23. We learned that on the day Rabbi Shimon wanted to depart from the world, and was putting his affairs in order, the friends gathered in the house of Rabbi Shimon. Before him were Rabbi Elazar, his son, and Rabbi Aba and other friends, and the house was full. Rabbi Shimon lifted up his eyes and saw that the house had become full. Rabbi Shimon wept and said, Another time when I was ill, Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair was before me, and they waited for me until I inquired about my place IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN. When I returned, a fire circled me, which never stopped. No one entered MY HOUSE except by permission. Now I see THE FIRE stopped, and behold the house is full.
24. While they were sitting, Rabbi Shimon opened his eyes and saw what he saw, and fire encircled the house. Everybody left, and only Rabbi Elazar his son and Rabbi Aba remained, while the rest of the friends stayed outside. Rabbi Shimon said to Rabbi Elazar his son, Go out and see if Rabbi Yitzchak is here, because I was a guarantor for him. Tell him to settle his affairs and sit by me. Happy is his portion.
25. Rabbi Shimon rose and sat down, laughed and rejoiced. He said, Where are the friends? Rabbi Elazar rose and let them in, and they sat before him. Rabbi Shimon raised his hands, recited a prayer and was glad. He said, Let the friends that were present at the assembly, NAMELY THE IDRA RABA, come here. They all left, and Rabbi Elazar his son, Rabbi Aba, Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Chiya stayed. In the meanwhile Rabbi Yitzchak entered. Rabbi Shimon said to him, How deserved is your portion. How much joy should be added to you on this day. Rabbi Aba sat behind him and Rabbi Elazar before him.
26. Rabbi Shimon said, Now it is time of goodwill, and I want to come without shame into the World to Come. Here are holy matters that I have not revealed until now. I wish to reveal them before the Shechinah so it shall not be said that I have gone from this world in want - until now they have been hidden in my heart, so I can enter through them into the World to Come.
27. This is how I am going to arrange you: Rabbi Aba shall write, Rabbi Elazar, my son, shall recite orally, and the other friends shall speak in their hearts. Rabbi Aba rose from behind his back. Rabbi Elazar was sitting in front of him. RABBI SHIMON said to him, Rise my son, for another shall sit in this place. Rabbi Elazar rose.
28. Rabbi Shimon wrapped himself IN HIS GARMENT, and sat down. He started by saying, "The dead cannot praise Yah, nor can any who go down into silence (Heb. dumah)" (Tehilim 115:17). Surely "The dead cannot praise Yah," those who are considered dead, because the Holy One, blessed be He, is called living and dwells among those who are called living, NAMELY THE RIGHTEOUS, and not with those that are considered dead, NAMELY THE WICKED. The end of the verse PROVES IT, as it is written, "nor can any who go down into Dumah," namely all those who go down to THE ANGEL Dumah, and remain in Gehenom. But it is not so with those who are called living, THE RIGHTEOUS, that the Holy One, blessed be He, delights to honor.
29. Rabbi Shimon said, How different is this time from the Idra RABA IN THE PORTION OF NASO, since in the Idra the Holy One, blessed be He, came with His Chariots. Now the Holy One, blessed be He, is here, coming with the righteous that are in the Garden of Eden, which has not happened at the Idra. And the Holy One, blessed be He, delights in the honor of the righteous more than His own honor, as it is written about Jeroboam that he used to make offerings and worship idols, yet the Holy One, blessed be He, waited for him AND DID NOT PUNISH HIM. But once he stretched his hands against Ido the prophet, his hand dried up, as it is written, "And his hand...dried up" (I Melachim 13:4). It is not mentioned because he worshipped idols, but because he put out his hand against Ido the prophet. Now the Holy One, blessed be He, delights in our honor as all THE RIGHTEOUS IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN came with Him.
30. RABBI SHIMON said, Here is Rav Hamnuna Saba, and around him seventy righteous people engraved with crowns, and shining each from the splendor of the radiance of the most concealed Atika Kadisha. He comes gladly to listen to the things I am saying. As he was sitting he said, since Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair is here, prepare his seat. The friends that were there trembled, rose and sat at the corners of the house, and Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Aba remained before Rabbi Shimon. Rabbi Shimon said, In the Idra RABA, the situation was that all the friends were talking and I among them. Now I shall alone speak and everyone will listen to my words, higher and lower beings. Happy is my portion on this day.
95. All the matters in the Idra RABA are correct and they are all are holy matters, which stray neither right nor left. They are all hidden matters, revealed to those who entered WISDOM and came out OF IT COMPLETELY. All mysteries are in such a way THAT THEY ARE REVEALED SOLELY TO THOSE WHO CAME IN AND CAME OUT. Until now these matters, WHICH I HAVE DISCLOSED HERE, were hidden, because I was afraid to reveal them. Now they are revealed. It is known before Atika Kadisha that neither for my own glory nor for THE GLORY OF my father's house did I do this, but I did it so I would not enter shamefully before His palace. Moreover, I saw the Holy One, blessed be He, and all the truly righteous present here, all agreed with me THAT I SHOULD REVEAL THEM. For I have seen them all rejoicing in my joy, and that they are all invited to my feast in that world, happy is my portion.
96. Rabbi Aba said, When the Holy Luminary completed this word, the Supernal Luminary raised his hands, wept and laughed, because he wanted to reveal something. He said, All my life I was distressed about this matter TO REVEAL IT, but now I am not given permission. He drew strength and sat down and his lips were murmuring. He prostrated three times, and no one could look at where he was, let alone directly at him. He said, Mouth, mouth, you have merited all this and your streams have not dried up. Your stream gushes forth ceaselessly. We recite of you, "And a river went out of Eden" (Beresheet 2:10), and, "like a spring of water, whose waters fail not" (Yeshayah 58:11).
97. Now I testify about myself that all the days I lived IN THE WORLD I yearned to see this day, IN WHICH I WOULD HAVE PERMISSION TO REVEAL THESE SECRETS, but never succeeded, except for now because this day is crowned with this crown OF REVEALING SECRETS. And now I wish to reveal matters before the Holy One, blessed be He, because all THE SECRETS I REVEAL are crowned on my head. And this day will not be far from coming to its place IN THAT WORLD on another day. For all this day is at my disposal AND NO MORE. And now let me begin to reveal things so I should not enter with shame into the World to Come. Here, let me start speaking.
196. Rabbi Aba said, the Holy Luminary barely finished uttering "life," when his words ceased. I was writing and was about to write more, yet heard nothing. I did not raise my head, because the light was great and I could not look. I then trembled and heard a voice calling and saying, "For length of days, and long life..." (Mishlei 3:2), AND THEN I heard another voice, "He asked life of You..." (Tehilim 21:5).
197. All that day the fire did not cease from the house and no one reached him for they could not because of the light and fire that encircled him. I was prostrated all that day on the ground, crying loudly. After the fire was gone, I saw that the Holy Luminary, the holy of holies, was gone from the world, wrapped around and lying on his right side with a smiling face.
198. Rabbi Elazar his son rose, took his hands and kissed them, while I licked the dirt under his feet. The friends started crying. Rabbi Elazar his son prostrated three times and could not open his mouth. He then started saying, Father, father, there were three that BECAME one again. THAT IS, THERE WERE THREE GREAT MEN IN THE LAND, RABBI ELAZAR, RABBI SHIMON BAR YOCHAI HIS FATHER AND HIS FATHER-IN-LAW RABBI PINCHAS BEN YAIR. NOW RABBI ELAZAR IS ORPHANED OF HIS FATHER-IN-LAW AND HIS FATHER RABBI SHIMON AND ONLY ONE REMAINS IN THE WORLD. NOW THAT THIS GREAT TREE IS GONE -- UNDER WHICH THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD USED TO WALK, IN WHOSE BOUGHS DWELT THE BIRDS OF THE SKY, AND WHICH HAD FOOD FOR EVERYONE -- the beasts will wander and the birds THAT USED TO DWELL IN ITS BOUGHS will sink into the chasm in the great sea, and the friends, INSTEAD OF THE FOOD THEY RECEIVED FROM IT, will drink blood.
199. Rabbi Chiya rose to his feet and said, Up until now the Holy Luminary used to protect us. Now is the time to strive to honor him. Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Aba rose and took him FROM HIS PLACE to a bed made like a ladder IN ORDER TO RAISE HIM ON HIS BED. Who has ever seen such confusion of the friends! The whole house emitted good fragrances. They raised him on his bed, and none served him but Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Aba.
200. Bullies and armed people came from the village of Tzipori, WHO WANTED HIM TO BE BURIED THERE AND CAME TO TAKE HIM BY FORCE. The inhabitants of Meron drove them away and shouted at them in their multitudes, because they did not want him to be buried there BUT WHERE THEY THEMSELVES LIVED. After the bed left the house, it rose in the air and fire burned before it. They heard a voice, 'Come and gather to the feast of Rabbi Shimon. "Shall enter in peace to them that rest in their graves"' (Yeshayah 57:2).
201. When he entered the cave they heard a voice inside the cave, 'This is the man who caused the earth to tremble, who provoked kingdoms. How many prosecutors in the firmament are quieted today for your sake. This is Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, with whom his Master glorifies Himself daily. Blessed is his portion above and below. How many supernal treasures await him. Of him it says, "But go you your way till the end be, for you shall rest, and stand up for your allotted portion at the end of the days"' (Daniel 12:13). End of the Idra Kadisa Zuta (the holy smaller assembly).