The Joy of joys
The encounter with the Light Divine is clearly joyful,
loving, even ecstatic. The "King of Peace" is He Who emanates
"the light of the supreme joy from the fullness of his joy" (IV,
98). After God "'divided the light from the darkness'... light
continued to emanate from the supernal radiance, and through that
radiance to bring gladness to all" (I, 143). When "the Holy Ancient
One reveals Himself... all the worlds are irradiated with joy"
(III, 270). When "the loving kindness of the Ancient One is manifested...
all is satisfaction and joy...." When "the streaming, inexhaustible
light" bursts forth "in splendour and beauty," be prepared for
"the joy of joys" (III, 272). The light of God evokes a "stirring
of all joy, all felicity, all illumination and all freedom" (II,
250). The "place to meet the Most High King" is that place "from
whence there issues all light, all blessings, and all joy, to
cause all faces to shine..." (II, 282-283). God is the "Wine which
gives light and joy to all... the joy of love and mercy, the source
of all life and joy" (IV, 16). When someone's spirit reaches the
heavenly realm, "there is an effulgence of light all around...,"
and a "transcendental holy bliss and sublime delight..." (IV,
Not everyone gets to see these things and feel these
feelings, however. Consistent with Jewish notions of justice,
only the righteous have access to the Divine Light -- darkness
is for evil ones. Consequently, God hides the light from evil
ones. "The radiance which God produced at the time of Creation
illumined the world from one end to the other, but was withdrawn
in order that the sinners of the world might not enjoy it, and
it is treasured for the righteous..." (I, 120). Indeed, "God created
man in the world and gave him the faculty to perfect himself in
His service and to direct his ways so as to merit the enjoyment
of that celestial light which God has hidden and reserved for
the righteous..." (I, 148). The mysteries of the world to come
"are imprinted in light such as no eye can look upon, nor can
our imagination comprehend the measure of joy and delight which
the Holy One, blessed be He, has in store for the righteous..."
(IV, 48-49). God even created the Garden of Eden "in order to
satisfy His own ardent desire for joyous and continual communion
with the souls of the righteous..."(III, 360).
More specifically, and uniquely Jewish, is the
view that Israel will lead the way of the righteous. Israelites
"saw eye to eye the splendour of the glory of their Lord..."(III,
280). When the Israelites stood at the Red Sea, they "all held
the Divine glory eye to eye, and when their singing was ended
their souls were so filled with joy and ecstasy that they refused
to continue on their journey, desiring yet more perfect revelations
of that glorious mystery " (III, 187). Israel is blessed by God
because "the Holy One, blessed be He, has chosen them above all
the other nations of the world" (IV, 100). God will, "at the proper
time cause to shine on Israel that sun which he stored away at
the time of the Creation, out of sight of sinners" (II, 273).
At that time "the Holy King will restore [Israel] to its place,
to unite itself with her in perfect bliss..." (III, 172).
This is not to say, though, that access to the
Divine Light and its joys are restricted to the nation of Israel:
|while Israel are the foundation of the divine
light from out of which issues forth light for
the whole world, yet when heathen nations come
to accept the glory of the Holy One and to worship
Him, then the foundation of the light is strengthened
and all its rays are unified... (III, 215).
God will first open "a tiny aperture of light, then
another somewhat larger, and so on until he will throw open for
them the supernal gates" for Israel, and for "the righteous among
them" (II, 152).