Whoever Goes to that World without this Knowledge, Even if He has many Good Deeds, He will be Ejected from all its Gates
Tell me, whom I love so, where you pasture your flock at noon, lest I go straying after the flocks of your companions—If you do not know, O fairest of women, go out in the tracks of the sheep (Song of Songs 1:7–8).
“Happy are those engaged with Torah in order to learn the wisdom of their Master, knowing and contemplating transcendent secrets! For when a person departs this world, that lore causes all forms of judgments against him to vanish. Not only this, but thirteen gates of mysteries of pure balsam, from which the Supernal Wisdom is suspended, are opened for him. Not only this, but the blessed Holy One delights with him in the Garden of Eden, and he inherits two worlds: this world and the world that is coming.
The wisdom one must know: First, to learn how to complete the mystery of his Master.
Second, to understand his body, to become aware of who he is. How was he created? Where did he come from? Where is he headed? Perfection of the body—how is that achieved? How will he be summoned to judgment before the Sovereign of All?
Third, to know and contemplate mysteries of his soul. What is it, this soul within him? Where did it come from? Why did it enter this body—fetid drop!—here today, tomorrow in the grave?
Fourth, to contemplate this world in which he finds himself. How can it be perfected? Afterward, with supernal mysteries from the world above, to know his Master. All this, one should contemplate within mysteries of Torah.
Come and see: whoever goes to that world without this knowledge, even if he has many good deeds, he will be ejected from all its gates. Go out, look at what is written here: ‘Tell me (Song of Songs 1:7)—speak to me of mysteries of wisdom! How do you pasture and conduct that world? Teach me mysteries of wisdom, of that supernal Wisdom, those that I have neither known nor contemplated before, so that I will not be disgraced among those upper rungs that I shall enter. For until now, I have not contemplated them.’
Come and see what is written: If you do not know (ibid., 8). If you arrive without knowledge, without having contemplated wisdom before entering here, and you do not know mysteries of the upper world, go forth (ibid.)! You are unworthy to enter here without knowledge. Gain awareness בְּעִקְבֵי (be-iqvei), in the tracks of, the sheep (ibid.), among those people who are trampled בְּעָקֵב (be-aqev), underfoot. They know supreme mysteries of their Master, and from them you will learn how to perceive.
Graze your kids (ibid.)—these are the children, striplings of the study hall learning Torah. By the tents of the shepherds (ibid.)—in the synagogues and study halls where they learn supernal wisdom. Even though they do not understand, you will gain understanding from the words of wisdom they speak” (Zohar Ḥadash 70d, cf. BT Ḥagigah 27a).