And Behold, It Was Very Good

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432) “And behold, it was very good” is the angel of death. Why do you say here that because of him, it does not say “It was good” on the second day? Indeed, here is the secret of secrets. Of course the angel of death is very good, since all the people in the world know that they will die and return to dust, and therefore many repent and return to their Master because of this fear. They fear sinning before Him. Many fear the King because a rope is hanging before them. Indeed, how good is the rope for people, for it makes them good and genuine and they correct their ways properly. “And behold, it was very good,” indeed, “Very.”

433) “And it was good” is the angel of life. “Very” is the angel of death, who is more important. When the Creator created the world, everything was corrected until Adam came, who is the king of this world. When Adam came, He made him corrected in the path of truth, as it is written, “God made men upright, but they have made many calculations.” “He made him upright” and then he sinned and was expelled from the Garden of Eden.

434) The Garden of Eden is planted in the earth, in those plantations that the Creator planted, as it is written, “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward.” He planted it in the complete Name, HaVaYaH Elokim, such as the upper Garden of Eden above, and all the upper forms are embroidered and pictured in this Garden of Eden below. There are the Cherubim there. They are not engraved in the carving of people of gold or of other things. Rather, they are all lights above, engraved and carved in an embroidered image, a master craftsman’s work of the Creator’s complete name. They are all engraved there, and all the forms and images of this world, people’s spirits, pictured, decorated, and engraved there as though they were in this world.

435) This place is an abode for the holy spirits, between those that have already come to this world, those that have not yet come into this world, and those that are destined to come into this world. They are all spirits that clothe in garments, bodies, and faces such as this world, and there they observe the brightness of the honor of their Maker until they come into this world.

436) When they come out of there to come into this world, the spirits undress the body and clothing of the Garden of Eden, and clothe the body and clothing of this world, making their abode in this world, in this clothing and body, which is from a stinking smut.

437) And when it is his time to go, to leave this world and go, he does not leave before the angel of death undresses this clothing and this body. Once the body has been stripped of the spirit through the angel of death, the spirit goes and dresses in the other body in the Garden of Eden, from which it undressed upon its coming into this world. There is joy for the body only in that body which is there, and he is happy that he stripped off the body of this world and wore the other, complete clothing from the Garden of Eden, which is similar to this world. He sits in it and walks and observes to know high secrets, which he could not know or observe while he was in this world in this body.

438) When the soul dresses in a clothing of that world, what refinements and what delights has he there? Who caused the spirit to clothe the body in the Garden of Eden? Who is it who undressed him of these clothes of this world? It is the angel of death. Thus, the angel of death is very good, and the Creator performs Hesed [grace] with people when He does not strip the man of the clothes of this world before He fixes up other garments for him, more honorable and better than the ones in the Garden of Eden.

439) The exception are the wicked of the world. They do not return in complete repentance to their Master. They came naked into this world and they shall return there naked. The soul walks with shame from other souls because she has no clothing at all. She is sentenced in Hell in the earth, from the fire that is above.

Some of them appear in Hell and rise at once. Those are the wicked in the world, who contemplated in repentance in their hearts, and died and could not repent. Those are sentenced there in Hell, and appear, and then rise.

440) See how merciful is the Creator over His creations: even the most wicked, who contemplates repentance but cannot repent and dies, certainly receives punishment for having departed the world without repentance, but afterwards, that desire to repent, which He placed in his heart, does not go unnoticed by the upper King, and the Creator fixes a place for the wicked in an abode in the netherworld, where he appears in repentance. It is so because a desire comes down from before the Creator and breaks all the powers of the guards over the gates of the chambers of Hell, and reaches the place of that wicked, knocks in him, and evokes in him the desire to repent, as he had had during his life. Then that soul appears so as to rise out of the abode in the netherworld.

441) There is no good will that is lost from the holy King. Because of it, happy is he who contemplates good thoughts for his Master. Even though he cannot do them, the Creator regards his will as though he did. This is for the best. However, the Creator does not consider an ill will as an act, except for contemplation of idol worship.

442) Those who did not contemplate repentance go down to the netherworld and do not rise from there for generations. It is written about them, “As the cloud is consumed and vanishes, so he that goes down to the netherworld shall come up no more.” It is written about the previous ones, “The Lord kills, and makes alive; He brings down to the netherworld, and brings up.”

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