“On the Day that Rabbi Shim’on was to leave the world,
while he was arranging his affairs,
the companions assembled at his house.
Present were Rabbi El’azar, his son, Rabbi Abba, and the
The house was full.
Rabbi Shim’on raised his eyes and saw that the house was
He cried, and said,
“The other time I was ill, Rabbi Pinhas son of Ya’ir was in
I was already selecting my place in paradise next to Ahiyah
when they extended my life until now.
When I returned, fire was whirling in front of me;
it has never gone out.
No human has entered without permission.
Now I see it has gone out, and the house is filled.”
While they were sitting
Rabbi Shim’on opened his eyes and saw what he saw,
fire whirled through the house.
Rabbi El’azar, his son, and Rabbi Abba remained;
the other companions sat outside.
Rabbi Shim’on rose and laughed in delight.
He asked, “Where are the companions?”
Rabbi El’azar rose and brought them in.
They sat in front of him.
Rabbi Shim’on raised his hands and prayed a prayer.
Rejoicing, he said “Those companions who were present at the threshing house
will convene here.”
Rabbi El’azar, his son, Rabbi Abba, Rabbi Judah,
Rabbi Yose, and Rabbi Hiyya remained.
Rabbi Abba sat behind him and Rabbi El’azar in front.
Rabbi Shim’on said, “Now is the time of favor.
I want to enter without shame into the world that is coming.
Holy words, until now unrevealed,
I want to reveal in the presence of the Shekhinah,
so it will not be said that I left the world deficiently.
Until now they were hidden in my heart
as a password to the world that is coming.
[Victory from the L-RD ~ Word of the Kingdom]
I will arrange you like this:
Rabbi Abba will write; Rabbi El’azar, my son, will repeat;
the other companions will meditate within.”
Rabbi Abba rose from behind him;
Rabbi El’azar, sat in front.
Rabbi Shim’on said, “Rise, my son, for someone else will sit
in that place.”
Rabbi El’azar rose.
Rabbi Shim’on enwrapped himself and sat down.
He opened and said,
“It is so different now than at the threshing house.
There the Blessed Holy One and his chariots convened.
Now he is accompanied by the righteous from the Garden of
This did not happen before.
The Blessed Holy One wants the righteous to be honored
more than he wants himself to be honored.
So it is written concerning King Jeroboam.
He offered incense to idols and worshiped them
yet the Blessed Holy One was patient.
But as soon as he stretched out his hand against Ido the
his hand dried up.
Not because he worshiped idols,
but because he threatened Ido the prophet.
Now the Blessed Holy One wants us to be honored
and all of them are coming with him!
Here is Rav Hammuna Sava
surrounded by seventy of the righteous adorned with
each one dazzling with the luster of the Holy Ancient One,
concealed of all concealed.
He is coming to hear in joy these words I am about to speak.”
Rabbi Shim’on was aabout to sit down, when he exclaimed:
“Look! Here is Rabbi Pinhas son of Ya’ir! Prepare his place!”
The companions trembled;
they got up and moved to the periphery of the house.
Rabbi El’azar and Rabbi Abba remained with Rabbi Shim’on.
Rabbi Shim’on said,
“In the threshing house, we were found to be;
all the companions speaking, I among them.
Now I alone will speak;
all are listening to my words, those above and those below.
Happy is my portion this day!”
Rabbi Shim’on opened and said,
” ‘I am my beloved’s, his desire is upon me.’
All the days that I have been bound to this world
I have been bound with a single bond with the Blessed Holy One.
That is why his desire is upon me.
He and his holy entourage have come to hear in joy
and praise for the Holy Ancient One, concealed of all
Separate, separated from all, yet not separate.
For all is joined to it, and it is joined to all.
It is all!
Ancient of all ancients concealed of all concealed.
Arrayed and not arrayed.
Arrayed to sustain all;
not arrayed, for it is not to be found.
Arrayed it radiates nine lights,
blazing from it, from its array.
Those lights, sparkling, flashing, emanate in every direction.
“Until now these words were concealed,
for I was scared to reveal,
now they have been revealed!
Yet it is revealed before the Holy Ancient One
that I have not acted for my own honor
nor for the honor of my family
but rather so I will not enter into his palace in shame.
Furthermore, I see that the Blessed Holy One
and all the righteous ones approve:
I see all of them rejoicing in this, my wedding celebration!
All of them are invited, in that world, to my wedding
Happy is my portion!”
Rabbi Abba said,
When the Holy Spark, the High Spark, finished this word
he raised his hands, cried and laughed.
He wanted to reveal one word.
He said, ‘I have been troubled by this word all my days
and now they are not giving me permission!’
“Summoning up his courage,
he sat and moved his lips, and bowed three times.
No one could look at his place, certainly not at him.
He said, Mouth, mouth, you have attained so much!
Your spring is not dried up.
Your spring flows endlessly.
Of you, it is written;
“A river flows from Eden.”
“Like a spring whose waters do not fail.”
Now I avow:
All the days I have been alive, I have yearned to see this day.
Now my desire is crowned with success.
This day itself is crowned.
Now I want to reveal words in the presence of the Blessed
all those words adorn my head like a crown.
This day will not miss its mark like the other day,
for this whole day is mine.
I have now begun revealing words
so I will not enter shamefully into the world that is coming
I have begun! I will speak!
‘I have seen that all those sparks flash from the High Spark,
hidden of all hidden.
All are levels of enlightenment.
In the light of each and every level
there is revealed what is revealed.
All those lights are connected:
this light to that light, that light to this light,
one shining into the other,
inseparable, one from the other.
The light of each and every spark,
called Adornments of the King, Crowns of the King-
each one shines into, joins onto the light within, within,
not separating without.
So all rises to one level,
all is crowned with one word
no separating one from the other.
It and its name are one.
‘The light that is revealed is called the Garment of the King.
The light within, within is a concealed light.
In that light dwells the Ineffable One, the Unrevealed.
All those sparks and all those lights sparkle from the Holy
concealed of all concealed, the High Spark.
all those lights emanating-
there is nothing but the High Spark, hidden and
Rabbi Abba said,
“Before the Holy Spark finished, his words subsided.
I was still writing intending to write more
but I heard nothing.
I did not raise my head:
the light was overwhelming; I could not look
Then I started trembling.
I heard a voice calling:
‘Length of days and years of life.’
I heard another voice:
‘He asked for life, and you granted it.’
“All day long, the fire in the house did not go out.
No one reached him, no one could:
light and fire surrounded him.
All day long, I lay on the ground and wailed.
After the fire disappeared
I saw the Holy Spark, Holy of Holies, leaving the world,
enwrapped, lying on his right, his face smiling.
“Rabbi El’azar, his son, rose, took his hands and kissed
As for me, I licked the dust from the bottom of his feet.
The companions wanted to cry but could not utter a sound.
Finally, they let out a cry,
but Rabbi El’azar, his son, fell three times, unable to open his
Finally, he opened and cried, ‘Father! Father!'”
Rabbi Hiyya rose to his feet and said,
“Until now the Holy Spark has looked after us;
now is the time to engage in honoring him.”
Rabbi El’azar and Rabbi Abba rose.
They carried him on a trundle made out of a gangplank-
Who has seen the companions confusion?-
and the whole house was fragrant.
They lifted him onto his bed,
only Rabbi El’azar and Rabbi Abba attended him.
Truculent stingers and shield-bearing warriors from Sepphoris
came and beset them.
The people of Meron banded together and shouted,
for they feared he would not be buried there.
After the bed emerged from the house, it rose into the air;
fire blazed before it.
They heard a voice:
“Come and enter!
Assemble for the wedding celebration of Rabbi Shim’on!
‘He shall enter in peace;
they shall rest on their couches.'”
As he entered the cave, they heard a voice from inside:
“This is the man who shook the earth, Who made the kingdoms
His Lord prides himself on him every day.
Happy is his portion above and below!
Many sublime treasures lie in store for him.
Go to the end and take your rest;
you will rise for your reward at the end of days.”
The Essential Kabbalah
The Heart of Jewish Mysticism
Daniel C. Matt
Happy Rosh Hashanah 5777