Translated from the text published by Adolph Jellinek, ed., Bet ha-Midrasch: Sammlung kleiner Midraschim und vermischter Abhandlungen aus der jüdischen Literatur (6 vols.; Leipzig, 1853-77; repr., Jerusalem: Bamberger & Wahrmann, 1938), 3:68-78. Jellinek in turn simply reproduced a version which was first published in a collection of smaller midrashic texts at Salonika in 1743, the same early work from which Jellinek’s editions of Sefer Elijah and the Secrets of R. Šim‘ōn bar Yohai were extracted. Some of its content is paralleled in the so-called Pereq R. Yoshyahu, another anthological piece published by Jellinek in his Bet ha-Midrasch, 6:112-16 (the parallel portion begins at 6:113.26). Yehudah Even-Shmuel later prepared a heavily emended edition of Jellinek’s text which frequently incorporates the better readings found in the sources and parallel versions; see his Midreshey Ge’ullah (2d ed.; Jerusalem: Mosad Bialik, 1954), 332-44. An early rendition of a small portion of this work is also extant among the Genizah fragments of Jewish messianic literature recovered from Cairo (T-S A45.6), which was published with a transcription and brief textual notes by Simon Hopkins, A Miscellany of Literary Pieces from the Cambridge Genizah Collections: A Catalogue and Selection of Texts in the Taylor-Schechter Collection, Old Series, Box A45 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Library, 1978), 11-14. The appendix on the judgment of Samael is translated from Hanokh Albeck, ed., Midrash Bereshit Rabbati (Jerusalem: Mekize Nirdamim, 1940), 166.4-167.8.
Once the prophet Elijah (may his memory be for a blessing!) came to the academy of R. Yose. When R. Yose arrived, he discovered that Elijah was mournful. R. Yose said to him, ‘Why are you mournful?’ He replied to him: ‘I have just come from the presence of the Holy One, blessed be He. He and the Messiah were occupied with (the study of) the consolations of the prophet Isaiah. Then Samael, the prince of Rome, came in and laid accusations of wrongdoing against Israel. I said to him, “The Holy One, blessed be He, and His Messiah are occupied with the consolations of Isaiah, and you are denouncing them?” Thereupon he struck me, beat me, and expelled me, without saying anything to me!’ (R. Yose) began (his lesson); he said: ‘“I will pronounce your righteousness” (Isa 57:12), and all his doings will gain him nothing.’ (Interpreted, this means that) I will pronounce the righteousness of Israel, and all the doings of Samael will gain him nothing.
Another opinion: After the Holy One, blessed be He, had delivered Samael over to Michael, he said before the Holy One, blessed be He: ‘Why have you put me under the authority of Michael? Let him come and judge my people before You.’ At once the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Michael: ‘Come and judge his people.’ Samael responded, saying: ‘If (you should convict) the gentiles of being criminals, (know that) Israel also engages in crimes. (Should you convict) the former of sexual immorality, (know that) the latter also practices sexual immorality. (Should you convict) the former of bloodshed, (know that) the latter is also guilty of bloodshed.’ So Michael remained silent. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Michael: ‘You remain silent?!? Then I will speak up on behalf of My children so that all the doings of Samael may gain him nothing. This is why scripture says: ‘I will speak of righteousness, [mighty to deliver]’ (Isa 63:1); i.e., [I will speak of the righteousness of Israel] and I will deliver them on the Day of Judgment. What is this ‘righteousness’? (It consists of) their acceptance of the Torah at Mount Sinai, for had they not accepted, the entire universe would have been destroyed.’ Immediately all the celestial groupings responded, saying: ‘“Mighty to deliver” (Isa 63:1)—this merit is mighty enough to deliver them from Gehinnom!’ About this scripture states: ‘and at that time your people—all those found inscribed in the book—will escape’ (Dan 12:1). By what virtue do they escape? By virtue of the Torah, because they accepted everything that was written in the book. Consequently it states: ‘Israel, and I will bear witness for you’ (Ps 50:7). (The spelling of ‘for you’) beth-kaph through gematria (is twenty-two, a sum equivalent to) the twenty-two letters used in the Torah: this teaches you that the Holy One, blessed be He, will testify to the merit of Israel because they accepted the Torah which was given using twenty-two letters.
Declare the greatness of the Sovereign King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, Who loves Israel more than (He loves) the ministering angels, and it is hardly necessary to say (that He loves Israel) more than the gentile nations! A mortal king has sons, servants, friends, each of whom is distinguishable from the other, but with regard to the sons you would be unable to rank them on the basis of his love for them. This is not the case with the Holy One, blessed be He, who has creations in the upper and lower levels of the universe, but none among all of them are as beloved to Him as is Israel! How is the status of ‘beloved’ (made manifest) among the sons? The king clothes him with his garment, has him ride on his horse, seats him upon his throne, places a crown on his head, and has a herald announce before him: ‘this is the one beloved by the king!’ Similarly the Holy One, blessed be He, as it were, clothed Israel with His garment, for scripture says: ‘for He has clothed me in garments of deliverance’ (Isa 61:10). That was in the past, (but) for the future, what will attest it? Scripture promises: ‘glory and splendor will be his garment.’ He, so to speak, mounted them on His horse, for scripture attests: ‘He made him ride over the heights of the earth’ (Deut 32:13). That was in the past, (but) for the future, what will attest it? Scripture promises: ‘and I will make you ride over the heights of the earth’ (Isa 58:14). He, so to speak, seated them on His throne, for scripture says: ‘and Solomon sat upon the throne of the Lord’ (1 Chr 29:23). That was in the past, (but) for the future, what will attest it? Scripture promises: ‘They will call Jerusalem “the throne of the Lord”’ (Jer 3:17). He, so to speak, took His crown and set it on their head, as scripture says: ‘and eternal joy is upon their head’ (Isa 35:10; 51:11), and it also says ‘their king passed before them, and the Lord was at their head’ (Mic 2:13).
When the gentile nations behold all this praise and honor, immediately their eyes will bulge, their faces will turn pallid, their knees will knock against each other, and urine will stream down their thighs because the power of Israel will be like the power of the sun at which no one is able to gaze, as scripture states: ‘His friends are comparable to the rising of the sun with its full strength’ (Judg 5:31). Which intensity of the sun is meant? One would infer (it will be like) that of the summer solstice.
All of the nations of the world are destined to prostrate themselves before Israel and to lick the dust from their feet, as scripture states: ‘kings will serve as your tutors, [while their princesses will be your nursemaids; they will prostrate themselves facedown on the ground to you and lick off the dust from your feet]’ (Isa 49:23). And should a gentile or a heretic ask you, saying, ‘Could this possibly happen?’, say to him that it has already happened during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, for scripture says: ‘he (i.e., the Babylonian king) bowed down to Daniel’ (Dan 2:46).
We say in celebration of Jerusalem that it is going to be rebuilt of precious stones and pearls, for scripture promises: ‘I will inlay your battlements with gemstones, etc.’ (Isa 54:12). Moreover the borders of Israel will be inlaid with precious stones, for scripture says: ‘and all of your boundaries (I will set) with precious gems’ (ibid.). And should a gentile or a heretic ask you, saying, ‘Is it possible that this thing could ever be?’, say to him that it has already happened during the reign of Solomon, for scripture says: ‘and the king made silver in Jerusalem to be as abundant as stones’ (1 Kgs 10:27). Behold, we have pronounced the praise(s) of Jerusalem.
Now we will speak in celebration of the Temple which is destined to be rebuilt using twelve onyx-stones, for scripture states: ‘and Elijah took twelve stones corresponding to the number of the tribes of Israel’ (1 Kgs 18:31). Does this not signal a qal wa-homer argument? If the altar, which is only one of the ornaments of a temple, was fashioned using twelve stones, how much the more so should the (future) Temple (be so built), which will be the pride of Israel and the glory of the upper and lower beings and the adornment of the Holy One, blessed be He! The entire universe—all of it—will reflect the luminescence of the Temple, and (the glow) will encompass and rise up to the firmament, as far as ‘Araboth and the beasts and the chariot and the Throne of Glory. Consequently the altar is centered in relation to the Throne, and Jerusalem is directly beneath the Throne of Glory, and this is just what the prophet prophesied: ‘the Throne of Glory, exalted from the beginning, is the place for our sanctuary’ (Jer 17:12).
In praise of the Omnipresent, blessed be He: who is able to articulate just one of the many thousands and myriads (of blessings) which He has brought upon Israel and with which He has delighted the upper and lower beings? A parable: it is like a king who bestowed a gift upon a province and caused joy among (His) courtiers. So too has the Holy One, blessed be He, produced joy; then the upper and lower beings (rejoiced), as scripture states: ‘Sing out, O heavens, for the Lord has acted; shout, O lower depths of the earth’ (Isa 44:23).
And now we will celebrate the praise of the King Messiah. He is going to arrive ‘with the clouds of heaven,’ and two seraphim will be on his right and on his left, as scripture says: ‘and behold, one like a human being came with the clouds of heaven’ (Dan 7:13). Fiery seraphim will be sent into the palace, and stars will appear like fire in every place during the generation when the son of David comes. There will be three consecutive years of plague, and this (calamity) is an agent of the Holy One, blessed be He, as scripture states: ‘plague advances before Him, and pestilence marches at His feet’ (Hab 3:5). [‘Pestilence’ is actually ‘fire,’ as scripture attests]: ‘its bolts are flames of fire’ (Cant 8:6). And in the third year of the plague they will openly apostatize against Him. But at the end of the year the ruler will be slain, and they will flee into the deserts. The Land will cry out from its place, and the disciples of the Sages will perish. ‘Deceitful ones have deceived; very deceitfully have the deceitful ones deceived’ (Isa 24:16). Another verse supports it: ‘and should a tenth part still remain, it will be burned again’ (Isa 6:13). During the fifth year he (i.e., the King Messiah) will come and reveal himself among all the kingdoms. All of those rulers will fight with one another: the king of Persia (will fight) with the ruler of the Arabs and destroy it (i.e., their kingdom), for scripture states: ‘each will war with his brother and each with his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom’ (Isa 19:2). And when Edom falls, the heavens and the earth will shake from the noise of its collapse, since half of the world has been ensnared in its way (i.e., Christianity). For scripture states: ‘the Lord will roar from the heavens, and He will sound His voice from His holy abode’ (Jer 25:30). The Holy One, blessed be He, is going to collect them (i.e., Christians) into groups and deliver them into Israel’s control, as scripture promises: ‘I shall wreak My vengeance against Edom through the agency of My people Israel’ (Ezek 25:14).
The Holy One, blessed be He, is going to bring the prince of Edom and flog him. The prince of Edom will say: ‘To where might I flee? I could go to Egypt, but God is present there, for scripture says “behold, the Lord rode upon a swift cloud and came to Egypt” (Isa 19:1). I could flee to Edom, but God is present there, for scripture says “Who is This One coming from Edom” (Isa 63:1). I could flee to Babylon, but God is present there, for scripture says “for your sake I was sent to Babylon” (Isa 43:14). I could flee to Elam, but God is present there, for scripture says “I placed My throne in Elam” (Jer 49:38).’
A parable. Once the lion said to the fox, ‘Pay me tax!’ The latter arose and fled the distance of a three-day journey. The lion however still seized him and said to him, ‘Pay me the tax also in this place!’ He (the fox) replied, ‘But I fled from you!’ He (the lion) said: ‘You still remain in my place!’ So too the Holy One, blessed be He, will say to the prince of Edom: ‘Can you possibly hide yourself from Me?’ And the Holy One, blessed be He, will hand him over to Israel.
The Holy One, blessed be He, is going to put on garments of vengeance and avenge Himself on the seventy nations, as scripture states: ‘vengeance and recompense are Mine’ (Deut 32:35). He will wear ten different garments to correspond to the ten times that Israel is termed God’s ‘bride,’ and these are (those instances): ‘I have come to My garden, My beloved bride’ (Cant 5:1); ‘come with Me from Lebanon, O bride’ (Cant 4:8); ‘My beloved bride is a locked garden’ (Cant 4:12); ‘how wonderful is your love, My beloved bride’ (Cant 4:10); ‘your lips drip (like) a honeycomb, My beloved bride’ (Cant 4:11); ‘you have enamored Me, My beloved bride’ (Cant 4:9); ‘sound of the Groom and sound of the bride’ (Jer 7:34; 16:9; 25:10; 33:11); ‘and you will tie them on like a bride’ (Isa 49:18); ‘and the bridegroom delights over the bride’ (Isa 62:5); and ‘like a bride puts on her jewelry’ (Isa 61:10). And these are the ten garments (which God wears): ‘The Lord is a king cloaked in majesty’ (Ps 93:1)—during His creation of the universe; ‘the Lord is clothed; He has girded Himself with strength’ (Ps 93:1)—on the day of the revelation of the Torah; ‘He has put on righteousness like armor’ (Isa 59:17)—on the day when He hands the nations of the world over to Israel; ‘He has put on garments of vengeance (as) clothing’ (Isa 59:17)—on the day of the fall of Edom; ‘red of garment from Bosra’ (Isa 63:1)—on the day He makes war against the nations of the world; ‘this one majestic in His clothing’ (Isa 63:1)—on the day of Gog and Magog; ‘their gore was splattered on My garments’ (Isa 63:3)—with regard to the kingdom of Italy. And these are the two garments (You will wear) on the day when the dead are resurrected: ‘Let my soul praise the Lord: You wear splendor and majesty’ (Ps 104:1). ‘Why are Your garments red?’ (Isa 63:2)—on the day that the Holy One, blessed be He, seizes His sword and wages war, for scripture states: ‘I will make My arrows drunk with blood, and My sword will eat flesh’ (Deut 32:42). ‘And I shall wreak My vengeance against Edom through the agency of My people Israel’ (Ezek 25:14).
Before Edom falls, they will devastate ten places, ten places will be overturned, ten shofar-blasts will be blown, ten ‘sounds’ (qolot) will be heard, fifteen provinces will be slaughtered, ten misfortunes will transpire, and ten disasters will spring forth. A king ‘strong of face’ will arise and issue harsh decrees throughout his kingdom. A great king will go out to encamp against Alexandria, and there will be horrible trouble in the world. He will rule for three and a half years, and then he will rebel (against the king ‘strong of face’?). The princes of Edom will fall: ten battles will take place and then Israel will prevail over all the nations, ‘and I shall wreak My vengeance against Edom’ (Ezek 25:14).
Ships will embark for Edom from Eretz Israel, and Israel will announce: ‘Who is for us, and who is for Edom?’ For scripture states: ‘Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me unto Edom?’ (Ps 60:11). Israel will go and encamp against ‘Tyre’ for forty days, and at the end of forty days they will stand up at the time for the recitation of the Shema and say: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God; the Lord is One!’ (Deut 6:4). Then the walls of the city will collapse, and the city will be conquered by them. They will leave within it all the gold, silver, and the rest who are despoiling it and (proceed) from there to Rome. They will procure the Temple vessels, and King Nehemiah the Messiah will come out with them, and they will come to Jerusalem.
Israel will say to the ruler of the Arabs: ‘The Temple is ours! Take (this) silver and gold and leave the Temple!’ The ruler of the Arabs will respond: ‘You have nothing to do with this sanctuary! However, if you choose, first (offer) for yourselves a sacrifice like you formerly used to do. We too will bring an offering, and (in accordance with) whoever’s offering is accepted, we will all become one people (’ummah)!’ Israel will present offerings, but they will not be accepted because Satan will be denouncing (them) before the Holy One, blessed be He. Then the sons of Qedar (i.e., the Muslims) will present offerings and they will be accepted, for scripture says: ‘every flock of Qedar will be collected for you’ (Isa 60:7). At that time the Arabs will say to Israel: ‘Come and believe in our religion!’ But Israel will answer them: ‘Either we kill or wind up slain: we will never commit apostasy!’ Immediately swords will be drawn, bows stretched, and arrows sprayed, and corpses will be strewn ‘from the Gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate’ (2 Kgs 14:13). Nehemiah will lie slain among them. Those of them who escape will flee to the wilderness of Moab and to the territory of the Ammonites, and there those refugees of Israel will wait, and there God will perform miracles for them: He will make a spring gush forth for them from the subterranean depths, for scripture says: ‘My scattered ones will sojourn with you, O Moab’ (Isa 16:4). There they will eat broom-sage roots for forty-five days.
At the end of forty-five days, Elijah will emerge there along with the King Messiah. There Elijah will announce to them and say: ‘Why are you here, O Israel?’ Israel will respond and say: ‘We perish! We die!’ Elijah will say to them: ‘Arise, for I am Elijah and this is the King Messiah!’ But they will not believe him because Nehemiah had already come and was killed. He will say to them: ‘Perhaps you seek a sign like Moses?’ They will respond: ‘Yes.’ At that time he will perform seven miracles.
The first miracle: he will bring Moses and his generation back from the wilderness, as scripture states: ‘Gather together My pious ones for Me’ (Ps 50:5). The second miracle: he will cause Qorah and all his congregation to ascend, for scripture says: ‘you will restore him to life again; you will bring him up again from the earth’s abysses’ (Ps 71:20). The third miracle: he will raise up for them Nehemiah who had been slain. The fourth miracle: he will disclose to them the hiding place of the Ark, the jar of manna, and the anointing oil. The fifth miracle: the Holy One, blessed be He, will place a powerful staff in his hand, as scripture says: ‘the Lord will extend your mighty staff’ (Ps 110:2). The sixth (miracle): he will grind all the mountains of Israel as (one grinds) grain, as scripture states: ‘I will devastate mountains and hills’ (Isa 42:15). The seventh miracle: he will reveal ‘the mystery’ to them, as scripture says: ‘this is the sign of the covenant’ (Gen 9:12, 17).
When they (i.e., Israel’s enemies) behold these miracles, they will send to and inform all the princes despoiling Jerusalem, (saying) ‘Come and wage war on them!’ Those summoned will come out after Israel. Israel will say to the King Messiah: ‘Was it not better for us to remain (here)? Why have you come to provoke war against us as before?’ But the King Messiah will answer them: ‘Stand fast and see the deliverance of the Lord!’ He will blow with the breath of his mouth and all of them will fall down (as) corpses before him, as scripture promises: ‘he will slay the wicked with the breath of his lips’ (Isa 11:4). Go and learn from (the example of) Sennacherib, as scripture says: ‘behold, all of them were dead bodies’ (2 Kgs 19:35; Isa 37:36).
At that time Elijah will fly throughout the whole world and proclaim a message to Israel, as scripture states: ‘Behold I will send Elijah the prophet to you’ (Mal 3:23). That day will be a day of mercilessness and wrath, and that day will effect a separation between two worlds. The wicked will say: ‘Alas for the day! The day of the Lord is near!’ (Joel 1:15). They will also say: ‘Woe to those who longed for the day of the Lord!’ (Amos 5:18). Jerusalem will ‘expand and grow’ all that day, as scripture says: ‘and it will come to pass that one day will be known as “the Lord’s” … all the Land will become like the plain from Geva‘ to Rimmon south of Jerusalem’ (Zech 14:7-10).
Gog and Magog will come up on that day and encamp by Jerusalem for seven and a half days. He will capture Jerusalem! The people of Israel will say before the Holy One, blessed be He: ‘Master of the Universe! (With regard to) every nation that has despoiled me, I am ashamed to go and take back what is mine from their hand.’ The Holy One, blessed be He, will answer: ‘I shall assemble all of them to be among you, as scripture says: “behold, the day of the Lord is coming when your spoil will be divided up in your midst, and I shall gather all the nations to Jerusalem for battle, [and the city will be captured]”(Zech 14:1-2). These will be those (nations): Gomer and his armies, Togarmah, Africa, Garmit (?), Germamia, Cappadocia, Barbary, Italy, Kush, Spain, Saba, Kirman, Daylam, Khurasan, Sisunya, Galicia, Gotzia, Lombardy, Calabria, Pantopoli, Tripoli, Tyre, Macedonia, England, Munich (?), Sifri (?), Nero (?), Nuzan (Lausanne?), Drunia (?), Usia (?), Talki (?), Germany, Tarsus, Elam, and all the rest.
The inhabitants of those countries will issue forth with spears, swords, and bows, each of them reinforcing each other like a door that has been strengthened with nails, as scripture states: ‘each one helping his fellow’ (Isa 41:6). They will be divided into three groups. The first group will drink down all the waters of (the lake of) Tiberius, the second will drink up the dregs, and the third will cross over (the lakebed) on foot. Each will say to his fellow: ‘Whose was this place?’ They will grind the stones of the mountains of Israel with their horses, and Jerusalem will be given over unto them. They will capture the city, but they will not kill anyone, for scripture says: ‘the city will be taken, the houses will be looted, and the women ravished’ (Zech 14:2). They will abuse within it two women from two different families.
To what is this situation comparable? To that of a ruler who allowed thieves to enter his palace. The ruler thought: ‘If I arrest them while they are still in my house, they will think: “The ruler only has power within his house!” Instead, I will be patient and wait for them to come outside.’ Thus did the Holy One, blessed be He, reason: ‘If I kill them while they are still in Jerusalem, they will think “He only has power in Jerusalem!” Instead, I will be patient and wait for them to come out to the Mount of Olives!’ There the Holy One, blessed be He, will reveal Himself over them in His glory and wage war against them until not a single one of them remains, as scripture states: ‘and the Lord will go forth and wage war against those nations as at the time He fought on the day of battle’ (Zech 14:3). Then the Holy One, blessed be He, will assemble all the wild animals and birds to feast on their flesh, as scripture says: ‘Say to every winged bird and every wild animal: Collect yourselves together and come; gather yourselves from all sides for My festival victim, for I have slaughtered for you a great meal upon the mountains of Israel, and you will eat flesh and drink blood’ (Ezek 39:17). Israel will spend seven years burning the wooden components of their bows, shields, and spears.
At that time the Holy One, blessed be He, will dress the Messiah with a diadem and place ‘the helmet of deliverance upon his head’ (Isa 59:17). He will endow him with glory and splendor and enwrap him with rich garments, and He will station him upon the peak of a high mountain to make an announcement to Israel. Using his voice he will proclaim: ‘Deliverance has arrived!’ Israel will say: ‘Who are you?’ He will respond, ‘I am Ephraim.’ Israel will ask: ‘Are you the one to whom the Holy One, blessed be He, referred when He said “Ephraim, he is My firstborn” (Jer 31:8)? “Could a child be more precious to Me than Ephraim” (Jer 31:19)?’ He will answer them: ‘Yes!’ Israel will say to him: ‘Go forth and impart the news to those who sleep at Machpelah, for they must rise first.’ He will then go and impart the news to those sleeping at Machpelah, saying to them: ‘Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! Arise, for you have slept long enough!’ They will answer, saying: ‘Who is this who pulls the dust off of us?’ He will say to them: ‘I am the Lord’s Messiah! Deliverance has come; the Hour has arrived!’ They will answer him: ‘If this is true, go and impart the news to Adam the Protoplast for he must rise first.’ They (sic) will then say to Adam the Protoplast: ‘You have slept long enough!’ He will answer: ‘Who is this who wakes me from my sleep?’ He will say: ‘I am the Lord’s Messiah, one of your descendants!’ Immediately Adam the Protoplast will arise, along with his entire generation, and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the righteous, and all the tribes and every generation from one end of the world to the other, and they will joyfully sing, as Scripture states: ‘how wonderful on the mountains are the feet of the one who brings news!’ (Isa 52:7). Why (does the verse say) ‘on the mountains’? Rather, ‘how wonderful’ are Moses and his generation who are approaching from the desert! Another opinion: ‘how wonderful on the mountains’ (Isa 52:7). It is comparable to a ruler who had two sons. One of them died, and so all the citizens of the country put on black garments. The ruler said, ‘You clothe yourselves in black now due to the death of my first son; I will clothe you in white (in the future) to celebrate my second son!’ Similarly the Holy One, blessed be He, said to all the mountains: ‘Because you wept for My children when they were exiled from their land—as Scripture attests, “I took up weeping and wailing on the mountains” (Jer 9:9)—I will bring the joy of My children ‘on the mountains,’ as Scripture states: “how wonderful on the mountains” (Isa 52:7).’
It is fitting that the King Messiah imparts the news to Israel. The mountains will skip about like calves before him, and the trees of the field will applaud the deliverance of Israel, as Scripture states: ‘for you will go forth rejoicing … mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap hands’ (Isa 55:12). How fitting (too) that the mountains of Israel will flow with milk and honey like torrents of flooding waters and also with rivers of wine, as Scripture says: ‘it will come to pass on that day that the mountains will drip new wine, and a fountain will flow forth from the Temple of the Lord and fill the Wadi Shittim’ (Joel 4:18).
To what is the fountain comparable when it flows from the Holy of Holies to the threshold of the chamber? At first it will resemble the thread of the warp until (it reaches) the sanctuary, where it will resemble the thread of the woof, until it reaches the court, where it will resemble bulls’ horns or rams’ horns. When it reaches the altar it will resemble the antennae of locusts, (and) when it reaches the outer courtyard it will resemble (the opening of) a small bottle, as Scripture states: ‘flowing water’ (Ezek 47:2). From there it will descend like a flooding torrent, and purify (the Land) of iniquity, impurity, and sin. The Angel of Death will not be able to cross it, for Scripture says: ‘[no “swimming-boat” can traverse it,] nor a mighty ship cross it’ (Isa 33:21), nor will a ship be able to cross it. It will descend to the Dead Sea and multiply fish for Israel, and they will acquire salt from that place, for Scripture states about it: ‘its wetlands and swamps will not be fixed: they will produce salt’ (Ezek 47:11). By it will grow all the pleasant trees of Lebanon, as Scripture says: ‘and beside the river there will grow on either bank [trees] … which bear new fruit every month’ (Ezek 47:12). This is the ethrog which is going to bear fruit monthly, and the tree will be edible like its fruit, for Scripture says: ‘its fruit will serve as food and its foliage for medicine’ (ibid.). How wonderful is the Temple that will descend and be rebuilt upon its mound! For Scripture states: ‘and the city will be rebuilt on its ruins’ (Jer 30:18).
The future Jerusalem that is built will have castles spread over an area a thousand times larger than Tefef, towers covering an area a thousand times larger than Qefel, gardens occupying an area a thousand times larger than Tefef, a thousand magnificent mansions, and each and every one (will be like those) in Sepphoris during her time of prosperity. R. Yose said: ‘I remember Sepphoris during her time of prosperity when her output was 180,000 puddings.’ There are going to be three thousand towers in the midst of Jerusalem, and each tower will have a height of seven thousand (measures). She (Jerusalem) will sit on the peaks of three mountains: upon Sinai, Tabor, and Carmel. The rule for height will be set at seven thousand, and each unit of measure is equivalent to sixty-two cubits. She (Jerusalem) will be situated on the top of thirty-three side chambers, and the Temple will sit on top of all of them. How will they be able to go up to it? They will soar and fly like clouds and doves, as Scripture states: ‘Who are these who fly like a cloud; like doves (returning) to their cotes’ (Isa 60:8). The Temple will expand unto Damascus, for Scripture says: ‘Burden of the word of the Lord: in the land of Hadrakh and Damascus will be His resting place’ (Zech 9:1). Seven walls will encompass Jerusalem which will be composed of silver, gold, jewels, bright stones, sapphire, carbuncle, and fire; and its brilliance will cast light from one end of the world to the other. The Temple will be built on four mountains (from) refined gold, purified gold, beaten gold, and the gold of Parvaim, like gold which produces fruit, set in sapphire (and) fixed in <bdellium>. It will extend high into the heavens and reach up among the stars and to the spheres of the circuit of the Divine Chariot, as Scripture says: ‘above the highest elevations of the city’ (Prov 9:3). The Shekinah of God and His Glory will fill its sanctuary, and there He will appoint for each angel his particular service. Gabriel will be over His thousands, and Michael will be over His myriads. Vast hordes will enter one after another into its midst, and there He will set apart ‘these for eternal life and those for abuse and eternal disgrace’ (Dan 12:2). The gates of the Garden of Eden will open from within it, as Scripture says: ‘you were in Eden, the garden of God’ (Ezek 28:13), and Gehinnom will (also) be open. There the Holy One, blessed be He, will descend with His throne and situate it in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and he will there make every nation and its idols pass (before Him). And after the nations of the world have passed by there, they will fall down within it, as Scripture notes: ‘They are stationed like sheep for Sheol; Death will shepherd them’ (Ps 49:15). And who brought about this (fate) for them? It is because they attacked ‘Zevul’ (i.e., the Temple), as Scripture states: ‘I have surely built a house for You (named) Zevul’ (1 Kgs 8:13). A person who commits a transgression against the Throne of Glory, if he is truly penitent then he will be pardoned, for Scripture says: ‘Return O Israel unto the Lord’ (Hos 14:2). But lo, the nations of the world will pass over into Gehinnom and fall down into it, and the apostates and rebels among Israel will cool Gehinnom with their tears, as Scripture holds: ‘(They) pass through the valley weeping; they will make it (issue) from the eye’ (Ps 84:7). And when the apostates and rebels fall into Gehinnom, a fire from the Lord will burn through their body and their teeth will pop out from their mouths, for Scripture says: ‘You have smashed the teeth of the wicked’ (Ps 3:8). In place of reading ‘You have smashed,’ read instead ‘You stretched, extended.’
R. Eliezer b. Jacob said: The academy of the Holy One, blessed be He, in the World to Come will be eighteen thousand myriad parasangs (in size), and the Holy One, blessed be He, will sit on a throne of judgment, and David will sit before him, as Scripture says: ‘his throne is like the sun before Me’ (Ps 89:37). All the learned women who paid a wage for their sons so that they (i.e., the sons) might learn Torah, Bible, and Mishnah will be standing by a partition of reeds made like a wall listening to the voice of Zerubbabel b. Shealtiel who will serve as meturgeman before the Holy One, blessed be He. They will chant responsively after he has finished: ‘May His Great Name be blessed and sanctified forever and ever!’ The righteous will say ‘Amen’, and the wicked who are in Gehinnom will say ‘Amen!’ The Holy One, blessed be He, will ask the ministering angels: ‘Who are those who respond with “Amen!” from the midst of Gehinnom?’ The ministering angels will say before Him: ‘Master of the Universe! Those are the rebels and apostates from Israel who even though they are immersed in pain yet respond “Amen!”’ The Holy One, blessed be He, will say to them: ‘Bring them up from there!’ When they bring them up, their faces will be black like the bottom of a cooking-pot. They will say before Him: ‘Master of the Universe! Well have You judged; well have You convicted; well have You made us a sign for all Israel!’ At that time the Holy One, blessed be He, will open the gates of Paradise (lit. Gan Eden) and add them to the assembly of Israel, as Scripture says: ‘Open the gates and let the righteous nation, the guardian of faithfulness, enter’ (Isa 26:2).
Then Gabriel will enter Gan Eden, crying aloud and saying: ‘Take delight, O righteous ones, in the work(s) of your hands!’ They will say to him, ‘Who are you?’ He will answer, ‘I am Gabriel!’ Israel will say: ‘“Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord!”’ (Ps 118:26), and Gabriel will say: ‘“We bless you in the name of the Lord!”’
At that time the Holy One, blessed be He, will arrange tables, slaughter Behemoth, Leviathan, and the wild Ziz, and prepare a great banquet for the righteous. Each one of them will be seated (at the table) in accordance with their honor. The Holy One, blessed be He, will say to them: ‘Do you wish to drink wine made from apples, pomegranates, or grapes?’ The righteous will respond: ‘The authority is Yours to do whatever You decide!’ The Holy One, blessed be He, will bring them wine made from grapes that has been reserved since the six days of the initial creation-week, as Scripture states: ‘I will serve you spiced wine’ (Cant 8:2). The Holy One, blessed be He, will satisfy the desire of the righteous when He places His Throne of Glory there and sits with them, as Scripture says: ‘I have come to My garden, My sister, bride’ (Cant 5:1). The Holy One, blessed be He, will produce every praiseworthy item belonging to Gan Eden and bring in each and every righteous person and (let them) see His Glory, and every one (of them) will point using (their) finger, saying, ‘“This is God, our God forever and ever!”’ (Ps 48:15).
They will eat, drink, and rejoice until the Holy One, blessed be He, gives the command to lift the cup over which Grace is said. The righteous will say to Abraham, ‘Stand up and recite Grace,’ but Abraham will respond: ‘Ishmael casts blame upon me!’ They will (next) address Isaac, but he will respond: ‘Esau casts blame upon me!’ They will address Jacob, but he will respond: ‘(The matter of) two sisters casts blame upon me!’ They will address the tribes, but they will respond: ‘The testimony of Joseph casts blame upon us!’ They will continue thusly until they reach David, and they will place in his hands four cups, which are ‘the Lord is a portion of my lot and my cup’ (Ps 16:5), ‘my cup is full’ (Ps 23:5), ‘I will raise the cup of deliverance’ (Ps 116:13), and the cup over which Grace is said, which will have a capacity of two hundred and twenty logs, with each log equivalent to the size of one and a half eggs. David will reply: ‘It is fitting that I should offer blessing and praise!’ He will stand and then offer blessings, glorifications, and praises using every type of melody, as Scripture bears witness: ‘I will praise the Lord in accordance with His righteousness’ (Ps 7:18). At that time the Holy One, blessed be He, will take His crown and place it on the head of David and on the head of the Messiah of the lineage of David, and He will reveal their praiseworthiness and their righteousness to all generations. Israel will live peacefully and tranquilly, and He will fashion a canopy for all the righteous—a dwelling place to match each one’s honor—and He will move about among the righteous, lifting His hand while each person claps hands in their joy. For thus did Isaiah say: ‘Lord, Your hand is raised; yet they do not see!’ (Isa 26:11). The Holy One, blessed be He, will say: ‘I have previously said, “They will see and be ashamed!” (ibid.),’ and Israel will say: ‘O Master of the Universe! May “they see and be ashamed,” just like You have said!’ Then the Holy One, blessed be He, will raise the stature of the gentile nations to be higher than the walls surrounding Gan Eden, and they will look on the joy of Israel and be embarrassed. Fire will shoot forth from the mouths of the righteous and burn them up, as Scripture states: ‘fire will consume those who are Your enemies’ (ibid.).
The Holy One, blessed be He, is going to temper the brilliance of the sun and the moon, and He will bring the skin of Leviathan and fashion tents (sukkot) from it for the righteous, as Scripture says: ‘can you fill its skin with hooks (śukkot)’ (Job 40:31). They will make a tent for whoever deserves a tent, necklaces for whoever deserves necklaces, (and) a crown for whoever deserves a crown. That which is left over from it they will drape over the Temple, and its luster will radiate from one end of the world to the other. Israel will remain, eating and drinking, reproducing, and enjoying the glow of the Shekinah. The Holy One, blessed be He, will increase everyone’s height to be two hundred cubits—so did R. Šhim‘on teach. But R. Judah said (their height would be) one hundred cubits, like that of Adam the protoplast. This would however hold only for males: from where do we learn that females (also will be this tall)? Scripture states: ‘our daughters will be like corner-pillars’ (Ps 144:12). Every Israelite will engender progeny each day, as much as if not more than a hen bears! Do not be amazed at this (feat), but come and learn a lesson from the vine: each and every vine during the messianic era will require no less than (the population of) one city for its harvesting, as Scripture hints: ‘harness to each vine its city (‘iro)’ (Gen 49:11); and every barren tree which has never previously borne fruit will become fruitful to the extent that it becomes a burden for young asses to bear, as Scripture promises: ‘for the barren one , a young ass’ (ibid.). And should you say ‘there will be no wine,’ Scripture teaches: ‘he will wash his clothing in wine’ (ibid.); should you say ‘it will not be red,’ Scripture states: ‘his garment in the blood of grapes’ (ibid.); should you say ‘it will not intoxicate,’ Scripture notes: ‘its seduction’ (ibid.); should you say ‘it will have no taste,’ Scripture uses the word haklili (Gen 49:12): every palate (kol heyk) which tastes it will think ‘it’s mine, it’s mine!’ (liy liy). Should you say ‘it will be good for the young, but not good for the elderly,’ Scripture teaches: ‘better than milk for the one who is old’ (ibid.).
R. Yohanan taught: Wine is better for the elderly than milk is for infants. If a gentile should question you, saying ‘this thing will never come to pass,’ reply to him: ‘O wicked one, go and learn from the example of Obed-Edom the Gittite (cf. 2 Sam 6:11), for whom his mother-in-law and eight daughters-in-law bore sixty-two children over the course of three months, with as many as six (fetuses) in each womb. And as for the vine, there is already the example of R. Aha bar Adda who served as a teacher for the young children of R. Shim‘on b. Leqish. Once he left the children, and he (R. Shim‘on) came to him. He said to him: ‘Why did you leave the children?’ He (R. Aha) answered him: ‘My father left me one latticed grapevine. The first day I harvested from it three hundred bunches, each one of which filled a keg. The second day I harvested three hundred bunches, every two of which filled a keg. The third day I harvested three hundred bunches, every three of which filled a keg, and I left him more than half of it.’ But in the World to Come, it will not be so; instead, a person will bring his grapes in a wagon or on a boat and deposit them in a dark corner, and it (his deposit) will be like a large jar supplying (wine) for both that person and their household, as Scripture forecasts: ‘you will drink [a homer’s quantity] of the blood of grapes’ (Deut 32:14). There in the future the vine will extend itself out straight like a staff and climb to the peaks of the mountains. Should you say ‘it will surely prove irksome to harvest,’ Scripture teaches ‘it will shake (off) its fruit like Lebanon’ (Ps 72:16). The Holy One, blessed be He, will cause the wind to blow on it, and it will blow down its fruits, and every Israelite will take up enough to sustain themselves and their households.
The Holy One, blessed be He, is going to erect seven canopies for every righteous person, canopies consisting of cloud, smoke, daylight, fire, brilliance, flame, and night. Does Scripture teach about the canopy of smoke? Only that everyone who envied the disciples of the Sages will have their eyes blinded by the smoke which emerges from the canopies of the righteous! Where do we find the canopy of daylight? Scripture states: ‘the <path> of the righteous is like a brilliant light’ (Prov 4:18). Where do we find the canopy of fire? Fire is going to shoot out from the canopies of the righteous and the wicked will be scorched by it, as Scripture promises: ‘He will pour down coals on the wicked’ (Ps 11:6). Where do we find the canopy of brilliance? Scripture states: ‘it will be bright like light’ (Hab 3:4). Where do we find the canopy of flame which sets the wicked ablaze? Scripture says: ‘the voice of the Lord dividing flames of fire’ (Ps 29:7). Where do we find the canopy of night? Scripture states: ‘and night will shine like day’ (Ps 139:12). No single one of these canopies will come into contact with the canopy next to it.
Jeremiah said: ‘I saw Him bringing out bridegrooms for the brides,’ for Scripture notes: ‘the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride’ (Jer 7:34). Hosea said: ‘I saw Him multiplying Israel like (grains of) sand,’ for Scripture states: ‘and the number of the descendants of Israel will be like the sand of the sea’ (Hos 2:1). Joel said: ‘I saw Him exacting vengeance against His enemies,’ as Scripture notes: ‘while I can hold blameless, I will not hold blameless (those who have shed) their blood’ (Joel 4:21). The Holy One, blessed be He, has said: ‘Even were the gentile nations to hand over to Me all of their treasures, they would still fall short of compensating for the deaths of R. ‘Aqiva and his companions.’ Amos said: ‘I saw Him visiting upon the nations their transgressions,’ for Scripture says: ‘for the three sins of Edom’ (Amos 1:11). Obadiah said: ‘I saw Him assume the royal crown,’ for Scripture says: ‘deliverers ascended Mount Zion [to judge the mount of Esau, and the kingdom became the Lord’s]’ (Obad 1:21). Jonah said: ‘I saw Him receive the prayers of His people with compassion,’ as Scripture says: ‘and he prayed to the Lord’ (Jon 4:2). Micah said: ‘I saw Him turning toward Jerusalem with compassion,’ as Scripture states: ‘I will turn with compassion toward Jerusalem’ (Zech 1:16). The rest of all the prophets, each and every one of them, will bring the consoling words which they uttered with them, and the Holy One, blessed be He, will station them in His Presence (arranged in order) from the first generation until the last, and He will say to them: ‘Come and see the reward which I have kept in store for you! Come, eat, and enjoy the blessing which I have saved for you, in accord with what Scripture promised: “How magnificent is Your reward which You have preserved for those who revere You!” (Ps 31:20).’
Appendix: The Judgment of Samael, Prince of Rome
‘And Bela‘ died … from Bosra’ (Gen 36:33). It is stated in scripture: ‘Who is this who comes from Edom, [red of garment from Bosra?]’ (Isa 63:1). What is ‘who is this’ (mi zeh)? In the future the Holy One, blessed be He, will depart to exact vengeance against Edom. He will accomplish this Himself and will not inform His ministering angels about His journey. Thus when they seek to sing a song before the Holy One, blessed be He, they will not find Him. They will go to the sea and ask it, ‘Have you seen the Holy One, blessed be He? For scripture says: “Who placed a highway in the sea”’ (Isa 43:16). It will answer: ‘I have seen Him no more since the day He dried me so that His children could cross through me.’ They will go to Sinai and say, ‘Have you not seen the Holy One, blessed be He? For scripture states: “the Lord has come from Sinai”’ (Deut 33:2). It will answer them: ‘I have seen Him no more since the day He revealed Himself on me and gave Torah to His children.’ They will go to Zion (and) ask it, ‘Have you seen the Holy One, blessed be He? Scripture holds:“for the Lord has chosen Zion”’ (Ps 132:13). It will answer them: ‘I have seen Him no more since the day He left me, destroyed His Temple, and burned His sanctuary.’
Isaiah encountered them (and) asked them: ‘What do you seek?’ [They answered him: ‘The Holy One, blessed be He!’]. He said to them: ‘He is departing from Edom at this very moment, fulfilling the scripture that says, “Who is this who comes from Edom, red (hamūtz) of garment etc.”’ (Isa 63:1). The Holy One, blessed be He, will punish them because they plundered the wealth of Israel. The word hamūtz simply means ‘stolen,’ as scripture hints: ‘from the clutches of the crook and the robber (hōmetz)’ (Ps 71:4). How then should the word hamūtz be understood? All who plunder Israel engage, so to speak, in the plundering of the Shekinah, for thus is it written: ‘I am with him in trouble’ (Ps 91:15).
[Will the Holy One, blessed be He, thus come] from all the cities of Edom? Rather, at the time that the Holy One, blessed be He, judges Edom, there will come Samael, the prince of Rome, at the head of the Roman legation. They will announce before the Holy One, blessed be He: ‘I should receive a reward alongside the righteous for the great benefactions I bestowed upon Israel.’ The Holy One, blessed be He, will respond to them: ‘What are the benefactions which you bestowed upon My children?!?’ [They will say to Him:] ‘I built numerous highways for them; I established markets, bath-houses, and bridges for them!!’ Then the Holy One, blessed be He, will say: ‘Fools! Everything you did was done only to corrupt them! Bath-houses wherein idols could be stationed, highways along which bandits could lie in wait, markets for the habitation of whores, bridges for the offices of the tax collectors—and not being content with this, you robbed them of everything which came into their possession each and every day!’ Samael said to the Holy One, blessed be He: ‘If we stole their wealth, then it is incumbent upon us to furnish recompense, for scripture ordains “he (i.e., the thief) will restore the stolen item, etc.”’ (Lev 5:23).
The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: ‘But how will you be able to make restitution for the Israelite blood which you have shed? Does not scripture state “Egypt will become a wasteland, and Edom will become a desolate wilderness on account of the violence expended upon the children of Judah, for they spilled innocent blood in their land”’ (Joel 4:19)? Immediately Samael will be embarrassed and will flee in great anguish to Bosra. Why would he flee to Bosra? Because he will be thinking that it is a city of refuge, due to the scripture which says ‘Betzer in the wilderness’ (Deut 4:43). Then the Holy One, blessed be He, will follow him to Bosra and say to him: ‘Wicked One! You have confused Betzer with Bosra! Moreover, scripture states (that one will not be granted asylum in a city of refuge) “if a person plots with premeditation against their fellow to murder them”’ (Exod 21:14). Immediately the Holy One, blessed be He, will hand him over to Michael, and he will bring him bound with iron chains and hand him over to Israel, and they will do with him whatever they want, as scripture states: ‘I shall wreak My vengeance against Edom [through the agency of My people Israel]’ (Ezek 25:14). ‘… this one majestic in his clothing …’ (Isa 63:1): this refers to a garment of vengeance, for scripture says ‘He will don garments of vengeance’ (Isa 59:17). ‘… moving with the greatness of His power …’ (Isa 63:1), for scripture says: ‘for the Lord has a sacrifice in Bosra’ (Isa 34:6). ‘… I will speak of righteousness …’ (Isa 63:1), as scripture says: ‘I will pronounce your righteousness, etc.’ (Isa 57:12).