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Part 1 - Chapter 2 - Note 10

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 163b

Even if it profit him nothing, yet he is certainly doing the will of his Master, and, moreover, it gains him strength. He is not content until he has killed his victim, for then he gains strength and is satisfied; just as the angel of life gains strength when a man walks in the right way. May the Lord preserve us from becoming victims of the Tempter. Blessed are they who prevail against him, and thus become inheritors of the world to come and continually gain strength from the Holy King. Concerning such it is written: “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are the ways (to Zion)” (Ps. LXXXIV, 6). They are blessed in this world, and shall be blessed in the world to come.’

R. Jose, R. Judah, and R. Hiya, were riding together, when R. Eleazar suddenly met them. On seeing him they all alighted from their asses. Said R. Eleazar: ‘Verily I behold the face of the Shekinah! For, to see the righteous and saintly of one's generation is to see the very face of the Shekinah. And why are these called the face of the Shekinah? Because in them is the Shekinah hidden: She is hidden in them, and they reveal Her. For they who are the friends of the Shekinah and are near to Her, are regarded as Her “face”. And who are they? They are those with and by whom She adorns Herself in order to appear before the Supernal King. Now, as you are three, the Shekinah is surely in your midst!’ He then forthwith began to expound these words of Jacob to Esau: “Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee” (Gen. XXXIII, 11). ‘When Jacob’, said he, ‘saw on that night the Accuser, Samael, he saw him in the form of Esau, and it was not until dawn was breaking that he recognized him as Samael. When the dawn broke, he looked at him closely, but even then he appeared at times to be the one and then the other. He then looked more closely still and he knew him for the celestial representative of Esau, and he prevailed against him. He said to Jacob, “Let me go, for the dawn breaketh” (Ibid. XXXII, 26), and the companions have already explained that he said this, because the moment had arrived when he, the representative of Esau, had to raise his voice in hymns to the Holy One. On this we may remark that indeed the power of Samael is only in the ascendant in the dark, as indicated in the words, “of fear in the night” (Ps. XCI, 5), namely, the fear of Gehenna; so it is that he rules at night alone. Hence he said, “Let me go, for the dawn breaketh”, for when morning comes and his power is on the wane, he must depart, and he and his hosts must enter the recess of the abyss in the North, and they must remain until night breaks in on them, and the dogs are loosened from their chains and allowed to roam about till morning. That is why he pressed Jacob to let him go. In the same way Israel's exile has taken place at night, it is in fact called “night”. The evil kingdom (Rome), the pagan power, rules over Israel until the morning shall again appear, and the Holy One, blessed be He, will cause the light to dawn again and the heathen power shall wane and at last disappear. Therefore it was that Esau's representative said, “Let me go, for the dawn breaketh”. But Jacob held him, and his power weakened, because night had passed, so Jacob's strength increased, and he saw, in that angel, the image of Esau, but not quite clearly. Then the angel confirmed the blessings he had received. And what was it that Jacob afterwards said to Esau? “For therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me” (Gen. XXXIII, 10). For he saw in Esau's face now the very image of Samael as he had appeared to him, for the realm to which a person belongs is revealed in his face. And ye, supernal saints, the Shekinah is in you, and your faces reflect the beauty of Her face. Blessed are ye!’ Then said he also: ‘If we were going in the same direction, I would be in your midst; but now, as ye must go one way, and I another, I will part from you with words

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