THE BOOK OF ENOCH BY RABBI ISHMAEL THE HIGH PRIEST (III ENOCH)


THE BOOK OF ENOCH BY RABBI ISHMAEL THE HIGH PRIEST (III ENOCH)

 

 

“Enoch walked with God. Then he vanished because God took him.” (Gen 5:24)

 

1 Rabbi Ishmael said:

            When I ascended to the height to behold the vision of the chariot; I entered six palaces, one inside the other, and when I reached the door of the seventh palace I paused in prayer before the Holy One, blessed be he; I looked up and said: “Lord of the Universe, grant, I beseech you, that the merit of Aaron, son of Amram, lover of peace and pursuer of peace, who received on Mount Sinai the crown of priesthood in the presence of your glory, may avail for me now, so that Prince Qaspi’el, and the angels with him, may not prevail over me and cast me from heaven.

At once the Holy One, blessed be he, summoned to my aid his servant, the angel Metatron, Prince of the Divine Presence. He flew out to meet me with great    alacrity, to save me from their power. He grasped me with his hand before their eyes and said to me, “Come in peace     into the presence of the high and exalted King to behold the likeness of the chariot.” Then I entered the seventh palace and he led me to the camp of the Shekhinah and presented me before the throne of glory so that I might behold the chariot.  But as soon as the princes of the chariot looked at me and the fiery seraphim fixed their gaze on me, I shrank back trembling and fell down, stunned by the radiant appearance of their eyes and the bright vision of their faces, until the Holy One, blessed be he, rebuked them and said, “My servants, my seraphim, my cherubim, and my ophanim, hide your eyes from Ishmael my beloved son and honored friend, so that he does not shrink and tremble so.”

At once Metatron, Prince of the Divine Presence, came and revived me and raised me to my feet, but still I had not strength enough to sing a hymn before the glorious throne of the glorious King, the mightiest of kings, the most splendid of potentates, until an hour had passed. But after an hour the Holy One, blessed be he, opened to me gates of Shekhinah, gates of peace, gates of wisdom, gates of strength, gates of might, gates of speech, gates of song, gates of sanctifying praise, gates of chant. He enlightened my eyes and my heart to utter psalm, praise, jubilation, thanksgiving, song, glory, majesty, laud, and strength. And when I opened my mouth and sang praises before the throne of glory the holy creatures below the throne of glory and above the throne of glory responded after me, saying,

 

Holy, holy, holy (Isa. 6:5)

 

Blessed be the glory of the Lord in his dwelling place. (Ez. 3:12)

 

2 R. Ishmael said:

Then the eagles of the chariot, the flaming ophanim and the cherubim of devouring fire, asked Metatron, “Youth, why have you allowed one born of woman to come in and behold the chariot? From what nation is he? From what tribe? What is his character?” Metatron replied, “He is of the nation of Israel, whom the Holy One, blessed be he, chose from the seventy nations to be his people. He is of the tribe of Levi, which presents the offering to his name. He is of the family of Aaron, whom the Holy One, blessed be he, chose to minister in his presence and on whose head he himself placed the priestly crown on Sinai.” At once they began to say, “This one is certainly worthy to behold the chariot, as it is written,

 

           Happy is the nation of whom this is true,

           happy is the nation whose God is the Lord. (Ps. 144:15)