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SAID Rabbi Abba: "Scripture states, 'All thy people are93a righteous.' These words have been explained by the students initiates. Why are thy people called righteous? Were all the children of Israel upright and just? Were there not amongst them sinners and transgressors against the commandments of the law? Certainly there were. But let us learn from tradition what it teaches us respecting the esoteric meaning of these words. Blessed the lot of Israel who offer up sacrifices. The will of the Holy One is that they should sacrifice their sons to him on the eighth day after birth, from which time and after they become recipients of the good part that will never be taken from them, as it is written, 'The righteous One is the foundation of the world' (Troy. X. 25). When the rite of the covenant is duly performed, children enter into the blessing of the Holy One and are then accounted just and righteous, and therefore it is written of them, 'They shall inherit the land forever,' and also, 'Open unto me the gates of the righteous (zadecq) one that I may enter in; and further, 'This is the gate of the Lord, and the righteous shall enter therein' Ps. CXVIII. 20). Those who are circumcised are therefore termed righteous, and as we read, 'They shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting' (Is. LX. 21),Ps. 37:39 which the Holy One has planted in the garden of Eden. Now the earth below is one of these plants, and therefore the children of Israel have a good part in the world to come and, as just stated, shall inherit the land

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forever. The esoteric meaning of the word "forever" has already been explained. The letter He (H) is not found in93a, 86b the name of Abraham until after his circumcision, when from Abram it was changed to Abraham. Then it was that the Schekina became attached to and abode with him, and therefore it is written, 'These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.' Now from tradition we are informed that the word 'behibaram' (when they were created) should be read, 'behe baram' (by or through Abraham). It may be objected, how can it be said the heavens and the earth were created by Abraham, who corresponds to the Sephir Hesed (mercy) on the Tree of Life, since we know also from tradition that the word 'belubaram' signifies that the heavens and the earth were created by the Schekina, of which the letter H is the symbol? Our reply is that these two traditions are not really contradictory to each other, but refer and amount to the same thing."

Said Rabbi Jacob to his father, Rabbi Abba:from "Said Rabbi Jacob" to "As a token of his covenant" (next paragraph) omitted in Soncino "The letter H in 'behibaram' is found written smaller in size than the other letters composing the word, but in the word halayehorah, which is found beginning the verse, 'Do ye thus requite the Lord, oh foolish people and unwise' (Deuter. XXXII. 6)., it is written larger than the other letters in the Pentateuch. What is the reason of this difference between the two H's?"

Said Rabbi Abba: "The first H denotes that degree of divine life within the soul or lower self, that corresponds in signification with the sabbatical year that symbolizes it; the second larger H, that heavenly state of which the Jubilee is the symbol. Now, though the moon is at one time new and at another full, yet it is always one and the same notwithstanding its various phases, so is it with the mysterious Schekina that is distinguished by the smaller or larger letter H. Blessed is the lot of Israel in whom the Holy One delights more than any of her nation or people. As a token of his covenant with them, they perform the rite of circumcision, which whoever bears it shall never enter into Gehenna, for if he lives a chaste life, he will never be overcome by temptation nor break the vow taken in the name of the heavenly king. When a parent arranges and prepares for his son to enter into the covenant of circumcision, the Holy One summons all his celestial angels and says, 'Observe the child I have created in the world.' Then the prophet Elijah immediately

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descends at the time of the ceremony and takes the93a-93b seat that has been placed apart for him and which the father is bound by law to declare at the same time, 'This seat is for Elijah the prophet.' Otherwise, the prophet refrains from taking it and forthwith ascends and testifies before the Holy One of what has occurred. Observe that at first the scriptures state, 'And the Lord came unto him and said, 'What doest thou here, Elijah?' And Elijah answered and said, 'I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts, because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant a,' (1 Kings XIX. 9-10). Then said God unto him, 'I swear by thy life that wherever and whenever my children shall practice and obey my covenant, there shalt thou be present and thy mouth which now testifies that the children of Israel have forsaken my covenant, shall also testify when they keep it.' We are also taught by tradition that Elijah was punished for making himself the accuser of God's children."

Thus they continued their studies in the secret doctrine until the day began to dawn, when Rabbi Abba and his son prepared to go their journey. Then spake the inn-keeper and said: "Ere you leave us, finish your remarks on the subject on which you have discoursed." On asking him what subject he meant, he answered: "Tomorrow you will behold and come into the presence of the Master who will be present here. It is the earnest desire and wish of my wife that you stay with us, as our son who has just been born unto us will be circumcised tomorrow."

Said Rabbi Abba: "The wish is a command, and we shall rejoice in seeing the Schekina and will postpone our departure." They stayed until the following night, when there was a gathering of all the friends of the host, who spent the time in the study of the secret doctrine, and no one slept that night.

Next: Chapter XCVII.