Fish and Grasshoppers Do Not Require Slaughtering

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118) Fish and grasshoppers do not require slaughtering. Rather, collecting them is what permits them. Such are the heads of the seminary; they do not require slaughtering when they die, as with the rest of the people, who are slaughtered by the sword of the angel of death. Rather, it is said about them, “and was gathered unto his people.” They are gathered without slaughtering, which turns a man into a corpse.

As the fish live in the sea, the disciples of the wise, authors of the Mishnah, live in the Torah. If they are separated from the Torah, they die at once. The Tannaim of the Mishnah are grown in the Torah, like the fish of the sea are in the sea. And if those that are on land go into the water and do not know how to float, they die. But a man who is an author of Kabbalah is above them all. It is said of him, “and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air.” Those are the authors of the Mishnah.

119) The authors of the Mishnah are the great sea-monster, the Bariach [“Boa,” but also “bar”] serpent, after the “middle Bariach in the midst of the boards,” which is Tifferet. And when there is a dispute between the sea monsters, there is dispute among the authors of the Mishnah, and they ask one another, and one swallows the other. If it is a small disciple, who has not achieved teaching and instruction, he must die. And if they are equal and dispute, it is finally said about them, “Vaheb in Suphah,” and we explained, Ahava be sofa [love in the end].

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