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Zohar - I 217b – Rabbi Isaac

Identifier

014880

Type of spiritual experience

Hallucination

A description of the experience

Zohar I 217b [translated by Gershom Scholem] – Rabbi Isaac

In a state of great sadness Rabbi Isaac one day sat down before Rabbi Judah's door. Coming out and seeing him thus, Rabbi Judah asked: What troubles you this day?

Rabbi Isaac replied: I have come to request three things of you. First, that whenever you recite any one of my elucidations of the Torah, you do so in my name. Second, I ask you to educate my son Joseph in Torah. And third, I ask that you go every seven days to my grave, and pray over it.

Rabbi Judah spoke: What cause have you to think you are going to die!

He answered: Of late my soul has been departing from me in the night, and not illuminating me with dreams as was its wont. And, too, when I incline forward during prayer, I perceive that my shadow fails to show on the wall, and I surmise it is because the herald has gone forth and proclaimed regarding me.

Rabbi Judah then said: I will do as you ask. But in turn I ask you to keep a place for me by your side in the other world, to be together as in this.

Rabbi Isaac wept and answered: I beg you to stay by me for the rest of my days.

Together they went to Rabbi Simeon, who was engaged in study of the Torah. Rabbi Simeon raised his eyes, and saw Rabbi Isaac, and before him, running and dancing, the Angel of Death, and Rabbi Simeon walked to the door, and taking Rabbi Isaac by the hand, he said: I charge that he who is accustomed to enter shall enter, and he who is not shall not enter. Then Rabbi Isaac and Rabbi Judah entered and the Angel of Death was kept outside.

Looking at Rabbi Isaac, Rabbi Simeon perceived that his hour had not yet come, but that he had respite until the eighth hour of the day, and he made Rabbi Isaac sit down and study the Torah. Then said Rabbi Simeon to his son Rabbi Eleazar:

Sit by the door, and do not speak to anyone, and if anyone should want to enter, on your oath say he may not.

He turned to Rabbi Isaac: Have you this day seen the face of your father? For we know that when the hour comes for a man to leave this world, he finds himself surrounded by his father and his relatives, and he looks at them and recognizes them, and sees all who were his companions in this world, and they escort his soul to the new abode it is to have..............

Thus it is when man's hour of judgment approaches, it [his Higher spirit] starts to call to him; and only the sufferer himself knows, as we have learned, that a new spirit enters from above into a man lying ill, whose hour to depart from the world is near, and it is in virtue of this new spirit that he perceives what he could not before perceive, and then he goes from the world. Thus it is written: "For man shall not see Me and live" {Exod. 33:20}; in lifetime€, no, but at the hour of death, it is permitted.

The source of the experience

Zohar

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities