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Part 1 - Chapter 4 - Note 24

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 4a

ABRaHaM. According to another view, the Holy One, blessed be He, took MI and joined it to AiLeH, so that there was shaped AeLoHiM; similarly He took MaH and joined it to AiBeR and there was shaped ABRaHaM. And thus He made the world unfold itself, and made the name complete, as it had not been hitherto. This is meant by the verse “These are the generations (i.e. unfoldings) of the heaven and of the earth BeHiBaReaM (when they were created)”. That is, the whole creation was in suspense until the name of ABRaHaM was created, and as soon as the name of Abraham was completed the Sacred Name was completed along with it, as it says further, “in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven”.’

R. Hiya then prostrated himself on the earth, kissed the dust, and said weeping: ‘Dust, Dust, how stiffnecked art thou, how shameless art thou that all the delights of the eye perish within thee! All the beacons of light thou consumes and grindest into nothingness. Fie on thy shamelessness! That Sacred Lamp that illuminated the world, the mighty spiritual force by whose merits the world exists, is consumed by thee. Oh, R. Simeon, thou beacon of light, source of light to the world, how hast thou turned to dust, thou leader of the world whilst alive!’ After falling for a moment into a reverie, he continued, ‘O dust, dust! pride not thyself, for the pillars of the world will not be delivered into thy power, nor will R. Simeon perish within thee.’

R. Hiya then arose weeping and set out in company with R. Jose. He fasted from that day for forty days, in order that he might see R. Simeon. ‘Thou canst not see him’ was all the answer to his supplication. He then fasted another forty days, at the end of which he saw in a vision R. Simeon and his son R. Eleazar discussing the very subject which R. Jose had just explained to him, while thousands were looking on and listening. Meanwhile, there appeared a host of huge winged celestial beings upon whose wings R. Simeon and his son R. Eleazar were borne aloft into the heavenly Academy, whilst those beings remained at the threshold, awaiting them. Their splendour was constantly renewed, and they radiated a light exceeding that of the sun. R. Simeon then opened his mouth and said, ‘Let R. Hiya enter and behold what the Holy One, blessed be He, has prepared for the rejoicing of the righteous in the world to come. Happy is he who enters here without misgiving, and happy is he who is established as a strong pillar in the world to come.’ On entering he (R. Hiya) noticed that R. Eleazar and the other great scholars that were sitting near him stood up. He drew back in some embarrassment, and sat down at the feet of R. Simeon. A voice thereupon went forth, saying, ‘Lower thine eyes, raise not thy head and do not look.’ He lowered his eyes and discerned a light shining afar. The voice went forth again, saying ‘O, ye unseen celestials, ye open-eyed who sweep to and fro throughout the world, behold and see! O, ye terrestrial beings who are sunk deep in slumber, awake! Who among you laboured to turn darkness into light and bitter into sweet before you entered here? Who among you awaited every day the light that shall break forth what time the King shall visit his beloved gazelle, when He will be glorified and called King by all the kings of the world? He who did not thus wait every day in the world below will have no share here.’ Meanwhile he beheld a number of his colleagues gather round, even all the mighty pillars of wisdom, and he saw them ascend to the heavenly Academy, while others in turn descended. At the head of them all he saw the chief of the winged angels, who approached him and solemnly declared that he had heard ‘from behind the curtain’ that the King visits each day and remembers his gazelle which is trodden in the dust, and that at the moment He does so He strikes the three hundred and ninety heavens so they all quake and tremble

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 4b

before Him: for her fate He sheds tears hot as burning fire, which fall into the great sea.

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