Introduction to Idra Raba (The Great Chamber)

Rabbi Shimon and his nine friends were sitting silently in The Great Chamber but their hearts were afire in the threshing field of revelations.

Thus Rabbi Shimon opened and said: “A gossip walker reveals a secret,  and a spirit trust person covers it” (Mishlei 11, 13)


"A gossip walker reveals a secret, and a spirit trust person covers it"

He spoke softly to his friends: “The term gossip walker is hard to understand, shouldn’t one say gossip man? What is that, a gossip walker?”, and he answered: “Someone who doesn’t have equanimity and he is not loyal because that thing that he heard moves around restlessly within him like a piece of straw tumbling around in a bucket full of water and it can never sink, so the turbulence of the water eventually throws it out.”

Somebody asked: “Does that mean this person has no peace until he reveals what he had heard to another?”

Rabbi Shimon answered: “One might indeed put it like that. But what is the reason for this behaviour?”

They sat shaking their heads in silence while he continued:

“It’s because his spirit has no equanimity. On the other hand, someone who has equanimity in him and this equanimity exists in him, of him we say and a spirit trust covers it”. A spirit trust means that the spirit exists in him and on the spirit it depends, and it is written: “Don’t let your mouth degrade your flesh”, Kohelet 5 (אַל-תִּתֵּן אֶת-פִּיךָ, לַחֲטִיא אֶת-בְּשָׂרֶךָ)

His words rang in the big room like a tiny bell and left curious trails of silent wondering that enveloped the listeners ears like delicate gossamer strings.

He continued: “And the world doesn’t exist but in a secret, and if in the matter of the world we need a secret, in the matter of secrets of secrets of the ancient times of Ancient Days, they are not even delivered to the highest range of angels.”

Rabi Shimon said: “And I am not talking to the skies that they shall listen. Neither am I speaking to the earth, that it shall hear. For it is us, you and me, who make the world exist.”

Thus we learned the secrets of secrets and as Rabi Shimon spoke, it was as if the whole place was shaken to the foundation, as if even the bricks in the wall were trembling with an unspoken knowledge, infinitely hidden and yet obvious as the light of day, and the friends were awestruck by delight.

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