Translation:Tales of Rabbi Nachman/12
Tale 12: The Prayer Meister
[The Prayer Meister]
A tale. Once, there was a Prayer Meister [Ba`al Tefilah: master of prayer; or the leader of a prayer service] who was constantly occupied only with prayer, songs and praises to Hashem Yithbarakh (the Blessed G-d). He dwelled outside of the settled areas [yeshuv], and would regularly go into them to enter into [conversation] with some person — typically people of lower stature, such as poor people, etc. He would speak to his heart about the purpose of the whole world, that truthfully there is no purpose other than being occupied with serving Hashem (G-d) every day of one's life, spending the days in prayer to Hashem Yithbarakh, with songs and praises, etc.
[The Prayer Meister] would speak with him at great length such words of [spirtual] arousal until they would enter his ears and the person would want to join him. As soon as the person would feel this desire to join, he would immediately take him and bring him to his dwelling place removed from civilization. For that Ba'al Tefilah had chosen for himself, as above, a place outside of settled areas, and there was a river there in front of him, as well as trees and fruits there too, and they would eat of the fruits and he was not strict about clothes at all. [I.e., they would not look at clothes whatsoever — how you go, you go.]
Thus did the Prayer Meister regularly venture into the settled areas to charm and persuade people to serve Hashem Yithbarakh, to join in his way of being occupied with prayer, etc. Whoever took a liking to him [and his message], he would take them away and bring them to his place outside civilization. There they would occupy themselves only with prayers, songs and praises to Hashem Yithbarakh, as well as confessionals, fasts, privations [that is, torturing one's body] and repentance, etc. The Ba'al Tefilah would give them compilations of compositions he had in matters of prayers, songs, praises, confessions, etc. and they would be involved with them constantly. Eventually, there would be found, among those people whom he had brought there, those who could now also draw people close to Hashem Yithbarakh. He would then give permission to one [of his people] that he, too would go into settled areas to be occupied with matters as above, to draw people close to Hashem Yithbarakh.
And so, the Ba'al Tefilah would constantly be occupied with this matter, every time drawing more people close [to Hashem], taking them out of civilization, as mentioned, until an impression was made in the world and the thing began to be known. For suddenly people would disappear from the country--it was unknown where they were. Thus, it would happen that suddenly one's son was missing and so forth, unknown where they were. Gradually, it became known that there exists a Prayer Meister who goes and seduces people into serving Hashem Yithbarakh. However, it was impossible to recognize or catch him, because this Ba'al Tefilah would conduct himself very craftily and would change and switch himself by each and every person with a different transfiguration. By this one he would seem like a poor man, by that one, like a trader, and by another as something else, etc.
Furthermore, when [the Ba'al Tefilah] would come to talk to people, when he understood that he could not accomplish his intent with them, he would so spin them around with words that they could not at all detect his good motives--as if his aim was not at all about his mission to draw them close to Hashem Yithbarakh. For [the way he spoke made] it impossible to realize his intent for this even though, in truth his whole objective in speaking to people was only this--to draw [people] close to Hashem Yithbarakh. For his whole preoccupation was only this. It was only when he understood that he was not influencing him that [the Ba'al Tefilah] would so spin, misguide and deceive him until he was completely unable to perceive his good intentions. The Ba'al Tefilah remained occupied with this motif until an impression and infamy was made in the world; and they longed to catch him, but it was impossible, as mentioned.
So the aforementioned Ba'al Tefilah, with his people, dwelled outside of settled areas, as above, and were involved only with matters, as above, with prayer, songs and praises to Hashem Yithbarakh, and confessions, fasts, afflictions and repentances. It was also in the Prayer Meister's purview that he could provide for each and every person that which he needed. If he understood about one of his people that, according to his [level of] brain, he needed to go dressed in gilden geshtik (gold-embroidered clothes) for serving Hashem, he supplied it for him. So too the opposite, when sometimes some rich person would draw close to him and he would take him out from settled areas, as above, he would understand that this rich person needed to go in tattered, wretched clothes, he would make him go [dressed] that way. Everything was according to [the fact] that he would know [exactly] the provisionary needs of each and every person and would supply him [correspondingly]. For these people whom [the Ba'al Tefilah] drew close to Hashem Yithbarakh, a fast or extensive self-mortification was dearer than all the world's delights, for they had more delight from the substantial self-affliction or fast than from all the world's delights.
[The Land of Riches]
And the day came to pass that there was a country where there were enormous riches, such that everyone was rich. However, their way and behavior was quite disturbing--strange and weird. For everything by them was conducted according to wealth. The value of each and everyone's status was according to his wealth. That whoever has such and such thousands or tens-of-thousands has one status, and whoever has such and such [an amount of money] has another status. And so forth--the entire structure of [societal] value by them was aligned with the money each person had. And whoever has such and such thousands and tens-of-thousands — in keeping with the sum which had been determined by them — he is king. And similarly they had flags, that whoever has this much money is with this flag and has this particular status of that flag; and whoever has this much money is with another flag and has there the certain status of that flag, according to the value of his money. It had been determined by them how much money one should have to be considered of this flag with this particular status, and how much money another should have to be considered with another flag and its certain status. And so the level and status of each and everyone was completely according to the money, as had been determined by them. Furthermore, it was fixed by them, if he has [only] this much money he is a plain human, whereas if he has even less than this, he is an animal or bird, etc. So, by them they had wild animals and fowl, that is, if he has just this little money, he is called a human lion; and in a similar vein other wild animals and birds, etc., that in line with the small amount of money, he is just an animal or bird, etc. For the main thing by them was money, and the status and level of everyone was only according to the money.
Now, it was heard in the world that there is such a country, and the Ba'al Tefilah would sigh deeply over this and would say, "Who knows how far they can go and err through this?" Some men from the Prayer Meister's retinue were present, and did not ask his opinion at all, but went there to that country to restore them to the good. For they [the Ba'al Tefilah's associates] had great pity on them about having gone so off in the lust for money; especially since the Ba'al Tefilah had said that they could go further and further astray, therefore these people went to that country. Perhaps they could restore them from their nonsense.
[So, the Ba'al Tefilah's people] entered the country and approached one of them who was apparently a low-status person whom they called an animal. And they began to talk with him, that truthfully money is not a purpose at all, and the main purpose is only serving Hashem, and so forth. But he did not listen to them at all, because it was already rooted in their thinking that the main thing is only money. And so did they chat with another, and he too did not listen. And they wanted to talk with him more, but he replied, "I have no more time to talk with you." They asked him, "Why?" He replied, "Because we all must leave the country and go to another country, for we have seen that the main goal is only money, therefore it has become ingrained in us that we must go to such a country where they make money (that is, there, there is a kind of earth from which they make gold and silver). Therefore we all must now go to that country."
It also got into them that they wanted to have stars and constellations too, that is, whoever has so much and so much money, according to the amount they had determined for it, he should be a star, because since he has so much money he must have the power of the star, because the star generates the gold, because the fact that there is earth from which they make gold is, after all, due to the star that generates such earth there from which they make gold. Since the man has so much gold, he must have the power of the stars, therefore he himself is a star. And likewise they said they wanted to have constellations too. That is, when someone would have so much and so much money, however much they had determined for it, he should be a constellation. And likewise they made for themselves angels, all according to money. Until they agreed that they should have gods too, that whoever would have very much money, so many and so many thousands and myriads, however much they had determined for this, he would be a god, because since God gives him so much money, he himself is a god.
They said furthermore that they ought not dwell in the air of this world, and they must not at all be together with other people, so that they should not contaminate them, because the other people of the world are completely impure compared to them; therefore they decided that they should find for themselves very high mountains that are higher than all the world, and they should dwell there, so that they can be higher than the air of the world. They sent people to seek high mountains, and they found very high mountains. The whole country went and settled there on the high mountains; that is, on each mountain a gathering of people from the country (in other words, a city) settled, and around the mountain they made a big fortification and great trenches around the mountain, until it was impossible for any man to reach them, because there was no longer even a hidden path to the mountain, so that no other person would at all be able to reach them; and likewise on the next mountain, and so on all the mountains they always made a fortification etc. as mentioned. And they appointed guards far from the mountain, so no one would be able to reach them.
So they dwelled there on the mountains and conducted themselves as mentioned earlier, and they had many gods, that is, according to money, as mentioned. However, since wealth was the main thing for them — so much so that via great wealth a person could become a god — they had a fear of murder and theft, because anyone would be a murderer or thief in order to become a god via the money he would steal. But they said since the wealthy one is a god he will protect himself from theft and murder. And they established devotions and offerings to offer and pray to the gods, to get money through them, and they would sacrifice people and their very selves to the gods in order to be included in them and later be reincarnated as a rich [person]. Because their main creed [emunah] was in money. And they had devotions, sacrifices and incenses with which they served their gods (that is, those who had much money). But despite this the country was definitely full of murder and theft, because whoever did not believe in the devotions became a murderer and thief in order to get money, because the main thing for them was wealth, since through money one can buy anything — food and clothing — so the root of a man's life is through money; therefore money was their main creed (such was their foolish and confused thinking). And they all endeavored to not lose any money, because money was for them the fundamental creed and the god; on the contrary, they needed to try to bring money into the country from other places. Traders would go out from them to trade in other countries, in order to win money, in order to bring even more money into the country. And charity was certainly a great prohibition for them, because how can someone be permitted to give away the money that God has given him — which was for them the main thing, to have money — how can someone be permitted to give that away? So for them it was definitely forbidden to give charity.
And they had officers who were appointed to observe of everyone whether he has as much money as he says, because everyone had to show off his wealth at every moment in order to remain in the status and honor that he had according to his money (in other words all the rich people who for them were gods, stars, angels etc. due to their money would always be inspected whether he has so much money; whether he is not in vain a god and so forth, and people were appointed to constantly watch this). And sometimes among them an animal would become a person, or a person an animal. Namely when a rich person lost his money he already became a non-human — a man became an animal, because he already had no money for himself; and conversely when someone won money, so an animal became a human; and so on with the other classes, which by them was all according to money (it was that way too, as sometimes one became a non-god because he has already lost the money). And they would have the figures and portraits of the gods (that is, those who had much money), and everyone had the portraits, and they would hug and kiss them, because money was their entire devotion and religion.
And the Prayer Leader's people (who were previously there in that country) returned to their place and they told the Prayer Leader of the nonsense of the country, how they were so fooled and lost in the craving of money, and that they wanted to already leave their country for another country (where they make money as mentioned) and wanted to make stars and constellations already. The Prayer Leader spoke up and said that he feared lest they stray more and more. Then people heard that they had already made themselves gods (as mentioned).
The Prayer Leader spoke up and said, "That is what I meant; that is why I feared" (that is, by his always saying he feared lest they get further lost, he meant this). The Prayer Leader had great pity on them and came to the decision to personally go there; perhaps he would return them from their error. The Prayer Leader went there and came to the guards who stand around each mountain (as mentioned). And the guards, it would reason, were people of low status who were able to stand in the air of this world, because the people who had status from their money were not at all able to be together with the people of the world and could not stand in the world's air, so that they should not contaminate them, and they were not at all able to speak with people of the world, so that they should not contaminate them with their breath (in other words the foolish country considered the world entirely impure compared to them, as mentioned). Therefore the guards who stood outside the city were surely of low status, except the guards also had the portraits (of their gods) and would hug and kiss them all the time, because with them too was money the main object of faith.
The Prayer Leader came to one of the guards and began talking with him about the ultimate purpose, inasmuch as the only ultimate purpose is Godly devotions — Torah, prayer, good deeds etc. — and money is utter foolishness and not the ultimate purpose at all, etc. But the guard did not listen to him at all, for it was already ingrained in them for a long time that the main thing is only money, as mentioned. And likewise the Prayer Leader went to all the guards and talked with them likewise as mentioned and they did not listen to him whatsoever. The Prayer Leader came to a decision and went into the city which was on the mountain (as mentioned). When he arrived inside the city it was a great novelty to them and they asked, "How did you get in here?" since no one was able to reach them. He answered them, "Why do you ask? I am already inside the city, all the same."
The Prayer Leader began talking with one of them about the purpose of the world, that money is no purpose at all, etc. (as was his custom) but the man did not listen to him at all, and likewise another, and likewise all of them, because they were already so lost in their mistake that they already could not listen to anybody, as mentioned. And it was a wonder to the people of the city that such a man exists and should come to them and say to them such things, the complete opposite of their faith. It struck them that this man must be the Prayer Leader, because they had already heard that there is such a Prayer Leader in the world, since the matter of the Prayer Leader had already become publicized in the world (as mentioned), and people in the world would call him "Der Frummer Baal Tefilah" (the devout Prayer Leader). But catch him they could not, because he would make himself appear different to each person: to one he appeared as a merchant, to another as a pauper, etc., immediately afterwards disappearing from there (in other words, he was quickly gone away).
[The Warrior (The Strong Man)]
And the day came to pass: now there was a Mighty Warrior [gibbor, lit. mighty; strong; overpowerer], unto whom other warriors [gibborim] had gathered. Now, the Warrior and his warriors were going around taking over countries, the Warrior wanting nothing else but submission (in other words, that they should be subject under him). And when the people of the country submitted to him he would release them; and if not — he would ruin them. So he went around subjugating countries, without any desire for money whatsoever — only submission; that they should be under him. And the way of the Warrior was: he would send his warriors to a country when he was still very far from it — fifty miles — for them to surrender to him; and so he was continually taking over countries.
And the merchants of the aforementioned wealthy country, who used to conduct trade in foreign countries, returned to their country and told about the Warrior, and a great terror fell on them. And even though they were willing to submit themselves under him, the thing that prevented them was they heard that he loathes money and does not want any money at all, and this was contrary to their faith, therefore they could not submit themselves under him, because for them it would be like apostasy, since he did not at all believe in their creed, that is, in money. And they were very afraid of him, and they began to perform their devotions and bring their sacrifices to their gods (that is, to those who had much money); and they would take a beastie (that is, someone with little money, who was considered by them a beast) and bring him for a sacrifice to their gods (as mentioned), and similarly they performed their other devotions (that is, the things with which they would serve their gods). And the Warrior was continually coming closer to them, and had started to send his warriors ahead [to ask]: What do they want? — after his usual custom, as mentioned. A great terror came over them and they did not know what to do.
Their own merchants gave them a suggestion: Inasmuch as they had been in a country where the entire populace were gods and traveled about with angels — that is, that country is where everyone, from the smallest to greatest, are all extraordinarily great [vild-groiss, lit. "wild-great"] wealthy people in the extreme, such that even the smallest among them is also a god according to their foolish delusion (because the smallest person in the country is exceptionally wealthy and has as much money as was reckoned by them that with that much money one becomes a god, as mentioned). And they "travel with angels" since their horses are covered with such great wealth, with gold and so forth, that the covering of one horse was worth the amount that an angel had. Thus, the riders "travel with angels," tying three pairs of "angels" to a carriage and riding with them. "Therefore you need to send to this country and they will surely help you, for they are all gods." (All this was still the advice of their merchants.) Their advice pleased them very much, for they believed that they would surely be saved by the other country, since they are all gods there, as mentioned.
And the Prayer Leader came to the decision he would go once again to that country; perhaps he would still lead them out of their folly. And he went there, came up to the guards, and began speaking with one guard in his usual way. The guard told him about the Warrior, that they are in great terror of him. The Prayer Leader asked him, "What do you have in mind to do?" The guard told him the matter mentioned above, that they want to send to the country where they are all gods etc.
The Prayer Leader made much laughter of him and said to him, "That is quite a great folly! Because they are humans like we are. And all of you, with all your gods, are all merely humans and not one of them is any god at all. There is no more than only one God in the world: He who created everything, and He alone should be served and only to Him one should pray; and this alone is the main purpose in the world." And such other words did the Prayer Leader speak with the guard. And the Prayer Leader kept speaking more of the same kinds of words with the guard, while the guard continued to not listen, because their mistaken belief had already been set within them from a long time ago, as mentioned.
However, the Prayer Leader debated with him extensively, until finally the guard answered him, "What else can I do? I am only one individual, after all (and compared to me are the numerous residents of the country)." Now this already had the semblance of some teshuvah [repentance, response], as the words which the Prayer Leader had spoken before with the guard, and the words which he spoke now, joined together until they stirred him somewhat. (Because the teshuvah that the guard had answered, "What can I do?" etc., made it known that the words of the Prayer Leader were starting to already enter his heart a little bit.)
And so the Prayer Leader went to another guard and also spoke with him in his usual way, as above; and he too did not listen to him, but in the end also replied as above, "I am one person" and so forth, as above. And so all the guards answered him this teshuvah in the end.
Afterwards the Prayer Leader entered the city and began talking with them in his usual way: inasmuch as they are all very much in complete error, and money is no goal at all; rather, the essential purpose is solely to delve in Torah and prayer and so forth. They did not listen to him, for they were all very much rooted in money from a long time ago. And they told him about the Warrior, and that they want to send to the country where they are all gods, etc. He laughed at them too and told them that was a folly and they all are only humans, etc. "And they will be unable to help you at all, because you are human and they are human, and they are no god whatsoever. There is only one God, the All-Blessed One, etc." As for the Warrior he replied to them (with a wondering expression), "Isn't this that Warrior?" (the one he knows?) They did not understand what he meant. And so he went from one to the other, and continued talking thus with them, as above. And as for the Warrior he said to everyone, "Isn't this that Warrior?" etc., as above. They did not understand his words; what he meant.
Meanwhile, a commotion broke out in the city, inasmuch as there was found someone who says such things, making laughter of their faith, and saying that there is only a single Unity, that is, Hashem Yithbarakh, the All-Blessed One, etc.; and as for the Warrior, always saying, "Isn't this that Warrior?" etc. as above. They understood that this must certainly be the Prayer Leader, because he was already notorious among them, as mentioned. They ordered for him to be sought and caught. Even though he appeared different each time (that is, at times presenting himself as a merchant, at times as a poor person, and so forth, wherefore they were not able to catch him, as mentioned), nonetheless they knew of this too, that the Prayer Leader constantly presents himself differently. They ordered an investigation into him, for him to be captured. He was sought out until they caught him, and they brought him to their elders.
When they began talking with him he told them also as above, "You are all mistaken and in great folly, and this is no purpose whatsoever (that is, money is no goal at all). Instead there exists a singular all-blessed One, namely the Creator, blessed be His name, Who has created everything. He alone should be served, and money is an utter nonsense, etc. And the country where you say they are all gods — they will be unable to help you whatsoever, for they are only human, etc."
They considered him insane, because the entire country was already so immersed in money and they were already so crazed that whoever said something contrary to their foolishness was for them a madman.
[The King and the Hand]
They asked him, "What is this that you say about the Warrior, 'Isn't this that Warrior?'" as above. He answered them, "Inasmuch as I used to be with a King, and to the King a Warrior was lost; then if this is that Warrior, I am acquainted with him. And furthermore, your relying on the country where you say they are all gods — this is nonsense, because they will be unable to help you whatsoever. Just the reverse — this will be your very downfall, if you rely on them." They asked him, "Where do you know this from?"
He answered them: Insofar as the King whom he was with, had with him a Hand [yad, יד]. That is, the King had something resembling a hand with five fingers and with all the grooves (that is, all the creases and ruts) that are on a hand. And the Hand was the map of all the worlds, and all that has been since the creation of heaven and earth until the end and what will be afterwards was all depicted on the Hand. For depicted in the scratches and folds of the Hand was the diagram of all the worlds, how every world stands, with all of every world's things in detail, every thing standing out on the and as depicted on a land map (as is known to those who are used to land maps, that is, depicted on a paper is each town, every country and every bridge; and similarly other things: streams, woods etc.; and by every thing it is all written down, that this is this town and this is that country and so forth).
Thus all the worlds were depicted on the Hand by the ruts and folds of the Hand, and in the Hand's ruts were as if letters, just as letters are inscribed on a map next to each thing so that they may know what it is, that is, that they should know that here is this town and here is this stream and likewise other things. In exactly the same way by the ruts of the Hand were depicted the likeness of letters next to every thing depicted on the Hand so as to know what is every thing depicted there. The same for every separate city, every town and all the rivers, bridges, mountains and other objects (whatever is found in the world and in all the worlds): everything was depicted on the Hand by the ruts and folds on the Hand, and there were always letters standing next to every thing, that this is this thing and that is that thing, etc. Similarly all the people who go around in every country, and all their experiences (that is, everything that passes over a man during his lifetime), were all depicted on the Hand.
"And even all the paths from one country to another, and from one place to another, were written on it, and on account of that I knew the way to come in here to this town which no man can enter (because the wealthy country had dug around their cities and nobody could come to them, as above). And so if you want to send me into the other town I know that way too, all through the Hand. And also imprinted on the Hand was the way from one world to another world. For there is a path and a course on which one can ascend from earth to heaven (for, one cannot go up from earth to heaven, due to not knowing the way; but depicted there was the way to go up to heaven). So depicted there were all the paths that exist from one world to another world. For, Eliyahu ascended to heaven with this path, and that path was written there; Moshe Rabbeinu [Moses] went up to heaven with a different path, and that other path was also written there; and likewise Chanokh [Enoch] ascended to heaven with yet another path, and that path was also written there. Thus from one world to the other (farther, higher) world was all depicted by the ruts and folds of the Hand.
"Also represented on the Hand was every thing as it was at the time the world was created, as it is now, and as it will be afterwards. For instance, Sedom [Sodom] was depicted there as that city had been (while inhabited) before it was overturned; in addition depicted there was Sedom being upheaved, as a city turning over; and again depicted there was Sedom as it appears today after the upheaval. For on the Hand was depicted what was, what is, and what will be. And there on the Hand I have seen that the country of which you say they are all gods, together with all the people who come to them for help (that is, that the city should help them) will both all be obliterated." (All this the Prayer Leader told them.)
This was an extraordinary novelty to them, for it was recognized that this is true talk, because it is known that on a map all things are depicted, so they understood that his words are true since such things cannot be thought up, because one can see for himself that he can put together two ruts of the hand and a letter will become of them. For this reason they understood this is no contrived thing; hence it was an extraordinary novelty to them. They asked him, "Whereabout is the King? Perhaps he will show us a way how to find money."
He answered them (with an expression of someone awestruck and angered), "You still want money?! Don't talk about money at all!" They asked him, "Nonetheless, tell us where the King is." He answered them, "I too don't know of the King; where he is. And this is how the story happened:
[The Prayer Leader Tells the City About the King Etc.]
"Once, there was a King and a Queen, and they had an only daughter. And it came near the time to marry her off, so they seated advisors to give counsel as to whom she ought be married off to. And I too (that is, the Prayer Leader, who is still relating this in front of them) was there among the advisors, because the King liked me, and my advice was that they should give her the Warrior, because the Warrior had wrought us many benefits, for he had conquered many countries; therefore he ought to be given the Queen's Daughter for a wife. My advice was very liked and they all agreed upon it, and there was a big celebration there for having found a groom for the Queen's Daughter. And they wed the Queen's Daughter with the Warrior, and the Queen's Daughter had a Child. And the Baby was quite an extraordinary beauty, being no sort of human beauty whatsoever: his hair was golden and had all the colors, his face was like the sun and his eyes were other luminaries. And the Child was born with mature wisdom, because they saw in him immediately when he was born that he is already a great sage, for when people were talking, in the place where one needs to laugh he would laugh; and so with other such things they likewise recognized him being a great sage — except not yet having the motions of an adult, namely he had not yet the faculty of speech and other such things — but this they saw right away: that he is already a big genius.
"And with the King was an Orator, that is, a speaker who is a master of language and rhetoric, who was able to talk very fine talk: very beautiful speeches, songs and praises for the King. And the Orator was on his own account a fine Orator too, but the King showed him the hidden path and the way for him to go up and get the power of the science of rhetoric, and thereby he became a very superb orator. The King also had a Sage, and the Sage was also a sage on his own account, but the King showed him the way for him to go up and get wisdom, and thereby he became an extraordinary, superb sage.
"And similarly, the Warrior was mighty on his own, but the King showed him the way for him to go and get strength, and thereby he became an extraordinary, superb warrior. For, there is a Sword that hangs in the air, and the Sword has three powers. When the Sword is lifted then all the officers of the [opposing] army flee, so as a matter of course they fall, because when the officers flee, there is no one to lead the battle, so they certainly fall. But despite this, the survivors may still be able to wage war — however, the Sword has two sharp edges, and they have two powers: through one edge they all fall down, and through the other edge they get the sickness called "dör" (wasting; consumption), namely they (the enemies whom they are fighting) become meager of flesh and lifeless, as is known of this sickness; the Merciful One spare us. So by merely making a move with the Sword in its place, the enemies are stricken with the aforementioned things, that is, by using one edge the enemies have defeat, and by using the other edge the enemies are stricken with dör, as mentioned. And the King showed the Warrior the path that there is to the Sword and from there he attained his great strength.
And to me the King also showed the way to get my thing; I got from there what I need. (In other words the Prayer Leader, who is telling all this, said that the King showed him the way from which he should get his thing, namely, prayer.)
"And likewise the King had a Faithful Friend [Ohev Ne'eman, lit. faithful one who loves] (in other words, a gutn freund, a getreuen: a good, trusty friend) who was in love with the King [vas er hat sich lieb gehat mit dem melekh; shehayah ohev eth `atzmo `im hamelekh, lit. who loved himself with the King] with a very extraordinary love. They loved each other so much that it was utterly impossible for them to be one without seeing the other for some amount of time. But nonetheless there must be times when they need to be apart, so they had portraits in which both their images were depicted. They would delight themselves (in other words, take pleasure and satisfaction with) the portraits when they could not see each other. And the images depicted how the King and his Faithful Friend love each other and hug and kiss each other with great love. And the portraits had the special ability that whoever looked at the images attained great love (in other words, one received the trait of love when looking at the images). And the Faithful Friend also received the love (that is, the amorousness) from the place which the King showed him.
"There came the time when they all went, each one to his place, to receive there his power for his thing — that is, the Orator, the Warrior, and all the King's people, each went up to his place to renew his power. And the day came to pass: there was a very great Storm Wind upon the world. And the Storm Wind mixed up the entire world, and overturned sea to dry land and dry land to sea, and wilderness to settled area and settled area to wilderness; so it overturned the entire world. And the Storm Wind went into the King's chamber and did nothing at all there (in other words, there at the King's it wrought absolutely no damage), except that the Storm Wind went in and snatched away the aforementioned Child of the Queen's Daughter. And amidst the commotion, as soon as the Storm Wind snatched away the dear Child, the Queen's Daughter followed [him] immediately (in other words, the Princess immediately started running after the Child in order to snatch him back; she too went off someplace no one knows where). So too the Queen, and so too the King: they all went after the Child, until they all became dispersed and no one knows where they are. But all of us were nowhere nearby during this, for we were gone away then, each to his place to renew his power, as mentioned; and when we came back we could no longer find them all, as mentioned. The Hand too became missing then.
"So from that time on we have all become scattered and can no longer each go to his place to renew his power, for since the entire world has been overturned we now need different paths today; therefore we have no longer gone up each to his place to renew his power. However, the impression that remains by each of us (meaning the token, that is, the little bit that has remained by each one from long ago) is also very great — and if this mighty one (which the country feared) is the King's Warrior, he is certainly a very mighty warrior." (All this the Prayer Leader told the people.)
And they heard out his words and were very amazed, and now they held the Prayer Leader fast by him and would no longer let him go from them (because perhaps the warrior upon them is the King's Warrior mentioned above, with whom the Prayer Leader is acquainted).
[The Warrior's Guard Speaks]
And the aforementioned Warrior kept coming closer to the country, always sending his emissaries to them, until he reached the country. And he stationed himself below the city and sent his emissaries inside to them (for them to tell him what they want: to submit themselves or not, as above). They were very terrified of him and they begged the Prayer Leader that he should give them a suggestion. The Prayer leader told them it was necessary to inspect the conduct of this warrior in order for him to recognize thereby if this is the aforementioned Warrior of the King. The Prayer Leader left and went out towards the Warrior, and he reached the Warrior's army and began talking with one from among the Warrior's accompanying warriors (that is, with one of his sentries) (in order to examine if he is the Warrior with whom he is familiar). The Prayer Leader asked him, "What are your doings? And how have you gotten together with the Warrior?"
He answered him (that is, that same warrior replied to the Prayer Leader), "What took place was like this: It is written in their chronicles how there had been a great Storm Wind upon the world, changing sea to dry land and dry land to sea, and wilderness to settled area and settled area to wilderness, mixing up the entire world. And after the noise and upheaval, the entire world having become so mixed up, the world's people decided to make a king for themselves. They started to investigate who ought to be made king over them and they reasoned, 'Inasmuch as the essential thing is only the ultimate purpose [takhlith] therefore whoever most occupies himself with and exerts himself in the purpose of the world — he deserves to be king.' They began probing what is the purpose, and there arose several opinions among them.
"One faction said that the main object is honor, for, 'We see that the world considers honor the main thing. Because when a person is not given his respect — that is, when some word is uttered against his honor — he experiences bloodshed, because the main thing is honor, for the entire world. And even after death people are careful to give to the dead his honor, burying him with respect and so forth (and telling him, 'What is being done for you is all being done on account of your honor'). Even though after death one no longer wants any money and the dead person certainly has no desire for anything, nevertheless they are particular about the dead's honor and they guard his honor. Therefore it is honor that is the main object. They continued saying more such conjectures and deductions of that sort, that honor is the main object of the world, until it became settled among them that the main purpose is honor. Therefore they needed to search for an honorable person (that is to say, a person who attains honor) and moreover the person should also pursue honor, for since he receives honor and pursues it, and assists [human] nature which desires honor, therefore this person exerts himself and pursues after the main goal and has reached it, because the goal is, after all, honor, as mentioned; therefore such a person deserves to be king." (All this was the foolish opinion of one sect of them; and so they found foolish conjectures and deductions until they became led astray therein and said that honor is the purpose.)
Likewise all the other factions that will appear below all had foolish reasonings for their foolish notions. (Heb. only: Some of them are explained below, but Rabbeinu z"l did not want to explain all the perplexed reasonings for these beliefs, because there are some rationales in this that are so convoluted that it is possible to indeed be led astray by these false rationales; the Merciful One spare us.)
"They went searching for such a person and they went and saw an old Gypsy beggar being carried while following him were perhaps five hundred Gypsies. And the beggar was blind, hunchback and mute, and all these people followed him because they all were his relatives, for he had sisters, brothers, and seed of his loins, until there came to be so many of them, all of whom followed him and carried him. And the old beggar was very particular about his honor, for he was a very angry person and always heaped his great indignation upon them, always ordering that others should carry him and always scolding them. Hence this elderly beggar is a very 'honorable' man, because he has such an honor, and also pursues honor, because he is so strict over his honor. Therefore this beggar pleased them and they accepted him as a king. And because land also has an effect, for there is a land that engenders and is conducive to honor, and similarly there is a land that is specially suited for another trait, therefore this faction (which regarded honor as the main purpose) sought a country that engenders and is conducive to honor; and they found such a country that is conducive to it and they settled there.
"One faction said that the main object is not honor, and they conceived that the main object is murder, for, 'We see that all the things that are found on the earth — grasses and all plants and people, and all that is in the entire world — must all ultimately cease to exist. Hence the very goal of all things is to be finished off (that is, destroyed). Therefore a murderer who kills and destroys people is really bringing the world to its purpose.' Therefore they came to the conclusion that the goal is murder. They looked for a person who would be a murderer; an angry person and an extremely vengeful person, for such a person is closest to the purpose (according to their deluded mindset) and he deserves to be king. They went looking for such a person and they heard a shriek. They asked, 'What is this, such a screech?!'
"They replied to them this shriek is: someone has slaughtered his father and mother. They spoke up, 'Where else can one find such a stronghearted and angry murderer, that he should murder his own father and mother? This here man has reached the purpose (that is, the one who has slaughtered father and mother)!' And they were extremely pleased by him and they accepted him as a king over them. And they sought for themselves a country that causes (that is, brings about) murder and they chose a place among mountains where killers abide and they went there and settled there with their king.
"A faction said that he deserves to be king who has a great abundance of food and does not eat the fare of other people but only fine foods (such as milk, so that his mind should not become coarse); such a person ought to be king. However, they could not immediately find such a person who would not eat the foods of other people. In the meantime they chose for themselves a rich man who had plenty of food (and whose food was a bit finer) until they would find such a person as they want, who would not eat etc. as above. And meanwhile they made the rich man into a king until they would find such a person as they want, as above; then the rich man would descend from the reign and the other one would be taken up as a king. And they chose for themselves a country suited for this and they went and settled there.
"A faction said that a beautiful woman is fit to be king, for the main object is, after all, that the world should be inhabited with people, since for that reason the world was created. And since a beautiful woman brings about that desire, through which the habitation of the world grows greater (since more people come about), it follows she brings the world to the goal. Therefore a beautiful woman deserves to be king. They chose for themselves a beautiful woman and she became king over them. And they sought for themselves a land conducive to this, and they went there and settled there.
"A faction said that the main object is speech, because the distinction between a man and a beast is only speech, and since that is the essential in which a man is greater than a beast, therefore it is the main purpose (that is, speech). They sought for themselves a speaker (that is, a talker) who would be eloquent and who would know many languages and would always talk a great deal all the time, for such a person is at the goal. They went and found a French lunatic who was going around and talking to himself. They asked him if he knows languages, and he knew several languages. Now such a man has certainly already reached the goal (according to their foolish deluded ideas), since he is a master of language, knows many languages and talks a great deal — for he talks even to himself, after all! Therefore they were very pleased by him and they accepted him as a king. And they chose for themselves a land conducive to this and they went and settled there with their king. And he surely led them on the straight path!
"A faction said that the main purpose is happiness. For, when a boy is born, people are happy; when there is a wedding, people are happy; when conquering a country, people are happy. It follows that the main purpose of everything is only happiness. Therefore they sought a man who would always be happy, for he is, after all, at the goal, and he should be king over them. They went searching and they saw a gentile going along with a disgusting shirt and carrying a bottle of brandy while following him were several other gentiles. And this gentile was very happy because he was very drunk. They saw that this gentile is very happy and has no concern whatsoever, and they liked him very much, this gentile, because he has reached the goal, since the goal is only happiness. They accepted him as a king over them, and surely he led them on the right path! And they chose for themselves a land conducive to this, that is, where there are vineyards so that they should make wine, and from the seeds of the grapes they would make brandywine; and nothing whatsoever of the grape bunches should go to waste, because this for them was the main purpose: to drink and go drunk and always be happy, even though one doesn't know at all about what, for they had nothing at all to be happy about. Nevertheless it was the main purpose for them to be always happy. And they chose for themselves a land conducive to this, as above, and they went and settled there.
"A faction said that the main thing is wisdom. They sought for themselves a great sage and made him a king over them, and they sought for themselves a land conducive to wisdom and they went and settled there.
"A faction said that the main goal is to attend to oneself with food and drink, which is called pilevin [Yid. < Ger. pflegen], in order to enlarge his limbs [evarim]. And they sought a ba`al evarim [lit. master of limbs], that is, someone who has large limbs and nurses himself to grow his limbs (that is, the members of the body), for since he has big limbs he has, after all, a larger portion in the world because he takes up more space in the world. So this man is closer to the purpose because the purpose is, after all, to grow the limbs; therefore such a person ought to be a king. They went and found a tall man (which is called a veynger [Yid.]); they were pleased by him, because he has, after all, large limbs and is at the goal. They accepted him as a king and they sought a land conducive to this and they went and settled there.
"And there was a different group that said that all these things are no goal at all; instead the right purpose is to only be involved in prayer to Hashem Yithbarakh and to be a humble person and a lowly person etc. (in other words, one should not deem anything of oneself), etc. And they sought for themselves a prayer leader, and they made him a king over them." (One will understand by himself already that all the previous factions were all gravely mistaken and deluded in great folly, each faction in their folly through their foolish hypotheses and foolish deductions. Only this last faction hit the truth proper — so, fortunate are they!)
All this was related by one of the strongmen before the Prayer Leader. And he went on to tell him that they (namely the strongmen who joined themselves to the Warrior as mentioned) — they are from the faction of the limb-masters mentioned above (that is, the faction that said that the main object is only to nurse oneself to grow his limbs) who had taken up as a king over themselves a master of limbs (that is, a large person, as mentioned).
"And the day came to pass, and a company [machneh, camp] of them were going along (in other words, a great deal of the ample-limbed people were going along) with wagons in train (which are called ibez [< Ukr. oboz, train]) bringing along food, drink and other such things. Now, of these large-limbed ones the world was certainly very afraid, for they were large and mighty men, and whoever encountered them was sure to step off the road. Meanwhile, as the camp of the ample-limbed was going along like that, up against them from the opposite direction came a big Warrior [lit. mighty one] (and this was the Warrior who now goes with them). And this Warrior did not step off the road for them and he went into the camp and dispersed them here and there, and the people of the camp were terrified of him. And he (that is, the Warrior) went inside among the aforementioned wagons which trailed behind them and ate up everything that was there. This was an extraordinary novelty to them (that he is such a mighty man that he is not afraid of them whatsoever and entered among them and ate up all that was on the wagons) so they immediately fell down before him, saying immediately, 'Hail [lit. live] the king (meaning they immediately made him a king)!' because he certainly deserves the reign, according to their notion that the main accomplishment is someone who is ample-limbed, as mentioned. And (their) king will certainly forgo the kingship for him because since he is so strong and so well-limbed that he certainly deserves the reign. And so it was: they took him up as king (that is, the Warrior who came against them, as mentioned). And this is the Warrior with whom we now go about conquering the world. But he says (that is, the Warrior who has now become king over them) that he means something else in his going about conquering the world, for he does not at all intend that the world should be under him; instead he means something else." (All this, one of the strongmen told the Prayer Leader who had asked him how they had joined the Warrior; he answered him all this.)
[The Prayer Leader and Warrior Reunite; the Prayer Faction]
Asked the Prayer Leader, "Wherein is the strength of the Warrior who is now your king?" He answered him, "Inasmuch as there was a country that did not want to submit themselves under him, the Warrior took his Sword which he has, and his Sword has three powers: when it is lifted, all the army officers flee" etc. (and he recounted the three powers explained above, from which the King's Warrior got his strength, as mentioned).
When the Prayer Leader heard this, he realized that this is definitely the King's Warrior mentioned above. The Prayer Leader asked if it were possible to be seen by the Warrior who is their king. They answered him it must be announced for approval before him. They went and announced, and he summoned that he should come in, and the Prayer Leader entered to the Warrior. When the Prayer Leader entered to the Warrior, they recognized each other and there was very great rejoicing between them over their being privileged to reunite together. And between them was rejoicing and crying (happiness and weeping), for they recalled the King and his men — they cried over that — therefore between them was rejoicing and crying. The Prayer Leader began to discuss with the Warrior by what experiences they had arrived here.
The Warrior told the Prayer Leader that from the time that there was the Storm Wind — when they all became dispersed — when he returned from where he went to renew his power and did not find the King with all his people, as mentioned, he then let himself go wherever he would go. And he passed by them all: that is, he understood he was at the place where the King is and where all his people are. That is, he was at a certain place and he understood that there is certainly where the King is found, however he was unable to seek and find him. And similarly he passed by another place, understanding that the Queen is certainly there, however he was unable to seek and find her; and thus he passed by all the King's people.
"Only you have I not passed by!" (That is, the Warrior who is telling this said to the Prayer Leader that he passed by all the places of all the people; only the place of the Prayer Leader did he not pass by.)
The Prayer Leader replied to him saying, "I passed by all their places, and by your place as well. For, I was passing by a certain place and I saw the King's crown standing there and I understood that the King is certainly here, however I was unable to seek and find him. And so I went further and passed by a sea of blood and I understood that this sea is certainly made from the tears of the Queen who weeps over all this and the Queen is certainly here, however I could not seek and find her. And so I passed by a sea of milk and I understood that the sea is certainly made from the milk of the Queen's Daughter whose son was lost, and the milk pressured her and from this the sea of milk came to be; and the Queen's Daughter is certainly here, however I was unable to seek and find her. And so I went further and saw the golden hairs of the Child laid out, and I did not take from them whatsoever, and I knew that the Child is certainly here, however it was not possible to seek and find him. And so I went further and was passing by a sea of wine and I knew that this sea is certainly made from the speech of the Orator, who stands and speaks consolations before the King and the Queen, and then turns his face and speaks consolations to the Queen's Daughter, and from his speech the sea of wine comes to be (as written, Vechikekh keyayin hatov/ And the roof of your mouth is like best wine' [Song 7:10]), however I could not find him. And so I went further, and I saw a stone standing there upon which was etched out just like the Hand' with its ruts (that is, just like the Hand with all the furrows etc. which had been at the King's, as mentioned), and I understood that the Sage (of the King) is certainly here and the Sage has engraved for himself the shape of the Hand on the stone, but it was not possible to find him. And so I went further and I saw arranged on a mountain the golden tables, the credenzas [display cupboards] and the rest of the King's treasures, and I understood that the King's Treasurer [lit. Warden Over the Treasures] is certainly here, however it was impossible to find him." (All this the Prayer Leader told over to the Warrior.)
Replied the Warrior, "I too passed by all these places, and I did take from the golden hair of the child, for I took seven hairs that had all sorts of colors, and they are very dear to me. And I settled down and sustained myself with whatever possible, with grass and so forth, until I had nothing whatsoever to sustain myself. I let myself go where I would go, and when I went away from my place, I forgot my bow there." The Prayer Leader replied, "I saw your bow! And I knew that it was certainly your bow, but I could not find you."
The Warrior went on telling the Prayer Leader that, "When I went away from the place, I went until I encountered the troops mentioned above (that is, the troop of the ample-limbed mighty men mentioned above), and I entered in their midst, because I was very hungry and wanted to eat; and as soon as I entered among them they immediately took me up as a king, as mentioned. And now I go conquering the world, and my intention is: perhaps I will be able to find the King and his people mentioned above."
The Prayer Leader began discussing with the Warrior: "What to do with these people!?" That is, with the country that is so fallen into craving money until they have gone out to such extraordinary folly that those who have much money are gods for them; and so forth the other follies the country has.
The Warrior answered the Prayer Leader that he had heard from the King that one can take out from any craving someone who has fallen into it except someone who has fallen in the lust for money; it is impossible to extract him from it by any means. "Therefore you will have no effect on them whatsoever, for it is impossible to extract them from this at all. Albeit through the way that there is to the Sword mentioned above" — from where he gets his power as mentioned — "only through this way can one extract from the lust of money someone who has sunk into it." (So he had heard from the King.)
The Warrior remained together with the Prayer Leader for a while, and as for the country which had beseeched the Prayer Leader that he should go out to the Warrior on their behalf, as mentioned, they extended the time. That is, the Prayer Leader convinced the Warrior that he should give them a span (that is, until which he should do nothing at all to them). He alloted them time, then they made signs between themselves, that is, the Prayer Leader and the Warrior exchanged signs so that one would be able to get information from the other, then the Prayer Leader went off on his way.
As the Prayer Leader went on he saw people going along and entreating God, Blessed is He, praying and carrying prayer books. He was afraid of them and they were frightened of him too. He stood to pray, and they also stood to pray. Then he asked them, "Who are you?" They answered him, "Inasmuch as when there was the Storm Wind, the world separated into many factions, these choosing this thing, and those choosing that thing (just as all the different factions are explained above). At that time we chose for ourselves that the main purpose is only to be constantly involved in prayer to Hashem Yithbarakh. We sought and found a master of prayer and made him a king."
When the Prayer Leader heard this it pleased him exceptionally, for this is what he himself wants. He began to talk with them and showed them the order of his prayers and his books and his ideas he had regarding prayers. When they heard his talk their eyes opened and they saw the greatness of the Prayer Leader. They immediately made him a king over them, for their king deferred the kingship to him since they saw that he is quite a great man [Heb. that he is set apart on a very, very high level]. The Prayer Leader taught them and opened their eyes and showed them how pray to Hashem Yithbarakh, and he made them into very great complete tzaddikim, for they had been tzaddikim before as well since they had involved themselves only in prayer, albeit the Prayer Leader opened their eyes until they became extremely great tzaddikim. The Prayer Leader sent a letter to the Warrior and informed him how he was privileged and had found such people as he wants and had become king over them.
[The Treasurer (The Warden Over the Treasures)]
Now the aforementioned country (that is, the wealthy land for whom money was the main object etc. as mentioned) continued occupying themselves with their devotions (that is, they kept doing wild things and offering sacrifices to their gods, that is, to those who had much money, as mentioned), and the time that the Warrior had granted them was already about to run out. They were very frightened and they did their devotions and offered sacrifices and incense and involved themselves in their prayers which they prayed to their gods. They caught a "little critter" [a chayeleh], that is, such a person who has little money, and offered him for a sacrifice to their gods. And it remained their opinion that they must perform their first plan which they had been given, that they should send to the country where they are all gods there, because they have very extraordinary riches there (which according to their opinion entails that they are all gods) and that country would certainly save them, since they are all gods after all, as mentioned. They did so, and they sent emissaries there to that country.
Meanwhile on the way as the emissaries were going they went astray and they noticed a man walking with a stick, whose stick came to more than all their gods. That is, his stick was set with very expensive diamonds so that the stick was worth more than the riches of all their gods. Should one put together all the riches of their gods and even of the gods of that country they're going to, the stick would be worth more than all their riches. Furthermore the man was walking with a hat in which there were diamonds so that the hat was also worth extraordinarily much. As soon as the emissaries noticed this man they immediately fell down before him in kneeling and prostration (that is, they bowed profusely before him), because according to their foolish opinion this man is a god over all gods, for he has such extraordinarily great riches. (And this man whom they encountered was the King's Treasurer mentioned above.)
The man said to them, "This here is a novelty for you!? Come with me — I'll show you riches!" He led them atop the mountain where the King's treasury was laid out in order and he showed them the treasure. As soon as they saw the treasure they immediately fell down with bowing and prostration, because he is, after all, a god over all gods (according to their foolish and deluded opinion, as for them the essence of creed was money, as mentioned). Albeit they brought no sacrifices, for in accordance with their belief that he is such a god etc. they certainly would have offered themselves to him, however (when these emissaries went out) the emissaries were warned that on the way they should offer no sacrifices, for they were afraid that should they want to offer sacrifices along the way, none of them would remain, for maybe one of them will find a treasure on the road. Maybe one of them will enter an outhouse and find a treasure there (Heb. only: which would be a god for him); he will want to sacrifice himself to it, and none of them will remain; therefore the country warned the emissaries that on the way they should offer no sacrifices whatsoever. [Heb. only: Therefore these emissaries did not offer sacrifices to this aforementioned Warden. But this was clear for them: that he was a god over all gods, since he possessed such astounding and vast wealth.]
The emissaries came to the decision: Why should they any longer go to those other gods, that is, to the country they were sent to, where they are greatly wealthy people whom they considered to be gods? Isn't it better that this man will surely be able to better help them, for he is, after all, a god above all of them (according to their crazed notion), since he has such extraordinary, great riches more than them all (many, many times over)? Therefore they beseeched this man that he should go with them into their country. He was amenable with them and went with them and entered their country. There was a great celebration in the country, that they had acquired such a god, for they were already sure now that through him they would have a deliverance, for he is such a god, since he has, after all, such great fortune. The man (who was the King's Treasurer, as mentioned, who was accepted by the countrymen as God) ordered that until there would be a proper order in the country, no one in the meantime should offer any sacrifices. (For this Warden was in fact a great tzaddik, for he was of the King's people, who were all very great tzaddikim. The Warden certainly loathed the foolish practices of the country but he was still incapable of leading them out of their evil way; however, for the time being he ordered them that in any case no sacrifices should be brought.) The countrymen started beseeching him regarding the aforementioned Warrior of whom they were very terrified, and the Warden also replied to them, "Could this be the Warrior (whom he knows)?"
The Warden got up and went out to the Warrior and asked the Warrior's people if it were possible to be seen by him, and they said they would announce it. They announced it. He ordered [for] him [to be] let in, and the Warden entered before the Warrior. They recognized each other, and there was celebration and crying between them, as above (that is, they were very happy that they were privileged to find each other but they still wept very much: how can the rest of the aforementioned people be brought as well?). The Warrior spoke up to the Warden, "Our kosher Prayer Leader is also here, and I have already seen him, and he has already become a king!" (Heb. only: And they told each other how it had evolved that they arrived here.) The Warden told the Warrior that he had passed by everyone, that is, by the King's place and all the aforementioned people; only by the two of them did he not pass, that is, by the place of the Prayer Leader and the Warrior he did not pass. The Warden talked with the Warrior about the country that has become so errant and so deluded in money that they have fallen into such nonsense.
The Warrior answered the Warden that which he had told the Prayer Leader, that he had heard from the King that whoever has fallen into the craving of money cannot be taken out of it by any means except by that way as mentioned. Again they extended time: that is, the Warden convinced the Warrior that he should give the country yet another date. The Warrior gave them another date. Then they made signals between themselves — the Warden and the Warrior — and the Warden went away from the Warrior and returned to that country. (Now, the Warden certainly kept rebuking them severely over their evil way in which they had become so abased in (craving) money, but he could not lead them out of it, since they were already very deep-rooted in it. But nonetheless since the Prayer Leader and the Warden had talked with them very much, they had already become a little confused and kept saying, "Aderaba (Just the reverse)! Take us out of it!" Even though they still held themselves fast in their foolish notion and did not want [to get] out of their nonsense at all, nevertheless they kept saying when they were rebuked, "Aderaba — if it is indeed so that we are mistaken, please (na) take us out of our error!")
The Warden replied to them, "I will give you a suggestion (against the Warrior). I know the Warrior's power and from where he gets his strength." And he told them the matter of the Sword, mentioned above, from where the Warrior gets his strength. "Therefore I will go with you to the place of the Sword, and by this you will be able to stand up against the Warrior (for you will also get strength from there)." And the Warden's intention was: when they arrive at the Sword's place they will already be out from their money craving (for by means of that way to the Sword, thereby a person gets out of the money craving, as mentioned). The country accepted his advice and sent their magnates who to them were gods and they went together with the Warden to the Sword. (And the gods, that is, their magnates who went with the Warden, certainly went dressed in gold and silver jewelry since this was the main thing for them). So they went together, the Warden and the country's magnates whom they called gods.
[To the Place of the Sword, and the Conclusion]
The Warden made the thing known to the Warrior, inasmuch as he is going with them to seek the place of the Sword and his intention is maybe he will be privileged on the way to find the King and his people. The Warrior replied, "I too will go with you." The Warrior disguised himself (so that the people going with the Warden should not know that he himself is the Warrior) and also went with the Warden. They decided (the Warden and the Warrior) they would inform the Prayer Leader of this as well. They informed him, and The Prayer Leader replied he will also go with them. The Prayer Leader went to them and the Prayer Leader ordered his people before he went away that they should pray about this, that Hashem Yithbarakh should make their venture successful; that they should be privileged to find the King and his people. For the Prayer Leader had always kept praying about this, that the King and his people should be found, and always kept ordering his people that they should also pray about this, and he had composed prayers for them which they should pray for this; and now that he wanted to go the Warden and the Warrior so that they should go together to search for the King and his people, he urged them even more to pray for it constantly that they should be privileged to find them. The Prayer Leader came to the Warden and the Warrior and there was certainly great rejoicing among them — celebration and weeping, as before. They, all three, went together, that is, the Warden, the Warrior and the Prayer Leader, with the "gods," that is, the country's magnates (who were called "gods" in their country) going with them.
They went and went, and they came to a certain country, and there were guards there standing around the country. They asked the sentries, "What sort of country is this, and who is your king?" The guards replied: Inasmuch as when there was the Storm Wind, at which time the world became separated into numerous factions (that is, into many opinions, as each sect had a different opinion, as mentioned), then the people of the country chose for themselves that the main thing is wisdom, and they took up for themselves a great sage as a king. Not long ago they found quite an exceptionally great wise man, who is strangely an extraordinarily great sage. The king relinquished the kingship to him and they took him up as king, since for them the main thing was wisdom. The three of them said (that is, the Warden, the Warrior and the Prayer Leader) that it appears that this must be our Sage (that is, the King's Sage). They asked if it were possible to be seen by him, and they answered them, "It must be announced." They went and announced, and he ordered them to come in. They (that is, the three of them) entered in to the Sage, who had become king in the country. They recognized each other, for this sage was indeed the King's Sage mentioned earlier. There was certainly great celebration there — rejoicing and weeping, for they wept, "How to be privileged to find the King and the others as well?!"
They asked the Sage if he knows anything about the King's Hand. He answered them that the Hand is with him, but since the time that they had become dispersed by the Storm Wind — from that time onward he does not want to gaze at the Hand at all, because the Hand belongs exclusively to the King. Albeit, he had carved out the Hand's form on a stone in order to use it a little for his thing (i.e. wisdom); but upon the Hand itself he doesn't look at all.
They discussed with the Sage how he had come here, and he told them that since the time the Storm Wind happened, he went where he would go (and as he went he passed by everyone [Heb. only: of the King's people]; only by the three of them, that is, by the place of the Prayer Leader, the Warrior, and the Warden he did not pass by), until this country found him and took him up as a king; and now in the meantime he must guide them according to their way, according to their sophistries, until later he will lead them out to the truth proper.
They talked with the Sage regarding that country that had become so deluded about money, etc., and they said, "If we had been thrown around and dispersed for nothing more than on account of that country, in order that we should correct them and turn them to the truth, it would also be worth it, for they have become so deluded." Because in truth, all the aforementioned factions, each one having chosen its nonsense, this one wanting honor, and this one murder, etc. — they have all become deluded and need to be led out to the proper goal. For even the sect that had chosen for itself that the main thing is wisdom, they too have not reached the true purpose and also need to be led out from that, for they have clung to alien and heretical wisdoms. Still, one can more easily lead [people] out of all [the other] follies, except these ones are so deluded in the idolism of money and are so fallen into it that it is impossible to extract them from it. And the Sage also replied to them that he too had heard from the King that it is possible to extract someone who has fallen into any craving, but from the craving of money it is impossible to extract, other than by the way that there is to the Sword, as mentioned. The Sage said he too would go with them, and they all four went along, and the "gods" (that is, the wealthy ones of the country) went with them too.
They came to a certain country and they also asked the watchmen, "What sort of country is this and who is your king?" They answered them: Inasmuch as when the Storm Wind occurred, then the people of this country chose for themselves that the main purpose is speech. They took up an eloquent talker as a king. Later they found quite a superb, eloquent bard and orator; they accepted him as a king, because the king relinquished the kingdom to him because he is so eloquent. They realized, "This must surely be our King's Orator." They also asked if it were possible to be seen by the king. They answered them, "We must announce it." They announced it, and he ordered that they should come in. They entered to the king, and that was the King's Orator. They recognized each other, and there was also great rejoicing and weeping between them. The Orator also went with them as well and they went further in search; maybe they would find the rest of them, for they saw that Hashem Yithbarakh is helping them; that they successively find their friends. And they attributed all this to the merit of their kosher Prayer Leader who is always praying for this, and through his prayers they were privileged to always find their friends. They went onward; maybe they will find the rest in addition [noch].
They went along and they came to a certain country, and they also asked, "What sort of country is this and who is your king?" They answered them that they are of the faction that had chosen for itself that the main goal is to go drunk and be happy. They had taken up for themselves some drunkard as a king because he is always happy, but later they found a man sitting in a sea of wine and he pleased them very much more, because this is certainly a very big drunkard, for he's seated in a sea of wine. They took him up as a king. They also asked to interview with him and they [the guards] went and announced it. They entered to the king, and this was the King's Faithful Friend who had been sitting in the sea of wine that had come about from the talk of the Orator who consoles them, as mentioned. (And the countrymen reasoned that he is a great drunk since he sits in a sea of wine, so they took him up as a king.) When they entered to him, they recognized each other, and between them was a great rejoicing and weeping, as before. And the Faithful Friend went with them as well.
They went onward and came to a certain country. They asked the watchmen, "Who is your king?" They answered that their king is a beautiful woman, insofar as she leads to the goal, because the goal is habitation of the world (that is, that the world should be inhabited with people, as mentioned). And initially they had a beautiful woman as a queen; then they found a beauty who is a very exceptional beauty and they accepted her as a queen. They realized: this must surely be the Queen's Daughter. They also asked to interview with her, and they went and announced, and they entered to the queen and recognized that this is the Queen's Daughter herself. And the rejoicing that was there is certainly unimaginable. They asked, "How have you come here?"
She told them that after the Storm Wind happened and had snatched away the dear boy-Child out of the crib as mentioned, immediately in that frantic moment she ran after the Child but did not find him. The milk pressured her and from this the sea of milk came about. Then the country found her and accepted her as king over them. And there was a great celebration there. But they also wept severely over the dear boy-Child who's not there, and over her father and mother whom she [the Queen's Daughter] doesn't know about. But now already the country has a king too, because already here is the husband of the Queen's Daughter who has become queen here — for the Warrior himself is her man — so now the country has a king!
The Queen's Daughter asked the Prayer Leader for the time being to go in her country and meanwhile cleanse of their repulsive vice, because since for them the main purpose was a beautiful woman, they were certainly very defiled and deep in this lust, therefore she asked the Prayer Leader to meanwhile go cleanse them of it a little in the meantime (that is, he should tell them mussar/exhortation, so that they should not be so deep in this craving of promiscuity), so that they should not be so crude in this vice, because beyond it being a craving, it was additionally for them just like a creed that this is the goal (because all the factions that had each chosen its bad thing as the purpose, as mentioned — for each of them the thing was just as a creed that this is the purpose), therefore she asked the Prayer Leader to go and cleanse them a little in the meantime.
Then they all went searching for the rest. They went along and they came to a certain country, and they also inquired, "Who is your king?" They answered them that their king is a one year old, for they are from the faction that had chosen for themselves that whoever has an abundance of food and is not nourished from what other people eat — he deserves to be a king. They temporarily accepted a wealthy man as king. Then they found a man who was sitting in a sea of milk, and they were very pleased by him, because this man was nourished his whole life from milk and was not nourished from what other people eat, therefore they took him up as a king. And for that reason he is called a "ben shanah/ one-year-old," since he lives on milk like a one year old. They realized that this is surely their Child. They requested to interview with him; and they went and announced. They entered to him and they recognized each other, for he also recognized them, even though he was only a little child when he was snatched away — nevertheless because he was a mature sage since his birth, since he was born with a complete wisdom, as mentioned, therefore he recognized them; and they of course recognized him. There was certainly a very great celebration there, albeit they still wept that they did not know of the King and the Queen. And they asked him, "How did you get here?"
He told them that when the Storm Wind had snatched him away, it carried him away where it carried him and he was there in that place and sustained himself with what he found there, until he came to the sea of milk. He understood that this sea was certainly made from his mother's milk, for the milk certainly pressured her, and that is how the sea came about. He settled there on the sea of milk and was nourished by the milk until these countrymen came and took him up as a king.
Then they went onward and came to a country. And they asked, "Who is your king?" And they replied that they had chosen for themselves that murder is the goal. They accepted a certain murderer as king, then they found a woman sitting in a sea of blood, so they took her up as a king, because they saw that she is surely a very great murderer since she is seated in an ocean of blood. They also asked to interview with her, and they went and announced. They entered to her, and this was the aforementioned Queen who keeps crying constantly and her tears come to be the sea of blood as mentioned. They recognized each other, and there was certainly a very great celebration there, albeit they still wept that they still did not know about the King.
They went onward and came to a certain country. They asked, "Who is your king?" They replied that they had chosen for themselves as a king a certain honorable person (that is, a person who has honor, as mentioned), because for them the main purpose is honor. Then they found sitting in a field an old man wearing a crown on his head. They were extremely pleased by him, for he is a dignitary, for he sits in a field adorned with a crown, and they accepted him as king. They realized that this is certainly their King himself, and they also asked if it were possible to be seen by him. They went and announced, and they entered to him and recognized that he is the King himself. And the rejoicing that was there is certainly inconceivable in the brain. And the foolish "gods" (that is, the very wealthy ones from the land of riches who went with them) are traveling with them, and they do not know whatsoever for their lives what is happening here, why there is such happiness here.
And now the entire holy group was restored and gathered together united: that is, the King and the holy people. They sent the Prayer Leader to all the countries (that is, the countries of all the factions that had each chosen for itself a bad thing as a goal, as mentioned) to correct them and cleanse them; to lead them out of their error, each country out of its vice and its nonsense, for they had all become deluded, as mentioned, and now the Prayer Leader definitely had the power to go to them and turn them around to the right way, for he had received power and permission from the kings of all the lands, since here were all their kings, as mentioned (because the King and his people who had come together — they all were the kings of all the lands of the factions mentioned above). The Prayer Leader went, with their authority, to cleanse them and bring them back in teshuvah (repentance), while the Warrior spoke with the King regarding the country that is so fallen in the idolism of money. The Warrior said to the King, "I heard from you that through the way that I have to the Sword — through it, it is possible to extract someone who has fallen in the idolism of money."
The King answered him, "Yes, it is so." The King told the Warrior (the thing, just how through that way one can take them out of the craving of money): Inasmuch as on the way where he goes to the Sword there is a way on the side; by this way one comes to a Fiery Mountain, and on this Mountain crouches a Lion. And the Lion, when he needs to eat, goes and falls on the flocks and takes for himself sheep and cattle and eats them up. And the shepherds know of this and guard the sheep intensely from him, yet the Lion does not look at this whatsoever — just whenever he wants to eat he falls on the flocks, and the shepherds bang and strike and storm at him, however the Lion does not hear this at all; he just takes sheep and cattle for himself and roars and eats them. And the Mountain of Fire is entirely invisible (in other words, there, there is a Mountain of Fire, only, one doesn't see it).
And moreover, from the side there is yet another way; with this way one comes to a place called "Kech" (Kitchen). And there in that Kitchen there are all sorts of food, and in the Kitchen there is no fire whatsoever; rather, the foods are cooked by way of the Fiery Mountain mentioned above. And the Fiery Mountain is very far from there, but channels and pipes go from the Fiery Mountain to the Kitchen, and thereby all the foods are cooked. And the Kitchen too is not seen at all, but there is a sign: standing there are Birds upon the Kitchen, and by them one knows that the Kitchen is there. And the Birds hover with their wings, and thereby they kindle the fire and put out the fire, that is, by the Birds' flapping they blow on and inflame the fire, and also by their very flapping they put out the fire so that the fire should not flame too strongly, more than necessary. And they blow on the fire according to what is necessary for the foods, that is, for one food is needed such a fire, and for another food is needed a different fire — all according to the food, so do the Birds blow on the fire. (All this the King tells the Warrior.)
"Therefore lead them (that is, these people from the Land of Riches who are "gods" there) first against the wind, so that the smell of the foods should get to them. Then when you give them from the foods they will definitely just cast away the craving of money."
The Warrior did so, and took these people, that is, the magnates from the Land of Riches who are gods in their country, who came here with the Warden, as mentioned. Now, when they left their country with the Treasurer, the countrymen gave them power that whatever they do shall be done and the whole country must abide by whatever they do. The Warrior took the people and led them on the way (which the King told him, as mentioned) and he brought them up until the Kitchen where the foods are. And first he led them against the wind and the smell of the foods went to them and they began begging him intensely to give them from these good foods. Then he led them [away] from the wind and they began to scream, "There is a tremendous stench!" He again brought them against the wind and again the good smell of the foods reached them and again they begged intensely that he should give them from the foods, then he again led them [away] from the wind and they again began to scream, "It stinks unbelievably (lit. very wildly)!"
The Warrior responded to them, "Don't you see that there is nothing whatsoever here that should have a bad smell? It must certainly be that you yourselves make the stench, for here there is nothing that should have a bad smell." Then he gave them from the foods. As soon as they ate of these foods they immediately began to cast away from themselves their money, and each one dug for himself a grave and buried himself in the pit due to the great disgrace, as they were intensely ashamed, for they felt that money stinks intensely (Heb. only: which smells like actual feces) because they had tasted of the foods. And they scratched their faces and buried themselves and could not lift their faces at all, and each one was ashamed in front of the other (because such is the special power [segulah] of the foods, that whoever eats of the foods is very repulsed by money) because there in that place money is the greatest disgrace of all disgraces, and when someone wants to say something derogatory about another (lit. throw something out at another) he throws out at him, "You have money," for money there is a huge disgrace, and the more money someone has, the more he is ashamed, therefore they buried themselves out of great disgrace, and each of them was unable to lift his face even in front of the other; even more so in front of the Warrior. And whoever still found with himself some gilden or grush would rid himself of it immediately and throw it away from himself. Then the Warrior came to them and took them out of their pits that they had dug for themselves there out of disgrace, and he said to them, "Come with me, because now you need no longer have any fear of the Warrior, for I myself am the Warrior!" They begged the Warrior to give them from the foods, to bring to their country, because they themselves would surely just hate money, however, they wanted the whole country to go out from this money craving.
The Warrior gave them from these foods and they brought the foods into their country, and as soon as they gave them from these foods they all immediately began to cast away their money and buried themselves in the earth out of disgrace; and the very wealthy and the gods were most ashamed, but even the lesser people who were called "animals" and "birds" by them were also ashamed for having been so little until now in their own eyes because they had no money, because now they knew that on the contrary it's just the reverse: money is the main disgrace. For these foods have such an effect, that whoever eats from the foods is very repulsed by money, for he senses the bad smell of money, just like feces exactly. They all cast away their money and their gold and silver. Then they sent them the Prayer Leader and he gave them teshuvoth [ways to make amends and return to God] and tikkunim [repairs; remedies], and he cleansed them. And the King became king over the entire world, and the entire world returned to God, Blessed be He, and they all were involved only in Torah, prayer, teshuvah and good deeds. Amen, so be His will. Blessed is Hashem for eternity, Amen and Amen.
[Notes Following the Story]
The verse states that Hashem Yithbarakh has an oven in one place and fire in a different place, distant from the oven, as written [Isa. 31:9], "Ne'um-Hashem asher-ur lo beTziyon wethanur lo Birushalaim/ Says Hashem, Whose fire is in Tziyon and His furnace in Yerushalaim;" see there the entire chapter, which speaks of this whole story. "Hoi hayordim Mitzrayim le`ezrah, `al-susim yisha`enu/ Woe to those who descend to Egypt for assistance and rely on horses... uMitzrayim adam welo-El, wesuseihem basar welo-ruach/ The Egyptians are men and not God, and their horses flesh and not spirit" — alluding to the country that the Land of Riches relied on to save them, for according to their mistaken beliefs they considered them all gods and their horses angels, as explained above in the story; see there. This is why the verse concludes, "uMitzrayim adam welo-El, wesuseihem basar welo-ruach" etc. Understand this.
"...Washem yateh yado, wekashal `ozer wenafal `azur, yachdaw kulam yikhlayun/ So when Hashem shall stretch out his hand, both he that helped shall stumble and he that was helped shall fall; they shall all perish together" — alluding to the Hand, for on the Hand they saw that both together would perish, the helper and the helped, as mentioned.
"...Ka'asher yehgeh ha'aryeh wehakfir `al-tarpo, asher yikare `alaw melo ro`im/ Like as the lion, or the young lion, growling over his prey, though a band of shepherds be called forth against him" etc. and "Ketziporim `afoth/ Like flying birds" — alluding to the Lion and the Birds mentioned. Take a good look above inside the story and understand. "Ki bayom hahu yim'asun ish elilei khaspo we'elilei zehavo/ For on that day each man will detest his silver idols and gold idols" etc.
"Wenafal Ashur becherev lo-ish... wenas lo mipnei-cherev... wesal`o mimagor ya`avor/ And Assyria shall fall by the sword not of man... and shall flee from the sword... and his rock shall disappear from fear" — alluding to the three powers of the Sword in the story. Wenafal and wenas allude to two of the powers. And wesal`o mimagor ya`avor alludes to the illness of dör, where one's strength and power wither and disappear, for sal`o refers to their strength; this alludes to the third power of the Sword. Take a good look and understand. Then the verse concludes, Ne'um-Hashem asher-ur lo beTziyon wethanur lo Birushalaim — these are the furnace and fire in the story. Look and see and understand how this chapter explains the entire story. (All the above were the Rebbe's words.) And thus said the Rebbe explicitly, that the entire story from beginning to end is alluded to in entirety in this chapter [i.e. Isa. 31] and he said that all the words of the story can be found in Scriptures and so forth. But the essence of the story is all stated in the above chapter, for there it is all explained and alluded to entirely. However, we do not know how, beyond what the Rebbe revealed to us explicitly (that is, what is explained above). Still, the rest of the matters of the story we were not privileged to perceive how they are hinted in that chapter, but he stated explicitly that the entire story is alluded to there.
(For instance, "Wetime'them eth-tzipui pesilei khaskpekha we'eth-apudath masekhath zehavekha; tizrem kemo davah, tze tomar lo/ You shall defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and the adornment of your golden molten image; you shall put them far away as an unclean thing; 'Go away,' you shall say to it" [ibid. 30:22]. And as written [ibid. 2:20-21], "Bayom hahu yashlikh ha'adam eth elilei kaspo we'eth elilei zehavo... lachpor peroth... lavo beniqroth hatzurim/ On that day, a man will cast away his gods of silver and his gods of gold... digging ditches... to go into the clefts of rocks," that is, they will cast away the craving of money, which is actual idolatry, and bury themselves in ditches, etc., as explained in the story. Because money stinks like actual feces, as written, "tizrem kemo davah/ you will put them far away as an unclean thing; 'TzE'/ Go away' [akin to TzO'AH, feces], tomar lo/ you shall say to it." And so forth one can find all the words of the story in the Scriptures, etc.)
The order of the King and his men is as follows: The Prayer Leader and the Warrior; the Warden and the Sage; the Orator and the Faithful Friend; the Queen's Daughter and her Child; the King and the Queen. That is their order, and they correspond to `Olam haTikkun/ the World of Repair. And they are ten things, but they are not reckoned in order, that is, these ten are not reckoned according to the order explained in books of kabbalah. But there are hidden things behind this. It is also explained in the books that when the influx of one attribute passes through another attribute, when the influx tarries there then it is named after that attribute. That is, the attribute in which is tarrying the influx of another attribute that is passing through it, that attribute is named after the attribute from which that influx is coming. And because of this the order here is changed. There are also other matters in this, which will be very clear to those who are adept in the books. The Rebbe z"l said all this explicitly.
I also understood from his words that Mitath haMelakhim ["Death of the Kings;" shattering of the pre-Creation sefirot] and their repair is alluded to in this story, although neither the aspect of their destruction nor the aspect of their rebuilding are mentioned as the order of the ten aforementioned aspects, for the same reasons above. But still the things are hidden and sealed, because the utmost secret of the story he did not reveal at all; he only enlightened our eyes with the verses and ideas above so that we should know that there are very great and awesome hidden secrets in the story. But we do not know the extent. Fortunate is one who is privileged to understand a bit of the secrets of these stories explained in this book, because they are all extremely wondrous and awesome novelties; "`Amok `amok, mi yimtza'enu/ Deep, deep; who can find it out?" [Eccl. 7:24] "Mah nomar... mah nedaber/ What shall we say... what shall we speak?" [Gen. 44:16] "Mi-shama` kazoth, mi ra'ah ka'eleh/ Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things?" [Isa. 66:8]