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RABBI SIMEON answered and said: "The lower or passionate nature is always striving to imitate the actions of the higher, with this difference, that what is spiritual and pure it changes into the carnal and impure. The higher nature takes its origin from the right side of the sephirotic tree of life, but the lower from the left side, and is embodied in the female and becomes unified in it, as it is written, 'His left hand is under my head and his right hand doth embrace me' (Cant. ii. 6). Hitherto we have discoursed on a subject, exceedingly esoteric and unknown to ordinary minds, but now we will speak more clearly so that every one may comprehend and understand them." On hearing this the student novitiates expressed their great desire to learn more of this mystery of sex.49b

Rabbi Simeon was journeying to Tiberias and there were with him, Rabbi Jose, Rabbi Jehuda, and Rabbi Hiya. Whilst on the way, they beheld Rabbi Pinchus coming to meet them. After exchanging greetings, they all sat down under a great shady tree by a hillside.

Then said Rabbi Pinchus: "Since now I have met with thee, oh Rabbi Simeon, and am seated by thy side, let it please thee to instruct me further in the Secret Doctrine."

Then spake Rabbi Simeon and said: "It is written, 'and he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning between Bethel and Hai' (Gen. xiii. 3). The scripture saith, 'He went on his journeys' instead of 'his journey.' Wherefore? Because there is here an occult reference not only to his own journeying, but also that of the Schekina, who always went with Jacob, and therefore we learn that whenever a man leaves his home and wife, he ought not to think or imagine that the Schekina forsakes

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him in any way, for though it has been said a man ought always to cleave to his wife that the Schekina may always be with him, yet it is possible he may go alone on a journey and the Schekina still abide with him, and when so doing he ought to direct his prayer to the Holy One that this may be, and in this way the male and female will always be associated in union with each other, whether going from home or otherwise. Therefore it is written, 'The Just One shall walk before him and set him in the way of his steps' (Ps. lxxxv. 14). Whenever anyone goes on a journey, he should always be mindful and circumspect and careful of his words and actions, in order that his lower and higher selves may not become separated and disunited from each other, so that when he returns home their union may be intact and complete. This ought also to be the case when a man returns home, for then he should attend to the discharge of his conjugal duties which is lawful and right and a source of delight both to the Schekina and his spouse; as it is written, 'and thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace and thou shalt visit thy habitation and thou shalt not sin' (Job v. 24). When, however, he neglects these duties, he transgresses against the divine ordinance. On the other hand, by attending to them, his enjoyment is enhanced by the knowledge that he is carrying out his charging, the dictates of the marital law, which is known as the covenant of the Holy One.

The occult meaning of these remarks is this: that followers and students of the good law should always, in the discharge of their conjugal duties, fix their minds and thoughts upon the Schekina that never quits or leaves the house on account of the spouse; as it is written, 'and Isaac brought Rebecca into the tent of Sarah, his mother' (Gen. xxiv. 67). Now we learn from tradition that when this occurred, a candle was lighted in a very marvellous manner, because at the same moment the Schekina entered into the tent along with Rebecca,--the mystical meaning of which, is, that showers of blessings from on high descend on the right discharge of conjugal duties, for then the male and female become truly one and not till then, and the male becomes associated49b-50a both with the Schekina or heavenly mother and his spouse; to which the words refer, 'They shall endure until the desire of the everlasting hills be accomplished' (Gen. xlix. 26). The word ad (desire) designates the pleasure all men experience in becoming united with the Schekina above in order to attain unto perfection and the blessing resulting therefrom, and

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also with his spouse who receives from him her nourishment and affection.

Again Rabbi Simeon spake and said: "The secret doctrine and its teaching have relation to two baith (houses), or more explicitly the human and divine, the lower and higher self, as it is written, 'for the two houses of Israel' (Is. viii. 14). Of these one is a mystery beyond human comprehension, the other, though exceedingly occult, is within the range of the understanding. The first is symbolized by the Great Voice mentioned in (Deuter v. 20). 'The Great Voice that ceaseth not,' that is always resounding and speaking within us though unheard and unrecognized by the external ear. By it hath been delivered and spoken the esoteric teachings known as 'the voice of Jacob' that they may become known. Now this great interior voice and the word which expresses it are as it were two houses, the one visible, the other invisible. One is the eternal Wisdom (hochma ilaah) hidden and concealed in the divine mind and sendeth forth the great interior voice; the other the Voice of Jacob or esoteric teachings expressed by words, especially by the term Brashith, or as it may be differently written and explained by the words baith reshith, meaning the house or doctrine called reshith or beginning."

Pausing for a few minutes, Rabbi Simeon began again discoursing: "The scriptures beginning with the words, bra Alhim, the mystical meaning of which is the same as is contained in the words vyeben Jehovah Alhim ath azla (the Lord God formed the rib). The mystic signification also of the words, ath hashamayin (the heavens), is the same as vayebah al ha-Adam (and brought her unto the man). The words ve-eth ha-aretz (and the earth) also have the same occult meaning, atzm matzmi, (bone of my bone)."

Said Rabbi Simeon: "It is written, 'The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool' (Ps. ex. 1). These words refer to the Supreme, saying to Adonai next in being to Him, 'sit thou on my right hand, that the West may become joined to the East, the right to the left, so that the power and might of the idolatrous nations (or evil) may not prevail, but become broken and dissipated.50a-50b 'The Lord said unto my Lord,' have also the same signification as 'Jacob said unto the Lord' as is seen in the words, 'the ark of the covenant, the Lord of all the earth' (Josh. iii. 11). Another exposition of the words 'the Lord said unto my Lord' is,

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that they are significant of the holy state called 'the year of Jubilee' addressing the state called 'the Sabbatical year,' saying, 'sit thou on my right!' Observe that this latter holy state or condition of the world, namely, Sabbatical year, has not from the beginning yet become united to the highest sephira on the right and left, who at the creation of the world took it then and joined it to its left side. For this reason, the world will not last or endure beyond seven thousand years.50b At the end of that period, however, this state of holiness in the world will become joined to the supreme sephira on the right hand and the earth then will become perfected forever. Then will be realized the words, 'The new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before me or exist always' (Is. lxvi. 22). If this exposition be correct, what then is the sense of the words 'sit thou on my right hand?' They were spoken provisionally to Adonai 'until his enemies were made his footstool'; that is, until all opposition and disobedience to the divine law shall cease and peace and harmony prevail throughout the universe, when all antinomies and antithesis of right and left, good and evil, angel and demon, shall be done away and the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the seas, and heaven and earth so long separated and disjoined shall become one and united forevermore, which glorious consummation is implied in the conjunction of the words, 'the heavens and the earth.'"

Next: Chapter XXVIII. Rabbi Simeon's Analogies of the Divine Life in Man