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Part 1 - Chapter 5 - Note 34


The portions of the following texts that are the most relevant to the book appear in bold.


R. Akiba went up unhurt and went down unhurt; and of him Scripture says: Draw me, we will run after thee. And R. Akiba too the ministering angels sought to thrust away; [but] the Holy One, blessed be He, said to them: Let this elder be, for he is worthy to avail himself of My glory.

Talmud - Mas. Chagigah 16a

— By what Biblical exposition was he able to learn this?1 Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said that R. Johanan said: And He came from the myriads holy2 — He is the Sign3 among His myriad. And R. Abbahu said: He is preeminent above ten thousand4 — He is the Example5 among His myriad. And Resh Lakish said: The Lord of hosts is His names6 — He is the Lord among His host. — And R. Hiyya b. Abba said that R. Johanan said: But the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was ‘not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.7 And behold, the Lord passed by.8

    Our Rabbis taught: Six things are said concerning demons:9 in regard to three, they are like the ministering angels; and in regard to three, like human beings. ‘In regard to three they are like the ministering angels’: they have wings like the ministering angels; and they fly from one end of the world to the other like the ministering angels; and they know what will happen like the ministering angels. [You say], ‘They know’ — you cannot mean that!10 — Rather, they hear from behind the Veil11 like the ministering angels. ‘And in regard to three, they are like human beings’: they eat and drink like human beings; they propagate like human beings; and they die like human beings. Six things are said of human beings: in regard to three, they are like the ministering angels, and in regard to three, they are like beasts. ‘In regard to three, they are like the ministering angels’: they have understanding like the ministering angels; and they walk erect like the ministering angels; and they can talk in the holy tongue12 like the ministering angels. ‘In regard to three, they are like beasts’: they eat and drink like beasts; and they propagate like beasts, and they relieve themselves like beasts.

    WHOSOEVER SPECULATES UPON FOUR THINGS, IT WERE A MERCY IF13 HE HAD NOT COME INTO THE WORLD etc. Granted as regards what is above, what is beneath,14 what [will be] after,15 that is well. But as regards what was before — what happened, happened!16 — Both R. Johanan and Resh Lakish say: It is like a human king who said to his servants: Build for me a great palace upon the dunghill.17 They went and built it for him. It is not the king's wish [thenceforth] to have the name of the dunghill mentioned.

    WHOSOEVER TAKES NO THOUGHT FOR THE HONOUR OF HIS MAKER, IT WERE A MERCY IF HE HAD NOT COME INTO THE WORLD. What does this mean? R. Abba said: It refers to one who looks at the rainbow. R. Joseph said: It refers to one who commits transgression in secret. ‘One who looks at a rainbow’, for it is written: As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.18 R. Joseph said: ‘It refers to one who commits a transgression in secret’, in accordance with R. Isaac's teaching. For R. Isaac said: When anyone commits a transgression in secret, it is as though he thrust aside the feet of the Divine Presence, for it is said: Thus saith the Lord: The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool.19 But is this so? For behold R. Elai the elder said: If a man sees that his [evil] inclination is prevailing upon him, let him go to a place where he is not known, and put on black garments,20 and wrap himself up21 in black garments, and let him do what his heart desires;22 but let him not profane the Name of Heaven publicly! — There is no contradiction. The one case speaks of one who is able to overcome23 his [evil] inclination; the other case of one who is not able to overcome his [evil] inclination.

    R. Judah b. R. Nahmani, the speaker24 of Resh Lakish expounded: Anyone who looks at three things, his eyes become dim; at the rainbow, and at the Prince,25 and at the priests. At the rainbow, because it is written: As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain . . . This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.26 At the Prince, for it is written: And thou shalt put of thy honour upon him.27 One who looks at the priests — at the time when the Temple existed, when they stood upon their platform28 and blessed Israel with the Distinguished Name29 [of God]. R. Judah son of R. Nahmani, the speaker of Resh Lakish expounded: What is the meaning of the verse: Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a familiar friend.30 If the evil inclination say to thee: Sin and the Holy One, blessed be He, will pardon, believe it not, for it is said: ‘Trust ye not in a friend’, and ‘friend’ [Rea’] means none other than one's evil inclination, for it is said: For the inclination31 of man's heart is evil [Ra’].32 And ‘familiar friend’ means none other than the Holy One, blessed be He, for it is said: Thou art the familiar friend of my youth.33 Perhaps thou wilt say: Who testifies against me? The stones of a man's home and the beams of his house testify against him, for it is said: For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.34 But the Sages say: A man's soul testifies against him, for it is said: Keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.30 What is it that lies in a man's bosom? You must say, it is the soul. R. Zerika said: Two ministering angels that accompany him testify against him, for it is said: For He will give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.35 But the Sages36 say: A man's limbs testify against him, for it is said: Therefore ye are My witnesses,37 saith the Lord, and I am God.38

    MISHNAH. JOSE B. JO'EZER39 SAYS THAT [ON A FESTIVAL-DAY] THE LAYING ON OF HANDS [ON THE HEAD OF A SACRIFICE]40 MAY NOT BE PERFORMED;41 JOSEPH B. JOHANAN SAYS THAT IT MAY BE PERFORMED.42 JOSHUA B. PERAHIA SAYS THAT IT MAY NOT RE PERFORMED; NITTAI THE ARBELITE43 SAYS THAT IT MAY BE PERFORMED. JUDAH B. TARBAI SAYS THAT IT MAY NOT BE PERFORMED; SIMEON A. SHETAH SAYS THAT IT MAY BE PERFORMED. SHEMAIAH SAYS THAT IT MAY BE PERFORMED; ABTALION SAYS THAT IT MAY NOT BE PERFORMED.44 HILLEL AND MENAHEM DID NOT DIFFER. MENAHEM WENT FORTH,45 SHAMMAI ENTERED.46 SHAMMAI SAYS THAT IT MAY NOT BE PERFORMED; HILLEL SAYS THAT IT MAY BE PERFORMED.
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(1) Lit., ‘what did he expound’? i.e., from which verse did R. Akiba learn to distinguish God's Presence so as to avoid Aher's error of dualism, or (according to another interpretation of Rashi) so as not to look in the direction of the Shechinah (Divine Presence)?
(2) Deut. XXXIII, 2.
(3)
v,tu (‘and He came’) is explained as v,tu (‘and His sign’). Jast. translates: ‘He is the ensign among his myriad’. Goldschmidt: ‘He is distinguished among his myriads’.
(4) Cant. V, 10.
(5) Heb. tndus. There is a play here on the text
vccrn kuds (‘pre-eminent among the thousand’) from which tndus is derived. The expositions of the different Rabbis have the common object of showing that God's Presence could be distinguished from his myriad attendants; fine shades of difference are not necessarily to be sought. But for the thought underlying this particular homiletical play, cf. Lev. XIX, 2. Jast. translates: ‘He is exemplified by His myriad (of angels)’, i.e., the Divine nature is recognized indirectly from the nature of His ministering angels, v. Cant. Rab. to V, 9. But this seems hardly in keeping with the line of thought demanded by the context. Goldschmidt: ‘He is marked out among his myriads’.
(6) Isa. XLVIII, 2.
(7) 1 Kings XIX, 11, 12. Thus the Divine Presence could be distinguished from the rest of the theophany.
(8) .Ibid. v. 11; in the Bible this clause precedes the previous quotation.
(9) V. J.E. vol. IV, pp. 514f, and Nachmanides on Lev. XVII, 7.
(10) Prescience is a divine attribute,
(11) V. p. 95, n. 10.
(12) The power of learning to speak the Hebrew language is common to all men.
(13) The wording here is slightly different from the Mishnah text (s.v.), but does not alter the meaning.
(14) Cf. p. 59, n. 7 and Deut. XXXIII, 27.
(15) I.e., in the hereafter.
(16) I.e., it is no longer a secret.
(17) The dunghill here represents the primordial chaos; the palace, ordered creation.
(18) Ezek. I, 28. Since the rainbow was symbolic of the Divine Glory, it was irreverent to gaze at it.
(19) Isa. LXVI, 1. But he that sins in secret denies this, for he implies that God has no access to his hiding-place.
(20) In the hope that exile and mourning clothes (cf. Shab. 114a, Jannai's request) would cool his passion and cause him to abandon his wicked intention.
(21) To produce a serious frame of mind; cf p. 88, n. 9.
(22) I.e., should his passion remain unmastered, let him at least commit the sin in secret. But R. Hananel deprecates the thought that the Talmud permits sin even in such circumstances and interprets our passage thus: certainly the effect of exile and dark garments will be to conquer the man's evil inclination, so that he will then be able to do what his heart truly desires, i.e., serve God.
(23) Lit., ‘bend’.
(24) Methurgeman. Lit., ‘interpreter’, used here in the sense of Amora, ‘speaker’; v. J.E. vol. VIII, p. 521.
(25) Heb. Nasi; v. infra p. 105, n. 6.
(26) Ezek. I, 28.
(27) Num. XXVII, 20. Moses’ face could not be gazed at; v. Ex. XXXIV, 29-35. A part of Moses’ honour belonged not merely to Joshua but to every Jewish leader.
(28) V. J.E. vol. V, p. 9 (s.v. Dukan).
(29) I.e., pronounced the Shem ha-meforash, the Tetragrammaton (
vuvh), instead of the usual substitute hbst when uttering the sacerdotal blessing. Num. VI, 24-26. cf. Sot. VII, 6; and Sanh. 90a (Sonc. ed., p. 602). The exact meaning of the term Shem ha-meforash is obscure: v. Levy and Jast and J.E. vol. XI, pp. 262f. Tosaf, (a.l.) points out that outside the Temple too, e.g., in the provinces, it was forbidden to look at the priests during the pronouncement of the sacerdotal blessing, the reason according to the J.T. being to prevent the distraction of the people's attention.
(30) Mic. VII, 5.
(31) E.V. ‘imagination’.
(32) Gen. VIII, 21, Only the vowels differentiate
gr (friend) from gr (evil).
(33) Jer. III, 4.
(34) Hab. II, 11.
(35) Ps. XCI, 11.
(36) In Ta'an. the reading is, ‘Some say’ = R. Nathan (v. Hor. 13b; cf. p. 14, n. 5).
(37) I.e., ye yourselves (sc. your very bodies) testify to your own sins.
(38) Isa. XLIII, 12.
(39) In Tem. 16a: Joseph b. Jo'ezer. For the successive generations of scholars mentioned here v. Aboth I, 4-12 (Sonc. ed., pp. 3-8 and nn. a.l.).
(40) Cf. Lev, 1, 4.
(41) The same restrictions regarding work applied to Festival-days as to the Sabbath, except in respect of work essential to the preparation of food, which was permitted on the Festivals (v. Bez. V, 2). Now the ‘laying on of the hands’ had to be performed with all one's strength, so that the weight of the person was supported by the animal; and this was considered an infringement of the Sabbath rule not ‘to make use’ of an animal. The point of the controversy, therefore, is this: Had the laying on of the hands to be done immediately prior to the slaughter, and consequently could be regarded as essential to the preparation of food, i.e., the sacrificial meal; or could this be done on the preceding day, so that the profanation of the holyday by this act became unnecessary, although the slaughtering took place on the Festival day? V. Bez. II, 4 and Bertinoro a.l.
(42) In the J. Hag. II, 2 we are told: At first there was no controversy in Israel except over the laying on of the hands alone. But Shammai and Hillel arose and made them four (in Bab. Shab. 14b, only three points of dispute are mentioned; cf. Tosaf. to our passage). When the disciples of the School of Hillel increased, and they did not study sufficiently under their masters (lit., ‘did not sufficiently minister to their masters’), the controversies in Israel increased, and they became divided into two companies, the one declaring unclean, the other declaring clean. And (the Torah) will not again return to its (uncontroversial) place until the son of David (i.e., the Messiah) will come. For the meaning and importance of this controversy v. further Weiss, Dor I, 103f; Frankel, Hodegetica in Mischnam pp. 43-44; Jacob Levi, in Ozar Nehmod III, Vienna 1860. [The controversy has also been ingeniously interpreted as referring to the question of ‘acceptance of authority’ and not the laying on of hands. V. Zeitlin, JQR, (N.S.) VII, pp. 499ff; Sidon A, Gedenkbuck Kaufmann, pp. 355ff and Bornstein, A. Hatekufah IV, p. 396.]
(43) I.e., of Arbel, on the borders of Lake Galilee. V. Ab. I, 6 (Sonc. ed., p. 5, n. 3.).
(44) This pair is exceptional in so far as the first Sage permits and the second prohibits.
(45) V. p. 108.
(46) I.e., in the former's place as Head of the Court.


Midrash Rabbah - Genesis VII:5

5. AND GOD SAID: LET THE EARTH BRING FORTH THE LIVING CREATURE, etc. (I,24). R. Leazar said: LlVING CREATURE means the soul of Adam.8 AND GOD MADE THE BEAST OF THE EARTH (I, 25). R. Hoshaya the Elder said: This means the serpent. R. Hama b. R. Hoshaya said: In speaking of souls it enumerates four, but in speaking of bodies only three!9 Rabbi said: This [extra soul] refers to the demons whose soul the Holy One, blessed be He, created, but when He came to create their bodies the sanctity of the Sabbath commenced and He could not create them.10 This gives

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(8) lnfra, VIII,1.
(9) I, 24, says: Let the earth bring forth the soul (sic) of a living creature after its kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and the beast of the earth: thus living creature (Hayyah), cattle, creeping thing, and beast of the earth are enumerated-four in all. Whereas I, 25, referring to the actual animals (‘ bodies ‘) states: And God made the beast of the earth... and the cattle... and everything that creepeth-only three being enumerated.
(10) Hence they remained souls (spirits) without bodies.



you a lesson in behaviour from Scripture, viz., that if a man is holding in his hand a costly article or a precious stone on the eve of the Sabbath about sunset, we say to him, ‘Throw it away,’ for He at whose behest the world came into existence’ was engaged in the creation of the world and had [already] created their souls, but when He came to create their bodies the holiness of the Sabbath commenced and He did not create them.


Soncino Zohar, Vayikra, Section 3, Page 76b

Now, however, that I have become a student of the Torah I have been thinking again over that remark, but since R. Simlai departed this world there has been none who can enlighten us on questions of the Torah like him, and I am afraid to put forth any opinion of my own which I have not learnt from a teacher, and I can see that there is a hidden meaning in this remark though I do not understand it.’ ‘Truly’, replied R. Abba, ‘it has a hidden meaning with reference both to the upper and the lower world. A certain divine grade is called Bath sheba (daughter of seven in the mystery of Wisdom, and is symbolized by the seven kine, the seven burnings, the seven sprinklings, the seven washings, the seven unclean, the seven clean, the seven priests. [Tr. note: The reference is, apparently, to the section of the Red Heifer, Num. XIX] [Tr. note: V. T.B. Erubin, 18b.] This was the hidden meaning in that man's remark.’ He said: ‘Thank God for granting me to hear this, and for giving me His greeting of peace, and bringing me near to Him when I was far away.’ Said R. Abba to him: ‘ “Peace be unto thee and peace to thy house and peace to all that thou hast” (I Sam. xxv, 6).’

THOU SHALT NOT UNCOVER THE NAKEDNESS OF THY FATHER'S SISTER.We have learnt elsewhere that Adam separated from his wife a hundred and thirty years after Cain killed Abel. R. Jose said: ‘When death was decreed for him and for all mankind, he said: Why should I beget children for confusion? and he therefore separated from his wife. Then two female spirits used to come to him and they bore from him. Their offspring were demons and were called “plagues of the children of men”. We have learnt that when man came down to earth in the supernal likeness all who saw him, both higher and lower beings, came to him and made him king of this world. Eve bore Cain from the filth of the serpent, and therefore from him were descended all the wicked generations, and from his side is the abode of spirits and demons. Therefore all spirits and demons are half of the class of human beings below and half of the class of angels above. So, too, those that were born from Adam afterwards were half of the lower and half of the upper sphere. After these were born from Adam, he begat from those spirits daughters with the beauty of the heavenly beings and also with the beauty of the lower beings, so that the sons of God went astray after them. One male came into the world from the side of the spirit of the side of Cain, and they called him Tubal Cain. A female came with him who was called Naamah, from whom issued other spirits and demons; these hover in the air and tell things to those others below. This Tubal Cain produced weapons of war, and this Naamah clung to her own side, and she still exists, having her abode among the waves of the great sea. She goes forth and makes sport with men and conceives from them through their lustful dreams. From that lust she becomes pregnant and brings forth further species in the world. The sons whom she bears from human beings show themselves to the females of mankind, who become pregnant from them and bring forth spirits, and they all go to the ancient Lilith, who brings them up. She goes out into the world and seeks

her little ones, and when she sees little children she cleaves to them in order to kill them and to insinuate herself into their spirits.


The fourth section “And it shall come to pass if ye shall hearken, etc.” (Ibid. XI, 13-21) presents the two influences

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 14a

to which the Congregation of Israel-the manifestation of God's power below-is subjected. This, then, is represented by the second He, which takes up the previous letters and contains them. The phylacteries are thus literally the counterpart of the letters of the Divine Name. Hence “Thy head upon thee is like Carmel” is an allusion to the phylactery worn on the head; and the “hair (dallath, lit. poverty) of the head” signifies the phylactery worn on the hand, which is poor in comparison to that worn on the head above, but which nevertheless has its own perfection like that which it symbolises above. “The King is held captive in the tresses thereof”, that is, the heavenly King is duly enshrined in these compartments of the Tephillin through the Divine Name therein contained in manner due. Thus he who equips himself with them is a man made in the image of God, for just as the letters of Holy Name are united to express the divine essence, so in a degree they are united by him (through the phylacteries). “Male and female he created them” is a reference to the phylactery of the head and the phylactery of the hand, which together make one whole.

‘The eleventh precept is to give the tithe of the produce of the land. This includes two precepts, one the tithing of the land and the other the giving of the first fruits of the trees; for it is written: Behold I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth. The expression “I have given” is applied to tithe in the passage: “And unto the children of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel” (Num. XVIII, 21), and it is written besides: “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's” (Lev. XXVII, 30).

‘The twelfth precept is to bring as an offering the fruits of the tree, which is alluded to in the words: and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, that is, although whatever is consecrated to God may not be eaten by man, yet God permitted them (the Levites) to enjoy all His tithe and the first fruit of the tree. I have given to you; that is, to you and not to the generations in the future.

‘The thirteenth precept is to redeem the first-born son so as to attach him firmly to life. For every man is attended by two angels, one of life and one of death, and by redeeming his first-born son the father ransoms him from the angel of death, who therefore has no power over him. This is hinted in the words: And God saw everything that he had made, to wit, creation as a whole, and, behold it was good; this alludes to the angel of death. Through the act of redemption, then, the life-angel is strengthened, whilst the death-angel is weakened. By means of this redemption the child obtains life, as has already been stated; the evil power leaves him and has no more hold on him.

‘The fourteenth precept is to observe the Sabbath day, which was the day of rest from all the works of Creation. This precept comprises two parts, one to rest on the Sabbath, and one to invest it with holiness. We have to observe that day as a day of rest, as has already been said, for the reason that it was a day of rest from the beginning, the whole work of Creation having been completed before this day was sanctified. After the day was sanctified there was left a residue of spirits for which no bodies had been created. Why, it may be asked, could not God have waited to sanctify the day until He had created bodies for those spirits? The reason is that from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil there went forth the “evil power” to seize control of the world, and so a number of diverse spirits set out to acquire for themselves bodies by force. As soon as the Holy One, blessed be He, saw this, He raised out of the tree of life a wind that blew and lashed against the other tree so that the “beneficent power” arose and the day was sanctified. For the creation of bodies and the stirring of spirits on that night comes about under the influence of the “beneficent power” and not of the “evil power”. Had the “evil power” forestalled on that night the “beneficent power”, the world could not exist, on account of the evil spirits, for an instant. But the Holy One, blessed be He, provided the cure in advance; He hastened the sanctification of the day before the evil power prevailed, and so the world was established, and instead of the evil power becoming master of the world as it thought to be, on that night it was the “beneficent power” which obtained the victory, and therefore sacred bodies and spirits are being built up on that night under the influence of the “beneficent power”. It is for that reason that the marital intercourse of the wise and learned men who know this

is weekly, from Sabbath to Sabbath.


Tanach - Deuteronomy Chapter 32

17. They sacrificed to powerless spirits, not to God; to gods whom they knew not; to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.


Tanach - Psalms Chapter 106

37. And they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to idols,


Midrash Rabbah - Leviticus XXII:8

8. R. Phinehas in the name of R. Levi said: The matter may be compared to the case of a king's son who thought he could do what he liked and habitually ate the flesh of nebeloth and.terefoth.5 Said the king: ' I will have him always at my own table and he will automatically be hedged round.’6 Similarly, because Israel were passionate followers after idolatry in Egypt and used to bring their sacrifices to the satyrs, as it is written, And they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices unto the satyrs (Lev. XVII, 7) --and these satyrs are nought but demons, as is borne out by the text which says, They sacrificed unto demons, no-gods (Deut. XXXII, 17), these demons being nought but satyrs, as it says, And satyrs shall dance there (Isa. XIII, 21)1--and they used to offer their sacrifices in the forbidden high places, on account of which punishments used to come upon them, the Holy One, blessed be He, said: ‘Let them offer their sacrifices to Me at all times in the Tent of Meeting, and thus they will be separated from idolatry and be saved from punishment.’ Hence it is written, WHAT MAN SOEVER THERE BE OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL THAT KILLETH AN OX... AND HATH NOT BROUGHT IT UNTO THE DOOR OF THE TENT OF MEETING, etc.
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(5) Both of which types of meat are ritually unfit for consumption.
(6) Emended text (Rash. in accordance with Yalkut).

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(1) In the ruins referred to earlier by Isaiah. Demons were believed to inhabit ruined places.


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