Dreaming of Moshiach

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Butchers and Heavenly Court

The following chilling true story occurred in the time of Maharan Rav Natan Neta Shapiro, zs'kl, author of the Sefer Megale Amukot. The two Jewish orphans took over their uncle's business and for years deliberately fed non-kosher meat to the unsuspecting town...

One day, the 2 butchers heard a shiur about the severity of eating non-Kosher meats and it deeply affected them to do Teshuva. In order to cleanse their sins, they accepted upon themselves specific hardships as instructed by the Bet Din of the Baal Megale Amukot.

They were told to secretly give away all their money, change their clothing and go into Galut (exile). Contact with their families was forbidden and they were never to sleep in the same town 2 nights in a row. Every town they went, they had to go outside the local shul and confess their sins. They were instructed they must give the community permission to punish them. They were never to ask or accept food, cloth, and money. For food, they were allowed to accept whatever was necessary to keep them alive. They were not allowed to sleep in anyone's home except for Shabbat and Yom Tovs. When they will complete their Tikkun and Teshuva, they will get a sign they can return to their hometown. If they do all this, it will save them from harsh Heavenly judgment.

After 3 plus years, they were given the sign (both homes burned down the same night, leaving no survivors) and they understood they could now return to their town. Upon arrival, they went directly to the Megale Amukot and he gave them a parchment scroll from his Bet Din stating that their Teshuva is complete.

The two friends made a pact that whomever dies first, must come to the other in a dream and describe exactly what happened to him in Heaven's Court.

The surviving butcher waited until the night after the 30 days (shloshim) for his friend to appear. He had expected to see him black and broken, just as he had known him up until his death - a destroyed person from years of suffering due to the Tikunim he had accepted upon himself- yet he shone so bright it was hard to look at him. His voice was clear and sweet, hardly recognizable from the rough, gravely voice his friend was used to hearing.

The departed butcher began, "You don't know who the Baal Megale Amukot is and to what extent his ruling is respected here; all gates of heaven are open before him - he's like the son of the Owner of Heaven and all rejoice to do his will and what he decrees is immovable."

The departed friend continued, "It was not senseless fear we had while we were alive - repenting in Heaven is not a possibility. When my soul left my body, immediately I was surrounded by groups of destroying angels, more numerous than the sand of the sea. Their appearance was so terrifying that from fear alone one could die a thousand times! They had faces of many terrifying creatures, all holding spears aimed at me, pushing me down to Gei Tzalmavet (worse than hell).

"But this fear was only for one moment. Immediately, four malachei rachamim (angels of mercy) surrounded me. One above, one below, and one on each side. They didn't leave me for a second and protected me till after the Tahara (purification of the physical body). The malachei chavala (angels of destructions) were hissing at me with tongues of fire but the malachei rachamim were like an impregnable wall of protection.

When they put me in the aron (casket) even more angles came down to protect me on the way to the cemetery, because just then, infinite numbers of mazikim (harmful spirits) came to push me to the Harei Choshech (Halls of darkness). When they lowered my body to the grave, before covering me with dirt, the mazikim made a tremendous effort to attack me, but I was protected by the malachei rachamim.

After the funeral, when all returned home the four malachei rachamim stayed with me. Then there appeared four more angles to take my soul before the Bet Din Shel Maala. (Heavenly court).

They took me upwards and I felt like I was flying. Very quickly, I reached a world of bright light, which the human mind cannot contemplate even a fraction. The four angles escorted me to a gigantic palace with walls of pure snow. Inside were pillars of fine gold and windows made of huge diamonds casting light of the color of a rainbow for huge distances. I stood dumbfounded in amazement!

Above the huge gate to the palace hovered the words Makom Hamishpat (place of justice) carved with letters of bright fire. By the entrance, crouched lions and tigers roared at each soul brought in. The more sins done by the soul, the louder and more terrifying were their roars.

The four angles carried me on their wings and brought me to the Makom Hamishpat. Here the sights so amazing I didn't know what to look at first - one couldn't grasp the vastness of the hall even by looking from one side to the other! The ceiling and floor were encrusted with beautiful shimmering stones emitting beams of light so intense that they made our sun seem like shade! In the middle of the hall stood a gigantic table and around it were the judges of Bet Din Shel Maala (heavenly court). All of them are heavenly angels made of consuming fire.

Over the top of the table hover the words Torat Moshe Emet in fire. On the table was an open Sefer Torah with letters burning like hot coals. To this table they bring all the souls who have been brought up to be judged.

At the time of judgment, they open the pages of the Sefer Zichronot (book of memories) of that particular neshama. The book of memory is made of parchment and from it, they read out all the good and bad deeds of the soul during his lifetime. Everything written in the book of memories is in the person's own handwriting. For every judgment there are Angels of Judgment and Angels of Mercy.

The soul itself remains silent from fear. It does not feel worthy of being able to seek merit for itself and to counteract the words of accusation against it from the prosecution. The Heavenly court also brings witnesses to these judgments. While I waited for my turn there was another judgment going on of another soul. During the judgment they called upon the walls of his house to give testimony against him for an sin he thought he was doing in private where no one could see him.

Different sentences are handed down for every judgment. Some are sentenced to Gehenom (purgatory) but they have to also decide what level and for how long. Others are sentenced to go to Kaf Hakela (wandering without rest or being thrown from one end of the universe to the other while constantly getting beaten by 1000s of Angels of destruction) and some are sentenced to go back to earth in the gilgul (reincarnation) of an animal or a flower and to stay days or years on end until they reach their Tikkun (repair).

If the soul is found guilty, the Angels of destruction have permission to grab the soul and take it to its place. The soul screams and begs for mercy and cries out in regret, but in the World Above there is no opportunity for Teshuva on sins committed.

Sometimes it happens that a soul arrives white as snow, without a stain or dirt, and is judged worthy. Then a decree is heard in the upper worlds: "Gan Eden!!", immediately heavenly angels rise from their places and call out in joyous song: "Ashrecha vetov lach, you have merited in the World To Come". A group of angels with white wings surrounds the soul like a guard of honor and clears out a way as they sing out with happy melody: “Panu derech yashru mesilla ki tzaddik ba, make way for the Tzaddik".

With indescribable honor and glory, the Tzaddik is escorted to his place in Gan Eden. All the Tzaddikim go out to honor him and receive him with great joy and tremendous love for their friend. The sun and the moon light up the way with a gold and silver light. All the constellations bow down before the tzaddik as he arrives at the gates of Gan Eden. The whole creation sings Shira (songs) and calls out in musical song "ashrei lo ve ashrei chelko Fortunate he is and fortunate is his portion."

If a soul comes out guilty then woe to it. The Bet Din Shel Maala shouts out chastisement that shakes the worlds: "Wicked sinner of Israel with such brazenness you rebelled against the commandments of the King of Kings Hakadosh Baruch Hu! You were given a pure and clean soul, and you were warned to guard it and retain in it holiness and purity. In the end you defiled it with ' sins of worldly desires.' Woe to you."

The sound of chastisement comes down on the soul like thousands of hammers. Infinite destroying angles cover the soul, thousands of hands grab the soul from the platform of judgment and pushes him to Gehenom or Gei Tzalmavet or Kaf Hakela.

I myself slipped into a corner so they wouldn't notice me, I was trembling thinking, "Has there ever been a wicked man like me to come here?" I held on tight to the parchment of the Baal Megale Amukot. The souls passed through like sheep - this one for severe punishment, this one for light punishment. Not one passed without sin at all!

Then I heard the Announcer call on me, identifying me as Ploni ben Ploni. Four angles gently escorted me to the Shulchan Hamishpat and one of the angles opened the pages of my Book of Memories.

Suddenly a voice screamed out "Who brought this wicked soul here? All the fires of Gehenom will not suffice for him!" I passed out from fear but the angels revived me by touching me with their wings.

I remembered the parchment scroll given to me by the Megale Amukot and I quickly placed it on the table. Then I heard a voice say: "What sort of words are these of the Baal Megale Amukot - that he should decide to excuse this soul from all punishment?. He does not have so much authority as to give us instructions to accept the Teshuva of this sinner that caused others to sin, who fed non-Kosher food to a complete city of Jews for decades just for the lust of money."

Very quickly there appeared a large group of angles that came to speak on my behalf. "Why do you still scorn this soul? Is all the suffering endured during his lifetime not enough? With such strength he revealed his sins in public and accepted shame and punishment! He threw away all his money and all the honor he collected during his lifetime. He gave up all earthly pleasures and endured three years of exile and excommunication and indescribable earthly tortures. He accepted it all with love and humility. If you were clothed with human bodies you wouldn't be able to endure such pains! You would be broken immediately and would cease to do Teshuva! Now you want to throw him into the fires of Gehenom? The holy Rav Baal Megale Amukot has stated that he has endured all the pain and tears and has emerged pure and clean without any traces of dirt. Now you want to call him wicked?"

But the accusing angels screamed back with a voice that shook worlds, "Let us all see what a catastrophe this soul caused with all his sins!” Within seconds from all sides emerged thousands of souls, wailing, crying and screaming: "He caused us to die by plague because of his sins!"

"I died in my youth because this wicked man fed thousands with non-Kosher meat.“

"We were children in Yeshiva and had no taste of sin - we could have been great Torah sages but because of this wicked man we died young!"

"We were young women. We gave birth to children in holiness and purity, we hoped to raise them to Torah, marriage, and good deeds. Yet we died when we gave birth or shortly after and our children were left orphans without the love and care of a mother. We have no rest in the grave - the cries of our babies' mouth torture us! We constantly hover over them and when we see the harsh treatment they receive from nurses we burn inside - for us there is no need for Gehenom! We have longed for the day when this wicked soul would come here and we will vengefully witness how he will languish in Gehenom, and now you say to let him free? No way!"

While these women were still pouring out their bitterness into the hall, there streamed lines of cattle and sheep and goats all wailing loudly!

*We were reincarnates awaiting our final Tikkun in the lower world. We could receive our eternal rest only if we would be slaughtered by a G-d fearing holy Jew who would slaughter us with a fitting blessing. All the time we worried that we would be killed by a non-Jew without a proper shechita (butchering), and when eventually a Jewish butcher bought us we longed for the moment of Tikkun. But he took us to a secret cellar and killed us with an ax over our head - like they do to pigs! Now we still roam the world awaiting our Tikkun!"

I remained totally silent unable to utter anything in my defense. But when the Chief Defending Angel saw that the scales started to tip towards the side of guilty, he took the scroll and said to me, "Do not be afraid, wait for me here!"

He then flew upwards and after a short time returned with a multitude of silver-winged angels, ready with new words of defense.

"It's true that the defendant did all these terrible sins - more abundant than the hair on his head - but no one can deny that he was left an orphan at a tender age and was brought up under terrible conditions by a gross and brazen uncle. He worked him like a slave and taught him no wisdom nor any religion or any fear of Heaven. He therefore fell prey to lust in worldly desires and was engrossed in sin without even realizing his evil deeds."

"Also no one can deny that as soon as he realized the gravity of his deeds, he immediately admitted them and regretted them and immediately did Teshuva. For years he endured all the pain with love. Indescribable pangs of hunger, cold, illness, shame and disgrace. In every town he came during years of wandering he called out, 'I am a sinner. Please disgrace and shame me and trample me underfoot!'

"And all this is because he realized the gravity of his sin and undertook to repent fully according to the instructions of the Bet Din of Krakow. Here is the scroll from the Baal Megale Amukot who testifies that he fully repented during his final days on earth!"

They continued: "Behold, the judgment is explicit in the Gemara. Since he already willingly accepted his punishment, he is totally free of any taint of sins!"

The words of these angels left a strong impression and the Bet Din Shel Maala started again debating the case, and it continued for a long time.

Then finally came the decree: "Just as he has been found in the lower court -so will he be found in the higher court! The verdict of the Baal Megale Amukot is final. The repentant butcher is free of all sin! "

Along with this verdict came out another verdict, "All the souls and reincarnations that were waiting for their Tikkun will now be perfected and are welcomed to enter Gan Eden."

Immediately multitudes of angels began to descend and to carry each soul individually to its place in Gan Eden - each one according to the good deeds it had done. Some of these souls immediately began to shine with a light that is impossible to describe to a human being. When they finished carrying all the souls into Gan Eden, they took me and placed me on a platform encircled by a group of angels shining like the heavens - all singing out loud, "Ploni ben ploni is innocent."

Then the Heavens opened and revealed a sight that is incomprehensible to man. From all around came the singing of the angels: "Zakai hu, ba’al tzaddik gamur hu/He is innocent, he is a complete Tzaddik.'' Everyone sang shira including the Sefer Torah with its glowing letters seemingly whispering the words, 'He is innocent, and he is Tzaddik.' Then I was surrounded by this light thousands times brighter than the sun at midday, giving me pleasure of infinite magnitude. Each second streamed towards me more and more angels and pure Tzaddikim who came out of Gan Eden to meet and honor me. The heads of all the Tzaddikim were adorned with crowns and precious stones that beamed out sparks of fire and colors.
Six fiery angels appeared carrying a splendid canopy with poles made of cedar and the covering of fine gold. In the center it read, "Ki Lashem Hamelucha/For sovereignty is Hashem’s." Together with this appeared a complete legion of musical angels playing with an uncountable number of instruments. They were the Levites from the court of King David!

All this entourage arrived at my feet and then the angels carried me on their wings and placed me under the gold canopy. Immediately the musicians began playing and singing. The spiritual splendor experienced by listening to these songs is indescribable. A human who would hear this is liable to die the Kiss of Death from the intensity of its sweetness.

And so they began to escort me to my place in Gan Eden.

He continued to describe all the glory and splendor with which he was escorted. The greatest honor that a man can receive in this world is like a garlic peel compared to one second of Gan Eden and from whom did I receive all this honor? From holy and pure Tzaddikim whose faces shone like the heavens and whose heads were crowned with the crown of Torah.

Then two angels, whose splendor shone from their faces in a fine light that went for miles, came near to me with a crown studded with precious stones - on it hovered the words Baal Teshuva Gamur/One who has done complete repentance. They placed this crown on my head with great ceremony that cannot be described to man and all the Tzaddikim escorted me to the palace of the Baal Teshuva. As they departed they called out to me, "Fortunate that you merited "

The departed butcher instructed his friend in the dream, "Continue as before with all your hardships and don't think for a moment to slacken. It is better to withstand the most extreme torture in this world than to endure one moment of pain in Gehenom. The life of man eventually comes to an end but the life in the next world lasts for eternity."

"Go to the Baal Megale Amukot and tell him all I have told you. Even though he knows all this better than I, tell him and ask him to tell this story throughout the world and they should print this story for the masses, so that all should know the following:

1. How much man must distance himself from sin;
2. To what tremendous heights a tzaddik can reach through his actions in this world;
3. How great is the power of Teshuva which reaches the glorious throne itself -- In the place where someone repents even a totally righteous person cannot stand;
4. All shall know that rewards for Mitzvot is indescribable and immeasurable - no human eye has ever seen it!

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To get a deeper understanding of Heaven's court and judgment, it is highly recommended to view a video about an amazing Near Death Experience with great detail concerning the Heavenly Court. This is perhaps one of the most vivid and explicit accounts of what the soul may go through when departing this world. A must see!!

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והיה השם למלך על כל הארץ, ביום ההוא יהיה השם אחד - ושמו אחד ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds אין עוד מלבדו