RABBI SIMEON said: "Who is he that knoweth how to address his prayers to the Almighty as did Moses in all the circumstances of his life, whether long or brief in their duration. We have found in an ancient book, that prayer, in order that it may become effective and enter through heaven's gates without hindrance or obstacle, should be expressed in terms suitable and corresponding to existent circumstance, otherwise it is ineffective and of no avail. Blessed are they who learn and acquire the true secret of prayer, by which they succeed in obtaining through the Schekina their requests, and those blessings by which evils are assuaged or averted and judgment becomes tempered with mercy." For a few moments, Rabbi Simeon ceased speaking and then, as one inspired, he slowly rose and standing up, exclaimed: "Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord, who can show forth all his praise and teach us the mystery and secret of prayer, but Abraham the patriarch sitting now on the right hand of God? He can tell us, he to whom were revealed in raptured vision the glorious mansions of the Great King. Seven are they in number and each with their entrances, through which the prayers of mankind may ascend up to the throne of the Eternal from the lips of those whose souls are in harmony and union with the Lord of the universe, who embraces worlds above and below with his love and regards them as a glorious whole. Such souls are they of whom scripture speaks, 'when trouble came they visited thee, and
poured out their prayer when thy chastening was upon them' (Is. xxvi. 16).
"The first of these sacred mansions is referred to in the words, 'And they saw the God of Israel and there was under his feet, as it were, a paved work of a sapphire stone, like unto heaven in its clearness' (Ex. xxiv. 10). Its existence is the greatest of mysteries. It is the abode of a great spirit named Saphira whose radiant form is white and in its brilliancy like unto the precious sapphire stone. The light of this mansion sendeth forth rays in two directions, glittering and flashing like sparks from a candle, and though apparently separate and distinct, yet are they but emanations and scintillations of the one divine light; as it is written, 'like the color of burnished brass' (Hz. i. 7). This spirit Saphira is stationed on the right side of the mansion whilst on the left is stationed another spirit whose color is red and named Lebanah. The rays of these two spirits become blended and mingled together, the red absorbing the white as the cows of Pharash, of whom we read that when the lean had eaten up the fat kine it could not be discerned that they had eaten them (Gen. lxi. 20). There are two gateways to this mansion leading to the sphere termed 'the heaven of heavens.'
"From the emanations of these two spirits, Saphira and Lebanah, are created and formed those angelic beings called Ophanim, who in their holiness are accounted equal to the Hayoth, or living creatures, described by the prophet (Ezechiel i. 20). The appearance of the Ophanim was like unto the color of Beryl, but that of the Hayoth was like that of coals of burning fire and amidst them were fiery flames, glittering and scintillating like sparks, referring to the Holy Spirit from whom they all emanate and by whom they shine as it is further written, 'and the living creatures went and returned as the appearance of flashing lightning.' When a spirit becomes united and blended with another, there flashes forth above the four Ophanim a great white and dazzling light, each of whom takes the form of a lion with the wings of an eagle and rules over a thousand and three hundred myriads of subordinate spirits like unto themselves.
"These Ophanim form the wheels of the heavenly Mercaba, or chariot, by whom it is moved in four directions. In each wheel of his chariot appear the three different colors of the supreme light, thus twelve altogether. These Ophanim also constitute the four mystic beings of the Divine Chariot having the forms of a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle, facing the four
quarters, but when the wheels of the chariot begin moving, they become faced to each other, as it is written. The loops held together each to each' (Ex. xxxvi. 12). At the time that the wheels begin moving, a voice sweet and harmonious is heard resounding by the dwellers in the lower world. The light emanating from this mansion is perceived by angels extending to the star Sabathai (Saturn), and is a source of nourishment and sustentation to all who behold it as it is written, 'Everywhere is the spirit, and wherever it went the wheels also went, for the spirit of the living creatures, or life, was in the wheels.' (Ez. i. 20). Some behold this light bright and ebullient as the rays of the sun reflected in clear water, by others it is perceived blended with the light of Lebanah.
"Blessed is he who by the intensity of his prayer is able to ascend into this mansion for, then by the exercise and performance of rites and ceremonies that symbolize union with the Divine and the oneness of the living spirit, his soul becomes filled with a heavenly joy, and he is encircled by a bright aura by which he is led to the silent contemplation of the mysteries of the second mansion. By the prayers of such souls, the four Ophanim become as one, and blended together as fire with water, and water with fire, as the North with the South and the South with the North, and also as the East with the West and the West with the East. Such is the power of a just man's prayer to accomplish the union of opposites; so that the human becomes Divine, and the Divine is blended with the human, which union is symbolized by a tall lofty column of light that extends and reaches from the lowest to the highest spheres, attracting the attention and regards of all spirits inhabiting there and by their meditation becoming united with the Divine Spirit as it is written, 'They have all one breath' (Eccles. iii. 16) that is one and the same indwelling spirit.
The Second Mansion is that alluded to in scripture, "like to heaven itself in brightness" (Ez. xxiv. 18) and is the abode of an angelic being termed Zohar (splendor) who in the luminous brightness of his form, is ever the same and changeth not. The light in this mansion is transcendently white and illumines it in all directions. Happy the lot of those to whom it becomes visible. With the spirit Zohar is associated another, the color of whose aura resembles that of the hyacinth more than the pearl or diamond and causes the light of this mansion to be more pronounced and noticeable by its contrast. From this light
emanate the Seraphim, heavenly things having six wings according to the number of the mansion which is the sixth from the highest. It is they who consume up all those who have no respect nor regard for the worship and glory of their Lord and they are therefore termed "Consumers." The mystery attending their office and service is referred to in an ancient tradition that states, dasthmsh btga chlph, i.e., whoever makes a selfish use of the Crown, thus profaning it shall be consumed. He, however, who studies Scripture and the six orders of the Mishnah is as he who by reverential worship becomes unified with his Lord. To all such, the Seraphim become adjustants by consuming in their flames all the descendants of the great Serpent by whom death entered into the world. These seraphim are under the government and authority of the presiding spirit of the mansion, When the wheels of the Mercaba or heavenly chariot begin moving, they fall back and many of them are consumed in their own flames, but eventually they are resuscitated and, gaining their pristine state, take refuge beneath the wing of the eagle, one of the four living creatures surrounding the Divine chariot. When the divine light is seen beaming within the four living creatures, each of the wheels begin moving. The wheel belonging to the East, in moving in that direction becomes hampered by the other three, turning each in their own direction. This occurs alike with the other wheels of the North, South and West. Only when their individual motions are equilibrated, can the Divine chariot be raised and turned in any direction by the mystical Column of light that unites the higher and lower spheres. This same Column, according as the chariot is at rest or in motion, closes or opens the gate of prayers.