416. He opened the discussion with the verse: "What is man, that You are mindful of him..." (Tehilim 8:5). It was explained that the ministers said this at the time when it was the Holy One, blessed be He, wish to create man. THEN He called many groups of the ministering angels and sat them in His presence. He told them, 'I wish to create man,' and they said, "Nevertheless man abides not in honor..." (Tehilim 49:13). The Holy One, blessed be He, extended His finger and put them in fire. He had other classes sit in His presence. He said to them, 'I wish to create man.' They replied, "What is man, that You are mindful of him?" What are the functions of this man? He replied to them' I WISH TO CREATE MAN, who will be in Our image, and whose wisdom will be above your wisdom.'
417. As soon as Adam was created and sinned, and left His presence with his verdict, Aza and Azael approached. They said to Him, We have a redress to complain about to You. Here is the man that You created and he sinned against You. He replied to them, 'If you would have been with them, you would have been worse than him.' What did the Holy One, blessed be He, do? He threw them down from heaven from their level of holiness.
419. Now, Let me return to the former subject. After the throwing down OF AZA AND AZAEL from their holy level by the Holy One, blessed be He, they whored after the women of the world and misled the world. Here we need to observe, as we find written: "Who makes the winds His messengers..." (Tehilim 104:4). Here, these angels were messengers. How could they exist on the earth? HE REPLIES: Just come and see. All the angels above exist, and can only exist by the higher light that illuminates for them and sustains them. If that light of the above is cut off from them, they cannot exist. Most certainly, these ANGELS, which the Holy One, blessed be He, threw down, and from whom He removed that high light, their glow changed. CONSEQUENTLY, when they fell and were under the dominance of the atmosphere, they transformed to another level.
421. What did the Holy One, blessed be He, do? He saw that they, AZA AND AZAEL, were misleading the world. He bound them with chains of iron in the dark mountains. Where are they situated? In the valley of the mountains. He placed Aza there and threw darkness in his face, because when the Holy One, blessed be He, bound them, he strengthened himself to provoke anger to the higher. AS A RESULT, the Holy One, blessed be He, dropped him down to his neck and threw darkness in his face. He placed Azael, who did not strengthen himself, next to Aza and illuminated the darkness for him.
422. People that know the location OF AZA AND AZAEL visit them. They teach people witchcraft, enchantments and divinations. These dark mountains are referred to as the mountains of old. What is the reason? Because the darkness preceded the light. That is why the dark mountains are called "Mountains of old." Laban and Bilaam learned witchcraft from them and that is what Bilaam said, "Balak the king of Moab has brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of old" (Bemidbar 23:7).
423. Come and see that Bilaam used to praise himself from this location, and said, "The saying of him who hears the words of El..." (Bemidbar 24:16). Aza and Azael used to tell people about these higher matters which they knew earlier WHEN THEY WERE above IN HEAVEN. They used to relate information from the holy world where they were. That is what it says, "Who hears the words of El." It is not written: 'who hears the voice of El,' but rather, "the words of El." These are the speeches and stories that AZA AND AZAEL used to relate of Him, OF EL, SIMILAR TO someone who comes from listening to a discourse IN A SEMINAR. They ask him, Where did you come from? He says, From listening to the speeches of the Holy King. The same is the meaning of: "who hears the words of El" and "knows the knowledge of the most High" (Ibid.) that he knew the times when Judgment impends on the world and focuses on that time with his witchcraft.
424. "Who sees the vision of Shadai" (Ibid.). What is "the vision of Shadai?" These are "falling down" and "having his eyes open," which refer to Aza and Azael. "Falling down" is Aza. WHY WAS HE CALLED "FALLING?" That is because the Holy One, blessed be He, stuck him into the depths of darkness where he stays with it up to his neck, as we mentioned, and darkness gets hurled into his face. That is why he is referred to by "falling down," because he fell from heaven and next he fell once more into the depths of darkness. Azael is "having his eyes open," because he was not covered with darkness, because he neither provoked nor angered like the one before, MEANING AZA. Bilaam referred to them by the words, "the vision of Shadai," which are "falling down" and "having his eyes open."
425. During that time, there was nobody in the world who was with them, AZA AND AZAEL, except for him, BILAAM, who would daily shut himself with them in those mountains. That is why it says, "Balak the king of Moab has brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of old," surely from "the mountains of old," WHICH ARE THE MOUNTAINS OF THE DARKNESS, AS MENTIONED, and not from the land of the people of the east (also: 'of old').
494. "And now, behold, I go to my people..." (Bemidbar 24:14). Rabbi Yehuda opened the discussion with the verse: "You shall not deliver to his master the servant...he shall dwell with you" (Devarim 23:16). How lovely are the words of the Torah before the Holy One, blessed be He, and how beloved is the Torah that he gave her as a legacy to the Congregation of Yisrael. Come and see: At the time they left Egypt, Bilaam heard that his witches and sorcerers, and all those ties THAT THEY PERFORMED, were not effective against Yisrael. He began to scratch himself and tear his hair out of his head. Then, he went to the mountains of darkness and reached the iron chains, WITH WHICH AZA AND AZAEL ARE BOUND.
495. This is the manner of the one who reaches them. As soon as a person enters there, between the mountaintops, Azael, THAT ONE that is called "having his eyes open" (Bemidbar 24:4), notices him. He immediately informs Aza. They then give the sound signal and the great burning snakes gather to them and surround them. They send a TYPE OF small CREATURE CALLED 'Onimta' towards that person. We were taught that it is a cat-like animal with a narrow snake-like head. It has two tails and its hands and feet are tiny. A person who sees it covers his face and brings A VESSEL WITH ASHES THAT IS CALLED 'smoked shreds' from the burning of a white rooster and throws them in front of the Onimta, which then comes with him.
496. He goes until he reaches the top of the chains, because the top of those chains is stuck into the ground and reaches to the great depths. In the great depths, there exists a socket that is stuck into the lower depth, and into that socket the top of the chains is connected. When a person reaches the top of the chain, he knocks at it three times. They, AZA AND AZAEL, call for him. He then kneels on his knees, bows down and continues to close his eyes until he reaches them. He then sits up in front of them and all these snakes surround him from either side. Then he opens his eyes and sees them. He is shaken, and he falls on his face and bows towards them.
497. Afterwards, AZA AND AZAEL teach him magic and sorcery, and he stays with them for fifty days. When the time arrives to leave on his way, that LITTLE CREATURE CALLED 'Onimta' and all these snakes walk in front of him, until he leaves the mountain ranges from in between that heavy darkness.
498. When Bilaam reached AZA AND AZAEL, he told them WHAT HE NEEDED FROM THEM, locked himself with them in the mountains and asked to denounce YISRAEL and return them to Egypt. The Holy One, blessed be He, confused and impaired all the wisdoms in the world, and all the magic in the world, so they could not get close TO YISRAEL.