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.
31. He opened with, "I am my beloved's, and his desire is towards me" (Shir Hashirim 7:11). All the days I was connected to this world, I was attached with one connection with the Holy One, blessed be He, and hence now, "His desire is towards me." For He and all His holy camp have come with joy to listen to hidden words and the praise of the most hidden Atika Kadisha, which is separated and divided, yet is not divided, since everything cleaves to Him and He cleaves to everything; He is everything.