Kabbalah #1
1 א

ואשוב לפירוש הפסוק, אמר דע את אלקי אביך (דה"א כח, ט), הידיעה הוא ידיעת שמו, וצריך הדבר להיות לו בקבלה, וזהו שאמר אביך, כענין שנאמר (דברים לב, ז) שאל אביך ויגדך זקניך ויאמרו לך.

2 ב

Our sages tell us that Torah can be interpreted in four different general ways: peshat, remez, drush and sod.

1) Peshat is the simple interpretation of the Torah.

2) Remez is the different hints and allusions which are contained within the Torah. [One of the methodologies the Torah employs to make these hints is gematryia, the numerical value of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.]

3) Drush (or Midrash) expounds upon the deeper meaning of the verse.

4) Sod (secret) is the esoteric, mystical part of Torah.

3 ג

1]Theoretical Kabbalah (the main focus of the Zohar and Luria) seeks to understand and describe the divine realm.

[1)the knowledge of the existence of the Hishtalshelut 2) explaining biblical stories and verses in a esoteric way 3) Imbuing a deeper meaning in our lives 4) alternative history]

2]Meditative Kabbalah strives to achieve a mystical union with G-d.

3]Practical Kabbalah endeavours to alter both the Divine realms and the World.

4 ד

Abraham ben Samuel Abulafia (Hebrew: אברהם בן שמואל אבולעפיה) was the founder of the school of "Prophetic Kabbalah". He was born in Zaragoza, Spain in 1240 and is assumed to have died sometime after 1291.

In his numerous works Abulafia focuses on complex devices for uniting G-d, through the recitation of divine names, together with breathing techniques and cathartic practices.

Abulafia strove for spiritual experience, which he viewed as a prophetic state similar to or even identical with that of the ancient Jewish prophets.

Abulafia’s method includes a number of steps.

  • The first step, preparation: the initiate purifies himself through fasting, the wearing of tefillin, and donning pure white garments.
  • The second step: the mystic writes out specific letter groups and their permutations.
  • The third step, physiological maneuvers: the mystic chants the letters in conjunction with specific respiratory patterns, as well as head positioning......
5 ה

According to the Kabbalah, the way palm reading works is that when a soul is garbed in a body, it becomes imprinted in the body, particularly in the face and hands, and its nature can thereby be revealed.

6 ו

Zohar

68) “This is the book of the generations of Adam.” It speaks of forms, concerning forms of people, to recognize the form is in the secrets of Adam in those generations of Adam: in the hair, in the forehead, in the eyes, in the face, in the lips, in the lines of the palms, and in the ears. By those seven are people recognized.

7 ז
(כא) וְאַתָּ֣ה תֶחֱזֶ֣ה מִכָּל־הָ֠עָם אַנְשֵׁי־חַ֜יִל יִרְאֵ֧י אֱלֹקִ֛ים אַנְשֵׁ֥י אֱמֶ֖ת שֹׂ֣נְאֵי בָ֑צַע וְשַׂמְתָּ֣ עֲלֵהֶ֗ם שָׂרֵ֤י אֲלָפִים֙ שָׂרֵ֣י מֵא֔וֹת שָׂרֵ֥י חֲמִשִּׁ֖ים וְשָׂרֵ֥י עֲשָׂרֹֽת׃

(21) You shall also seek out from among all the people capable men who fear G-d, trustworthy men who spurn ill-gotten gain. Set these over them as chiefs of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens,

8 ח

zohar volume 2

171) It is written, “And you shall behold out of the whole people brave men who fear G-d, men of truth, who hate greed.” It does not say, “select.” rather it says “See” meaning according to one’s sight, in the form of the person, in those six Behinot [discernments] that we learn, and it is all in this verse.

“And you will see” is 1, in the hair.

“Out of the whole people” is 2, in the forehead.

“Brave men” is 3, in the face.

“Who fear G-d” is 4, in the eyes.

“Men of truth” is 5, in the lips.

“Who hate greed” is 6, in the hands, in their lines.

172) Those are the signs by which those that the spirit of Hochma [wisdom] is over them...

9 ט

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, writes that in order for palmistry (or chiromancy) to be accurate and authentic, one needs to have knowledge of the mystical origins of people’s souls, as well as to be proficient in the art of palmistry.

However, nowadays, one can learn this craft only from a true master of the Kabbalah, and not on one’s own (by reading books, etc.). About those who attempt to learn this craft without an authentic tradition, the verse in Proverbs can be applied to them: “For many are the dead that she has felled, and numerous are all her victims.”

The Rebbe adds that he would be “very surprised” if there is anyone alive who could claim to be an expert in these matters (especially since someone who is truly proficient would reveal these secrets only to a student who is worthy and G‑d-fearing). Therefore, a person should stay away from palmistry and similar things.

The Rebbe would often write that instead of seeking remedies in hand-readers or the like, one should strengthen one’s faith in G‑d, who “heals all flesh and performs wonders.”

10 י
רבא ברא גברא שדריה לקמיה דר' זירא הוה קא משתעי בהדיה ולא הוה קא מהדר ליה אמר ליה מן חבריא את הדר לעפריך רב חנינא ורב אושעיא הוו יתבי כל מעלי שבתא ועסקי בספר יצירה ומיברו להו עיגלא תילתא ואכלי ליה
Indeed, Rava created a man, a golem, using forces of sanctity. Rava sent his creation before Rabbi Zeira. Rabbi Zeira would speak to him but he would not reply. Rabbi Zeira said to him: You were created by one of the members of the group, one of the Sages. Return to your dust. The Gemara relates another fact substantiating the statement that the righteous could create a world if they so desired: Rav Ḥanina and Rav Oshaya would sit every Shabbat eve and engage in the study of Sefer Yetzira, and a third-born calf [igla tilta] would be created for them, and they would eat it in honor of Shabbat.
11 יא

(טו) אוחז את העינים אסור וע"י ספר יצירה מותר (אפילו לעשות מעשה) (טור):

12 יב

(א) וכ"כ ה"ר ישעיה כל אדם שעושה על ידי שמותיו הקדושים מותר שהוא גדולתו וגבורתו של הקב"ה ואין אסור אלא ע"י שדים

13 יג

1] Rabbi Jacob Emden (d. 1776) elaborated on the story in a book published in 1748:

"As an aside, I'll mention here what I heard from my father's holy mouth regarding the Golem created by his ancestor, the Gaon R. Eliyahu Ba'al Shem of blessed memory. When the Gaon saw that the Golem was growing larger and larger, he feared that the Golem would destroy the universe. He then removed the Holy Name that was embedded on his forehead, thus causing him to disintegrate and return to dust. Nonetheless, while he was engaged in extracting the Holy Name from him, the Golem injured him, scarring him on the face."

2] The most famous golem narrative involves Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the late 16th century rabbi of Prague, also known as the Maharal, who reportedly "created a golem out of clay from the banks of the Vltava River and brought it to life through rituals and Hebrew incantations to defend the Prague ghetto from anti-Semitic attacks" and pogroms.

3]There is a tradition relating to the Vilna Gaon or "the saintly genius from Vilnius" (1720–1797). Rabbi Chaim Volozhin (Lithuania 1749–1821) reported in an introduction to Sifra de Tzeniuta that he once presented to his teacher, the Vilna Gaon, ten different versions of a certain passage in the Sefer Yetzira and asked the Gaon to determine the correct text. The Gaon immediately identified one version as the accurate rendition of the passage. The amazed student then commented to his teacher that, with such clarity, he should easily be able to create a live human. The Gaon affirmed Rabbi Chaim's assertion, and said that he once began to create a person when he was a child, under the age of 13, but during the process he received a sign from Heaven ordering him to desist because of his tender age.

14 יד

Practical Kabbalah was prohibited by the Arizal until the Temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt and the required state of ritual purity is attainable.

15 טו

Tanya

However, the knowledge of the existence of the Hishtalshelut is also a lofty and exalted mitzvah.

Indeed, it outweighs them all, all of the mitzvot and the study of the laws of the Torah. Thus it is written, “Know this day [...that the L‑rd is G‑d],”

and “Know the G‑d of your father...”; i.e., there is an obligation to attain a knowledge or apprehension of G- D, Moreover, this leads to a “whole heart,” for the latter verse concludes, “and serve Him with a whole heart”; i.e., a knowledge of G‑d leads one to serve Him with one’s entire being.

16 טז
(ה) רְעֵבִ֥ים גַּם־צְמֵאִ֑ים נַ֝פְשָׁ֗ם בָּהֶ֥ם תִּתְעַטָּֽף׃
(5) Hungry and thirsty, their spirit failed.
17 יז

The Baal Shem Tov expounded this concept in his inter­pretation of the verse, “Hungry and thirsty, their soul longs within.” The Baal Shem Tov asks, “Why are they hungry and thirsty? — Because ‘their soul longs within.’ Their souls seek a bond with the G‑dly energy contained in the food and drink.”

18 יח

(יד) (דניאל י״ב:י׳) וְהַמַשְׂכִּילִים יָבִינוּ, מִסִּטְרָא דְּבִינָה, דְּאִיהוּ אִילָנָא דְּחַיִּי, בְּגִינַיְיהוּ אִתְּמַר, (דניאל י״ב:ג׳) וְהַמַשְׂכִּילִים יַזְהִירוּ כְּזוֹהַר הָרָקִיעַ בְּהַאי חִבּוּרָא דִּילָךְ דְּאִיהוּ סֵפֶר הַזֹּהַר, מִן זוֹהֲרָא דְּאִימָא עִלָּאָה תְּשׁוּבָה. בְּאִלֵּין לָא צָּרִיךְ נִסָּיוֹן, וּבְגִין דַּעֲתִידִין יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמִטְעַם מֵאִילָנָא דְּחַיִּי, דְּאִיהוּ הַאי סֵפֶר הַזֹּהַר, יִפְּקוּן בֵּיהּ מִן גָּלוּתָא בְּרַחֲמֵי. וְיִתְקַיֵּים בְּהוֹן, (דברים ל״ב:י״ב) יי בָּדָד יַנְחֶנּוּ וְאֵין עִמּוֹ אֵל נֵכָר.

Ra’aya Mehemna on Parshat Nasso comments:

“With this work of yours, [i.e. of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, which is the Book of the Zohar with those [who study this work] .... the Jewish people will taste of the Tree of Life, which is this Book of the Zohar, and they will go out of exile with it, in mercy.

19 יט

(ו) וַיִּפֶן כֹּה וָכֹה, אִם אִית מָאן דְּיִתְעַר בִּתְיוּבְתָּא לְתַבְרָא בֵּית אֲסוּרִין דִּלְהוֹן, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (ישעיה מט ט) לֵאמֹר לַאֲסוּרִים צֵאוּ, וְלַאֲשֶׁר בַּחֹשֶׁךְ הִגָּלוּ, וַיִּפֶן כֹּה וָכֹה וַיַּרְא כִּי אֵין אִישׁ, אֶלָּא אִישׁ לְדַרְכּוֹ פָּנוּ, בַּעֲסָקִין דִּלְהוֹן, בְּאוֹרְחִין דִּלְהוֹן, אִישׁ לְבִצְעוֹ מִקָּצֵהוּ, בְּבִצְעָא דְהַאי עָלְמָא, לְיַרְתָא הַאי עָלְמָא, וְלַאו אִינוּן מִסִּטְרָא דְאִלֵּין דְּאִתְּמַר בְּהוֹן (שמות יח כא), אַנְשֵׁי חַיִל, יִרְאֵי אלקי''ם, אַנְשֵׁי אֱמֶת, שֹׂנְאֵי בָצַע, אֶלָּא כֻּלְּהוּ צָוְוחִין בִּצְלוֹתִין בְּיוֹמָא דְכִפּוּרֵי כַכְּלָבִים, הַב לָנָא מְזוֹנָא, וּסְלִיחָה וְכַפָּרָה וְחַיֵּי, כָּתְבֵנוּ לְחַיִּים, וְאִינוּן עַזֵּי נֶפֶשׁ כַּכְּלָבִים, דְּאִינוּן אוּמִין דְּעָלְמָא דְצָוְוחֵי לְגַבֵּיהּ וְלֵית לוֹן בֹּשֶׁת אַנְפִּין, דְּלָא אִית מָאן דְּקָרָא לֵיהּ בִּתְיוּבְתָּא, דְיַחֲזוֹר שְׁכִינְתֵּיהּ לְקוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא, דְאִיהִי מְרַחֲקָא מִנֵּיהּ, לְמֶהדַר לְגַבֵּיהּ, וְאִדַּמְיָין לִכְלָבִים, דְּאִתְּמַר בְּהוֹן (תהלים קו לה) וַיִּתְעָרְבוּ בַגּוֹיִם וַיִּלְמְדוּ מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם, וְאִינוּן עִרֶב רַב, דְּכָל חֶסֶד דְּעָבְדִין לְגַרְמַיְהוּ עָבְדִין.

20 כ

Tanya

Thus R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, wrote that it is only in these latter generations that “it is permitted and obligatory to reveal this wisdom” — i.e., the Kabbalah, which illuminates the esoteric dimension of the Torah — but not in the earlier generations.

21 כא

Why is learning the inner aspects of the Torah so important nowadays? The answer is twofold:

a) The rabbis write of the tremendous descent of later generations. We are like a person in a deep slumber or coma, unaware of and unattuned to the holiness of G‑d and His Torah. Additionally, the world at large has descended into a much deeper spiritual darkness. Under such conditions, the only antidote is to unleash the power of the inner light of Torah.

b) As expounded upon by the Zohar, the Arizal, the Baal Shem Tov, and the Vilna Gaon, among many others, learning the inner teachings of the Torah is a crucial preparation for the coming of the Moshiach and the final redemption.

22 כב

On Rosh Hashanah of the year 5507 (1746), I made a [Kabbalistic] oath and elevated my soul. . . . I saw wondrous things in a vision, the likes of which I had never witnessed since the day my mind first began to awaken. . . . I went up from level to level until I entered the Palace of the Messiah. . . . I asked the Messiah, “When will you come, Master?” And he replied, “By this you shall know: it will be a time when your teachings become publicized and revealed to the world, and your wellsprings have overflowed to the outside . . .”

23 כג

Tanya igeres hakodesh letter 26

This means that at the time of the exile of the Shechinah — which grants life-force to the chitzonim that belong in the realm of kelipat nogah...at this time the main spiritual task of man, and the main purpose of being engaged in Torah and the commandments, is to disencumber and elevate the sparks, as is known from the teachings of R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory..For this reason, study chiefly involves deliberation and argumentation on the laws of issur and hetter, impurity and purity,in order to disencumber the permitted and the pure from the forbidden and the impure by means of deliberation and argumentation on the law — with wisdom, understanding and knowledge, with all the three intellective faculties of the soul that clarify the law.

Thus the Gemara teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, says of whoever engages in the study of the Torah..., “I account it as if he had redeemed Me and My children from among the nations of the world.”

But when the Shechinah will emerge from kelipat nogah [or: from the kelipot]

after the extraction of the sparks will be completed, and the evil of the kelipot will be separated from the good of holiness, “and all the workers of evil will be dispersed,” and the Tree of [Knowledge of] Good and Evil (which is of kelipat nogah and which prevails during the time of exile) will no longer be dominant, because the good will have departed from it, then people will engage in the study of Torah and in the observance of the commandments not in order to extract the sparks, as in the present, but in order to bring about the consummation of yichudim (“unions” or “marriages” of Sefirot) more sublime than those which are effected through our present Torah study — in order to call forth more sublime lights, transcending Atzilut. Everything [will be accomplished] by means of the pnimiyut of the Torah, the esoteric dimension of the Torah, by the performance of the commandments with lofty mystical devotions directed to [drawing down] sublime “lights” [from the Divine Luminary].

24 כד

(יג) וְעִנְיְנֵי אַרְבָּעָה פְּרָקִים אֵלּוּ שֶׁבְּחָמֵשׁ מִצְוֹת הָאֵלּוּ הֵם שֶׁחֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים קוֹרְאִין אוֹתוֹ פַּרְדֵּס כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ אַרְבָּעָה נִכְנְסוּ לַפַּרְדֵּס. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁגְּדוֹלֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הָיוּ וַחֲכָמִים גְּדוֹלִים הָיוּ לֹא כֻּלָּם הָיָה בָּהֶן כֹּחַ לֵידַע וּלְהַשִּׂיג כָּל הַדְּבָרִים עַל בֻּרְיָן. וַאֲנִי אוֹמֵר שֶׁאֵין רָאוּי לְטַיֵּל בַּפַּרְדֵּס אֶלָּא מִי שֶׁנִּתְמַלֵּא כְּרֵסוֹ לֶחֶם וּבָשָׂר. וְלֶחֶם וּבָשָׂר הוּא לֵידַע הָאָסוּר וְהַמֻּתָּר וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶם מִשְּׁאָר הַמִּצְוֹת. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁדְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ דָּבָר קָטָן קָרְאוּ אוֹתָן חֲכָמִים שֶׁהֲרֵי אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים דָּבָר גָּדוֹל מַעֲשֵׂה מֶרְכָּבָה וְדָבָר קָטָן הֲוָיוֹת דְּאַבַּיֵּי וְרָבָא. אַף עַל פִּי כֵן רְאוּיִין הֵן לְהַקְדִּימָן. שֶׁהֵן מְיַשְּׁבִין דַּעְתּוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם תְּחִלָּה. וְעוֹד שֶׁהֵם הַטּוֹבָה הַגְּדוֹלָה שֶׁהִשְׁפִּיעַ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְיִשּׁוּב הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה כְּדֵי לִנְחל חַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. וְאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיְּדָעֵם הַכּל קָטָן וְגָדוֹל אִישׁ וְאִשָּׁה בַּעַל לֵב רָחָב וּבַעַל לֵב קָצָר:

(13) The subjects in these four chapters of these five commandments, are the same which the early sages speak of as Vineyard, saying: "Four entered the vineyard" (Haggigah 14), who, though great men in Israel and great scholars, not all of them had the intellectual power to know and grasp all these matters clearly; and I say that no one is deserving to promenade in the Vineyard unless he be filled with intellectual bread and meat, that is to say: one must know what is forbidden and what is permitted and similar to these of the rest of the commandments. And, although these matters were pronounced by the sages as of lesser importance, for they said: "A great matter is the Works of the Chariot, and a small matter is the controversies of Abyia and Raba,. Nevertheless, they have precedence as a study because they commence to compose man's mind; moreover, they are the store of great good which the Holy One, blessed is He, hath provided for the social existence of this world, so that the life of the world to Come may also be inherited, and be accessible to all, little and great, men and women, to one of broad understanding as well as to one of lesser understanding.

25 כה

גם המקובלים ושאר האחרונים הפליגו בדבר שלא ללמוד חכמת הקבלה עד אחר שמילא כריסו מהש"ס ויש שכתבו שלא ללמוד קבלה עד שיהא בן ארבעים שנה כמ"ש בן ארבעים לבינה בשגם שצריך קדושה וטהרה וזריזות ונקיות לזה ורוב המתפרצים לעלות בחכמה זו קודם הזמן הראוי קומטו בלא עת כמ"ש כל זה בד' חכמי האמת:

26 כו
הָיֹ֣ה הָיָ֣ה דְבַר־יְ֠הוָה אֶל־יְחֶזְקֵ֨אל בֶּן־בּוּזִ֧י הַכֹּהֵ֛ן בְּאֶ֥רֶץ כַּשְׂדִּ֖ים עַל־נְהַר־כְּבָ֑ר וַתְּהִ֥י עָלָ֛יו שָׁ֖ם יַד־יְהוָֽה׃

the word of the L-RD came to the priest Ezekiel son of Buzi, by the Chebar Canal, in the land of the Chaldeans. And the hand of the L-RD came upon him there.

27 כז
וָאֵ֡רֶא וְהִנֵּה֩ ר֨וּחַ סְעָרָ֜ה בָּאָ֣ה מִן־הַצָּפ֗וֹן עָנָ֤ן גָּדוֹל֙ וְאֵ֣שׁ מִתְלַקַּ֔חַת וְנֹ֥גַֽהּ ל֖וֹ סָבִ֑יב וּמִ֨תּוֹכָ֔הּ כְּעֵ֥ין הַחַשְׁמַ֖ל מִתּ֥וֹךְ הָאֵֽשׁ׃
I looked, and lo, a stormy wind came sweeping out of the north—a huge cloud and flashing fire, surrounded by a radiance; and in the center of it, in the center of the fire, a gleam as of amber.
28 כח
וּמִ֨תּוֹכָ֔הּ דְּמ֖וּת אַרְבַּ֣ע חַיּ֑וֹת וְזֶה֙ מַרְאֵֽיהֶ֔ן דְּמ֥וּת אָדָ֖ם לָהֵֽנָּה׃
In the center of it were also the figures of four creatures. And this was their appearance: They had the figures of human beings.
29 כט
וְאַרְבָּעָ֥ה פָנִ֖ים לְאֶחָ֑ת וְאַרְבַּ֥ע כְּנָפַ֖יִם לְאַחַ֥ת לָהֶֽם׃
However, each had four faces, and each of them had four wings;
30 ל

(א) אֵין דּוֹרְשִׁין בַּעֲרָיוֹת בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה. וְלֹא בְמַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית בִּשְׁנַיִם. וְלֹא בַמֶּרְכָּבָה בְּיָחִיד, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיָה חָכָם וּמֵבִין מִדַּעְתּוֹ. כָּל הַמִּסְתַּכֵּל בְּאַרְבָּעָה דְּבָרִים, רָאוּי לוֹ כְּאִלּוּ לֹא בָּא לָעוֹלָם, מַה לְּמַעְלָה, מַה לְּמַטָּה, מַה לְּפָנִים, וּמַה לְּאָחוֹר. וְכָל שֶׁלֹּא חָס עַל כְּבוֹד קוֹנוֹ, רָאוּי לוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בָּא לָעוֹלָם:

(1) They may not expound upon the subject of forbidden relations in the presence of three. Nor the work of creation in the presence of two. Nor [the work of] the chariot in the presence of one, unless he is a sage and understands of his own knowledge.

31 לא
מיד ירד רבן יוחנן בן זכאי מעל החמור ונתעטף וישב על האבן תחת הזית אמר לו רבי מפני מה ירדת מעל החמור אמר אפשר אתה דורש במעשה מרכבה ושכינה עמנו ומלאכי השרת מלוין אותנו ואני ארכב על החמור מיד פתח ר"א בן ערך במעשה המרכבה ודרש וירדה אש מן השמים וסיבבה כל האילנות שבשדה פתחו כולן ואמרו שירה
Immediately, Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai alighted from the donkey, and wrapped his head in his cloak in a manner of reverence, and sat on a stone under an olive tree. Rabbi Elazar said to him: My teacher, for what reason did you alight from the donkey? He said: Is it possible that while you are expounding the Design of the Divine Chariot, and the Divine Presence is with us, and the ministering angels are accompanying us, that I should ride on a donkey? Immediately, Rabbi Elazar ben Arakh began to discuss the Design of the Divine Chariot and expounded, and fire descended from heaven and encircled all the trees in the field, and all the trees began reciting song.
32לב

ת"ר ארבעה נכנסו בפרדס ואלו הן בן עזאי ובן זומא אחר ורבי עקיבא אמר להם ר"ע כשאתם מגיעין אצל אבני שיש טהור אל תאמרו מים מים משום שנאמר (תהלים קא, ז) דובר שקרים לא יכון לנגד עיני בן עזאי הציץ ומת עליו הכתוב אומר (תהלים קטז, טו) יקר בעיני יי המותה לחסידיו בן זומא הציץ ונפגע ועליו הכתוב אומר (משלי כה, טז) דבש מצאת אכול דייך פן תשבענו והקאתו אחר קיצץ בנטיעות רבי עקיבא יצא בשלום

The Rabbis taught: There were four who entered the Orchard (a reference to the Garden of Eden), and they are - Ben Azzai, Ben Zoma, Acher (Elisha Ben Avuya) and Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva said to them:"When you reach near the pure marble stones, do not say 'Water, water'," Because it is said, "A speaker of lies shall not abide before my eyes (Psalms 101:7)." Ben Azzai glanced and died, and upon him the verse says, "It is precious in the eyes of Hashem, the death to his pious (Psalms 116:15)." Ben Zoma glanced and was hurt (mentally; he went insane), and upon him the verse says, "Honey you have found- eat [only] your fill, lest you become satisfied of it and regurgitate it (Proverbs 25:16)." Acher chopped down saplings [ie. he became a heretic]. Rabbi Akiva emerged in peace.

33 לג
וכשנאמרו הדברים לפני ר' יהושע היה הוא ורבי יוסי הכהן מהלכים בדרך אמרו אף אנו נדרוש במעשה מרכבה פתח רבי יהושע ודרש ואותו היום תקופת תמוז היה נתקשרו שמים בעבים ונראה כמין קשת בענן והיו מלאכי השרת מתקבצין ובאין לשמוע כבני אדם שמתקבצין ובאין לראות במזמוטי חתן וכלה
The Gemara relates: And when these matters, this story involving his colleague Rabbi Elazar ben Arakh, were recounted before Rabbi Yehoshua, he was walking along the way with Rabbi Yosei the Priest. They said: We too shall expound the Design of the Divine Chariot. Rabbi Yehoshua began expounding. And that was the day of the summer solstice, when there are no clouds in the sky. Yet the heavens became filled with clouds, and there was the appearance of a kind of rainbow in a cloud. And ministering angels gathered and came to listen, like people gathering and coming to see the rejoicing of a bridegroom and bride.
34 לד

(א) בשלשים ושתים נתיבות פליאות חכמה חקק י--ה יי צבאות אלקי ישראל אלוקים חיים ומלך עולם אל שדי רחום וחנון רם ונשא שוכן עד וקדוש שמו מרום וקדוש הוא וברא את עולמו בשלשה ספרים בספר בספר וספור:

(1) With 32 mystical paths of Wisdom/ engraved Yah/ the Lord of Hosts/ the God of Israel/the living God/ King of the universe/ El Shaddai/ Merciful and Gracious/ High and Exalted/ Dwelling in eternity/ Whose name is Holy -/ He is lofty and holy -/ And He created His universe/ with three books (Sepharim),/ with text (Sepher)/ with numbers (Sephar)/ and with communication (Sippur)....