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).