Isaac Loeb Peretz - Celestial music
Type of Spiritual Experience
Fiction based on fact
A description of the experience
Isaac Loeb Peretz – The Cabbalists [translated by A S Rappaport] from Bontshe the Silent
‘There was a melody, and it has been singing in me’
The principal sat up.
‘How’s that? How’s that?’
‘I don’t know it myself, Rebbe’ answered the student in an almost inaudible voice. ‘As I could not find sleep I plunged myself into your lecture. I was anxious at any cost to learn that melody. Unable, however, to succeed, I was greatly grieved and began to weep. Everything in me was weeping, all my members were weeping before the Creator of the Universe. I recited the prayers and formulas you taught me; strange to say, not with my lips, but deep down in my heart. And suddenly I was dazzled by a great light. I closed my eyes, yet I could not shut out the light around me, a powerful dazzling light’.
‘That’s it’, said the old man leaning over.
‘And in the midst of the strange light I felt so strong, so light hearted. It seemed to me as if I had no weight, as if my body had lost its heaviness and that I could fly’
‘That’s right, that’s right’
‘And then I felt so merry, so happy and lively. My face remained motionless, my lips never stirred and yet I laughed. I laughed so joyously, so heartily, so frankly and happily’.
‘That’s it; that’s it. That is right, the intensest joy – ‘
‘Then something began to hum in me, as if it were the beginning of a melody’
The Rosh-Jeshibah jumped up from his bench and stood up by his pupil’s side
‘And then? And then?’
‘Then I heard how it was singing in me’
‘And what did you feel? What? What? Tell me!’
‘I felt as if all my senses were closed and stopped; and there was something singing in me, just as it should be, without either words or tunes, only so – ‘
‘No, I can’t say. At first I knew, then the song became – ‘
‘What did the song become? What? – ‘
‘A sort of music, as if there had been a violin in me, or as if Joyne the musician, was sitting in my heart and playing one of the tunes he plays at the Rebbe’s table. But it sounded much more beautiful, nobler and sadder more spiritual and all this was voiceless and tuneless, mere spirit’
‘You lucky man – ‘