Sacred Texts  Judaism  Index  Previous  Next 

RABBI SIMEON was walking one day in the country accompanied by Rabbi Eleazar, his son and his students, Rabbi Jose and Hiya. As they wended on their way, Eleazar said to his father: "That this our walk may be profitable, instruct us further, we pray thee, in the secret doctrine."

Then spake Rabbi Simeon and said: "It is written, When he that is a fool goeth on his way, his heart faileth him and he saith to everyone that he is a fool' (Eccles. X. 39).Eccl. 10:3 When a man desires that his ways may be agreeable to the Holy One and before going on a journey he ought first of all to seek counsel from his Lord (higher self) and repeat the traveler's prayer, as saith the scripture, 'The upright shall walk before him and follow him on his way' (Ps. LXXXV. 13). That is, the Divine Shekina will never forsake us on our pilgrimage through life. But he who lives without faith in his Lord is as the fool whose heart or courage when on his way faileth him. The occult meaning of the word heart (leb) is the Holy One, who never accompanies a fool on his way nor grants him the aid and assistance he needs, because by his infidelity and indifference to the teachings of the good law, his heart faileth him, or in other words, the Divine Presence goeth not with him and he becomes known to others as a fool, for whenever he hears others speaking and discussing together on divine things, he derides and despises them. It is related of such an one, after pondering over the mark of the covenant, that every son of Israel bears on him, he affirmed it was a mere rite and no sure sign either of true religion or of faith in the Divine Being. When the venerable Rabbi Yebba heard these words he directed his looks and gaze upon the heretic, who gradually shrivelled up into a lifeless mass

p. 249 p. 250

of skin and bone. As however it is our desire to be blessed59a with divine help and guidance whilst on our way, we will endeavor to give expression to a few teachings out of the secret doctrine. It is written, 'Teach me thy way oh Lord, I will walk in thy truth, unite my heart to fear thy name' (Ps. LXXXVI, 11). The interior signification of these words is difficult to understand, yet they inculcate that all things are in the hand or power of God except the purity or impurity of our lives and deeds. What David meant by them was, open my eyes that I may understand thy secret mysteries, then shall I be assured I am walking in the true path of light, swerving therefrom neither to the right or left; 'Unite my heart to thee,' then shalt thou become my strength and portion forever and it shall be filled with the fear of thee and thy Holy name. Observe that everyone who reveres the Holy One, in the proportion of his reverence, makes himself recipient of the higher life and daily approximating to it becomes eventually united with the Divine. On the other hand, he who is lacking in reverence and faith in the divine, makes himself unworthy and unfitted for entering into the joys of the world to come. We read that the path of the upright is as a shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day (Prov. IV. 18). Blessed are the upright both in this world and the world to come for the Holy One, blessed be he! takes delight and joys in their progress and ascension towards the higher life. The light here spoken of, is the light that the Holy One created at the beginning of the world and reserved for those who by their obedience to the good law, become united to their higher self and so are qualified to enter into its enjoyments in the world to come. But of the worldly minded and selfish it is written, 'The way of the wicked and unjust, is as darkness--they know not at what they stumble' (Prov. IV. 19). If the question arise, know they not why they stumble and fall? scripture informs us, it is because their paths are tortuous and serpentine, their irrational lives are spent in the indulgence of sensual desires and unredeemed with few if any generous deeds of self-sacrifice or consideration for the welfare and happiness of others, and thus they live on never realizing that for all these things they shall be brought into judgment and stand self-convicted and self-condemned at the bar of their own conscience, filled with unavailing regrets and crying, 'Woe unto us that we never gave heed nor opened our hearts whilst in the world for the entrance and reception of truth, woe unto us!' Note, that for

p. 251

their good deeds, the Holy One will grant unto the upright and unselfish, abundance of light and enjoyment in the region on high which eye hath not seen, nor hath it entered into the heart to conceive of (Is. LXIV. 3), the celestial sphere of the Beatific Vision. Happy the lot of the just and pure in both worlds, for of them scripture affirms, the righteous, the unselfish shall inherit the earth forever; (Is. LX. 21), they shall praise thy name, and the upright shall dwell in thy presence (Ps. CXL. 12). Blessed be the Divine Being forevermore, Amen and Amen."69a-59b

It is written, "These are the generations of Noah" (Gen. vi. 9). The students of Rabbi Simeon were assembled together and meditating upon the secret doctrine. Then spoke Rabbi Hiya and said: "Thy people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the laud forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified" (Is. Ix. 21). Blessed is Israel who delights in the study of the secret doctrine, the knowledge of the mysteries of which qualifies than to live the higher life of the world to come. Observe that every Israelite or initiate in the mysteries never fails to attain unto it, inasmuch as he obeys the good law of the universe, and therefore it is written of him, "Had I not made my covenant with day and night, I should not have prescribed the laws that govern the heavens and the earth" (Jer. xxxiii. 25). True Israelites are moreover called zaddikim (righteous) on account of the purity of their lives, symbolized and distinguished by the mark or sign of the covenant (circumcision). Whence do we infer this fact? From the example of Joseph who was termed a Zaddik or just one, because of his purity of life and observance of the covenant.

Said Rabbi Eleazer: "Wherever in scripture the word 'Aleh' (these) occurs there is an antithesis of some kind between what precedes and what follows it. For instance, in (Gen. ii. 10) it is said, 'and a river went out of Eden to water the garden and from thence it was parted and became into four heads.' This said river that went out of Eden and entered into paradise, brought into it waters of celestial origin which gave life to the plants and flowers which grew therein and which only ceased on the completion of creation when, as it is written, 'God rested from all his work that he created and made.' Herein consists the mystery of the word aleh, occurring in the verse, 'These are the generations of Noah,' marking an antithesis between the generation of Noah and those preceding him, namely, the generations of Adam, or in other words, comes between the manifestation

p. 252

and development of life on the celestial and earthly planes of existence. Noah symbolized humanity beginning its earth career and for this reason is said to be 'aish ha-adamah,' the earthly man (Gen. ix., 20). The biblical account of Noah and the deluge contains a deep mystery that explains why it was necessary that Noah should enter the ark. It was in order to keep seed (human race) alive upon the face of all the earth (Gen, vii., 3). If so, of what then was the ark a symbol? The ark of the covenant (the good law) by which celestial or Adamic humanity was kept and preserved and without which it could not have entered upon its mundane career of existence and progression; that is, without the continuance of the good law in the world, the higher self could not have operated in the progressive development of the lower self, which therefore would have perished and reverted back to its pre-evolutionary or elemental state. Ere present humanity began evoluting on the earth, the Holy One entered into a covenant with the Higher Self, as it is written, 'But with thee I will establish my covenant and thou shalt come into the ark' (Gen. vii., 8). Scripture states that Noah was a just man (Gen. vi., 9) because a type of the ideal man Adam Kadmon, who is described as 'the righteous or just,' and also the foundation of the world (Prov. x., 25). Both alike have the same appellation of 'just,' the one in the celestial world, the other in the terrestrial world. This occult mystery is contained in the words 'Noah walked with Alhim' (Gen. vi., 8); that is to say, that Noah and Alhim were never disjoined or separated, one being the reflection of the other on the earth plane, and therefore it is written, 'Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord' (Gen. vi., 8). Noah, moreover, is said to have been 'a just man and perfect in his generations' (bedorothav). The word 'perfect' (thamin) here denotes that he was born circumcised, and was also the source of perfection not only to his generation but also to his future posterity. This being so, it appears that Noah from the time of creation was predestined to enter and be incorporated within the ark, and also that previous to this event, humanity was not in a perfect state or condition, and only after his abode in the ark is it written, 'and of them was the earth overspread' (Gen. ix., 19). The word 'overspread' (naphzali) here has the same meaning 'ipared' (divided itself), as in Gen. ii., 10 'and a river went out of Eden to water the garden and from thence it was parted, that is, became divided into four heads.' In the work of creation it was at the moment of this

p. 253

dividing that the fertilizing and fructifying principle from on high entered into the world and made the earth fruitful as it does on the celestial plane, and therefore scripture states that 'aleh,' this principle of life, descended into Noah in order that through him the human race might appear and be perpetuated on the earth plane."

After Rabbi Eleazar had ceased speaking, Rabbi Abba went and embraced him, saying: "Oh lion! that breaketh rocks and dasheth them to pieces. Truly hast thou exposited the occult signification of the ark."59b-60a

Rabbi Eleazar, continuing his discourse, said furthermore: "It is written, 'And he called his name Noah, saying this shalt comfort us concerning the work and toil of our hands' (Gen. v., 29). Here the word 'ath' is found before 'shemo' (his name). That is not so in the words 'And he called him Jacob.' What is the reason of this commission? Noah and Jacob symbolize two different divine principles of operation. Thus in vision Isaiah says, 'I saw the (ath) Lord' (Is. vi., 1), the prophet using 'ath' to intimate that he beheld both the Schekina and the Lord together. So is it also found with the name of Noah, teaching us that he was named by the Holy One and Schekina together, whilst Jacob, another patriarch symbolizing a lower state of existence, received his name from the Holy One only."

"These are the generations of Noah," said Rabbi Jehuda, 'A good man is gracious and lendeth (to the poor); he will guide his affairs with prudence' (Ps. cxii., 5). The term 'good man' designates the Holy One, and therefore is it written, 'The Lord is good to all (Ps. cxlv., 9). 'The Lord is a man of war,'Ex. 15:3 for he alone giveth light and nourishment to this lower world and guideth it with judgment, as it is said, 'Righteousness and equity are the foundation of thy throne' (Ps. lxxxix., 14). Furthermore, the Just One or the ideal man is also designated as 'a good man,' and so it is written, 'Say unto the Just One that he is good, for he shall gather the fruit of his labors' (Is. iii., 10)."

Said Rabbi Jose: "This verse refers to Noah, as it is expressly said of him 'Noah was a just man.'"

Said Rabbi Isaac: "I think the words are an eulogy of the Sabbath, in the honor of which the Psalmist begins his praise of it by the word 'good.' It is good to praise the Lord (Ps. xciii., 2)."Ps. 92:1

Next: Chapter XLII.