265. Rabbi Chiya said: I wonder if anyone knows how to notify the deceased besides us. Rabbi Aba replied: The pain THAT PEOPLE SUFFER, informs them. The Torah informs them. At the time when no one has knowledge, NAMELY HOW TO ALERT THE SOULS OF THE RIGHTEOUS MEN, they bring out a scroll of Torah near the graves and the souls are awakened wondering as to what reason the Torah appears exiled at this place. Then THE ANGEL Dumah informs them.
266. Rabbi Yosi said: They realize that the world is in distress, and the living people are neither worthy of nor know how to inform them. At that very time everyone wails the Torah - we have failed and the Torah has been exiled to this place. If people return WITH REPENTANCE and cry with a complete heart, they then return to the Holy One, blessed be He. All assemble and seek mercy, and inform the slumberers of Hebron, and enter and inform the Ruach in the Garden of Eden, as we have mentioned.
267. If they do not repent wholeheartedly , entreating and crying for the distress of the world, woe to them, in that they assembled for nothing. They say: Who caused the Holy Torah to be exiled because of them who failed to do repentance. Then they come to list their sins. Therefore, none should go there without repenting or without fasting to seek requests. Rabbi Aba said: Not without three fasts. Rabbi Yosi says: Even one FAST SUFFICES, but it must be on that same day as long as the multitudes sit in great distress. Then they would come together, MEANING NEFESH, RUACH AND NESHAMAH, seeking mercy upon the world.
268. We have learned that Rabbi Yehuda said: One day, Rabbi Chizkiyah and Rabbi Yesa were going along the road and they encountered A PLACE CALLED Gush Chalav. It was in a state of destruction. They sat adjacent to the cemetery. Rabbi Yesa had in his possession one portion of a ripped scroll of Torah, MEANING HE HAD IN HIS HAND A PORTION OF A RIPPED SCROLL OF THE TORAH WITH A COLUMN WITHIN IT. As they were sitting, one grave quivered before them, and cried: Woe, Woe, the world is in distress as the Torah has been exiled here, or maybe the living have come to mock and to shame us with their Torah. Rabbi Chizkiyah and Rabbi Yesa quivered.
269. Rabbi Chizkiyah said TO THE GRAVE: Who are you? He answered: I am dead. I was just awakened for the sake of the Torah scroll. Once the world was in distress and the living came here with a Torah scroll to awaken us. My associates and I hurried to the slumberers at Hebron and, when they joined the spirits of the righteous in the Garden of Eden, it was found that the Torah scroll brought before us by the living was unfit. They were false to the name of the King, because an extra Vav was found in the Torah in the verse, "Whatever parts the hoof, and is clovenfooted" (Vayikra 11:3), WHICH WAS SPELLED WITH A REDUNDANT VAV. They said that since they were false to the name of the King, AS THE TORAH IS THE NAME OF THE KING, they would not return to them TO LET THEM KNOW IF THEIR PRAYER WAS ACCEPTED. They then dismissed me and my associates from the Yeshivah.
270. Until one elder man who was among them went and brought the Torah scroll of Rav Hamnuna Saba (the elder). Then the son of Rabbi Shimon, Rabbi Elazar, who was buried with us, was awakened. He went and prayed in the Garden of Eden for them and the world was healed. Then they allowed us TO RETURN TO THE YESHIVAH. From the time they took Rabbi Elazar from this cemetery IN GUSH CHALAV and placed him near his father IN MERON, there is no one who will awaken to rise before the slumberers of Hebron, for we are afraid to do so since the day when they dismissed me and my friends FROM THE YESHIVAH. Now, you have come to us with your Torah scroll. Therefore, I am shaken up as I say: Who will hasten to notify these genuine righteous men slumbering in Hebron. Rabbi Yesa slipped away AND WENT OFF with that remnant of the Torah scroll. Rabbi Chizkiyah said: Heaven forbid, the world is not in distress and we did not come for this reason.
271. Rabbi Chizkiyah and Rabbi Yesa left. They said surely when there are no righteous men in the world, the world will survive only by the merits of the deceased. Rabbi Yesa said: When the world needs rain, why do people go to the deceased TO PRAY? Does it not say about "one who inquires of the dead" that it is prohibited? He replied: You have not perceived the wing of the bird in Eden, REFERRING TO THE SECRET OF BINAH, MEANING YOU HAVE NOT ATTAINED THE LEVEL OF BINAH, SINCE THE VERSE "one who inquires of the dead" literally means the dead, denoting the world's evildoers from the idolatrous nations that are always dead, AS THE WICKED EVEN DURING THEIR LIFETIME ARE CALLED DEAD. But about Yisrael, who are truly righteous, Solomon said, "So I praised the dead that are already dead" (Kohelet 4:2), those that have already died at a different time, MEANING THEY GAVE THEMSELVES FOR THE TORAH, but not this time. They have already died, and now they are alive.
272. Furthermore, when other nations come before their deceased, they come with sorcery to awaken kinds of evil beings. When Yisrael come to their deceased, they come in great repentance before the Holy One, blessed be He, with a broken heart and fasting. All this is done so that the holy souls will ask for mercy for their sake before the Holy One, blessed be He. And the Holy One, blessed be He, shows mercy to the world on their behalf.
273. Therefore, we have learned that the righteous are not gone or lost from all worlds, even when he has departed this world. He is to be found in all the worlds even more than during his lifetime, as he was located only in this world during his lifetime. Afterwards, he is in three worlds - NAMELY BRIYAH, YETZIRAH AND ASIYAH - and he is in them all, as it is written, "Therefore do the virgins (Heb. alamot) love you" (Shir Hashirim 1:3). Do not pronounce it alamot but olamot (lit. 'worlds'). Blessed is their share.
274. We have learned that it is written, "Yet the soul (Nefesh) of my master shall be bound in the bond of life" (I Samuel 25:29). HE QUESTIONS: It says "the Nefesh of my Master," but it should read 'the Neshamah of my master,' BECAUSE NEFESH REMAINS IN THIS WORLD AND ONLY NESHAMAH RISES TO THE BUNDLE OF LIFE. HE ANSWERS: As we said, fortunate is the share of the righteous men that everything is tied one to another - Nefesh with Ruach, Ruach with Neshamah and Neshamah with the Holy One, blessed be He. The result is that Nefesh is tied to the bond of life, AS IT IS CONNECTED TO NESHAMAH, WHICH IS THE BUNDLE OF LIFE.