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Said Rabbi Jose: "We read, 'And Abraham was ninety-nine years old' (Gen. XVII. 1), and also, 'Thy people are all righteous, they shall inherit the land forever' (Is. LX. 21). Blessed is Israel above every other people, for the Holy One calleth them righteous. We learn by tradition92a that there are a hundred and twenty-eight thousand winged messengers who fly throughout the world, listening to the cry of sorrow and the voice of joy or pain and suffering, proceeding from man and beast and bird, all of which with their prayers are gathered and borne by these angelic beings up before their lord, who judges accordingly as intimated by the words, 'Because a bird of the air shall carry the voice and that which hath wings shall tell the matter' (Eccles. X. 20). When are the judgments resulting from these voices and cries and prayers executed and carried out?"

Said Rabbi Hiya: "When a man falls asleep, his nechama or higher self leaves him and, ascending on high, gives account of his deeds and acts and words; therefore is it written, 'Keep the doors of thy mouth even from her who sleepeth near thee' (Mich. VII. 5), alluding to the soul of man."

Said Rabbi Jehuda: "Every deed, act or word a man speaks or does, the higher self or 'neshama' has to give an account of it. It was the teaching of Rabbi Eleazar, that ere the evening begins with the setting of the sun, the angels or mighty ones of the signs of the zodiac, close the gates of its constellations that have been open during the day. Then

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the voice of a herald cries aloud: Assemble and gather yourselves together! As they ascend in silence on high, those who gather up the world cries and prayers descend and go on their mission through the world. When the moon begins to shed her light upon the earth, these winged messengers sound their trumpets in unison and give forth a sound as the shout of great joy. They blow them again when a plaintive sound is heard and then presently myriads of angelic beings begin chanting hymns and praises before their Lord and Master, after which the judgment of the world commences. Then it is when we sleep, our higher selves quit us and give in their account of us and by the grace and goodness of the Holy One are ordered to return and come back again to us, even when we have done and said things we ought not to have done. After midnight when the cock crows and birds begin to waken up, a wind from the northwest commences to92a-92b blow, which is met by a current from the south. Then it is that the Holy One delights himself in the souls of the just in the garden of the heavenly Eden. Happy and blessed is he whose delight is to rise and study and meditate on the Secret Doctrine, for then the Holy One with all the souls of the just made perfect, listen and attend to his voice, as it is written, 'Thou who dwellest in the gardens, thy companions listen to thy voice, cause me to hear it' (Cant. VIII. 13). More than this, the Holy One surrounds him who rises at midnight for study with an aura of light (chesed) to keep and protect him whilst on earth, so that angels above and below become his guardians, as it is written, The Lord will command his loving kindness in the day time and in the night season, his song shall be with me' (Ps. XLII. 9)."

Said Rabbi Hezekiah: "Everyone who, rising at midnight, studies and meditates on the secret doctrine enjoys a lasting (thader) portion in the world to come."

"What," said Rabbi Jose, "does the word 'thader' mean?" Said Rabbi Hezekiah: "Hear what I have been taught. Every midnight when the Holy One enters the garden of Eden, all its plants (the souls of the Just) are then refreshed by the water of the river Qedumim, known as the beautiful stream" (nahaladanim) that flows through the universe, and he who studies the secret doctrine at midnight comes into relationship and communion with the souls of the just made

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perfect on high, and finds himself refreshed and strengthened for as soon as they hear his voice, they are filled with great delight and impart to him the water of life by which they are themselves refreshed and which continually flows forth from under the throne of God on high. This being so, is the92b reason why he who studies at midnight the secret doctrine is sure of a lasting (thader) supply each night from the water of the river of life.

Next: Chapter XCV. Rabbi Abba's Visit and What Occurred