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118) “And Abraham was old, advanced in days.” “Happy is the one whom You choose and bring near to You; he will dwell in Your courts.” This text is made clear, but happy is the man whose ways are favored by the Creator and whom He wishes to bring near Him.
119) Abraham was drawn near to the Creator. All his days, this was his wish—to draw near Him. Abraham did not draw near on one day or at one time, but his good deeds drew him near every single day, from degree to degree, until he ascended in his degree.
120) When he was old, he properly entered the high degrees, as it is written, “And Abraham was old.” Then he was “Advanced in days,” in those high days, those days that are known as faith. “And the Lord had blessed Abraham in everything,” meaning Yesod of upper AVI, called “everything,” from which all the blessings and good emerges, for its abundance never ceases.
121) Happy are the penitents, for in one hour, in one day, in one moment, they draw near to the Creator. This was not so even for complete righteous, for they drew near to the Creator over several years. Abraham did not enter those high days until he was old. And so was David, as it is written, “Now King David was old and advanced in days.” But a penitent immediately enters and adheres to the Creator.
122) Where penitents stand, in that world, the complete righteous have no permission to stand, since they are closer to the King than anyone and they draw the abundance from above with more intention in the heart and with greater force to draw near to the King.
123) The Creator has several corrected places in that world, and in all of them there are abodes for the righteous, to each according to his appropriate degree.
124) “Happy is the one whom You choose and bring near to You; he will dwell in Your courts.” Those whom the Creator brings near Him, these souls rise from below upwards to unite in their designated lots. “Dwell in Your courts” are places and degrees outside the palace. And who are they? It is written, “Then I will give you moves among these that stand by.” This is a certain degree among the upper holy ones.
125) And all who are rewarded with this degree are emissaries of the Creator, like the angels. “Moves” means messengers, who always carry a mission, following their Master’s wish, since those are always in sanctity and have never been defiled.
126) One who has been defiled in this world draws upon him the spirit of impurity. When his soul departs him, the Sitra Achra defiles him and his abode is among the impure one. Those are the harm doers in the world, since as one draws upon himself in this world, so is his abode and so he extends in the eternal world.
127) Anyone who sanctifies himself and keeps himself in this world so he is not defiled, his abode is in that world, among the upper holy ones, who always carry out the Creator’s mission, who stand in the court, as it is written, “The court of the tabernacle.” It is written about them, “Happy is the one who will dwell in Your courts.”
128) And there are others, who are more interior, who are not at the court but in the house, as it is written, “May we be satisfied with the goodness of Your house.” David said, May we be satisfied with the goodness of Your house.” And since he said, “Will dwell in Your courts,” why does it say, “Satisfied with the goodness of Your house”? It should have said, “Will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house,” as it was written, “Will dwell in your courts.” However, there is no seat on the bench except for the kings of the house of David. This is why he spoke as though speaking in His favor, “Satisfied with the goodness of Your house” refers to himself and to the rest of the kings that have a seat on the bench, which is called “Your house,” meaning the Temple.
129) And there is room for the upper pious ones that enter even deeper inside, into the palace. It is said about them, “The holy place of Your Temple.” And there are several sections and lights upon lights, separate from one another in that world. And each is shamed by the light of his friend because as the good deeds differ between people in this world, the places of dwelling and their lights differ in that world.
130) Even in this world, when a person sleeps on his bed and the souls depart the body and need to roam in the world, not each and every soul roams and rises to see the face of Atik Yomin [the Ancient One]. Rather, one’s soul ascends according to what one always draws and according to one’s deeds.
131) When he sleeps and his soul departs, all the spirits of impurity grip her and she adheres to them, to those lower degrees that wander in the world. And they alert her of things that are soon to happen in the world, from what they’d heard from behind the curtain. And sometimes they tell her lies and fool her.
132) If one is rewarded, when he sleeps, his soul rises and walks and wanders and breaks a way for itself among the spirits of impurity. And they all declare and say, “Make way, make way, this one is not from our side.” And she rises and comes among those holy ones, and they inform her one true thing.
133) When the soul comes down, all those mixed camps—which are such angels that sacred and secular and impure are mingled in them—wish to draw near that soul, to know that true thing she had heard. They tell her other things, and that thing which she took from the holy ones—among the things that she took from the mixed camps—seems to her like a grain that is mixed in straw and hay. And this is the one who is greatly rewarded while still alive, while the soul is still in this world.
134) Similarly, when the souls depart the body of this world, after passing, they seek to rise. And there are several gatekeepers and camps of harm doers. If they are from their side, they all grip those souls and deliver them into the hand of Dumah, to place them in hell.
135) Afterwards they rise from hell and grip them, and they take them and declare about them, “These are the ones who broke the word of their Master,” and so they wander with them throughout the world. Afterwards they bring them back to hell. And this is what they do with them, bringing them out of hell, declaring, then bringing them back, and so on repeatedly through the end of twelve months. After twelve months they are calmed and come to their rightful place. But those souls that are rewarded rise up, as we explained, and are rewarded in their places.
136) Happy are the righteous, for much good awaits them in that world. And there is not a more intrinsic place for all those righteous as those who know their Master and know how to adhere to Him every day. It is written about them, “Neither has the eye seen.”
137) And those who are remote from perceiving a word of wisdom and wait for it, to understand the heart of the matter and to know their Master, those are the ones in whom the Creator is praised everyday. They are the ones who come among the upper holy ones, and they are the ones who enter all the upper gates, and there is no one to protest against them. Happy are they in this world and in the next.
138) Abraham went in to know and to properly adhere to his Master, after he first performed good deeds. He was rewarded with those upper days and was blessed from the place from which all blessings stem, as it is written, “And the Lord had blessed Abraham in everything.” What is “everything”? It is the place of the river whose waters never stop, Yesod of upper AVI, whose Zivug is never ending.
139) Abraham did not wish to mingle with the women in the world and to adhere to other idol worshipping nations, since the women of the other nations were idolaters and defiled their husbands and those that clung to them. This is because when Abraham knew wisdom, he knew the essence and the root, and from which place the spirits of impurity come out and roam in the world. This is why he adjured his servant not to take a wife for his son from the other nations.
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