Premonition

Rabbi Yehudah (second century) was on his way out of his home one day when he discovered Rabbi Yitzchak sitting outside his door, his countenance sullen.

Rabbi Yehudah asked him: “What is different about this day from yesterday?”

Rabbi Yitzchak replied: “I have come to request of you three things — when you teach, memorialize my name by crediting to me any of the teachings that were mine, teach my son Yo’sef, and visit my grave every day of the seven days of mourning and pray for me.”

Rabbi Yehudah said: “And what makes you think you’re about to die?”

He replied: “Lately, when my soul leaves my body during sleep, she shows me no dreams. Also, when I pray, I notice the absence of my shadow.”

Rabbi Yehudah said: “All that you have requested, I shall fulfill. But one thing I request of you. When you reach the Other World, reserve a space for me beside you just as I have been with you in this world.”

Rabbi Yitzchak wept and said: “Please do not leave my side during the days to come.”

They went to Rabbi Shim’on bar Yo’chai, who was meditating. Rabbi Shim’on lifted his head and saw the Angel of Death dancing around Rabbi Yitzchak.

Rabbi Shim’on said: “Let only those enter my chamber who are accustomed to visiting me.”

The Angel of Death stopped at his door and did not enter. Rabbi Shim’on then took Rabbi Yitzchak’s hand and asked: “Have you ever seen a vision of your deceased father? For we have a tradition that when one is about to die their family and close friends come to them to greet them and to usher them to their designated place in the Other World.”

Rabbi Yitzchak said: “I have never seen such a vision.”

Rabbi Shim’on turned to his son Rabbi El’azar and said: “Take his hand and hold it.”

He took his hand. Rabbi Shim’on began to meditate and Rabbi Yitzchak fell into a deep sleep. In his sleep his father appeared to him and informed him of the bliss that awaits him in the Other World.

Rabbi Yitzchak then asked him: “Father, please inform me of the day that I am to die.”

His father said: “I am not permitted to reveal such things. All I am allowed to say is that when you come to the Other World, you will be seated at the table of your master Rabbi Shim’on.”

Rabbi Yitzchak awoke in a state of joy and remained in gladness the rest of his days.

——- Sefer Ha’Zohar, vol. 1, folios 217b-218a

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Published in: on June 21, 2009 at 12:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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