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Read the collected works of Louis Ginzberg.
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Legends of the Jews

by Louis Ginzberg


Volume I: Title | Preface | Contents | Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Volume II: Title | Preface | Contents | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Volume III: Title | Preface | Contents | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Volume IV: Title | Contents | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 |
Volume I

II. ADAM--MAN AND THE WORLD--THE ANGELS AND THE CREATION OF MAN--THE CREATION OF ADAM--THE SOUL OF MAN--THE IDEAL MAN--THE FALL OF SATAN--WOMAN--ADAM AND EVE IN PARADISE--THE FALL OF MAN--THE PUNISHMENT--SABBATH IN HEAVEN--ADAM'S REPENTANCE--THE BOOK OF RAZIEL--THE SICKNESS OF ADAM--EVE'S STORY OF THE FALL--THE DEATH OF ADAM--THE DEATH OF EVE

THE BOOK OF RAZIEL

After Adam's expulsion from Paradise, he prayed to God in these words: "O God, Lord of the world! Thou didst create the whole world unto the honor and glory of the Mighty One, and Thou didst as was pleasing unto Thee. Thy kingdom is unto all eternity, and Thy reign unto all generations. Naught is hidden from Thee, and naught is concealed from Thine eyes. Thou didst create me as Thy handiwork, and didst make me the ruler over Thy creatures, that I might be the chief of Thy works. But the cunning, accursed serpent seduced me with the tree of desire and lusts, yea, he seduced the wife of my bosom. But Thou didst not make known unto me what shall befall my children and the generations after me. I know well that no human being can be righteous in Thine eyes, and what is my strength that I should step before Thee with an impudent face? I have no mouth wherewith to speak and no eye wherewith to see, for I did sin and commit a trespass, and, by reason of my sins, I was driven forth from Paradise. I must plough the earth whence I was taken, and the other inhabitants of the earth, the beasts, no longer, as once, stand in awe and fear of me. From the time I ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, wisdom departed from me, and I am a fool that knoweth naught, an ignorant man that understandeth not. Now, O merciful and gracious God, I pray to Thee to turn again Thy compassion to the head of Thy works, to the spirit which Thou didst instil into him, and the soul Thou didst breathe into him. Meet me with Thy grace, for Thou art gracious, slow to anger, and full of love. O that my prayer would reach unto the throne of Thy glory, and my supplication unto the throne of Thy mercy, and Thou wouldst incline to me with lovingkindness. May the words of my mouth be acceptable, that Thou turn not away from my petition. Thou wert from everlasting, and Thou wilt be unto everlasting; Thou wert king, and Thou wilt ever be king. Now, have Thou mercy upon the work of Thy hands. Grant me knowledge and understanding, that I may know what shall befall me, and my posterity, and all the generations that come after me, and what shall befall me on every day and in every month, and mayest Thou not withhold from me the help of Thy servants and of Thy angels."

On the third day after he had offered up this prayer, while he was sitting on the banks of the river that flows forth out of Paradise, there appeared to him, in the heat of the day, the angel Raziel, bearing a book in his hand. The angel addressed Adam thus: "O Adam, why art thou so fainthearted? Why art thou distressed and anxious? Thy words were heard at the moment when thou didst utter thy supplication and entreaties, and I have received the charge to teach thee pure words and deep understanding, to make thee wise through the contents of the sacred book in my hand, to know what will happen to thee until the day of thy death. And all thy descendants and all the later generations, if they will but read this book in purity, with a devout heart and an humble mind, and obey its precepts, will become like unto thee. They, too, will foreknow what things shall happen, and in what month and on what day or in what night. All will be manifest to them--they will know and understand whether a calamity will come, a famine or wild beasts, floods or drought; whether there will be abundance of grain or dearth; whether the wicked will rule the world; whether locusts will devastate the land; whether the fruits will drop from the trees unripe; whether boils will afflict men; whether wars will prevail, or diseases or plagues among men and cattle; whether good is resolved upon in heaven, or evil; whether blood will flow, and the death-rattle of the slain be heard in the city. And now, Adam, come and give heed unto what I shall tell thee regarding the manner of this book and its holiness."

Raziel, the angel, then read from the book, and when Adam heard the words of the holy volume as they issued from the mouth of the angel, he fell down affrighted. But the angel encouraged him. "Arise, Adam," he said, "be of good courage, be not afraid, take the book from me and keep it, for thou wilt draw knowledge from it thyself and become wise, and thou wilt also teach its contents to all those who shall be found worthy of knowing what it contains."

In the moment when Adam took the book, a flame of fire shot up from near the river, and the angel rose heavenward with it. Then Adam knew that he who had spoken to him was an angel of God, and it was from the Holy King Himself that the book had come, and he used it in holiness and purity. It is the book out of which all things worth knowing can be learnt, and all mysteries, and it teaches also how to call upon the angels and make them appear before men, and answer all their questions. But not all alike can use the book, only he who is wise and God-fearing, and resorts to it in holiness. Such an one is secure against all wicked counsels, his life is serene, and when death takes him from this world, he finds repose in a place where there are neither demons nor evil spirits, and out of the hands of the wicked he is quickly rescued.


Volume I: Title | Preface | Contents | Chapters:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Volume II: Title | Preface | Contents | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Volume III: Title | Preface | Contents | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Volume IV: Title | Contents | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 |


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