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Part Seven

4. September 2018

The Wise One and the Serpent on his Daughter’s Wedding

To conclude this introduction with this seventh and last part, we want to encounter a little tale, which is found in the Hebrew tradition, and which can be read as an illustration of the application of astrological knowledge by a truly ‚Wise One‘.

In the tradition there are several slightly different accounts of that certain story which elaborates on an ‚astrological component‘ to an episode in the life of the famous jewish teacher and Wise One with the name Aqiba Ben Yoseph. That story tells about the wedding of Aqibas daughter.

But to be able to grasp all depths of the story we firstly should get a little bit familiar with the legendary ‚currucilum vitae‘ of this famous Wise One Aqiba. Although this Aqiba indeed has existed somewhen around 2000 years ago as an actual person, for our purpose here the focus is not at all about the question what were the actual happenings of his life; but we rather look into the rich amount of legends concerning his person, because these legends especially illustrate certain spiritual concepts – and in the following it will be about this one specific legend illustrating the spiritual concept of the ‚hidden planets‘ and their vital importance in a horoscope, and, in preparation for this main story, it will be also about some other episodes in Aqiba’s life, which ‚made him ready‘ to finally perform his wisdom regarding that decisive horoscope.

Let us first introduce Aqiba’s first wife, known as Rachel, who is the mother of the daughter that is going to marry in the main plot of the story.

This Rachel was the daughter of a rich man of Jerusalem, a certain Kalba Sh’vua (aramaic for ‚Dog of the Seven‘ or ‚Dog of the Oath‘). Aqiba has been growing up as a very poor man, at some point becoming a servant at the house of this rich Aramean named Kalba Sh’vua, working for him as a shepherd until he is fourty years of age. Up to this point of his life Aqiba was illiterate, uneducated and without any hopeful future expectations.

Nevertheless the beautiful Daughter of Kalba Sh’vua, Rachel (a name meaning ’sheep; mother sheep‘), fell in love with that poor, uneducated shepherd Aqiba, in whom she saw much more than what the rest of the world would see in him. Of course her father was not very pleased with the idea, that his daughter is going to marry a poor illiterate shepherd … and when she still kept holding fast to this wish, even after her father disagreed to it, Kalba Sh’vua felt to be obliged to drive her (and with her Aqiba, too) away without any possession.

So Aqiba and Rachel are now both poor, only having each other, and finally get married.

Motivated by his dear wife, Aqiba eventually decides to become educated. Rachel strongly encourages him in this question, even knowing that he will have to leave her for a long time to do so. This is the reason, why in Judaism this wife of Aqiba is seen as a prototype of a ‚good wife‘, encouraging and supporting her husband to study the recommendations of the Eternal.

Aqiba then indeed is gone studying for 22 long years. And he comes back with 22.000 students. He arrives at the house of his wife, and before being seen by her, he is listening to a conversation between her and a neighbour woman, who is making fun of her, saying: ‚Your husband is gone for twentytwo years now … he will never come back, he has left you! Don’t you get it?!‘ But Aqiba’s wife responds: ‚He said to me that he is going to be back as soon as he has learned what he has to learn. So even if he is gone for another seven years, I will be waiting for him in patience!‘ And Aqiba, hearing this, decides to not show himself to her at this point already, but leaves the country again and studies for another seven years, then coming back with even much more students being amazed by his wisdom and knowledge. His two most famous students are later known by the names of Me’iyr (which means ‚illuminating one‘) and Shim’on Bar Yochai (who is the legendary founder of the mystical tradition of the Kabbalah, especially famous as the author of the book called ‚Zohar‘, a word meaning ’splendour, radiation‘).

So after 29 years of studying Aqiba arrives back in the region of his origin. And he coincidentally meets his old employer, the father of his wife Rachel, Kalba Sh’vua. Of course Kalba Sh’vua does not recognize Aqiba after all these years and after his transformation from a poor illiterate shepherd to a highly honoured Wise One with thousands of own students. And seeing his great wisdom, he asks Aqiba for an advice concerning his long gone away daughter, whom he ‚had to drive out and dispossess‘ 29 years ago, because she wanted to marry someone much ‚below her value‘, that very uneducated shepherd. Aqiba asks Kalba Sh’vua: ‚Well, would you have let her marry him, if he would have promised to start studying the Word of God?‘ And he responds: ‚Yes, of course, if that shepherd only would have learned to recite the Shema-prayer or to sing one single Psalm – I instantly would have allowed the marriage!‘

Hearing this answer, seeing the true longing of the father to reunite with his daughter, Aqiba reveals to him that HE is that poor illiterate shepherd, having studied the Word of God for 29 years now. Kalba Sh’vua is very happy to hear that, finally meets his daughter again, everybody is happy and Kalba Sh’vua even gives half of his rich possessions to Aqiba and Rachel.

It is told that Aqiba was of an age of forty years when he married the daughter of Kalba Sh’vua and left his house with her; so he would have been 69 when he arrived back after his studying as the great Wise One, one ’step ahead‘ to the ‚Seventy‘, representing the effectual ‚everything‘ in this ‚world of the seven‘. And now it is said: with 8o years Aqiba married a second wife (compare this to the ’split of the kingdom‘, which is necessarily happening on the end of the ‚8th day‘; for this topic see part 3 again: the paragraph concerning the sign of Scorpio).

Aqiba’s second wife is known as ‚the beautiful Roman woman‘. She used to be the wife of a certain Roman named Turnus Rufus (sometimes called ‚Tyrannus Rufus‘, later becoming the one responsible for Aqiba being killed as a martyr), who back then was the provincial governor of the Roman occupied Judean region called Palastine; so he was the major representative of the Roman Caesar in this area. And this Turnus Rufus used to have regular discussions with Aqiba about all kinds of questions of philosophy, always trying to ‚make Aqiba a good Roman‘ by convincing him with ‚logical arguments‘. But, as to be expected, he always fails to achieve anything in this regard, he always ‚loses‘ in the discussions, even has to agree regularly to the standpoint of Aqiba in the end, having his own arguments turned around against himself by the wisdom and the rethorical talent of Aqiba.

Regularly, after Turnus Rufus has lost another one of his arguments with Aqiba, the Roman governor comes home to his wife and complains to her about that cracked, cunning Jew, who always achieves to twist around his thorough Roman philosophemes and turns them to become weapons against himself instead …

And at one of these occasions one night, his wife ultimately is effectually annoyed by this custom of having regularly to listen to the monotonous complaints of her husband for having lost again. So she decides to try it now herself, ‚on her way‘, to convince Aqiba of the assumed superiority of their Roman philosophy. That means: She wants to seduce Aqiba with her ‚female charm‘.

And as already mentioned, this wife of Turnus Rufus is said to be very beautiful; indeed so beautiful that every man who sees her appearance instantly forgets everything else and only wants to possess HER from then on.

Now the story tells: when this Roman woman comes to Aqiba to seduce him, he is behaving in a very strange manner:

Aqiba spits out, then he weeps, and then he laughs. Of course the woman asks, what the meaning of this behaviour is … and Aqiba responds: I spat out, because this beauty of yours is mere flesh that seduces. I then cried, because this beauty of yours, which IS existing indeed as such – I cannot deny that – is going to corrupt and disappear with time. But why I still was laughing in the end, I cannot explain to you in a sentence.

Now of course the Roman woman is very excited and wants to know exhaustingly, why exactly there will be a reason to laugh for Aqiba in the end nevertheless …

And now Aqiba goes into all the depths of his understanding of creation and Mankind’s journey through this world, and explains her in a many hour long teaching throughout the whole night, why there will still be a reason to be happy in the end, despite of the corruption of all fleshly beauty, which in the first place is not avoidable in this world of time and space.

Roughly the final essence of Aqiba’s answer could be sketched out as: ‚Even for YOU there exists ‚repentance‘, a ‚returning home‘, wherein that which is flowing away with time, like your fleshly beauty, will be reconnected with the Eternal Source, and the human being thereby will be able to know his or her life in the Eternal, his own LIVING in the Eternal, and he or she will be experiencing it already now, ‚during the course of time‘ in this material world.‘ And by means of this, it is told, that beautiful Roman woman becomes Aqiba’s second wife.

And when marrying for a second time, for Aqiba begins his ‚journey towards Paradise‘, of which there are several accounts in the tradition. We remember that this second marriage of him occurs when Aqiba is 80 years old. And the whole span of his life is said to have been 120 years. So this point where he is 80 years of age marks the spot of transition ‚from the 2 to the 1‘ in his life experience, from the ‚2 times 40 years‘ to the ‚1 times 40 years‘.

And to be more precise concerning his ‚famous journey towards Paradise‘: Out of the four Wise Ones who started that journey towards Paradise together, Aqiba is the only one that actually RETURNED (at good health) from the adventure of getting through ‚the 7 heavens, each having 7 halls‘ on the pathway to Paradise …

Aqiba’s three companions on the journey are named Shim’on Ben Zoma, Shim’on Ben Azzai and Elisha Ben Abuyah (mostly only referred to as ‚the other one‘).

The talmudic account of the happenings is very short and goes like this (see for example Talmud Bavli; Chagigah 14b):

Four entered the Paradise. They were Ben Azzai, Ben Zoma, ‚the Other One‘ and Aqiba. Aqiba said to them, ‚When you come to the place of pure marble stones, do not say, ‚Water! Water!‘ for it is said, ‚He who speaks untruths shall not stand before My eyes‘ (see Psalms 101,7)‘. Ben Azzai gazed and died. Regarding him the verse states, ‚Precious in the eyes of God is the death of His pious ones‘ (Psalms 116,15). Ben Zoma gazed and was harmed. Regarding him the verse states, ‚Did you find honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be overfilled and vomit it‘ (Proverbs 25,16). The ‚Other One‘ cut down the plantings. Regarding him the verse states, ‚Do not let your mouth bring your flesh to sin, and do not say before the angel that it is an error; why should God become angry at your voice, and ruin the work of your hands‘ (Ecclesiastes 5,5).
Aqiba entered in peace and left in peace. Regarding him the verse states, ‚Draw me, let us run after you, the King has brought me into His chambers‘ (Song of Solomon 1,4).

The further elaborations on this short story explain it in different respects. One of them is given by the popular interpreter Sh’lomoh Yitzchaki and states that Shim’on Ben Azzai ‚dies after the half of his days‘ (often understood as meaning, that he only got to ‚know one of the two sides of life‘, never learning about the divine blessings being present inside HIMSELF, too, as well as that the whole world is present inside himself), Shim’on Ben Zoma ‚loses his sanity‘ (and becomes a little bit ’self-opinionated‘, arrogant – to not call it ‚megalomaniac‘ …), and Elisha Ben Abuyah ‚becomes a mocker‘, a ‚renegade and apostate‘ (which is the reason why he is typically only referred to as ‚the other one‘ afterwards, not giving him the honor of mentioning him by name).

So only Aqiba survives their adventure without any harm to his soul. This is explained by Friedrich Weinreb with the fact that Aqiba as the only one of the four did not skip any of the ‚four stages‘ necessary to enter the Paradise properly.

These four stages are said to be:

Firstly you learn to see the world how it really is.

Secondly you experience the world in the Word (of God).

Thirdly you reenact all that you have learned by now during the first two stages, but now experiencing it inside yourself, inside your own soul.

In the fourth stage then, an angel is sent to you, from now on accompanying you during your everyday life, showing you the way towards Paradise INSIDE this world and inside your life in this world.

In the end you arrive at a fountain, where two women are standing. And as always in the mythical language, a ‚woman‘ represents an ‚appearance‘, especially of the world, but of any individual being or happening, too (like for example the ‚happening‘ of Salvation …).

For Akiva here the two women are his two wives: the one who sacrificed herself (respectively her wealthy inheritance) for him, the other one who was trying to seduce him.

And at some point you will realize that the two women actually are ONE. That is the moment, when the Gates of Paradise open for you and you see yourself finally in the image of God, in the resemblance of the Eternal, how you originally were created to be from the beginning of All.

In a way, the three first stages on the path towards Paradise are represented in the female, the male and the fruit signs of the Zodiac, too.

When Aqiba is asked afterwards, what was it like, to approach Paradise more and more on his journey towards it, he responds: ‚It began with a lot of conversations with a lot of people. Really, so many conversations, all the time getting more and more, that I already believed, there will never be an end to these conversations. But then, after a long time, these conversations got more and more focused to certain topics, more and more limited to certain people I conversed with. And then, from some point on, I was only talking to one person about one topic, and nothing else any more. And in the end … I was standing in front of a mirror, realizing that it was all along only me myself I was talking to during my whole life. That’s when I realized what it truly means, to be created in the image of God. From now on, everytime I am thinking about postponing anything or pushing away responsibility for anything, two questions arise in my mind: When, if not now? And: Who, if not you?‘

Shim’on Ben Azzai, the one of the four who is ‚dying at the half of his days‘, is credited in the jewish tradition for having proclaimed to the public the last adding of books to the Hebrew part of the Bible, namely the book of ‚Ecclesiastes‘ and the ‚Song of Solomon‘. Beside this he is the one Aqiba’s daughter is betrothed to for a long time before finally marrying her (although many sources deny this final marriage – but for telling our story here it is helpful to assume that this marriage happened in the end …).

Although he eventually dies ‚at the half of his days‘ due to his failure to go through ALL the stages on his way to Paradise (because he is skipping the stage of reenacting the two first stages inside his own soul: the knowledge how the world really is and the experience of the world in the Word of God – he only gets to know the truth as an outer reality and is already too overwhelmed by that), Ben Azzai still is remembered as an especially ‚pious one‘, having died by taking a glance at the splendour of the Eternal One, thereby ‚dying the death of His saints‘.

Shim’on Ben Zoma seems to have skipped the stage of experiencing the whole world as existing (only) INSIDE the Word of God, when he was on his way towards Paradise. That is why he ‚got mad‘ when beholding the splendor of God as the same as his own splendor, for being himself created in the resemblance of the Eternal – but not being able to differentiate effectually ‚between the original and the mere image in the mirror‘, so to speak.

He is characterized in the Talmud by looking at a ’scholar of the Scriptures‘ as the ‚crown of creation‘ – a thought, which led him to a certain over-estimation of his own person. This is illustrated for instance by the following episode that is told about him (Tosefta, Bereshith 6,2; Bereshith 58a):

Ben Zoma, seeing the crowds on the Temple mount, said, ‚Blessed be He who created all these to attend to my needs. How much had Adam to weary himself with! Not a mouthful could he taste before he plowed and sowed, and cut and bound sheaves, and threshed and winnowed and sifted the grain, and ground and sifted the flour, and kneaded and baked, and then he ate; but I get up in the morning and find all this ready before me. How much had Adam to weary himself with! Not a shirt could he put on before he sheared and washed the wool, and hatcheled and dyed and spun and wove and sewed, and then he clothed himself; but I rise in the morning and find all this ready before me. How many trades are anxiously busy early in the morning; and I rise and find all these things before me!‘

Elisha Ben Abuyah did not want to learn about the real world how she really is, as it would have been the appropriate first stage of the journey to Paradise – he wanted to only find it all in studying the Word of God. That is why he ultimately got destroyed by the real world: One day he witnessed the death of a young boy falling from a tree and breaking his neck: The father of that boy had asked his son to climb on the tree to get the eggs from a nest, but to let the mother bird fly away, just like the Bible recommends it. The boy listened to his father and thus not only kept the recommendation concerning the eggs and the mother bird, but also the so-called ‚fifth commandment‘ of the Ten Words, to ‚honour father and mother‘. And both biblical recommendations explicitly go with the motivating explanation, to do it ’so that your days will be prolonged‘ (see Exodus 20,12 and Deuteronomy 22,7). And still the boy died at such a young age through having this terrible accident.

Elisha Ben Abuyah was not able to integrate this experience into his understanding of the greatness of God. He could not grasp this apparent contradiction between his own deep insight into the essence of all existence which he gained through his ‚journey to Paradise‘ (= deepest ‚esoteric insights‘) on the one side and the shockingly brutal reality on the other side, because he never learned to see the world how she really is, only knowing the world as a harmonic creation of the Eternal, as existing inside the Word of God, and by having experienced this world inside himself, inside his own soul. So he could not accept the ‚outer world‘ around him as being indeed ‚very good‘, as God Himself has stated – and so Elisha Ben Abuyah began desacrating the Sabbath, testifying by this, that this ‚world of the seventh day‘ in his eyes is NOT ‚very good‘, that we should NOT rest in her, and NOT let her be how she is …

We now want to focus on a kabbalistic perspective on the journey to Paradise, and we will be approaching this perspective with the knowledge of the mythical symbolism already established in the past six parts of this introduction. Firstly, in the famous kabbalistic book named ‚Zohar‘ (Hebrew for ’splendour‘) there is an additional notice concerning the already cited short talmudic account of the story, which goes like the following (see Zohar I, 26b; Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 40):

The ancient Saba (an old man) stood up and said (to Shim’on Bar Yochai, the legendary author of the Zohar, and one of the two most famous students of Aqiba), ‚Teacher, Teacher! What is the meaning of what Aqiba said to his students, ‚When you come to the place of pure marble stones, do not say ‚Water! Water!‘ lest you place yourselves in danger, for it is said, ‚He who speaks untruths shall not stand before My eyes.“

But it is written, ‚There shall be a firmament between the waters and it shall separate between water (above the firmament) and water (below the firmament)‘ (Genesis 1,6).

Since the Torah describes the division of the waters in to upper and lower, why should it be problematic to mention this division? Furthermore, since there are upper and lower waters why did Aqiba warn them, ‚do not say, ‚Water! Water!“

The Holy Lamp (in Aramaic ‚botzina kadisha‘, a title of honour for Shim’on bar Yochai, since he – like being a Lamp himself – has given the ‚Splendour‘, that is: the ‚Zohar‘, being its author) replied, ‚Saba, it is proper that you reveal this secret that the Chevraya (literally ‚fellowship‘; Shim’on’s circle of disciples) have not grasped clearly.‘

The ancient Saba answered, ‚Teacher, Teacher, Holy Lamp. Surely the pure marble stones are the letter ‚yod‘ – one the upper ‚yod‘ of the letter ‚aleph‘, and one the lower ‚yod‘ of the letter ‚aleph‘. Here there is no spiritual impurity, only pure marble stones, so there is no separation between one water and the other; they form a single unity from the aspect of the Tree of Life, which is the ‚waw‘ in the midst of the letter ‚aleph‘. In this regard it states, ‚and if he take of the Tree of Life (and eat and live forever)‘ (Genesis 3,22)…

The last three sentences cited refer to the shape of the letter ‚aleph‘, the first letter of the Hebrew Alphabeth with the numeric value of 1 (see part two of this introduction): it is built up of one yod in the upper right, one yod in the lower left and a waw slightly diagonal between them both, by this, equally separating them as connecting them. So together these three components of the written, the appearing shape of the Aleph are having the numeric value of 26 (yod + yod + waw = 10 + 10 + 6 = 26), just as the ‚ineffable name of God‘, the so-called ‚Tetragrammaton‘, the ‚four-letter-name‘ Y-H-W-H (10 + 5 + 6 + 5 = 26).

Especially one kabbalistic teacher of the 16th century (Moses Ben Jacob Cordovero) elaborates on this Zohar-account in a way roughly described in the following (based on his major work ‚Pardes Rimonim‘, see therein Sha’ar Arachei Ha-Kinuim; ‚mayim‘):

God, as the Eternal One, is described as ‚the beginning and the end‘ (see for instance Isaiah 44,6; 48,12; Revelation 1,17).

This can be illustrated in the very first letter of the Hebrew Alphabeth: The upper yod of the shape of the letter aleph is perceived as representing the ‚beginning‘, and especially as the first letter of the ‚ineffable name of the Eternal‘, the ‚Tetragrammaton‘ (YHWH); the lower yod is perceived as representing the ‚end‘, and especially as the last letter of the specific divine name which in the tradition is usually used as a substitute to be pronounced instead of the ‚ineffable name‘, ‚Adonay‘ (spelled Aleph-Daleth-Nun-Yod).

So the two yods are representing the ‚inner‘ and ‚outer‘ aspect of God, the ‚male‘ and ‚female‘, which are separated and connected by the diagonal waw between them. This shape is also mirrored in creation itself, where the ‚upper waters‘ are ’separated‘ from the ‚lower waters‘ by the ‚firmament‘ – and only from a divine perspective they are still CONNECTED through the firmament, and NOT separated.

So depending on the point of view, it can be ‚true‘ to speak of the ‚two waters‘ (when looked at the firmament from ‚down here‘, from out of the ‚lower waters‘), or it can be ‚untrue‘ to look at them as separate, because they still form a harmonic unity (when looked at our world of the ‚lower waters‘ from above, from the perspective of the heavenly ‚upper waters‘).

And now we can look again at the scheme of the Sephiroth, this time taking into account the three ‚upper Sephiroth‘, too:

–I–

III–II

2–1

–3–

5–4

–6–

–7–

The unity of the upper three Sephiroth is referred to as the ‚realm of Being‘, while below these three our world of the seven Sephiroth is the ‚realm of Becoming‘. Especially the very lowest Sephirah, called malkhuth, represents our world of the seventh day (as already explained in part 3 and 5 of this introduction). The six Sephiroth from ‚chesed‘ to ‚yesod‘ (1 to 6), representing the first six days of creation week, are identified with the original state of being of the ‚Son of Man‘ in the resemblance of God, as connecting the Heavens and the Earth (see part 3 again, the paragraph concerning the sign of Virgo), like ‚an image of God on the firmament‘ (see part 4, especially the paragraph concerning the sign of Capricorn) connecting the ‚two waters‘ – it is primordial Mankind, before being ’shattered into pieces‘ through the so-called ‚Fall of Mankind‘, which brought us into the ’seventh day‘, into the Sephirah malkhuth, where now all the seven lower Sephiroth concentrate together as our physical reality.

The ‚realm of Being‘ is called ‚yesh‘ in the Hebrew (meaning ‚existence; to be‘; spelled with the letters yod and shin). The lowest Sephirah of malkhuth in relation to these upper three is called ’shay‘ (meaning ‚present, gift‘; spelled with the letters shin and yod), because it represents the ‚kingdom‘ and the ‚kingship‘ which is destined to be given to Mankind by the Eternal One, when finally this world is being reconnected to its heavenly origin through the repentance of Mankind.

These two words ’shay‘ and ‚yesh‘, below and above, are connected by the ’six‘, by the original (and final) form of the ‚Son of Man‘ as created on the sixth day, which is (still/again) equal to the ‚Son of God‘, in perfect resemblance of the Heavenly Father. So the ’six‘ (which is the numeric value of the sixth letter Waw, the ’nail‘, see again the beginning of part 2 and the sign of Virgo in part 3) is the diagonal separation and connection of the ‚yod in the beginning‘ and the ‚yod in the end‘, the ‚yesh‘ and the ’shay‘, the ineffable, internal ‚YHWH‘ and the pronouncable, external ‚Adonay‘ – and again we see the shape of the very first letter of the Hebrew Alphabeth, the two yods being mirrored by the diagonal waw, forming the aleph.

Now, the two words ’shay‘ and ‚yesh‘ being connected to become a single unity, will form the word spelled shin-yod-shin, then pronounced ’shayish‘. And this Hebrew word means ‚marble‘.

So in the ‚marble stones‘ of the Paradise we find the unity of the upper and lower, and it would be an ‚untruth‘ to speak of ‚two distinct‘ beings (‚Water! Water!‘) from this point of view. That is the reason, why Aqiba tried to warn his fellow travelers with the enigmatic words: ‚Do not say ‚Water! Water!‘ when coming to the place of pure marble stones.‘

Let us now finally look at the story of the wedding of Aqiba’s daughter. She is the daughter from his first wife, from Rachel, and some accounts of the story add that she is Aqiba’s only daughter. And because her Fiancée, Ben Azzai, lets her wait for him very, very long, while he is studying the Bible, she has a similar destiny as her mother, who also had to wait for many years for Aqiba, while he was studying far away.

In the weeks before the wedding Aqiba once speaks to a babylonian friend who is an astrologer, a ’stargazer‘. He tells Aqiba with shy bitterness in his voice, that he has looked into the stars with regard to the coming wedding – and while doing so he has unfortunately found out that Aqiba’s daughter is going to be deathly bit by a snake exactly on her wedding day! Aqiba lets his babylonian friend show him the exact horoscope and recalculates all the constellations … and yes, his friend seems to be right, there are no errors in the calculation: his beloved daughter’s stars are pointing to a sure death on her wedding day by a bite of a snake!

Aqiba, in spite of the seemingly unavoidable death of his daughter, keeps on preparing the feast. He does not tell his daughter anything about her horoscope. Only, he tries to take all possible precautions to prevent a snake attack on her: He positions specifically instructed watchers on every possible entrance to the place of festivities, he lets search through all the interiour for snakes the whole day before the wedding, and he organizes a substantial amount of any possible antidote against snake venom that he can get.

Then the wedding begins and it seems that everything is going to be fine.

At some point the bride notices that outside at the entrance of the house a beggar is standing, looking in shyness into the place with all the joyously celebrating folk, not daring to raise his voice to ask anyone inside for a small charity. As Aqiba’s daughter becomes aware of him, she leaves her place of honour, unnoticed by the rest of the guests, and walks through the celebrating masses towards the beggar standing at the entrance. She asks him in, takes his garment and hangs it on one of the last arrows available in the quiver (it was a custom back then to leave a soft area in the wall of loam near the entrance of a house, so one could stick an arrow into the wall to hang a garment over it), and she gives him to eat of her own meal.

When the wedding finally has ended, it is getting clear: no one got hurt! Now Aqiba finally tells his daughter about the treatening fate described by the horoscope of her, and she is asked whether she did anything special during the night of the wedding. But she cannot remember anything noteworthy. When she is asked to try to recall the entire evening and tell what she has been doing from hour to hour, she also mentions the episode with the beggar. And Aqiba instantly assumes in this specific occurence the reason for the unexpected rescue of his beloved daughter.

So he and some equally interested guests ask from the bride, where exactly she has hung the beggar’s garment, after she let him in. She shows them the arrow – and when they draw it out of the wall, it becomes apparent: the arrow stuck into the wall by Aqiba’s daughter coincidentally has pierced through the head of a snake that was hiding in the wall!

It is said: that snake was destined to be lurking there in the wall from the beginning of whole creation, just to bite the daughter of Aqiba on that very day, and the bite should have been deathly. She only survives, because she did something ‚good‘, caring about the beggar, something, which nobody could have possibly expected from her to do out of a purely rational, ‚human‘ perspective.

Aqiba’s babylonian friend who calculated the horoscope which now proved to be erroneous, asks Aqiba: How did you know that this is going to happen?

Aqibas explanation to his friend then is something like this: Since he knew the ‚hidden planets‘ of his beloved daughter, he could see in the calculated horoscope presented by the babylonian stargazer more than the Babylonian himself could see. And then Aqiba shows to his friend all the hidden planets in the horoscope, by this, opening him the eyes for what Aqiba, as a ‚Wise One‘, has been seeing all along.

Friedrich Weinreb retells the explaining speech of Aqiba with the following words:

‚She wanted to marry. It also was the man she was longing for. I myself know from my own destiny, how it is if you want to marry but cannot. If you want to marry, then it means that you have a great desire for the other extreme; and only this exact desire can divest the Serpent of its power.

Where in the Bible does the Serpent appear? It appears, where Man and Woman are in Paradise, and we say that the Serpent seduces the Woman. In this situation the Serpent has power, because there is only a natural, an instinctive connection between Man and Woman, so to speak. But if there is present the desire for a real unification, for marriage, for true connection … then the Serpent, the snake is powerless. That’s what I knew already from the very name of my daughter!‘

The name of Aqiba’s daughter is Nechamah, the female variant of Menachem, with the meaning of ‚consoler, comforter; solace‘. And where there is solace, you survive.

And beside her name, Aqiba knew the wishes and the longings of his daughter, too (and of course also her state of knowledge, her occupation, and her ‚mission‘). He knew, she will be quick to take care of any poor man begging for help, even without actual words being spoken, and especially, when there is noone else to take care of him.

So, as already mentioned in the explanation of Aqiba speaking to his babylonian friend, there is a crucial meaning of this story for the whole world, if understood not only as a random tale, but as the deep symbol this legend actually embodies:

It is then representing the happenings in the Garden of the beginning: showing the world ‚on her wedding day‘, when she is about to celebrate the communion with her creator, represented in ‚the crown of creation‘, Mankind, taking of the fruit of the Tree of Life.

But then this world on the edge of the Holy Wedding is being ‚bit by the snake‘. And indeed: the ‚horoscope‘ of this world, represented by the daughter of Aqiba, is showing clearly that this deathly snake bite HAS to happen. But still, this determination of destiny is only true as the ’norm‘, ‚in general‘ … it is NOT necessarily true for the specific case of the single human being, in contrary: every one of us has the chance to be (again) in the image of God and now STAY like that, without being bit by the snake and by this, being made to ‚fall short from the original glory‘, becoming ‚captive to Death‘.

Here again we see: it is only the distinction made by the question whether we are taking into account the ‚hidden planets‘ of our life – or not, rather prefering to remain a mere ’statistical fact‘, blurring into an anonymous mass, without any true individuality of ourselves.

But if we have accepted, that any calculateable, ‚babylonian‘ approach to our destiny is only concerning the outer, the superficial side of existence, which always can be overcome by the inner ambition of a liberated human will … then this Hebrew Astrology, which has been introduced during the last 60.000 words, can give us the means and methods to handle our destiny in a way, worthy of us, as the ‚Crown of Creation‘, with every one of us as a messenger of the Eternal, being created in the resemblance of God and destined to bear witness to this fact of our existence.

Hallelu Jah!

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