Zohar 3:12b-13a


R. Hizqiyah was sitting before R. Isaac. They rose at midnight to study Torah. R. Isaac began to expound, saying- “Now bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord [who stand nightly in the house of the Lord]” (Ps. 134-1). This verse has been established by the comrades. But this praise relates to all those who are faithful (benei mehemanuta). Who are the faithful? Those who study Torah and know how to unify the Holy Name as is appropriate. The praise of those faithful is that they rise at midnight to study Torah and cleave by means of it to the Community of Israel [Shekhinah], to praise her before the Holy One, blessed be He, in words of Torah. Come and see- When a person rises at midnight to study Torah and the north wind stirs at midnight, the doe [Shekhinah] rises and praises the Holy One, blessed be He. When she rises several thousand and tens of thousands rise with her, and they all begin to praise the Holy King. The Holy One, blessed be He, listens to the one who is righteous and rises at midnight to study Torah … as it is written “O you who linger in the garden, lovers are listening; let me hear your voice” (Cant. 8-13) … You are the glory of the Holy King, You are the crown of the King. That doe is crowned by those people and she stands before the King and says- See with which son I have come before You, by which son I have been aroused in relation to You, they who are the most praiseworthy of all before the King! He answered and said- “Those who stand nightly in the house of the Lord,” these are the servants of the Lord who are worthy to bless the Holy King, and their blessing is a blessing, as it says, “Lift your hands toward the sanctuary and bless the Lord” (Ps. 134-2).

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Forms of Visionary Ascent and Ecstatic Experience,” in Gershom Scholem’s Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism 50 Years After 209-235. Edited by J. Dan and P. Schafer, Tubingen- J. C. B. Mohr, 1993.

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