and the astral light of the lower earthly life cannot harm or injure him. Therefore, to the children of Israel who had sanctified themselves and attained to this life, Moses could truly say: 'ye cleaved unto the Lord, your God, and are alive as at this time.' Above the white flame there is yet another arising out of it, yet unseen and unrecognizable by human sight and has reference to the greatest of mysteries, dim gleamings and notions of which are revealed to us by the different flames of a lighted candle or a burning coal."

As Rabbi Simeon ceased speaking, Rabbi Pinchus embraced him, exclaiming: "The Lord be praised! the Merciful One, who has led me hither." Rabbi Simeon, along with his students, went and accompanied Rabbi Pinchus on his journey for three leagues, and then bidding him adieu returned homewards.

Next: Chapter XXIX.