Stephen Berer
the Eternal Jew's biographer

The Eternal Jew’s Tale, #115, Some Zohar

Metatron; image colorized and modified by the author, obtained from Wikimedia Commons, Metatron, Islamic Arts, in the public domain.
Metatron; image colorized and modified by the author, obtained from Wikimedia Commons, Metatron, Islamic Arts, in the public domain.
In this episode we hear some of the lost tales of the Zohar that our hero remembers reading in an early manuscript.

The Eternal Jew’s Tale
Seventeenth Era, Part 1, ~1345, Tuscany

Yea, that evil plague has trampled the lands till we thought the world had come to its end. And neither mind nor soul escaped the ravage and slash and scar, *and half of Europe, one by one* that scythe cut down and who knows why. And is it God? Or is it stars? Or be it Jews that poison wells? Thus Jews suffered a double plague. Of one, we were ignorant of the cause. The other, the ignorant were the cause! It seems ignorance be a friend of hate, and hate and murder be bosom buds.
*-* Wilfred Owen, Parable of the Old Man and the Young
The plague passed like a summer squall of purple buboes and excruciate pain. And a trail of ditches dug each day, empty each mornin’, full by night, the faces of the dead in their eternal screams lookin’ up from them sepulchral pits.
Come with the spring and gone by fall, onward it blown across all lands, five long years and maybe more. And all them faces in their final howl populate us, we who survive.

Seventeenth Era, Part 4, ~1347, Tuscany
Zohar of Death

Come my way from the hills of Spain a recently discovered ancient book that Shimon bar Yohai heard on high, his Sefer* Zohar, the Splendorous Book, revealin’ the holy, embedded worlds and how to extract them, the pure from the base.
* Hebrew: book
Sadly, most of his book were lost. You who are readin’ my book right now, you can’t imagine his visionary flights, words that could cast you beyond this world into sapphire ships on heavenly seas.
He recorded the tales of Metatron; parable landscapes; chants to transform demon to diamond, gall to gold, crust to crystal, rusted to glistened, the spiraling shells of a nautilus to palaces spinning into new worlds. I will try to recount the best of them tho my paltry language be pale and bland, and memory has darkened the spectral shades. You Prophets: take it up from here:
When Adam were lain to rest in his tomb, that giant man were a parasong tall, he filled the Jezreel to its ridge. The fragrance of jasmine, citrus, and myrrh wafted all the way to India. In the realms of the righteous, joyous song split* the heavens into infinite spheres. In the realms of the sinful their souls were split into vitreous shivers of eternal pain. In the mundane realms of transient deeds no one noticed and nothing changed.
* others say: spilt
In the infinite divisions of righteousness, music colors the undulant skies with infinitely varying shades of sound. In each note an angel of joy is born. In the scattered shards of the sinful soul, like a goblet shattered upon the floor, cruel intentions sliver the veins, and from each sliver a serpent escapes, teaching children guile and contempt, an telling lies to undermine hope. In the mundane realms the visionless sit, torn by hope and lies and fear, knowing not why they are depressed. And every time a human dies a shade of Adam dies as well.
Death comes to enter the Adam* worlds. He goes in one door, he comes out three. He goes in four doors, he comes out sixty four. He enters sixty four and no one can compute the number of doors he is passing thru.
* moderns might interpret this as ‘atom’
Death comes to taste the Adam world. When Adam were singular, Death could not bite, and Adam were shining eternal in light. But the Lor is giving Adam a wife and they copulate many a children world, many generations in a spiral regress. Now Death is rushing to enter the lights. He unknots the fringes and makes them a-wave. For every wave there’s a deathly shade and it washes up on Adam’s shores, a banquet set where Death is sate, and into his chaos our bodies dissolve.
Adam starts singing and here comes Death! See how the reed makes a sibilant sigh; how the shofar* enlarges a whispery hiss; how the strings of a lyre quiver and quake.
* rams horn
He hears Davy* play; he read of his verse. He hears Solomon hum his song, dripping its honey, fragrant with sex. He read Isaiah and Hosea too, their portraits and landscapes, their sketches from life in the crude turmoil of Adam’s worlds, where arrogance, cruelty, power, and greed defy the subtle hand of the Lor which is laying a foundation of justice for all. Adonai is untangling threads of the soul and re-weaving its fabric in beauteous arts, so justice and kindness and thoughtful respect will re-map the human trajectory.
* the psalm king
Death reads these texts utterly astounded. In the Eternal Worlds Adam is only a shade and texture on the many-folded plains*. Such sufferings and troubles as Isaiah told pass like a faint inconsequent breeze in the vast, evolving Divine exhale. None of his peers or the higher spheres have ever seen or heard such things. His heart is breaking; such wonders abound!
“Does the Lor know this? Hem I must show.”
* others say: planes
He imagines their songs in the Upper Worlds.
“I will fold them up for the angels to hear. I’ll transpose them into angels tears.”
Adam must sing; Death must come. We know it’s true; we don’t know why. But this we know: Adam flees, and however far, Death be there first. So Adam sings his end-time songs and all the angels stomp their feet.
In the next episode, a long game of chess.
About the Author
I am a writer, educator, artist, and artisan. My poetry is devoted to composing long narrative poems that explore the clash between the real and the ideal, in the lives of historical figures and people I have known. Some of the titles of my books are: The Song uv Elmallahz Kumming A Pilgimmage tu Jerusalem The Pardaes Dokkumen The Atternen Juez Talen You can listen to podcasts of my Eternal Jew posts on my personal blog, Textures and Shadows, which can be found on my website, or directly, at: I live just outside Washington, DC with my bashert, and we have two remarkable sons. Those three light my life.
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